Every so often you come across a recipe that is so absolutely delectable you can't keep it to yourself. Being as we have half a hog in our freezer, I'm constantly looking for new ways to serve pork. We have a lot of pork chops, and it doesn't take long to get tired eating a plain ole chop. Que this sauce, which takes a humble pork chop and transforms it into a masterpiece. The kind of masterpiece I'd pay good money for at a restaurant. Best of all, it is easy. Whether you are a beginner cook, or more advanced, this recipe will make your taste buds sing. (And if you are a novice, please don't shy away from new recipes! Even good cooks struggle sometimes and half the fun is in being creative and having fun in the kitchen!)
Heat your oil of choice in a heavy skillet (this is a GREAT time to break out the cast iron) Let your pork chops come to room temperature, dab them dry with a paper towel, and then season well with salt and pepper. That's it! See? Simple already! Don't forget to do the front and back! You want your pan to be very hot, with smoke rolling from the pan. This is essential. If you start to put your chops in and don't hear a sizzle, stop and let the pan get hotter. A hot pan creates a nice outer crust on the meat you are searing. That crust is not only delicious, it also holds in moisture. Once your pan is smoking hot, slowly lay your pork chops into the pan. Do not turn these guys until they have that crust formed, you can peak, but only turn them once they are golden brown and lovely.
Cook your chops until to your desired doneness. Not sure what that is? I have just what you need, a thermometer. It takes a little extra time to use one, BUT in ensures a perfectly done chop...or chicken...or steak anytime you make one. Most come with a guide on what temperature is best for which piece of meat you're cooking. Once your pork is done, pull it and place it on a plate. Cover with foil. Do not cut it, do not poke it, just cover it and let it take a nap. During this "nap" time the juices redistribute. So it's another step towards having a juicy chop. Next, drain out any excess oil, but leave a little. You don't want it to be dry. Do not remove all the little dark, crispy bits from the pan. They add flavor! Turn the heat down to about medium. Take your sage, rosemary and garlic, and saute. Saute until fragrant, and wilted. Do not let your spices, or garlic burn.
Once your sage, garlic and rosemary have had some time to heat up, add in your wine and heavy cream. It will be quite liquidy at this point, and that's ok.
Bring it to a simmer, and stir occasionally. All you have to do is keep an eye on it, and make sure it doesn't scorch. You are letting this reduce down, to create a thick, delicious sauce. You can use it at any stage of reduction, so if you like a more runny sauce, that's ok. I call it good when a spoon pushed through leaves a trail.
Very steamy pic! Once the sauce is reduced, plate your chops on their respective plates, and spoon the sauce over top. A side of roasted veggies is perfect!
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons, fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 ounce sage, chopped
2 pork chops
1 cup dry white wine
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream
Heat oil in a heavy skillet. While skillet is preheating, salt and pepper both sides of pork chops.
Once skillet is smoking hot, place pork chops in pan, letting sear until a golden brown crust has formed. Flip chops, and sear until at desired doneness. (Use thermometer to be precise)
Remove chops to a plate, cover with foil, and let rest. Remove most of the oil, leaving only a little behind. Add in your rosemary, sage and garlic. Saute until wilted, fragrant and golden brown. Make sure you do not let the herbs and garlic burn.
Add wine and cream, reduce heat to medium, and let simmer until reduced by at least half, or to your own preference. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Plate pork chops along with your favorite side, and spoon sauce over top.
Serve and enjoy!
A farmers market can be a somewhat intimidating experience. Especially if you aren’t used to shopping farmers market and eating local. You may see some unfamiliar terms, or maybe you are just starting out and can’t afford all organic everything. I’ve made this little post as a little helpful guide on terms to know, and tips to follow for having a great farmers market experience!
If you don’t know what a product is, don’t know how to prepare it or store it, feel free to ask the farmer!
Stock up at the farmer's market before hitting up the grocery store.
Challenge yourself to go to the market without a list, buy what looks exciting, fresh, and delicious. Plan meals after buying produce to highlight your fresh, local produce.
Try not to over buy. (I struggle with this a lot!) It’s easy to get so excited over all the produce, but the last thing you want is for things to go bad.
