News and blog

Four Fields Blog
Posted 11/1/2016 5:15pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.


Hi All-

Just a quick note to clarify what we used to call the "Buyer's Club" as we got a lot of questions about how it works.  Hopefully, the new name "The Web-Store" will help clear up some confusion.

The web-store is:

  • Simply online shopping that we deilver to either Chester or Washington (you choose) once you place your order.
  • We have set delivery dates and times that you also choose for your convenience.
  • There is no membership, long term commitment, or fees.
  • There is no minimum order- if you only want 1 dozen eggs, no problem!
  • It's a simple single purchase, online shopping way to get our products, just like shopping at a farmer's market.

Our Washington (Saturday the 5th) & Chester (Sunday the 6th) deliveries are this coming weekend, from 10am-noon.  So, if you want to purchase some locally raised meat, eggs, honey, and garlic, shop our online store- we're fully stocked with all pork cuts (bacon, ribs, pork chops), lamb, duck, and chicken.

Don't forget about daylight savings ;)

Finally, if you're thinking of getting a turkey from us, we only have a handful left, and we expect to sell out soon.

 

Ryan & Liz

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

Posted 10/19/2016 1:28pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.



Hi All-

It's been an exhausting few weeks at the farm, but I'm glad to say that we are fully stocked again!

Pork- We just picked up nearly 500 lbs from the butcher, and somehow fit everything into the freezers.  Roasts, chops, spare ribs, breakfast sausage, pork belly for braising- and 2 news cuts!  We now have pork stew cubes, as well as a fresh (unsmoked) kielbasa, with plenty of garlic and black pepper flavor.

Lamb- Fully stocked in all lamb cuts- 100% pasture reared lamb chops, roasts, cubes and ground meat.

Duck- Pekin ducks, rich flavor, and surprisingly easy to roast in the oven.  We sold out in a week over the summer, so don't miss out on this delicious treat!

Turkeys- We still have a few heritage Turkeys for the Holidays.  Pay a deposit now to reserve your bird before they sell out.

Eggs- The girls are still laying eggs, and they're available on a first come, first served basis.

 

This weekend is our first Buyer's Club delivery to Washington & Chester, so be sure to get your orders in before Friday!  Shop online and only pay a $20 deposit, after you pickyou delivery site and date: we'll weigh your order and email you an invoice that you pay when you pick up your meat.

Ryan & Liz

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

Posted 10/10/2016 5:36pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

Hi All,

It seems that Fall is officially upon us with the first frost on it's way tonight!  The summer Farmer's Markets have come to the end of the season, and most of them are closing.  You'll still be able to buy responsibly, raised local meats from us throughout the coming months. 

Simply go onto our website, to the "Turkey & Buyer's Club" section, place your order there and pick you delivery option.  You'll only pay a $20 deposit online, as we will weigh you order and send you an invoice.  We will have deliveries to both Chester (Sunday) and Washington (Saturday) twice a month, and you can always pick up at the farm at your convenience.

We will be fully stocked next week- lamb, pork, duck, chicken, and eggs

Read more about shopping online here

We are also taking Holiday Turkey reservations on a first come, first served basis.  We raised a very limited number of heritage birds this year, and there's more information on them here.

Ryan & Liz

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

Posted 9/23/2016 5:30pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

Hi All,

Just a quick reminder that our Open Farm Day is tomorrow, Saturday Sept. 24th, between 2-6pm.

We'll be doing tours of the farm, animals, and equipment as well as some refreshment from local establishments: Man Skirt Brewing (English bitter, porter, and Octoberfest beers!) and Best's Fruit Farm (fresh pressed apple cider).

129 Alphano Road, Great Meadows, NJ 07838

See the invite here

Ryan & Liz

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

Posted 9/10/2016 4:48pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

Hi All,

You're cordially invited to our first annual Open Farm Day.  While our farm is always open to visitors, we'd like to make a special day of celebration & thanks for a great season and to all our friends, customers, and family who've supported us in getting our new farm established!  Bring the kids, spend an afternoon in the 'country,' we have some really good kite flying spots on the farm if it's windy...

