News and blog

Four Fields Blog
Posted 3/23/2017 5:42pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

Hi All,

As per usual, Spring (though it may not feel like it...) means things at the farm really start to ramp up.  While we haven't seen any actual ramps (the vegetable) just yet, we have chicks and ducklings under the brooder, vegetable seedlings under lights in the basement, and our first lamb was born the other day.  Liz has been posting loads of photos & videos of him, and the rest of the farm, on our Instagram and Facebook pages**.

A quick reminder that it's time for another weekend delivery to Washington on Saturday & Chester on Sunday.  Place an order through our online store, and we deliver it to the same location as our Summer farm markets for you to pick up between 10AM-Noon.  Remember that Easter is fast approaching, and we do have a limited quantity of 100% grass fed, pasture-reared lamb roasts and chops available.

It's also the last weekend for our Early Bird CSA discount- sign up by Sunday night for a CSA subscritption for May-August, and receive a 5% discount.  CSA purchasing is arguably the best way to support local agriculture.  CSA members always get priority on our products that frequently sell out at farmer markets since they purchased in advance.

Learn more about our CSA offerings and drop off locations. 
 
 

Ryan & Liz

http://www.fourfieldsfarm.com                Contact Ryan                     Contact Liz

 

** Yes, I know the photo here is a piglet- 'cause he cute too!!

Posted 3/18/2017 3:35pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.


Hi All,

CSA subscription signups have begun for the May-August season. Receive an automatic 5% discount if you join before next Sunday, March 26th.  Returning members get 5% off no matter when you re-join, as a thanks for your ongoing support!

Get a free chicken!  We'll give you one of our pasture raised chickens as a thanks when you get one of your friends or family members to join as a new CSA member.

Some new additions and changes for this Spring:

  • Popular pork cuts: Receive only our greatest sellers each month: pork chops, bacon, & pork sausage.
  • Flexible Payments:  You can choose to pay your invoice all at once, or pay 50% now, and 50% mid-season.  We can also set up other payment plans at your request
  • We have lengthened the season to four months instead of three
  • Panther Valley residential pickup for those living in that development
  • We had to cancel the Crewe Hill drop site- We encourage those members to select Chester

Things we continues to offer:

  • Numerous share sizes to choose from: options for a single cook to a family of 6
  • Nitrate-free Bacon add-on: choose 1 or 2lb a month to an existing meat share
  • Raw Honey add-on: choose 8oz or 1lb a month added to an existing meat share
  • Flexible farm pickup with 5% off: you pick the date & time

CSA membership helps both the customer, you get local and ethically raised meats with minimal effort & shopping time, and the farmer, paying for your order in advance significantly helps farm finance!  It's a great way to invest in local food and community.  CSA members get priority on our products- you get first dibs on eggs, bacon, and other common items we sell out of at farmer's markets.

Learn more about:

Any and all questions are always welcome, we're glad to help as we know that CSA purchasing might be new to many of you.

Purchase Here

Ryan & Liz

http://www.fourfieldsfarm.com                Contact Ryan                     Contact Liz

Posted 3/9/2017 5:11pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.


Hi All,

  I know i say it every time, but I really can't believe it's been two weeks already!
 
  With this obscenely warm and nice weather we've had, Liz and I have been obscenely busy at the farm, chipping away at projects that we don't have time for during the real busy season.  Clearing fallen trees and seeding clover & oats to give the pigs more pasture to nibble on, getting prepared (as much as we can be...) for lambing next week, and setting up the brooders for ducklings &  chicks.

  One of our new items is bone broth- we partnered with a local chef with the skills and know how to make some tasty organic bone broth with the pork bones and trotters from our forest raised pigs.  Sold frozen in quart, glass jars, the bones were roasted and then simmered for 24 hours with organic carrots, onions, and cider vinegar, with no salt added.  Drink a little bit each day for the health benefits of bone broth, or use it as a rich stock for soups or risotto- a little goes a long way..

As usual, we'll be doing online orders in Washington on Saturday between 10a-Noon, and Chester on Sunday from 10a-noon.  LOTS of eggs, pork, lamb, chicken & duck- though we're almost sold out of duck since they were a huge hit at a local restaurant, James on Main.  This will be our last delivery before St. Patrick's day, so plan accordingly.

