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Four Fields Blog
Posted 2/26/2016 5:26pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.


Hi Locivores,

Just a quick reminder that the next Buyer's Club drop off is this coming Sunday, Feb 28th, at Crewe Hill stables just south of Morristown between 12p-2p.

The hens have started laying in anticipation of Spring, so we are chock full of pastured eggs again, which we'll bring Sunday for purchase.

We will also have a delivery in March, the weekend before Easter, and will have some lamb available, which you can order through the Buyer's Club.  Place your order soon as we only have a few leg roasts left!

We are waiting to hear back on our farmer's markets for this year, and will sort out our CSA deliveries and options for the next season- more information to follow. 

Ryan & Liz

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

Posted 2/9/2016 10:25am by Ryan Lacz.

I glanced at a calendar the other day, and was amazed that it's a third the way through February already!  What little down time we've had on the farm has quickly come to a close, especially with the recent (and thankfully melted) 2 feet of snow.

The animals were none too impressed with all the snow- think that a chicken's legs are only 6 inches long.  We took a few days getting ready for the storm, which included building a straw bale house for the piglets with a foot of straw bedding for warmth, getting extra feed and water, closing up the chicken coop to block the blizzard winds.

Once the snow hit, it was all about the snow shovel!  Shovel the walkway to the tractor, dig out the tractor, clear the roads to the pastures- shovel out the gates to open them, shovel out the chicken coop etc.  One trick we learned from last winter was to sprinkle some straw onto the snow to encourage the chickens & pigs to walk around, without it, they won't leave their house until the snow melts!

We certainly learned a lot from the storm & winter farming on pasture (very hard to find a water bucket under 2 feet of snow...), and only got the tractor stuck once!  It's a lot of extra work when compared to conventional farming inside buildings, but it's worth it to see the new piglets romping around in the dirt and the chickens scratching around for whatever tasty morsels they can find once the snow melted- and thankfully it did!!!

We're gearing up for the spring, the first batch of chickens will arrive in a few weeks, it's time to start early seedlings indoors, planning the grazing rotations, and getting ready to move the greenhouse.

We are also setting our Spring CSA options and drop off schedule soon too.  If you don't know about the CSA yet, you can read about it here.  The February delivery for the Buyer's club is also coming up soon, on Sunday the 28th.  Place your order soon, as we are selling out quickly!

Hope you're all well!

Posted 12/9/2015 1:21pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.


Hi Everyone!

Happy Winter- if you can call it that...it's a strange thing to be selling Christmas trees when it's 60 degrees out!  We had 6 inches of snow this time last year, and I'm missing the sledding.  All in due time, I suppose.

Liz and I set up the online market that we've been telling everyone about, and we're ready to go live with it.  We call it the "Winter Buyer's Club," and it's fairly straight forward.  You can read more about how it works on our website here.  

CSA members from this past year get a 5% discount!

Delivery is one of two options: a once a month (dates are described on the website) delivery to Crewe Hill stables, just south of Morristown, or you can arrange to pick up your order from us anytime at our farm in Great Meadows.

One thing of note is that you will only be charged a $20 deposit when you checkout- your shopping cart total will be $0.  Because we sell meat by the pound, and the items varies by weight, we won't know what your total amount due is until we pack your actual order.  We will email you an invoice when we get your order together which you can pay when you pick it up.

As always, if you have any questions about our products, the website, or the buyer's club, shoot us an email and we'll help you out as best we can.

Ryan & Liz

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

Posted 11/18/2015 6:12pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

Hi Everyone,

     Firstly- Thanks so much for your support over our first year!  Wether you're a customer, you've helped us with the various farm projects we've checked off our list (putting up the greenhouse, taking down a barn, planting garlic, digging fence post holes), set us up with a farmer's market stand, let us experiment with your farmland, or just given us a few words of encouragement, we truly couldn't have done it without you- Thanks!

     With preparations for the Holiday dinner well underway, I just wanted to pass on a fantastic recipe for the stuffing.  I never liked the way stuffing that was cooked inside the turkey turned out- it was mushy, there was never enough, and it seemed to take forever to cook.  Most chefs and food safety folks recommend that you don't fill the bird with stuffing- nothing like a little food poisoning to ring in the Holidays! 

     A great alternative is to bake the stuffing, or dressing, in a separate casserole dish.  This way, you can prep it ahead of time then bake it on the day, or bake it ahead of time and simply rewarm it in the oven.  I've used this recipe for sausage & bread stuffing in the past, and have had great success.  The only difference is to bake the whole thing in a separate dish- don't stuff the bird!  Crunchy bits on the top, moist and chewy inside, it's basically a gravy sponge, so pour it on!  I toss in a few chopped tart apples to help balance the richness of the sausage.  It works well with any of type of pork sausage- country, sweet or hot Italian.

     We have a few turkeys left, available for pick up on the farm, or for delivery at Crewe Hill on Nov. 22nd.  They come frozen, with the giblets inside, and are on average 10-11 pounds, so you can cook two birds if you have a large crowd to feed.  Or, cook one for Christmas or New Year's.  You can reserve a turkey here.

