This week at Creekside Natural Farm

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The season begins! Beets, radishes and sugar-snap peas growing in the tunnel and Tiger keeping me company. Tuesday we brought 3 Katahdin sheep home from Graze N grow in Scheffield. They love the creep feeder where They can eat alfalfa without the alpacas bothering them. Wednesday we planted 240 cabbage and broccoli plants and covered them to keep the bunnies and bugs off. Today we planted spinach and lettuce and started some zinnias in the green house.

Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

Alpaca Fiber Weekend

I spent the weekend in Flora, Indiana at Heritage Farms learning how to wash, dye and card Suri Alpaca fiber. Thank you to Elizabeth and Liz from Alpaca Fiber Solutions for the great workshop and to Beth and Tim Sheets for the hospitality!

The blue/green fiber is from our alpaca Freedom. I added a little sparkle and put it through a fine tooth carder three times. The lavender batt came from this fiber.
The pink batt was carded on a different carder and sent through twice so you can see more separation of the colors.

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Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

Family Fun Night

We have been invited to take part in the Family Fun Night at Ellis House Equestrian Center.

We will be there from 4 till 7 tomorrow night (Friday April 4th) and will be selling our heirloom stone-ground cornmeal, basil and rosemary plants and yarn from our Suri alpacas. We will also have information on items that we only sell from the farm (eggs from our Animal Welfare Approved hens, pastured chicken, grass fed lamb) and what will be available in the farm stand this year.

Ellis House has lots of fun planned! You can visit their website for more info.

www.ellishec.com

Ellis House and Equestrian Center

13986 McKanna Rd, Minooka, IL 60447
(815) 475-4035

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Spring at Creekside Natural Farm!

We think it may FINALLY be here! The pussy willows are about to open, the young hens are thinking about coming out of their house, the alpaca coats are off and washed and the vegetable plants are getting bigger in the greenhouse. AND… We planted a few things (spinach, lettuce, snap peas, radishes, beets and green beans in the high tunnel!

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Heirloom corn and Sunflowers

Today we ordered the seed for Floriani Red Flint corn! It’s a beautiful Italian heirloom that will make fantastic polenta and corn meal. It’s higher in protein than most corn so we will also use it to feed our chickens. To prevent cross pollination with our other field corn, we plan to surround the patch with sunflowers. Can’t wait to see what it looks like!floriani BOSS

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Animal Welfare Approved

Animal Welfare Approved Logo

CREEKSIDE NATURAL FARM IN MINOOKA, ILL.

AWARDED TOP ANIMAL WELFARE CERTIFICATION

–Local farm uses sustainable agriculture methods  to earn Animal Welfare Approved certification–
MINOOKA, ILL. (March 11, 2014) – The flock of laying hens at 70-acre Creekside Natural Farm is now certified as Animal Welfare Approved. This certification and food label lets consumers know that these animals were raised in accordance with the highest animal welfare standards in the U.S., using sustainable agriculture methods on an independent family farm. 

Like other AWA farmers across the country, Pamela and William Kunke recognize the growing consumer interest in how animals are being raised. The Kunke’s manage 200 mixed-breed pasture-raised laying hens. Raising the hens on pastures allows the hens to perform their natural behaviors, such as scratching, pecking for seeds and grubs, and dust bathing. “Providing our birds with healthy food and supplements, along with free access to pasture and clean housing, keeps the birds healthy enough to fight off illness without reliance on veterinary medicines,” says Pamela.

 

Creekside Natural Farm’s pasture-raised eggs are extremely popular with customers, and regularly sell out. “You certainly can taste a real difference between our pasture-raised eggs and the regular eggs you can purchase from the grocery store,” says Pamela. Additionally, research shows that pasture-raised eggs contain three times as much vitamin E, seven times more beta-carotene, and twice the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids as industrially produced eggs.

 

The Kunke’s are proud to be certified by Animal Welfare Approved for their laying hens. “Following AWA’s farm standards gives our customers that extra assurance that we really are properly caring for our animals, and producing the tastiest, most nutritious eggs possible,” says Pamela.

