Monday, August 1, 2011

A beautiful summer rain left the farm dewy and vivid last night.
Slowly our work transforms the landscape and soils beneath it.
And we glean new fruits from our labor and make plans for the fall.

Monday, July 4, 2011


THEPARLORROOM: FARM SUPPER THURSDAY JULY 21st! 7PM: "Join us at Eightfold Farm and enjoy a Seasonal Summer meal. Thursday July 21st at 7pm until 10pm $15 suggested donation /MENU/ Roasted Ch..."


THEPARLORROOM: ICE CREAM SOCIAL JULY 28th!: "A Mostlandian Junior Ambassador Ice Cream Social at Eightfold Farms Thursday, July 28 7 pm
 Eightfold Farms, Pfafftown, NC $10/members, $..."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Parlor's new look

We finished major renovations on the Parlor this month and threw a party to celebrate with our Kickstarter backers. Still a lot of finishing touches and kitchen work to do, but a giant leap forward nonetheless.

Parlor photos here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Slaughter Time

We slaughtered our first round of 2011 broilers today and boy are they big! Most of them are 5 lb beasts with lots of breast meat -- a great size for roasting, smoking, or however else you like to cook a whole bird. Here's some other suggestions and info for preparing pasture-raised chicken:

1) Brine -- anywhere from a few hours to overnight in a salt water bath can improve the texture and flavor of a broiler -- there are many variations on the theme but 1/2 cup of kosher salt in a 5-quart container is all you really need -- rinse the bird prior to brining and when you are finished, drain and pat dry and carry on with your recipe.

2) Air-dry -- if you allow your bird to rest in the fridge uncovered overnight, the skin will start to dry -- this is a key piece to getting that skin extra-crispy when you roast it.

3) Braising -- pasture-raised birds cook up best when they are cooked slowly with moist heat. Braising involves browning the meat first on the stove top and then transferring the meat to the oven -- a covered dish like a dutch oven is ideal -- where the meat continues to cook in a liquid (broth, wine, etc).

4) Cuticle -- this is the yellow "skin" between the feathers and the actual skin of the bird. when we process on farm not all of this cuticle will come off. Although it will not harm you nor taste bad, i like to take it as much as I can off before I cook a bird -- a little rubbing normally loosens it up enough to peel it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Buckeye Chicks Arrive

Thursday we received 25 Buckeye chicks as a part of the new poultry breeding program on the farm. This dual-purpose breed is classified as critical by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, and thanks to the help of poultry guru, Jim Adkins we've got some quality genetics to build up our own flock. Soon to be joining this crew will be 25 black australorps, an English breed known for their big brown eggs!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Parlor Gets Funded!

With donations beyond our expectations, we've already reached our funding goal of $3,800 which will pay for the first phase of renovations. Folks can still donate and help us fund phase 2 as well. For more details and to donate click here

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Busy Day on the Farm

It started at 7am with a call from the post office -- our latest batch of meat birds have arrived. Once these young peepers settled in it was time to move the three-week old biddies out to the range life.

Said to be the most stressful day of a young broiler's life, these birds adapted quickly, learning to appreciate the grass and sun.

The rest of the day was left to make a cake -- a biodynamic compost pile built from chicken manure, scythed clover, straw, leaves, coffee grounds, food scraps, composted cow manure, and a dash of worm castings (and worms!). Then for the biodynamic preparations: valerian juice, stinging nettle, dandelion, yarrow, oak bark, and chamomile.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Eightfold Anniversary!

We've been on the farm for a year now! and we are launching a new project on The Parlor!

Visit our Kickstarter page see the video, spread the word, and maybe lend a hand to the creation of this new exciting part of Eightfold Farm.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

biodynamic compost preps

We received a shipment of Biodynamic compost preparations from the Josephine Porter Institute this week. These plant-based compounds will be doing some serious alchemy in our compost pile this spring, creating potent humus for our garden. Along with BD500 and BD 501 sprays, the introduction of these preparations to our farm will enliven our soils and energize our plants and animals. The different preps work with different aspects of soil chemistry, stimulating the interactions between calcium, phosphorous, potassium, sulfur, and silica -- all essential to healthy plant growth.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Idea Exchange at the Center for Design Innovation with Jay Dunbar & Eric Jackson - Principles of Permaculture Design for Microfarming and Urban Sustainability

Last March Jay and I led an Idea Exchange at CDI on urban micro-farming and permaculture. We had yet to move to the farm and spoke about permaculture design principles and how we applied them to the microfarm once behind Krankies.

Here is a link to a video of the webcast (the powerpoint presentation is also downloadable):

Also, check out the current calendar of Idea Exchanges happening weekly at CDI:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Feed, Seed, and Breeds

Winter on the farm has been a challenge for us and for the chickens, but we are making it work. We have eggs in the fridge (about 2 dozen a day from 42 hens - not bad, not great), and meat in the freezer as well as two broiler coops full of birds out on the winter pasture.

It's time to start ordering some chicks for the spring, but we are excited about a new level of animal husbandry here on the farm with our participation in the International Center for Poultry's Heritage Poultry Breeding Project 2011 -- we'll be getting coaching, guidance, and access to top-quality genetics to start our own breeding program for heritage breed chickens -- Black Australorps to be exact -- as well as flock of Naragansett turkey poults to raise for meat and future breeding!

One of the key goals of our small, experimental farm is to develop regionally-adapted varieties of both plants and animals, and to reduce our reliance on off-farm sources of livestock and seed. We are also developing a plan to grow at least a portion of our feed on farm (we do have some growing space and fertility limitations right now) and to save seed from these farm-adapted grains and legumes while we continue to build pasture and forage for our birds.

Stay tuned and stay in touch with your agrarian roots, America!