Thursday, December 10, 2009

Medley of St. Brigid's Meats

St. Brigid’s Farm's is in its third year of production for natural grass fed beef and veal. We have many loyal customers - both families and restaurants. This year we are trying something new to make buying our beef more convenient. We are offering a monthly subscription to a Medley of St. Brigid’s Meats (to include tender steaks, premium ground beef, fine roasts and meaty short ribs) available for pick up in Chestertown every month. Here are the details:
· Subscriptions are for six months for the monthly amount of $50, $100, $200.
· Payment is due at the first scheduled delivery.
· You will receive a reminder e-mail several days prior to the pick-up.
· The delivery & pick-up location is in the parking lot of Radcliff Mill in Chestertown.
· The delivery & pick-up time will be the first Saturday of every month between 10:00-11:00 in the morning.
· In the event you can not arrange for pick-up in Chestertown, we will hold your order for pick up at the farm.
· Your delivery will be for a Medley of St. Brigid’s Meats at least in the amount of your subscription.
· Customized medleys are subject to availability.
· Gift subscriptions are welcome!

Our grass fed beef is the perfect choice for your holiday dinner. Individual cuts are available. Also, a gift certificate is the ideal gift for the chef or barbeque master on your list this season. Click here for 2009 pricelist of individual cuts.
Free dog bone for your favorite Fido with any holiday purchase

E-mail us at rcfry@stbrigidsfarm.com if you have questions or would like to subscribe to the series. Please share this with anyone you feel would be interested!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Woodberry Kitchen

Chef Spike Gjerde working at the oven

St. Brigid’s Farm veal is on the menu of another cool restaurant. Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore began offering our veal in September and it has been a huge success. Woodberry Kitchen is located in an old wool mill and has retained a rustic d├ęcor with brick walls and tall ceilings. The open kitchen features, Chef Spike Gjerde and a wood burning brick oven where he creates an eclectic array of flat breads.

Dining room view from the loft

Our friends Walter and Marjorie joined us there last Saturday for dinner. We were disappointed that our veal would not be on the menu until Sunday but there were so many interesting options we didn’t fret for long. For starters, we ordered a blue cheese and apple flat bread with mustard seed sauce. The crust is amazingly light and flakey and the mustard seeds provided surprising tang. The heirloom pumpkin soup was to die for as was the oyster stew. Yummy.
We were surprised when our very professional server arrived at our table after we had eaten the flat bread with a butcher’s plate. Chef Gjerde had made us a special plate that included St. Brigid’s Farm veal weiss wurst or white sausage. The wursts were light and juicy with a touch of citrus. Delicious. Other menu selections included monkfish with squash filled ravioli, paella, braised shortribs and lamb chops. Everything was simply excellent.
The restaurant was packed. The crowd was a mix of locals and those of us from out of town as well as young and older. There are over 130 seats which they turn an amazing three times an evening. The last seating is at 11:00 pm. Brunch is offered Sundays.
Woodbury Kitchen was named one of the Top 10 Best New Restaurants in America in September’s
bon appetit . We are very excited to be part of this impressive eating establishment.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Grazing Perennial Ryegrass

"Juno" and herd mates enjoyed nutritious fall grazing at St. Brigid's Farm. The rains from last weekend and now again last night have the cows inside waiting for the soil to firm up.

Chesapeake Semester at Washington College

On October 14th, we hosted Washington College’s Center for the Environment and Society’s Chesapeake Semester class for a tour of the farm and lunch on the deck. While we have had other classes from the Center’s program visit over the years, this is the first time for the Chesapeake Semester class. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the class, the students were engaged and asked excellent questions. We usually host dairy related groups so the questions from the class which is focused on the Chesapeake Bay, North America's largest estuary (64,000 square miles), centered on basic dairy farming practices and how they impact the environment.