Being as most items bought at the farmers market are not extremely expensive, or you may buy a little here and there, bringing cash is a good idea. Not to mention not all vendors have the ability to accept checks or debit/credit.
Don’t forget to bring a bag, or reusable tote. If you plan on buying anything cool, or it’s the middle of the summer, you may want to bring an insulated bag with an ice pack for produce.
The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen
Have you heard of the clean 15 and dirty dozen? They can be a great way to transition into eating organic produce without breaking the bank. The clean 15 are foods that are least likely to be contaminated with pesticide residue. The dirty dozen are foods that are most likely to be contaminated and therefore should be purchased organic if possible.
There are a TON of phrases, and terms used to describe food these days. It can be extremely difficult to keep track of what everything means. Here's a list of some fairly common terms and what they mean.
Food products grown using organic practices, but without actual organic certification.
Food products grown in accordance with the National Organic Program’s standards. These farmers avoid synthetic inputs, including but not limited to, synthetic fertilizers, synthetic pesticides and food additives. It also does not allow genetically modified organisms from being considered organic. Fields must be chemical free for three or more years before qualifying as organic.
Certified Naturally Grown
This is a grassroots alternative to certified organic. It is a simpler and less expensive alternative to the USDA’s National Organic Program.
USDA guidelines state that all “natural” meat and poultry products can only undergo minimal processing and cannot contain artificial colors, or flavors, preservatives or other artificial ingredients. Naturally grown/all natural is otherwise an unregulated term.
The term pastured is usually used in conjunction with hogs and poultry that are raised outdoors, on pasture. They are usually given some type of extra, supplemental feed. These animals are usually unconfined, and are able to graze and forage for food.
This is a term that varies based on who you are talking too. Eggs from the grocery store that boast free range, is quite different than talking to a farmer who has free range chickens. The industry standard on free range means the hens have access to the outdoors. That does not mean they actually ever go out. When you talk to a small scale farmer, free range likely means the chickens are out and ranging at their own discretion.
Grass Fed/Grass Finished
Grass fed is used to describe a ruminant who is raised on pasture. A cow, for example, can be grass fed, and then grain finished (a portion of grain fed until slaughter) Or it can be grass fed, and then grass finished, in which it would never eat any grain.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s)
GMO’s are plants and animals whose genetic makeup has been altered to exhibit traits that they would not normally have, like longer shelf-life, different color, or resistance to certain chemicals. Genetic modification is currently allowed in conventional farming.
A term that refers to standard agricultural practices, which may include the use of pesticides, antibiotics, hormones, synthetic fertilizers and other chemical use.
Refers to products raised, bred, butchered locally versus trucked from locations far away.
Heirloom crops are those which have been passed down generation to generation. They have been developed by farmers via years of cultivation, and seed saving.
A breed of livestock that is much like heirloom crops. They have been bred over time for certain traits, such as to withstand harsh environments, or withstand disease.
Products made by hand in small batches.
Raw refers to food products (like cheese, milk, vinegars, cider, sauerkraut) that have not been pasteurized to a minimum of 145 degrees. Raw milk cheese is required to be aged for 60 days, and some states prohibit the sales of raw milk.
An unregulated term that refers to humane, viable, environmentally sound farming.
Refers to plants and fruits that are allowed to stay on the vine/tree and ripen fully before being harvested.
Much like organic and certified organic there are two options here. One is getting certified humane status, which means the animals can engage in their natural behaviors, they are raised with plenty of space, have good shelter, access to fresh water, and limited stress. The other is an unregulated term that implies animals that were treated with compassion, and given the ability to live as nature intended.
Refers to the practice of not administering antibiotics, which is commonplace in conventional farming. Some farmers may use antibiotics on an animal, but only if necessary.
Hormones are often given to beef and dairy cattle to enhance production. These hormones may be synthetic, natural or genetically engineered. A farmer who says, “no hormones” mean they do not engage in these practices. It is important to note hormones are not allowed in the raising of hogs or poultry-ever.