One special new item (we only have 4 available), are sheepskin fleeces from a friend's flock, that we had beautifully tanned by a local tannery.  They are $100-$110, depending on the size, and are great for floors, draping on a bench or chair, or gifts.  Email us for more information and photos.

If you have any questions, about placing an order, our products, or how to cook a particular cut, let us know, we're happy to chat.

 

Ryan & Liz

http://www.fourfieldsfarm.com                Contact Ryan                     Contact Liz

Posted 2/23/2017 5:19pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

Hi All,

I can't believe it's been 2 weeks already, but it's time for another round of deliveries from our web-store.  Get your orders in for eggs, pork, lamb, chicken & duck for delivery to Washington on Saturday, and to Chester on Sunday, all between 10A-Noon.

We've been super busy on the farm, with the recent crazy warming spell we've had- it was nearly 70 today.  I've (Ryan) been cutting maple trees getting ready for our venture into mushroom growing- shiitake & oyster.  Yum!  The only thing is that log-grown mushrooms, though they taste better, take time: we won't get our first harvest of oysters for 6-8 months, and shiitake take over a year for the fungus to colonize the logs.

We decided to get into mushrooms to diversify our farm a bit, and to use the logs we already thin from the woods for timber management, rather than simply burn or chip them.  We have a patch of tall pine trees which we weren't sure what else to do with, so we will use it as our mushroom growing area- dense shade, humidity, low wind.

We'll post more as we progress- and will certainly keep you up to date as Spring comes! Ducklings, lambs, chicks, piglets, goslings, bees...oh my. 

Ryan & Liz

http://www.fourfieldsfarm.com                Contact Ryan                     Contact Liz

Posted 2/10/2017 2:23pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

Hi All,

Hopefully everyone's doing well with our random weather from this past week- it was 55F on Wednesday, then 15F and snowing 24 hours later!  Wednesday was a flurry (sorry for the pun) of activity for us, getting ready for the storm- nothing like a foot of impending snow to get one motivated!

First up was a 'pallet palace' for the sheep.  We have a source for free pallets in town, and have been meaning to build a shelter for lambing this Spring, so we can now check that off the chore list.  We also topped up everyone's feed and water, got the tractor ready for plowing, and picked up a pile of DVD's from the library. 

 

 

 

 

The toughness of these sheep never ceases to amaze me- you can see where one of them bedded down in the snow for the night, even though there's plenty of room and fresh bedding in their palace 10 feet away.  And the warmth of their coats is to be envied- these girls are hardcore, especially considering their a month away from giving birth!

The pigs, on the other hand, are a bit more sensible- much like us, they stayed in their house until the storm blew over, looking at me every time I checked on them from the warmth of their shelter as if to say, "Do I have to come out?"  Once the snow stopped, they were all out romping and playing in the snow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have our bi-weekly deliveries to Washington on this coming Saturday, and to Chester on Sunday- both between 10a-Noon.  Put your order in online, or email us with any questions or special requests. 

 

Ryan & Liz

http://www.fourfieldsfarm.com                Contact Ryan                     Contact Liz

Posted 1/25/2017 4:35pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

Hi All,

Just a quick reminder that we have our deliveries to Washington & Chester this coming Saturday & Sunday respectively.  All pork & lamb cuts, whole chicken & duck, and free range eggs in stock, no minimum order, & membership required.  Get your orders in, and we'll see you this weekend!

Even though it doesn't feel like winter, in any shape or form, today, it has been a busy winter for us at the farm.  We just picked up our first batch of 3 little piglets last week, and they are settling in very well into their new digs, including an actual straw house- good thing we don't have wolves...

The sheep are doing well, and their bellies are starting to grow quite a bit- we are expecting twins from our older ewes, and those little lambs take up a lot of room.  Lambing should start in mid-March, and we are extremely excited about that, since it's our first foray into delivering lambs!  Fingers crossed we won't have much to do as Katahdin hair sheep are known for being stellar mothers.

With the slowly increasing daylight hours & warmth comes more eggs.  Slowly but surely, the girls are ramping up their production.  December & January are usually the slowest months, meaning we get 20 a day, but now the girls are averaging nearly 30, and production should hit nearly 60 eggs a day by the Summer.