The students in the Chesapeake Semester, one senior and eight sophomores and juniors, are a diverse group, with varying majors and interests and all take the same four courses. Dr. John Seidel, Chesapeake Semester Director, is the Chair of the Anthropology and Sociology Departments. Michael Hardesty, Chesapeake Semester Program Manager, is a Washington College graduate and provided us with the photos. Students have an opportunity to study the ecosystem in depth, develop solutions to environmental problems, and influence decision-making at the local and national levels. One outcome from lunch of grilled SBF burgers, salad and apple crisp was a realization by the students that they need to pressure the administration at Washington College to offer more local foods in the dining facilities. They were so appreciative of a good, home cooked meal that I plan to have them back this winter for a Sunday dinner and to catch up on their projects.

For a course description and photos of the group's earlier voyages around the bay visit their website: http://chesapeake-semester.washcoll.edu/.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Field To Fork 2009 !

The second Field to Fork dinner, an event designed to showcase local agriculture in an al fresco setting was enjoyed by 80 guests on October 3rd. Luck was certainly with us as the storms predicted earlier in the week stayed south, leaving us with warm temperatures and clear skies- perfect for enjoying the beautiful sunset and amazing full moon.

Special thanks to Chef David Perry of Casual Caterers in Stevensville for his creative touches. The hydrangeas looked lovely with the lanterns and the firefly lights were charming. The food was absolutely delicious. Much of the credit goes to Dave for designing and creating such a fabulous menu. Freshness is the other component of this fantastic meal. Everything was picked, baked or churned within days of the dinner. The milk for the oyster stew was from that evening’s milking.

Field to Fork Dinner Menu
Hot Apple Cider with Rum
(Lockbriar Farms, Chestertown)

Oyster Stew with Fresh Jersey Milk (Choptank River Farmed Oysters)(St. Brigid's Farm, Kennedyville)
Arugula Salad with Chapelle Cave Aged Cheddar
and Balsamic Vinaigrette
(Colchester Farm, Georgetown)(Chapel's Country Creamery, Easton)

Rustic French and Sunflower Bread
with Homemade Butter from Land O' Lakes Cream
(Feast of Reason, Chestertown)
(St. Brigid's Farm, Kennedyville)

Grilled London Broil with olive oil, herb, wine marinade
with Madeira Sauce
(St. Brigid's Farm, Kennedyville)

Grilled Fingerling Potatoes
(Colchester Farm, Georgetown)
Grilled Butternut and Acorn Squash with Fresh Apples seasoned with Cinnamon and Apple Cider (Arnold Farms, Chestertown)
(Redman Farms, Chestertown)
Fresh Apple Pie with Chapel Cheddar
(Lockbriar Farms, Chestertown)
(Chapel's Country Creamery, Easton)
Homemade Pumpkin Pie with Chantilly Cream
(Arnold Farms, Chestertown)

The dinner raised just over $1,000 for Art Hock’s campaign for the Maryland House of Delegates. More important though is the conversation we have started with Art about the issues facing those of us who are working the land. We wanted to bring together farmers, consumers, and local politicians in a special setting for great discussion about production agriculture, quality food, and a sustainable lifestyle.

Thanks to Mattie Meehan and Kurt Kolaja for their photography at the dinner. We appreciate very much their view from the lens and willingness to share with all of you.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hurricane Bill

We were fortunate not to have any consequences of Hurricane Bill that flirted off our coast line this weekend other than some rain. Did we get some rain? Oh, Yes in the past 36 hrs we measured 5.7 inches. We were certainly glad to have the rain but it did add some additional work. Cows and heifers had to be shifted to more well drained paddocks, wet hay bales had to be discarded, silo filling had to be halted for a day. On the plus side, everything got a drink, a reseeding project will be moistened for the tillage equipment, and our Teff hay will produce another cutting.
Walking around this morning morning I confronted a beast of a snapping turtle enjoying the high water and crawling through the water logged pasture.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Off to Work and Returning Home

A Long Walk Back to Work

How Much Further?