Farm fresh eggs are a great way to get started as a farmer, and a great place to start when buying from a farmer. However, for an egg being such a small thing, it sure can cause a lot of controversy. It seems somewhere along the way we became so disconnected from our food source, we believed a lot of lies thrown about by the factory egg producers. They’ve disconnected us from the fact that all eggs come from chickens, fears of salmonella, and we’ve gotten used to a sub par product. So, let’s take a look at some of these misconceptions and figure out the truth.
1) You HAVE to have a rooster to get eggs!
Contrary to popular belief, no rooster is needed for a hen to lay an egg. A hen usually starts to lay eggs at about 5 month sold, and will lay quite a few years. No roosters required.
2) There is a bit of blood in this egg, it’s a baby chick!
Alas, a spot of blood is NOT an indicator of a fertilized egg. In fact, most individuals cannot differentiate between a fertilized and unfertilized chicken egg. When you find blood in an egg, it’s called a blood spot. What happens is a small blood vessel ruptures sometime during the egg laying process. You can also find what appears to be tissue, which is the same thing. Just a little hiccup in the egg making progress. These eggs are COMPLETELY safe to eat. You can eat them blood spot and all, or pick out the spot with a spoon (or shell!). These "spots" can be found in store bought eggs, but are rare due to the eggs going through a candling process. The eggs are still used, just not sold by the dozen.
3) Fertilized eggs are baby chicks, and you shouldn’t eat them.
When an egg is fertilized it means one thing only. It has the ability to grown into a chick with the correct conditions. Contrary to popular belief an egg doesn’t come out and then automatically start developing into a chick. In fact a chicken egg can sit, fertilized, at room temperature for weeks and nothing will happen. (Well, the egg will eventually go bad, but there won’t be any chick inside!) Fertilized eggs need to be held at a constant temperature of 100 degrees, for 21 days before a chick hatches.
4) Fertilized eggs are unhealthy./ Fertilized eggs are more healthy.
Truth is fertilized or not has nothing to do with the nutritive value of an egg. They are both the same.
5) My eggs from the supermarket have omega-3 in them.
ALL eggs have omega 3’s. And although the advertisements may sway you, eggs from hens raised outdoors on pasture have 2 times more omega 3s!
6) There is no difference between a factory farm/store bought/conventional chicken egg, and a farm fresh, pastured chicken egg.
There is a HUGE difference!!!! According to a study done by Mother Earth News, free range, pastured chicken eggs are much more nutritious than store bought eggs.
“Our testing has found that, compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:
⅓ less cholesterol
¼ less saturated fat
⅔ MORE vitamin A
2 times MORE omega-3 fatty acids
3 times MORE vitamin E
7 times MORE beta carotene”[Source]
7) Brown eggs are better for you.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but nope. Brown eggs, white eggs, blue eggs, or green eggs (yes you can get a lot of different colors from chickens!), are all the same...well at least on the inside.
8) Aren’t store bought eggs safer?
Salmonella is a hugely feared disease that you can contract from eating raw, or undercooked eggs. Salmonella is a bacteria that grows in the intestinal track of humans and animals. Eggs that are laid and then exposed to feces may be infected with salmonella. Salmonella is food poisoning, and as such it doesn’t spread from hen to hen like a cold. Hens in factory farmed conditions usually contract salmonella due to eating rat/mouse droppings that is in their feed. Once infected, they lay eggs that then become tainted from the hens. In contrast, most small farmers, or backyard chicken keepers do not have salmonella in their flocks. Smaller flocks mean you can easily tell when a hen is off, or under the weather and treat an issue before it gets out of hand. This is a great reason why you should know your farmer!
9) I get caged free eggs from the store which are just as good as farm fresh eggs./My free range eggs from the store are from free range chickens.
I wish this was true. Unfortunately cage free and free range really doesn’t mean much in the grocery store. Cage free eggs are from hens that do not live in cages, but are housed in overcrowded barns. “Free range” eggs from the store means the chickens were given access to the outdoors. That means there is a pen outside, and at some point in their day that door was open and they may or may not have gone out. That door may also only be open for a short period of time.
10) Farm fresh eggs are too expensive! Store bought are cheaper.