 

We'll be getting a keg from Manskirt Brewing in Hackettstown, have local apple cider from Best's Fruit farm, and be giving farm tours so you can meet the animals & bees, see how they are raised, ask any questions- or, just hang out and have a beer!

 

Saturday, September 24th 2-6PM.  129 Alphano Road, Great Meadows NJ 07838

See the invitation here.

Ryan & Liz

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

Posted 9/2/2016 4:53pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

Hi All,
We just got our first lamb back from the butcher, and it looks gorgeous (tastes that way too!).  

Our lamb is 100% grass-fed, meaning they are never given grain (which can lead to a greasy taste).  Not only does this lend to a cleaner taste, but it means that they were raised on pasture, eating what they evolved and nature designed them to eat, grass & pasture, and behaving naturally, they really do frolic, and not stuck in a fed lot for fast, cheap weight gain.

We will bring some of each cut to our farmer's markets on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  We will also bring extra pork chops, sausages and pork cubes for all your Labor Day grilling needs.

You can also add the lamb onto a Fall CSA share- this means the you will get first dibs on the lamb, which is expected to sell out quickly.  Because CSA members pre-pay for 3 months worth of meat, they get priority over Farmer Market sales.  Our first CSA delivery is on September 8th, so don't delay:

 

Join The CSA Here!

Ryan & Liz

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

Posted 8/20/2016 6:01pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

Hi All,


Just 2 more days until the 5% early bird discount ends for our Fall CSA subscription.  We have tons of new options, as well as 5 different pick-up locations to choose from!

You can read more about how our CSA works here.

As always, if you have any questions, shoot us an email or give us a call (970.946.6377), and we'll be happy to help.

 

Sign-up for the Fall here

 

Ryan & Liz

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

Posted 8/15/2016 6:03pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

Hi All,

Join the Fall CSA


I can't believe that it's mid-August already, and it's been quite a year on the farm so far!  We've dealt with a blizzard (remember that??) and a month long heat wave, piles of rain, then a few months of drought.  Despite the crazy weather, we've kept plugging away with the cool Fall in our sights.

CSA signups have begun for the September-November season, and you'll get an automatic 5% discount if you join before next Monday, August 22nd.  Returning members get 5% off no matter when you re-join, as a thanks to 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 Fall:

  • Nitrate-free Bacon add-on: choose 1lb or 2lb a month to an existing meat share
  • Grass fed Lamb add-on: choose 5lb or 10lb a month added to an existing meat share
  • Raw Honey add-on: choose 8oz or 1lb a month added to an existing meat share
  • Heirloom Garlic add-on: choose 3 or 6 heads a month to an existing meat share
  • The Crewe Hill pickup time is now 11am-12:30pm

CSA membership helps both the customer, you get a month's supply of meat with minimal effort & shopping time, and the farmer, paying for your order in advance significantly helps farm finance!  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.

Some Farmer's markets end in mid Fall, but CSA members continue to get our local, naturally raised products delivered to a central location once a month into November. 

Sign-up Here

Ryan & Liz

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

Posted 8/4/2016 10:37am by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.


Hi All,

Some very exciting news- we now have Long Island (aka Pekin) duck ready for your dining pleasure!  

I'll be honest, we roasted one in the oven the other day, and it was so good that I was tempted to be selfish and not sell any- it was one of those meals where there is not much conversation, just the occasional "****, this is good!" as you stuff your face.

There are a LOT of crazy recipes out there when it comes to roasting a duck- all with the goal of rendering out the extra fat that waterfowl have to achieve a nice crispy skin.  I've read recipes which say boil, or steam, even use a hair dryer to help soften the fat before roasting!  Crazy!!

Also, you don't have to make a complicated glaze, or marinate it for days- let the duck shine through and keep it simple!

