Sand Hill Plums

Our record-setting wet spring has led to a bumper crop of sand hill plums this year. Yay! Last year we saw late freezes destroy plum flowers and wind storms blow ripe plums from the trees as we kept an eye on the plum thickets around the farm. Luckily we managed to harvest just enough last year to make a limited run of jam. This year, we’re almost halfway through plum picking and we’ve already made one batch of jam and shared a couple gallon bags with one of our favorite chefs in Kansas City.

We just LOVE foraging. We’ve found new plum thickets this year we didn’t even know existed and the kids enjoy plucking those low-hanging fruits. Our best thickets are small, short patches away from the bottoms and trees that provide cover for deer. Deer love sand hill plums, but they’re not brave enough to travel across a large open pasture to get some. In years past, it was a race to get the ripe fruits before the deer in wooded areas. The deer always got their fair share.

In addition to plums, the dewberries are ripe for the picking. Dewberries are a native plant and grow in a surprising number of places here on the farm. Dewberries are like small blackberries. The fruits are smaller and the vine only grows up to a foot or two off the ground. Nonetheless, they are excellent in jam or a fresh cobbler. Yum!

Ribeye With Charred Arugula, Sorrel, and Avocado

One of our good friends Chef Renee Kelly recently led a cooking class featuring Salt Creek Meat’s ribeye. Here’s the recipe she used with our ribeye. We’re excited to try it ourselves!

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Salt Creek Meats Ribeye with Charred Arugula, Sorrel, and Avocado.

Herb Marinade:

  • 1 C. freshly chopped herbs (oregano, chives, thyme

  • 1/2 C. olive oil

  • 1/2 C. lemon juice

  • 4 each clove garlic

  • 1 each shallot or 1/4 C. onion minced

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Brush the beef with 1/2 the marinade. Sear the ribeye on a grill over medium high heat on one side for 2 minutes, flip to the other side, and sear for an additional 2 minutes. Move to a cooler portion of the grill, and cook until desired temperature is reached.

Charred Arugula with Sorrel and Avocado:

  • 1 lb arugula

  • 1/2 each red onion

  • 1/2 lb sorrel ( if you cannot find sorrel, substitute spinach and swiss chard and add lemon juice)

  • 1 each avocado sliced

  • 2 Tbs toasted and salted sunflower seeds

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil or avocado oil

  • 2 tsp. flake salt

  • fresh cracked pepper to taste

Over a grill, char the arugula for 2 minutes until slightly brown, and drizzle with 2 tsp of the olive oil and set aside. Brush the red onion with 1 tsp. olive oil and grill until slightly blackened and soft, about 5-10 minutes. Cool slightly, and slice thin. Toss with the arugula. Cut or tear the sorrel to medium strips and add to the arugula mixture, along with the avocados and sunflower seeds. Finish with the flake salt and pepper.

June Hay

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We all remember the Ant and Grasshopper story from when we were young about the importance of planning ahead. The ant spent all summer preparing for winter and the grasshopper procrastinated. We do our fair share of procrastinating on the small stuff but we have no choice but to start preparing for next winter, though it seems like it just ended.

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Our record setting May rains ended just in time for our first round of cutting and baling hay. With the grass and the ground finally dried out, we’ve started mowing our cool-season hay meadows. The Fescue and Brome certainly benefited from the rain. After mowing the hay meadows, we wait at least a few days for the grass to lie on the ground and dry out. Then, once the dew has burned off, we rake the cut grass into wind rows, which are tall rows of cut grass. Then, we drive the baler down the rows making bales. Unfortunately, that’s only half the work! Depending on hay meadow location, we load the bales on a trailer (the bale buggy) and move them to where we want to store them (and where it is convenient to pick them up from during the winter feeding months). Unload the buggy and move them one last time into rows and we are done. Well, with that bunch anyway. Mid-summer we will start cutting our warm-season native grasses. This will make up the bulk of our hay.

Cutting and baling days are long, but the rounds go fast when you have help who asks lots and lots of questions. Similar to our friends in the crop community, timing is everything. We must cut the bale the grass when it is at its peak nutrition. We must also time it so that the ground is dry enough to support the weight of our equipment and the forecast is dry enough to allow the grass to dry and bale. There is never a moment to lose so we charge full speed ahead when all these factors are just right.

Spring is Here, Finally!

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Burning season has ended and it was the smoothest one yet - I hope we can say that every year! It’s been two to three weeks and the grass is coming in beautifully. We’re turning out the animals onto the fresh grass, moving herds out to summer pastures, and preparing our fall calves for weaning. April is one of our busiest months! Cattle aside, the kids love helping us plant the garden, fill the flower beds with flowers, and check on the beehives. Our yard certainly looks funny this time of year - we do our best to mow around the early spring wildflowers to make sure the bees have plenty to eat, which ultimately creates wildflower islands.

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Back in the homestead, we spent the last week or so preparing to get our online store back online and restocked. My favorite part has been taking the pictures. These steaks taste as good as they look, though it is pure torture to cook a 22oz T-bone only to spend five minutes taking pictures before we can dig in.


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We’ve also been experimenting with shipping beef - one pound at a time. No need to take a chance when you can take a taste! We’re working on a limited run of free beef with our potential customers only paying $12 in shipping and packing materials. The pound of beef is free, the shipping is not. Of course we think it’s better than anything you’ll find at the grocery store so we’re willing to give it away for free to find out for yourself.

- Jay @ Salt Creek Meats

Burning Season

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Burning season is a family affair (as are other farm seasons!) We typically burn pasture late in the afternoon as the wind is starting to die down for the day. My Mom is kind enough to host dinner for Stella and Margot while Jay, my Dad, and I start burning downwind patches so we can control where the fire will go. We’ve done this enough times that the three of us are a well-oiled machine. Jay walks with a propane torch, slowly lighting the grass on fire. Dad follows in a tractor with a high pressure sprayer to put out one side of the fire, the side we don’t want to keep burning. I follow on a 4-wheeler with a water tank mopping up any fires that get past the big sprayer and patrolling the rest of the burning area for any surprise flare ups.

Last night’s burning went exceptionally smooth. It so beautiful to light the upwind side of the fire while the sun is setting and enjoy watching the smoke turn orange from the fire’s glow. Soon, we head back to my Mom’s house to pick up the kids and head home for their bedtime. On the best nights (like this one), we enjoy a slice of pie before heading home. This is a great time of year to relax on the porch after sundown and count the orange clouds around the horizon as other farms burn pasture too.