 

Creekside Natural Farm’s pasture-raised eggs are available directly from the farm. For more information visit http://www.creeksidenaturalfarm.com.

# # #

About Animal Welfare Approved   

 

Animal Welfare Approved audits, certifies and supports farmers raising their animals according to the highest welfare standards, outdoors on pasture or range. Called a “badge of honor for farmers” and the “gold standard,” AWA is the most highly regarded food label in North America when it comes to animal welfare, pasture-based farming, and sustainability. All AWA standards, policies and procedures are available on the AWA website, making it the most transparent certification available.

 

Animal Welfare Approved’s Online Directory of AWA farms, restaurants and products enables the public to search for AWA farms, restaurants and products by zip code, keywords, products and type of establishment. In addition, AWA has published  Food Labeling for Dummies, a regularly updated guide to commonly used food claims and terms, available free for download at www.AnimalWelfareApproved.org.

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Good Food Festival

Some of the things we got at the Good Food Festival today. Also learned about growing old grain varieties that haven’t been altered.

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Hopefully – the last snow day of the year @ Creekside natural Farm!

Snow Day!

Snow Day!

Baron is the only animal who wanted to play in the snow today. The chickens,  kittys and even the alpacas prefer to stay inside. Baron loves the snow and sticks and ESPECIALLY a snow covered stick!

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Basil and Rosemary

20140219-163650.jpgThe first sign of new life in the greenhouse is the basil. It sprouted in 2 days on the heat mat! This is the first time our rosemary has flowered.

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Another Recipe for our Heirloom Stone Ground Cornmeal

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Creamy Polenta with Roasted Mushrooms

Yield: Serves 4 (makes about 3 cups polenta)

Creamy polenta with roasted mushrooms-an easy and comforting meal.

Ingredients:

For the Roasted Mushrooms:

1 lb. Baby Bella mushrooms, stems removed and cut in half 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon minced garlic Salt and black pepper, to taste 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf Italian parsley

For the Creamy Polenta:

2 cups milk 1 1/2 cups water 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 3/4 cup stoneground polenta (not instant) 2 tablespoons butter 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese Extra Parmesan cheese for serving, optional

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place mushrooms in a medium bowl and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add in garlic and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Spread mushrooms evenly onto a large greased baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until mushrooms are tender, stirring once. Remove from the oven and stir in parsley.

2. While the mushrooms are roasting, make the polenta. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, water, and salt over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. When it simmers, slowly pour in the polenta and whisk to combine. Reduce heat to low and partially cover the pan with a lid and cook, whisking vigorously every 5 minutes. Make sure you scrape the sides of the pan. Cook until liquid is absorbed and polenta is creamy, about 30 minutes total. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese.

3. Divide the polenta into four bowls. Top with roasted mushrooms and garnish with Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.

Yield: Serves 4 (makes about 3 cups polenta)

Creamy polenta with roasted mushrooms-an easy and comforting meal.

Ingredients:

For the Roasted Mushrooms:

1 lb. Baby Bella mushrooms, stems removed and cut in half 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon minced garlic Salt and black pepper, to taste 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf Italian parsley

For the Creamy Polenta:

2 cups milk 1 1/2 cups water 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 3/4 cup stoneground polenta (not instant) 2 tablespoons butter 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese Extra Parmesan cheese for serving, optional

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place mushrooms in a medium bowl and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add in garlic and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Spread mushrooms evenly onto a large greased baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until mushrooms are tender, stirring once. Remove from the oven and stir in parsley.

2. While the mushrooms are roasting, make the polenta. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, water, and salt over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. When it simmers, slowly pour in the polenta and whisk to combine. Reduce heat to low and partially cover the pan with a lid and cook, whisking vigorously every 5 minutes. Make sure you scrape the sides of the pan. Cook until liquid is absorbed and polenta is creamy, about 30 minutes total. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese.

3. Divide the polenta into four bowls. Top with roasted mushrooms and garnish with Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.

