Welcome to Painted Hand Farm

Painted Hand Farm is a 20 acre Civil War era farm located in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. We raise meat goats, veal calves, turkeys and organic vegetables using humane and sustainable agricultural practices.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gaining in Popularity

Cabrito: young kid goat slow roasted over hot coals. Although this meal is wildly popular throughout the rest of the world, especially in Mexico, it really has yet to catch on here in the United States. Maybe that's a good thing since we're still importing over 700,000 goats a year to meet the current demand in this country.

Today in the New York Times Dining Section, Frank Bruni has a wonderful audio slide show about Cabrito, a new Mexican restaurant in Greenwich Village. "Although baby goat is their signature dish, it's not a particular goaty restaurant." Instead, he believes the name was chosen as a "signal to a certain kind of food lover, a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-eat kind of place."
There is also a written review.
If I lived closer to NYC, you can bet I'd be there feasting on their signature dish and washing it down with artisan tequilla.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Good Food for Exciting Times

We've also thrown in a little shameless commerce, like everyone else, capitalizing on the upcoming Presidential Inauguration. Traveling to sell their farmstead artisan cheese in Washington DC for the last several years, Keswick Creamery decided to show their excitement by renaming Bovre, one of their signature cheeses, "Bovama" this past weekend. With Jessica attending the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference this week, I covered her spot helping out at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market. Although I've worked at the market previously and done other markets in the DC metro area, the vibe in the air was like never before. Alice Waters from Chez Panisse and many other celebrity chefs sampled and purchased cheeses for the upcoming meals they would prepare in the coming days. I think that their choice to support local farmers by shopping at the market spoke volumes as to the overall message the new administration hopes to deliver and instill.

Another reason for going along to DC on Sunday was I was packing more than just cheese from Keswick Creamery. In a cooler were cheeses from Stone Meadow Farm, Fallsdale Farm, Shellbark Hollow, Otterbein Acres, Three Belle Cheeses, Calkins Creamery and Birchrun Hills Farms which were destined for a private inaugural event involving the transition team in regards to agriculture. We met a lot of wonderful people from all over the United States and were able to share a diverse variety of Pennsylvania farmstead & artisan cheeses with them.
Thanks to the generosity of all the cheesemakers when there are events such as these, there was a bit of cheese leftover, one being some of Stone Meadow Farm's incredible Leigh Belle, a Camembert-style bloomy rind cheese. I, personally, think it's a mortal sin for people to consume a good bloomy rind cheese at anything less than room temperature, preferring my paste to ooze languidly as in Salvador Dali's Persistence of Memory. Plus, people are often reluctant to cook with brie, camembert and epoisse-type cheeses, which is a true loss.
Armed with a round of this marvelous cheese and several other fresh goodies from the farmers market, I decided to build a memorable meal around a chunk of nice Ahi (yes, the tuna isn't 'local', but it's from Ted's Seafood at the Carlisle Central Farmers Market). Mushrooms from the Mother Earth Organic Mushrooms and Leeks from Creekside Farm were sauteed with my shallots & farmstead butter and then draped over the seared fish. Spring Valley had an interesting winter squash that provided a creamy pulp which was slathered with a dripping spoonful of warmed Leigh Belle. Can life get any better? Yes, for dessert I snagged a pair of Napolians from Boneparte Breads.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Oh, does this ever suck!

It's cold...really, really freaking cold and it's going to get colder. The wind is blowing which makes it suck even more. If I don't keep enough of my face covered when I'm out doing chores, I get an "ice cream" headache. But if I put a scarf up over my nose, my glasses fog up and then the condensation freezes. One of the only gadgets that's worked so far is a knitted ski mask that was made by my Grandma Meyers years and years ago that I found in a basket of her knitting stuff. The eye hole is too small for my glasses to fit comfortably, though.

Santa had promised me a new bucket, hydraulic hoses and a block heater for my diesel tractor after he got done with the holidays, but unless his reindeer are going to tow it over to his workshop, it's not moving anywhere until the weather warms (hence, the block heater). He's also going to add more weight to my rear end because it's too light. HA! Who would have ever guessed they'd hear me say that. I wonder about the comfort of my animals, but they seem only mildly annoyed. The goats stay in their huts a little longer in the morning. I've decided not to even begin feeding until they emerge from their shelters. The calves, cows and horses are oblivious with their dense, fluffy coats. And the Great Pyrenees are in their element, stretching about lazily on the round bale leftovers in the glaring winter sun.

In order to provide constant access to water, I've consolidated some of the critters because cracking ice sucks. Andy the Belgian now gets to hang with the goats during the day when his water trough became unbearable to crack this morning. The gate has been opened between two sets of bull calves so they can share one heated water tank although we have to separate them come milk feeding time. Emma & Gray have three weaned calves in with them and they are all in a pile sharing their body heat come morning. There's one calf in the barn and he's sharing a bunk with one of our purebred bucks who got a little run-down after breeding season. Across the isle are the young does from last year who can't be out in the main doe herd because they are too young to breed. Next to them is the rehab wing currently occupied by an elderly doe (one of the original herd) who has been a little wobbly. She got a roommate today when I saw on of my favorite yearling does thrashed by an older doe.

The old witch caught the younger goat's leg between her horns and proceeded to toss her head as the smaller doe screamed in agony. I ran to intervene, but the yearling refused to put any weight on the leg. Nothing like an 80-pound neck-warmer for a trek across the farm.
Paging Doctor Eric..... The barn kitties are snug in a new load of hay and the old kitties have decided that using a litter box is better than having to go outside under the picnic table like everyone else. And the Cocker, well, as usual, she just craps on the rug.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Why I'm Nuts

And just what did you do on New Year's Eve?
They say, "The apples don't fall far from the tree." For anyone who has ever questioned my why I am the way I am, now you know.Do a little dance, wear a little hat, get down tonight! (Sung to the tune of the old K.C. & the Sunshine Band disco hit). But before we all got silly, we sat down to a very, very nice New Year's meal. Guess where the meat came from?