Well, this is true, unfortunately. I have to feed chickens for about 5 months before they start laying eggs. I also may have predators eat my hens, lose a hen unexpectedly, or have another unforeseen incident (with farming you just never know!) Free ranging chicken can be more difficult, as they love to find a hidden spot to lay eggs. Egg production is more likely to drop over winter, especially for those who do not use supplemental lighting. So again, you are feeding them without getting eggs in return. It is pricey, and to be honest, most small farmers are lucky to even just cover the cost of owning chickens. The thing I love about farm fresh eggs, is that by purchasing them, you are supporting a farmer. You are putting that money back to your local economy. You are showing a farmer you care and support them. As a farmer I am overwhelmed with appreciation any time someone purchases something from me. Because without you, the consumer, I am nothing.
Have a question about farm fresh eggs? Or just eggs in general? Use the comment section below to ask your question!
I've been debating doing some blogging here, but have been a bit torn. I'm not a great writer, and I'm not 100% sure what people would want to read about. For now, I'll be sharing informational posts, daily farm life, projects, and recipes that highlight farm fresh produce or products. The rest of this post will be just a little over view of the farm, and our creatures. Is there a question you have for a farmer? Want to get the scoop on how to start your own garden, or how to milk a goat? Leave a comment and let me know!
We joke we should have named Twelve Springs Farm, Rough Acres. Our old barn has seen better days, we have some fences the goats laugh at, and a pretty nice scrap pile from roughly 50 years of farming. We have a long list of projects and improvements, and hopefully someday we will make it to the end of the list! Although it may be a bit rough, it's home to a whole bunch of happy animals.
I believe strongly in animals being raised with respect and dignity. I believe pigs should be on pasture, goats should browse at will (ok, except the neighboring cemetery!), and chickens should get to free range. I am bucking a lot of old farming techniques in place of new ones. I don't believe hogs need nose rings, and I don't take all kids from our does. Even if an animal is destined to be slaughtered, doesn't mean we don't care for it. It also means when the time comes, we try to make butcher day as stress free as possible. We process our own poultry, but hogs go to a double humane certified processor.
Antibiotics are a highly controversial subject. On our farm antibiotics are only used when needed, no if's and's or but's. Although it's easy to completely vilify antibiotics, sometimes they are needed. Just like sometimes they are needed for us. There will always be full disclosure with our customers on any antibiotics used. And we want to foster a relationship between consumer and farmer, so if you have a question or concern, never hesitate to let us know!
We have a mixed poultry flock. I have never selected chickens based on productivity. We have everything from bantams (miniature chickens), to feather legged cochins. We also have turkeys, ducks and geese. They all hang out together, and range pretty much wherever they want too. We try to keep them out of the front area, just so we don't have an endless poop battle!
We also have a little herd of goats. Our breeds are varied (just like the poultry!) After a long time trying to figure out what direction we want to take our goats in, we've placed a deposit on some full blooded, nubian kids from a registered herd. They will be the breed and direction we head towards in the future. Our main goal is dairy production, mainly for our own needs. Surplus milk is given to other animals, or used as an ingredient in our handmade goat milk soap.
We have an orchard, which is in need of some TLC, that produces mainly apples. We get a very small harvest of cherries, and persimmons as well. We have blackberries, wild raspberries and wild mulberries as well. Our garden is modest, and usually weedy to be honest. We grow a bit of everything, but the staples are always radishes, beets, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, peppers, fennel, cucumbers, squash, green beans, pumpkins, melons and various herbs. I hope to add a variety of flowers this year, cabbage, eggplant, dill, and anything else that strikes my fancy. I start the majority of my seeds myself, however will buy started seeds if mine are unsuccessful. I experiment with non-gmo, organic seeds when I can, but do also have more conventional seeds and hybrids as well. We do our best to raise everything organically, without chemicals. On occasion, we have come across a huge issue that has been addressed with chemicals, this is rare. Maybe once a year, for a certain plant. (Last year our only issue was insects on our squash/pumpkins) There will always be FULL disclosure if a chemical has been used, but we do everything in our power to keep that from happening at all.
Above all else, I want us to always be a farm full of integrity, and honesty. I will not hide our practices from anyone. If you want to see the farm before making a purchase, just ask. If you want to know how we do something, why we do something, let us know. We are here to answer those questions, and show that there are other alternatives when it comes to farming.
Twelve Springs Farm