Friday, December 3, 2010

Farm Scenes/Notes Cards

Many times we have received the suggestion that some of the St. Brigid's Farm cow photographs would be appropriate for note cards. With the wonderful design & layout help of Paula Salerno we now have Jersey Cow note cards available. Our plan is to place them in various shops around town, and on our blog site. Let us know if you're interested.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Small Town, Small World

Small Town: Yesterday we were working on a project outside. We waved to our neighbor Dutch Langenfelder when he drove by in his grain truck. A minute later, Pat Langenfelder called me on my cell phone to let us know that Dutch had noticed one of our veal calves was out. We promptly put him back where he belonged and repaired his escape route.

When I went in the house a few minutes later, the land line phone was ringing. Liz Gordy was calling to see if the calf was back in the field. Now, I do not know Liz Gordy!! She couldn’t find our phone number, so she had called Barbara Silcox at Brooks Tavern to get our number. As we chatted, I learned that Liz has been stopping along the road to show her granddaughter our cows for at least five years. I invited them both to have a VIP tour during her granddaughter’s next visit to their home in Kentmore Park.

Small World: I read the Brooks Tavern blog as I was copying the site address for the hyperlink and was surprised to see that Liz Gordy and her husband are featured in the post just before the one of Chef McKinney’s bleeding finger.

Liz, thanks for following up on the AWOL calf!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

2010 Field to Fork Dinner

Chef Dave Perry, Casual Caterers
Chapel Creamery Cheese & Lockbriar Apples

Fresh Riccotta Cheese & Tomatoes

Flat Iron Steak Florentine w/ vegatables

Farmer Guests are acknowledged

Chef John Keller shares his vision for the KCHS Culinary Arts Program

Thank You!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

How Are The Cows?

We have been asked that question frequently during the 2010 heat wave here in Maryland. The cows are fine. While they do not like 104 degree temperatures and 80% humidity, they can tolerate it with good management. When the days are going to be hot, we milk start milking at 4 am and finish by 6 so the cows have time to graze before the morning sun starts to raise temperatures. At around 8:30, we bring them inside where they have shade and access to a sprinkler system. Six fans hang over the freestalls to help keep them cool while resting. Some cows have figured out which spots are the coolest and routinely scout them out. The cows will remain in the barnyard eating hay and their grain allotment until afternoon milking is finished. When the sun starts to set and the air cools down they return to a fresh pasture. They stay out in the pasture all night and graze and rest comfortably until they are brought into the barn at 3:30 the next morning. This routine makes for long days for the farmer but at least we finally turned on the A/C so she is doing fine too!

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Good Time and a Good Candidate

On Sunday, we hosted a burger and beer fundraiser for Congressman Frank Kratovil. Earlier in the year, we were invited to a small gathering to hear Frank discuss his rationale for voting against the health care bill. He was so articulate and rational in his reasoning that we wanted to give other people in the northern part of the county a chance to hear Frank in person. Next thing we knew, we were having a party.

Over 60 people visited, ate and drank from 4 until after 6 on a very hot afternoon. In addition to talking with Frank, guests could tour the farm and watch afternoon milking. We were amazed at the interest people had in seeing Ethan Jones milk the cows and were reminded that so many people are several generations removed from any exposure to farming.

Guests included over a dozen farmers including our neighbors Pat & Dutch Langenfelder and Roy & Judy Crow. Pat is president of the Maryland Farm Bureau, and Roy is a Kent County commissioner. Our special guest was former Congressman Wayne Gilchrest who did a wonderful job introducing Frank and emphasized our current Congressman’s ability to think through issues and decide independently what is best for the citizens of the district and for the future of his four (soon to be five) children. Frank gave a great recap of his successes and lessons learned during his first 18 months in Congress.

Diane Jones (Ethan’s grandmother) and her friend Sue Sussman played old time mountain music on banjo and fiddle. They came in style in a beautiful 1929 Model A Ford. Our caterer, Dave Perry, Casual Caterers, grilled our delicious ground beef to perfection and served sides of corn and pasta salad. For dessert, he made homemade ice cream from Jersey milk with chocolate chip cookies and brownies.