If you can roast a chicken, you can roast a duck- all you need to do is tweak your technique a little bit.  Rather than high heat and short cooking time, turn the oven down to 350 for 25 minutes a pound (or 2 hours for most of our ducks).  Another must-do duck trick is to give the fat an escapee route- either score the skin, or poke holes in it while a tooth pick or the tip of a knife.  I prefer to score the skin in a cross hatch pattern, as it makes for a really nice presentation.  Be sure to only cut the skin, and not into the flesh as you'll dry out the meat if you cut too deep.

Pour off the rendered fat into a jar and save it in the fridge for other meals- roasted potatoes, use it to sauté veggies in, or duck confit.

Jaime Oliver has a great video on duck technique- you can ignore the tea spice rub if you like and only use salt and pepper.

Cutting up a duck is a little different than chicken, as you don't carve duck- here's a good video on that technique. 

Ryan & Liz

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

Posted 8/4/2016 10:15am by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

Greetings!

We have received a few questions about cooking a whole chicken, so I figured I'd open the discussion up to others who might be out there in the same boat.  It might be a new culinary skill to learn, as we probably have gotten used to buying chicken parts at the grocery store, but don't be intimidated, it's not as hard as it sounds, and its' worth the effort!

If you do want to break down a whole chicken into parts, here's a great tutorial from the New York Times.

To cook a whole bird in the oven, there are two general schools of thought: high heat, or low heat.  High heat typically roasts the bird at 450 or higher for an hour, while the low, or 'slow and low', typically starts out with high heat to sear the meat, 425, then lowers the temperature to 300 to finish cooking, for a total time of 1.5 hours.  

Each has is pluses and minuses- the high heat method gives you crispy skin, and a richer flavor, but might be a little smokey in the kitchen; the slow and low ensures an evenly cooked bird, but takes longer and gives you less crisp.

One of the challenges of roasting a whole bird (chicken or turkey), is that the breast and thigh meats cook at different rates, with the thigh/leg taking a little longer because of the bones and joints.  This is especially true when roasting a whole bird because the legs are tucked in and under the breast. 

High Heat

Low and Slow

Spatchcock

The method that Liz and I prefer is a mix of both worlds- consistent high heat with crispy skin and fast cooking (45 minutes), but an evenly cooked bird.  We "spatchcock," or flatten, the bird, where we remove the backbone (we save this for stock) and neck using a pair of kitchen shears or strong scissors.  The bird then gets flipped breast side up and flattened with a push of your palm.  By spreading the bird flat, more heat can circulate around the leg joints and they finish cooking at the same time as the breast meat.  

I roast a 4.25 lb. spatchcocked chicken at 400 convection for 1 hour.  A little bit longer for a bigger bird, little bit less for a smaller bird. 

Dry and salt

Be sure to pat the chicken completely dry, inside and out, before roasting.  If you leave any moisture on the bird, it will create steam while roasting, which will leave you with a more bland, rubbery skin with less browning and flavor.  Plenty of salt also helps dry the bird and crisp the skin while cooking.

Temper and Rest:

Temper the chicken by taking it out of the fridge for 45 minutes before cooking- this allows it to come to room temperature and ensures even cooking no matter which method you use.

Resting is extremely important no matter which method of cooking you prefer- this allows the heat evenly distribute after roasting, the bird will finish cooking outside of the oven, and the juices will go back into the meat.  If you carve a bird straight out of the oven, most of the juices and flavor will end up on the cutting board!  Remove the bird from the oven uncovered (tenting it with aluminum foil softens the crispy skin), and let it sit on the counter for AT LEAST 10 minutes, 15 is better.

When is it done?

The trick here is that the temperature of the meat will actually continue to rise once you take it out of the oven, typically 5-10 degrees!  So, if you take the bird out of the oven at 165 degrees, it will actually finish at 170-175, which means over cooked, dry meat.  Take the bird out at 160 degrees, measured at the thigh meat, and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.

Try out the different methods, and let us know which one works best for you- we'll pass on the tips to other customers.  All these recipes, in addition to others, are posted on the recipes section of our website.

Ryan & Liz

 

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