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Heirloom Corn Meal

Just finished grinding more heirloom corn into cornmeal with our stone grinder. We are grinding small batches so it will be fresh and have its full nutrition. This is a multi-colored heirloom corn from Sandhill Preservation (non GMO) grown by us with no chemicals.
I used some last week to make polenta and am now addicted! I will add the recipe I used to this site.

We will be selling it upon request for $2.50 per pound.

call 815-467-5259

or e-mail pam@creeksidenaturalfarm.com

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Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

Beautiful seed packets!

In addition to the fantastic seeds varieties they carry, Bakers Creek Heirloom Seeds clearly has the most beautiful packages! Some of the new varieties we will be growing this season are Black Krim, Paul Robeson, Comstock Sauce and Mariglobe tomatoes. Pasilla Basil and Purple Jalapeño peppers, Listada De Gandia, Prosperosa and Little Fingers eggplant. We will also be trying a fantastic heirloom zucchini type squash called Zucchino Rampicante. I’ve tried it a couple of times and it is a favorite of squash bugs, but it’s so good I guess I’ll try again! These varieties all came from Bakers creek, so if you would like to dream of what you’ll be enjoying in a few short months, check them out on their website : www.RareSeeds.com

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Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

Grandpa Harris’ Cornbread

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 large eggs

3 heaping tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 1/2 cups buttermilk

3 cups cornmeal

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Put skillet in the oven to heat with 2 tablespoons of lard or bacon grease

Mix 1st 4 ingredients together

Stir in buttermilk

Stir in cornmeal

Pour batter into hot skillet and bake for 18 minutes

Makes 2 skillets – I usually make a half recipe

If you like it browned on top and bottom, take the pan out after 10 minutes of baking and flip it onto a plate then back into the skillet with what was the top now on the bottom. That process is a little tricky when you’re dealing with a hot and heavy skillet.

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Heirloom Corn Meal

 

We are finished with the long process of growing, picking (by hand), shelling (with our antique corn sheller), drying (with our dehydrator) and grinding (with our stone grinder) our heirloom cornmeal and now are ready to sell it! It’s  a multicolored heirloom from Sand Hill Preservation and was grown @ Creekside Natural Farm with no sprays or chemical fertilizer (just like everything else we sell). It was ground on our stone grinder to a medium grind that made an excellent cornbread.

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We will be selling is upon request for $2.50 per pound.

call 815-467-5259

ore-mail pam@creeksidenaturalfarm.com

*The cornbread recipe was my grandfathers and is a true southern style cornbread – no flour or sugar and baked in a cast iron skillet. You can find it in the “Recipe” section of our page.

 

 

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Seed ordering

Today I plan to sit in front of the wood stove and order seeds from a few of my favorite companies and go outside a little as possible!

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Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

New winter coats

I bought a new coat for Betsy and then heard the weather forecast for next week and decided that Apollo also needed a coat. Too late to order him one, so I used Betsy’s as a pattern and made one for him. Not as pretty or quite as heavy, but a lot less money and he didn’t have to wait for it!

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Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

New Egg Price and Hen House

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Bill’s first project of the winter was a new portable home for the additional 100 hens who will be laying eggs for us this spring. He started with an old boat trailer and built a beautiful hen house that we can move to fresh pasture as needed.  Hopefully this will improve our egg inventory so we won’t sell out every day!

Because of the cost of the house and the need to purchase egg cartons to accommodate the additional eggs, we will be raising the price of our eggs to $5.00 per dozen on January 1st.

Our hens are fed certified organic feed and organic oats that we grow and harvest on our farm. They also get organic veggies from our garden and vegetation from their pasture during warm weather. They have free access to pasture from sun-up to sun-down.

Our hens are certified Animal Welfare Approved and also Certified Humane Raised and Handled.

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Fiber processing time

Santa delivered the last piece of my fiber processing equipment – my Patrick Green blender/carder. Now I have lots of work to do!

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Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

Betsy needs a new coat,

I had to make an emergency alteration to Betsy’s coat. She seems to have here mamas appetite! Clearly, She’s still little miss independent. She’s laying by herself while Apollo rests his head on his mama’s back.