We raised over $4200 for the campaign. In addition, we may have a new employee in the wings as Frank and Kim’s youngest son, Nate, wanted to know how old he had to be to work here.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Grass-fed vs Supermarket Steaks

In a recent Wall Street Journal article by Peter King, the cranky consumer, grass-fed beef purchased on line from five different ranches was compared with supermarket steaks. New York strip steaks and either fillet mignon or a ribeye steak were grilled at a backyard barbecue. The best steak was a grass-fed, dry aged fillet. No surprise there. Runner up was a dry aged, grass-fed ribeye steak. All tasters agreed that all the grass-fed beef tasted fresher (it was all frozen) and less greasy than supermarket beef. We certainly agree!!

And, it seems like the patrons and chef at Brooks Tavern agree too. Last Friday evening we went to town for our weekend outing and special on the menu was prime rib. Judy ordered one (and shared of course) and it was delicious indeed. Bill & Claire Kirk were seated at a nearby table and they too enjoyed one of the prime ribs. See the Brooks Tavern blog for more pictures and stories or if these pictures have your mouth watering for a steak on the grill give us a call at 410-648-5753.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Several times each year, Fair Hill Inn offers a nose to tail dinner featuring unusual and multiple cuts from an animal. On Saturday Fair Hill Inn presented a St. Brigid’s Farm Meadow Veal dinner. We were invited guests and had an amazing meal. Chef Brian Shaw was manning the kitchen solo as Chef Phil Pyle, Jr. was away on a family trip in Ireland. The six course dinner began with pastrami tongue with a delicious sauce gribache served on a mini crostini. The second course was bacon wrapped veal terrine, pickled broccoli and mead and mustard sauce. Heavenly. We sat with Cynthia who provided the mead. Thinking the terrine was going to be the best course, we were surprised when we tasted the calf’s liver sausage with sautéed cabbage and caraway, smoked orange and onion marmalade. The sausage was made on the premise and was juicy and full of flavor. The cabbage was perfect. Next up were veal tenderloin medallions, English peas, truffled whipped potatoes and demi-glace. The medallions melted in your mouth, the peas were wonderful and the potatoes were much better than Grandma’s! The last course, braised neck and heart veal ragu with buck wheat pasta, was light but full of flavor. All courses were paired with wonderful wines. Dessert was a decadent flourless chocolate cake with lavender mousse, raspberries and caramel sauce. A magnificent ending to a fantastic meal. We are honored to have the Fair Hill Inn purchase and serve our meadow veal.
Sharon Hernes Silverman writer for The Hunt says,

"Fresh, seasonal foods prepared with impeccable technique, abundant wines, a gracious yet unstuffy atmosphere, and caring service make the Fair Hill Inn a dinner destination that should be on everyone's 'must' list...Fair Hill Inn is a gem that may become as esteemed as the Napa Valley’s French Laundry. Eat there and you will be filled, not only with exquisite food but with glee."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Taste of the Town

We slipped away from the farm last Sunday to check out the Taste of the Town . This is the third Taste which was organized by Andy Goddard formerly of our favorite local bar, Andy’s. She and a crew of volunteers organized this tasting to showcase the talented chefs in Chestertown. We were enticed by the veal sliders from Chef Kevin McKinney of Brooks Tavern. Served on a potato roll and topped with a cheese sauce and pickled onions, these little delights certainly showcased our veal. We each had two!
The Brooks Tavern blog has great photos of the event and descriptions of the other tidbits offered.
And as if the event was not already tons of fun we had some luck too. Brooks Tavern had a drop your name in a hat offering for potential winning of a 5 liter bottle of Banfi wine. We won!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

"As Good As It Gets!"