Liz has been posting great pictures & vides on our facebook page.

Thanks for your support & be well!

Ryan & Liz

http://www.fourfieldsfarm.com                Contact Ryan                     Contact Liz

Posted 12/16/2016 9:17pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

Hi All,

If you haven't guessed it by now, we're going to cancel our deliveries to Washington on Saturday due to the ice/snow storm moving through the area.

Sunday is still on for our Chester orders at Perry St. from 10am-Noon, so see you then.

Thanks!

Ryan & Liz

http://www.fourfieldsfarm.com                Contact Ryan                     Contact Liz

Posted 12/15/2016 10:58am by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

Hi All,


Hopefully you're indoors & toasty warm- cause it's freakin' cold outside!  With a high of only 24, and 30mph gusts today, we thought it was best if we canceled going out the the Long valley farmer's market today.  Nothing like a little frost bite to start off the Holiday season, right?

As for the online orders this weekend for Washington & Chester, we'll keep a close eye on the weather, which also isn't looking too good for traveling.  We'll make a decision by Friday night, and will let you know then if we are canceling those too. 

You can always place an order online for a farm pickup if you have Holiday food needs, and stop by when the weather is more friendly.  We have plenty of eggs for eggnog, lamb & pork roasts, stew meat, fresh kielbasa, and we just got 500 pounds of pork back from the butcher, so we're fully stocked!  We even have two 9-pound turkeys for your Holiday table. Remember- there's no minimum order or long term commitment that you have make.

The animals are doing well- we only have 7 sheep & 55 laying hens to look after for now.  The sheep have been moved into the woods for the winter, where we've built a few shelters & windbreaks for them, and the chicken coop has been buttoned up for the winter as well.  I'm amazed at the thickness of the ewe's winter coats, they are so well insulated that snow falling on them doesn't melt- they simply shake it off!  Also, with temperatures like this, we have to collect eggs a few times a day to keep them from freezing in the nest boxes.

We are ready for the small barn construction to begin in January, we spent 2 days last week with me on the tractor and Liz working a compactor to spread the 44 tons of gravel for the foundation, just in time before the ground froze solid.  This will be for grain storage & chick brooders, so we don't have to use our front porch anymore!

Overall, now's a good time to work on inside projects!

 

Ryan & Liz

http://www.fourfieldsfarm.com                Contact Ryan                     Contact Liz

Posted 12/1/2016 1:50pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

Hi All,


Happy December!  Hopefully everyone has recovered from the Thanksgiving feast, and had a great Holiday.

Just a quick note to let everyone know that we are helping out at my brother's Christmas tree farm, which is just a few miles from our farm in Great Meadows.  It's a great cut-your-own family run operation- and it's chemical free!  It might come as a surprise to you that a typical tree farm uses a LOT of pesticides and herbicides over the 7 years it takes to grow a typical Christmas tree- nothing like decorating a chemical soaked tree for the holidays, right?!  Not so much.


This picture is from last year- there is currently no snow at the farm...There's a great selection of Frasier & Concolor firs, as well as Blue (Colorado) spruce for the traditionalist, trees range from 3-15 feet.  Free hot chocolate and marshmallows to roast at the bonfire!  5 Tree Farm is open Saturdays & Sundays, 10am-5pm, located at 4 Morris Lane, Great Meadows NJ 07838.

Liz and I also bring a few coolers of meat and eggs for purchase too, as well as honey & garlic- one stop holiday shopping!

Ryan & Liz

http://www.fourfieldsfarm.com                Contact Ryan                     Contact Liz

Posted 11/3/2016 10:16am by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

Hi All,

The Farmer's Market in Long Valley has been extended 3 extra weeks, running up to Thanksgiving.

It's a great local market, other vendors including fresh pasta & ravioli, local vegetables, baked goods, empanadas, pickles, and more.

We will have coolers with all of our meat cuts, eggs, honey, and heirloom garlic.  

The next 3 Thursdays, Nov. 3rd, 10th, & 17th, from 3pm-7pm.

See you there!

 

Ryan & Liz

http://www.fourfieldsfarm.com                Contact Ryan                     Contact Liz

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