Oh, This Shade is Nice!

Grazing Sorghum for Breakfast, Lunch , and Dinner

Bet I Can Eat More Than You

No, I'm Not Related to the Brachiosaurus Dinosaur

Finished and Headed Back Home!

Nice Walk in the Shade

Almost There

I See the Milking Barn!

Oat Hay for Desert and then Off to Work Again

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Grass Finished Beef & Veal to Restaurants

This time of year is quite rewarding as we finally have ample supply of fresh and frozen beef and veal finishing off of tender spring grass. Relationships established from prior years are a nice launching pad for this season's harvest. We are fortunate to have 4 repeat customer restaurants that we sold to last year. In Chestertown, Brooks Tavern. In Royal Oak and Cambridge, Bella Luna. In Olney, Ricciuti's. and in Washington DC the Poste Moderne Brasserie.
Of particular interest to me are the unique cuts of product most often desired by some of these restaurants. Veal bones for stock, flatiron steak, sweetbreads, veal cheeks, skirt steak, liver, tongue, beef cheeks, and calf heads! OK, some of these cuts you have heard of and probably know how to prepare but for me some are very new.
Beef Cheeks are rich morsels of dense, finely grained meat. Along with veal cheeks, beef cheeks are being featured on trendy restaurant menus, especially those serving French bistro cuisine. Quite inexpensive, beef cheeks can be found either by special order or in ethnic meat markets and are usually frozen. Cheeks are always braised, and they reheat beautifully. A recipe can be linked to here and an interesting article about the DC trend for beef cheeks here.
The next new one for me was Calf Head Soup. The recipe is quite simple if you have a pot big enough. Usually the head is the main ingredient for a wonderfully flavored stock but also can be served with the soup in a large tureen. Below is a recipe, just let me know when to put your order in.
When you first get the head, have it skinned, eyes taken out, and split through the middle. Wash well, and soak several hours before cooking. Take out the brains, and tie in a bag. Boil the whole until the bones fall out; then take off the meat, skin the tongue, and chop all fine. Put in half an onion and a few sprigs of parsley, add the brains, stir all together, and put into a pudding dish. Grate over the top a few bread crumbs, add a small piece of butter, and pour over a small teacupful of the liquor the head was boiled in. Salt and pepper. Put in the oven and bake from half an hour to an hour, until brown.
The next day make calf's-head soup. Take the liquor of the calf's head, add two onions cut into pieces, one small potato, some rice or macaroni, parsley, salt, and pepper

Sounds delicious!

Judy, back on The Hill

May 18 - 22, 2009

Judy Gifford shows photos of her St. Brigid's Farm near the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland during a Capitol Hill briefing organized by NSAC on Wednesday. Judy rotationally grazes dairy and beef cows and is an engaging champion of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, which awarded her a grant to develop a nutrient management plan on her farm. Special thanks to NSAC member groups that supported the Hill briefing, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute and the Organic Farming Research Foundation.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Caring for Calves

From recent posts on this blog or visits to St. Brigid's Farm you may be aware that we have been through the majority of our spring calving season. It is a busy time! Right now there are about 62 new calves that have been born since the end of January. Paul Smith is a stellar part time worker that is fully responsible for the calf care. Twice a day everyday of the month for 3 months Paul and his granddaughter, Faylyn, tend to the calves like they were their own children. Each day the calves receive 1.5 gallons of pasteurized milk and ad lib fresh water along with a 22% protein "starter" feed until they are weaned at 42 days of age. After weaning the starter feed consumption rapidly increases and by 60 days of age they will be eating 5lbs per day. By 3-4 months of age they are transitioned to a grass diet that will become the mainstay of their nutrition for years to come!

There are many different ways to raise baby calves. In our case the female calves live in a cozy hut and Paul hand delivers the milk individually to each one. For our meadow veal calves they live on a pasture with a nurse cow. In all cases the principles for success are the same. Clean, dry, well ventilated, and proper nutrition.