When you look around St. Brigid's Farm today it is hard to believe that less than 2 months ago we were buried in snow from back to back blizzards. Things have changed a lot! At this time of year I am always reminded of a long time client and friend, Ted Fox. I traveled to Ted's farm in southern NJ twice a month for 24 years doing herd nutrition services and repro exams. When ever I saw Ted and offered my usual greeting of "How are you doing Ted?" he would reply, "Doc, it's as good as it gets!". It didn't matter if it was too dry, too wet, too cold, too hot, low milk prices, or sick animals Ted was always up beat and looking at the bright side of things.
On St. Brigid's Farm every spring Judy and I share the same thought, "it's as good as it gets". What makes right now as good as it gets? Here's my list:
· Ground temperatures and air temperatures are such that grass is growing aggressively enough to offer all of our cows, heifers, and steers an opportunity to be outside and consume grass as the mainstay of thier diet. This greatly reduces the cost to feed everyone. The work load for us shifts from inside scraping and feeding stored feeds to being outside moving fences, waterers, and cows.
· Production is near peak with the herd in full flow of milk and eating predominately a diet of vegetative spring grass. Today we produced 67 lbs of milk per cow.
· No mowing of pasture, no flies, no AI or heat detection, few cows calving, many calves weaned.
· Low humidity, cool nights and sunny days makes it comfortable not only for people but the cows love it too.
· Northern Spring Peepers-anyone reading this who lives in the country especially near wooded areas or marshes knows the sound made by peepers. If you don't know what I'm talking about click here. Whether it's walking the cows back to pasture in the evening, lying in bed in the evening with the windows open, or getting the cows from pasture early in the morning the peepers' chorus offers a delightful background.
· Purple martins-are back! Soaring and swooping around the field catching mosquitoes and other flying insects.

Soon we'll be dealing with heat, humidity, flies, mowing, irrigating, breeding, and straw harvest. But for right now, "It's as good as it gets". Right, Ted?

Captain Ted Fox

Saturday, February 13, 2010


It's hard to believe that a week has passed since mother nature hammered the mid Atlantic region with the first of two major snow storms. Record snow fall and gusty winds combined to make life difficult for humans and animals. We are very appreciative of our helpers... Andrew from the USNA who filled in while Bob was in California, Paul from nearby Chesterville who valiantly forged through the blizzard at 6 miles per hour in an open tractor to feed calves, Ethan from Massey who arrived on time every day except when the roads were closed, and Joe (Ethan's buddy) who got stuck near our farm in the middle of the second blizzard. It was quickly obvious that Joe wasn't going anywhere anytime soon so we gladly put him up in the spare room and fed him a hot bowl of chili. Fortunately for us Joe got snowed in at St. Brigid's Farm as he was an excellent helper during the height of the second storm.
Here are a few photos that tell the story...
Blizzard 2010 Feb 6th & 10th!

"It's really not too bad outside, just a little snow."

"Oh, this is getting pretty deep, I think I'll stay inside."

Joe Howard & Judy...thank you Joe for getting stuck near us!

Calf hutches in Blizzard #2

"Good morning, I'm hungry regardless of the weather."

Juliann, the new mother during the night of the blizzard.

Beautiful sunrise

Fence post nearly buried!

Drifting at the heifer barn makes for difficult feed delivery.

Calm morning between the storms

"My it is difficult to eat this way."

Watch the snow load!

This WAS a well bedded calf pen.

With some shoveling and straw it is now a nice place to bask in the sunshine.

Winter at St. Brigid's Farm 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Perfect Steak

We celebrate St. Brigid’s Day every year. Her day is February 1 which is during one of the busiest weeks of the year here. Nine first calf heifers calved from January 24 –February 1 which means nine new calves to care for as well as nine new animals in the milking string. On top of that we had a small snow storm and bitter cold. Cold, wind and humidity are the perfect conditions to cause frost bite on the teats of our new moms so we pampered them for three days, carting feed and putting them in a bedded pack to stay warm.

Needless to say, we dined in and enjoyed local beer (legend has it that St. Brigid turned bathwater into beer), a lovely salad and our grass fed beef. I am not a huge steak fan and have never been very successful at cooking steak but after viewing a video on cooking the perfect steak by the Joshua Applestone, chef at Fleisher’s, a meat purveyor we met at New Amsterdam Market in New York City, I had to give it a try. And the steak was PERFECT!!

Check it out for yourself by clicking here. We left the steak in the oven for 7 minutes since the medium rare in the video looked a bit on the rare side for us.

We are discounting all of our steaks for Valentine’s Day. So make the perfect steak and enjoy a 15% discount!! You can pick up your steaks Saturday at the Radcliff Mill parking lot (home of Brooks Tavern) at 10 am or arrange for pick up at the farm.