     Heritage birds cook slightly differently than conventional birds- partly due to their smaller size, but also to the composition of the meat (heritage birds have darker, richer meat than conventional).  Here are a couple of links to cooking tips and times:

bon appétit

Bruce Bradley

New York Times

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ryan & Liz

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

Posted 11/7/2015 5:30pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.


Hi Gang,

We have lamb available again!  Our first round of lamb sold out almost as soon as we got it back from the butcher in October, and folks have been asking about it ever since.  We'll have all cuts available from stewing cubes, ground, and chops, to larger bone-in leg roasts.  The Katahdin hair sheep breed that we raised has a wonderful mild flavor, and, because they are grass fed, are extremely tender and not at all greasy.

The turkeys are going fast, so if you're interested in reserving a holiday turkey (they're great for Christmas or New Year's too!), be sure to do so soon.  You can learn more about them here.

We'll be at Crewe Hill riding center this Sunday, from 10am-1pm.  We plan on going there every Sunday until Nov. 22nd, after that, we'll set up a buyers club via our website for the winter months.  There will be more information to follow, but you'll simply go to our website and be able to pick exactly what you want from our inventory, and we'll deliver it to Crewe Hill once a month for pick up- it's like a farmer's market that you don't have to venture out into the cold of winter to go shopping!

Ryan & Liz

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

Posted 10/31/2015 6:20pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.


Hi Everyone-

Happy Halloween!  Happy daylight savings (is that a thing?)!  It's a great combination of binging on candy, then sleeping in an extra hour. 

Just a quick reminder that we'll be at Crewe Hill tomorrow, Sunday, at our usual 10a-1p time slot.  We have been selling out of eggs recently, but have extra this week so those who have been missing out can get some.

Our heritage turkeys are getting reserved quickly, so don't miss out if you're wanting one for your holidays. 

The Hackettstown farmer's market has closed for the season, but you can always stop by the farm and pickup some locally and responsibly raised meats and pastured eggs.  Just send us an email to coordinate a time to make sure that we are on farm.

Ryan & Liz

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

Posted 10/19/2015 5:17pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.


Hi Everyone- I hope that you've been bundled up well these past few days!  It was 23 degrees this morning at the farm, we were none too impressed...the good thing is that the farm is winding down for the season, so our morning chore time is quite short.

One of the critters that are still on the pastures, are our heritage turkeys.  We chose heritage turkey breeds, Bourbon Reds & Midget Whites, because they are healthier, more active (better grazers), and tastier than their modern conventional counterparts.

You can read more about our birds, as well as make a deposit to reserve your holiday turkey, on our website here:

Reserve your turkey 

We had a small batch of birds this year, and based on the amount of interest from our market customers, we expect to sell out quickly, so don't delay.

Thanks for your support, it's been a great year: we couldn't have done it without you!

Ryan & Liz

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

Posted 10/3/2015 6:00pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

Greetings everyone-

Hope this note finds you drying out from the recent week of 'lovely' weather we've had.  As a farmer, I've grown to appreciate a good rain, but like any normal person, a week straight of it and my appreciate begins to fade!  Our newly seeded pasture is greening up nicely, so I really can't complain all that much...

This is just to confirm that we will be at Crewe Hill stables tomorrow, Sunday, at our usual 10am-1pm time.  We'll be bringing some lamb, in addition to the usual pork, chicken and eggs.  We plan on being there every Sunday well into November.  After that, we'll take a few months off during the winter, but might make a trip once a month if there is enough interest for a quick market- more on that later.  

Now that the weather is cooling off, it's time to dust off the slow cooker and make some hearty comfort food!  Think pork stew, lamb shanks, braised pork belly, pea soup with ham hocks, and tell me you're not getting hungry!  We'll be happy to walk you through some of our favorite recipes, or share some of yours as we're also looking for new ones to share with other customers.

Ryan & Liz

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

Posted 9/11/2015 5:07pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

Hi Gang-
Just touching base to let everyone know that we will be at both our Hackettstown and Crewe Hill markets this weekend, but we won't be at either the following weekend.  

Hackettstown market is Saturday, from 8:30-1:30 at 302 High Street in Hackettstown.  Crewe Hill is Sunday, between 10-1, at 107 Sand Spring Rd in Morristown.

The following weekend (Sept. 19-20), we will not be at either market: sustainable farming has to be sustainable for the farmers too!  We'll be bringing extra goodies to this weekends market, so you can stock up on some good, local foods.

We will have lamb available starting Sept. 26th!

Ryan & Liz

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

Posted 8/29/2015 8:56pm by Ryan Lacz & Liz Balchin.

Hi All,

Just a quick reminder that we will be at the Crewe Hill riding center for our regular Sunday market, tomorrow, from 10AM til 1PM.

We just picked up two pigs from the butcher, so we are fully stocked with great grilling chops & sausages, and are also bringing our pastured chicken & fresh eggs too.

Hope to see you there.

Ryan & Liz

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

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