We thank Paul and Faylyn for the good job they are doing.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What in the world am I blogging about this time? Founded on Oyster Shells is the feature name for this weekend’s fund raiser in New York City for the New Amsterdam Market. For previous readers of this blog you may remember that last summer we participated in regional food market at the former site of the historic Fulton Fish Market in lower Manhattan. Click here for a glimpse of that adventure or see the July blog post.
The New Amsterdam Public Market Association is trying to preserve the market in NYC with goods supplied by vendors and farmers from the region. The New Amsterdam Market site is in constant battle with developers to change the landscape forever. Resources to develop a monthly purveyor's market dedicated to regional agriculture are certainly more difficult to find than funds for new buildings. This weekend the organizers of the New Amsterdam Market have planned a benefit dinner and auction to help sustain the market.

We were invited to contribute to the auction and decided to participate with the donation of a St. Brigid’s Farm meadow veal calf, custom cut and processed by Haass’ Family Butcher Shop. The meadow veal is embellished by weekend stay at St. Brigid’s Farm, touring of colonial Chestertown, and lunch for two at Brooks Tavern.
The event looks like great fun and we’d love to attend but with many cows due to calve right now we’ll be close to home. For our friends nearby NYC consider the event for Saturday evening excitement. Hannah, Curt, Pepe', Maria, Kaila…? For the rest it is simply fun to peruse the event menu, donors, and donated items. For the area chefs reading this list please support the market through the on line bidding. If your not interested in the weekend stay on the farm we'll be glad to deliver the veal to your restaurant in exchange for the farm lodging!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

St. Brigid's Day, February 1st

St. Brigid - was born in A.D. 451 or 452 to a pagan father and a Christian slave mother. Her impoverished, enslaved mother did her best to raise her well, and a white red-eared cow is said to have provided all the food St. Brigid needed to grow, indicating that she was special indeed as white red-eared cows are rare in Ireland. While still a child she was put in charge of the dairy by her mother. One day she had given away so much milk and butter to poor people that none remained for the family. She feared her mother's displeasure and so resorted to prayer. When her mother visited the dairy she found such an abundance of milk and butter that she praised the dairy maids for their industry. Today she remains the patron saint of dairy maids and is the patroness of Ireland.

Amazing Instinct !

Stage 1 Labor

Stage 3 Labor - cervix fully dilated and pushing hard.
(if you look carefully you can see a foot in the amniotic sac)

Delivered at last. It's a girl! And there is work to be done.

Where are the towels?

Yes, I do need to wash your face too.
Getting hungry even before she can stand.

Ready to stand, only 17 minutes old!

Judy feeding antibody and nutrient rich colostrum.

Cold night fore casted, so under the heat lamp we go.
"Robin" , finally warm & dry.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


January is the beginning of calving season. We practice seasonal breeding to align calving and peak milk production to when grass is most abundant. So we like to have most of our cows calve about 100 days before the nice spring grass is in full swing. Thus, although we are a small farm, we must be able to handle as many calvings in three months as a 500 cow operation.

To illustrate the point, January 23 is the due date for 20 heifers to have their first calf. Most likely, no heifers will calve on that date. Some will be early and some will be late. Our job is to be prepared.

This week end we got the action plan in place and prepared the maternity pens and nursery. With help from Andy Moore, a junior at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis and from a farm in NY state, (Andy’s older brother Phil, worked for us in 2002 and now flies fighter jets in the Navy), Ethan Jones, from Jones Family Farm nearby and a junior at Kent County High School, and Abelardo Perez, from Vera Cruz, Mexico and a long time helper at St. Brigid’s Farm, we transformed many of the buildings into comfortable, bedded calving pens and set up the nursery.

A few pictures are to the right and soon we’ll update you on the new arrivals!