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E-mail

Our e-mail is currently not working so if you need to reach us you will need to either send a message on FB or call 815-467-5259. I’ll update when it’s working again.

Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

In for the night!

I know it’s not 3 o’clock yet, but all the alpacas,  hens and Tiger are locked in the barn, they all have their winter treats (pumpkins for the hens and pears for the alpacas), the wood stove is @ 500 degrees with enough wood in the house for the rest of the night and I plan to open a bottle of wine, work on Christmas cards and not leave the house until tomorrow!

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Winter Egg Program

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It has gotten to cold too leave eggs in the cooler, so starting today we will be on the “Winter Egg Program”. 

You will need to either:

call 815-467-5259 or

e-mail pam@creeksidenaturalfarm.com

Let us know how many eggs you are looking for and when you would like to pick them up. We will put them in a cooler on the back steps of the house where you can pick them up and leave your money.

As the weather gets colder, the hens will lay fewer eggs, so it will be best if you can give a couple days advance notice.

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Betsy Ross

Betsy was 1 month old on Tuesday and has gained 11lbs. I think she got her appetite from her mama. Her personality is so different from our 1st born cria Apollo. She’s far more independent even though he is 6 months older!

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Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest | Comments

Getting ready for winter

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This is Bill’s winter project. He will be building a portable home for the new hens on this old boat trailer. These are Rhode Island Red and Black Australorp. They are both a heritage breed that we chose for their nice personalities as well as their nice brown eggs. We are increasing our hen population to try to meet the great demand for our eggs. Looking forward to watching the Heritage chicks grow up. It will be a nice change from the Red Star hens we’ve raised in the past. Also part of our Animal Welfare Approved program!

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The making of an apple pie

 

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I have 1 lattice top apple pie available today. Made with organic apples, organic sugar, organic cinnamon, pastry flour, organic lard, butter, organic egg, vinegar and water.

$13.00

We will be home today but may not be outside, so it’s best to call ahead or e-mail.

815-467-5259

pam@creeksidenaturalfarm.com

 

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Christmas Pie

 

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We will be selling fresh pies made from scratch for Christmas (including hand rolling the home-made crust) using my mothers fabulous crust recipe! The available filling will be organic apples or organic pumpkin. You can choose between a lattice top or a crumb style topping on the apple pie.
The filling ingredients will be organic apples, organic brown and white sugar, organic cinnamon and organic nutmeg.
The filling for the pumpkin will be organic pumpkin purée, organic eggs, organic milk, organic cinnamon and organic nutmeg.
Crust ingredients: flour, lard, butter, vinegar, water, salt
Crumb topping: rolled oats, butter, flour, salt

The price is $13.00 for a 9″ pie

You can order starting today for pick-up Saturday through Tuesday.
You will need to order by either e-mail pam@creeksidenaturalfarm.com
Or call 815-467-5259 (leave a message)

 

Posted in 3. 2013 Harvest, Main Menu, What's Available This Week? | Comments

This week

Here’s what we have this week: Kale, pears, butternut squash, bell peppers, poblano peppers, Italian Frying peppers and eggs. We also have lamb chops and leg of lamb from our pasture raised Katahdin sheep. If you’re coming out for lamb, e-mail pam@creeksidenaturalfarm.com or call 815-467-5259 ahead.Lamb chops

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Baron the supervisor

Baron is supervising our heirloom corn harvest. When it’s dry enough, we will grind it into cornmeal.

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The wagon has been put away but we’re still open!

We have taken the wagon from the corner for the winter, but we still have some veggies in the cooler. We have kale, pears, some really nice peppers and eggs. The hens are enjoying the cover crop we planted in the pasture that held last summers pigs!

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Meet Betsy!

Freedom had her first cria yesterday and it’s a girl! Her daddy is Liberty so we named the baby Betsy Ross (aunt Judy’s idea). They spent their first day in the barn alone and we let them out this morning to meet the rest of the herd. She looks so tiny next to our other cria, Apollo!

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