Monthly Archives: October 2014

We’re Here for a Gourd Time

The Fall of 2014 was our inaugural pumpkin picking at the farm.  We planted dual-purpose (carving and baking) organic Howden pumpkins, which many use as Jack-O-Lanterns but can also be used for pies.  However, it’s been said that they make the best pumpkin jam.  120 pumpkin plants were planted late this Spring in hopes that there would be a pumpkin patch for families in our area.  In keeping with our start small/grow big natural farm philosophy, we felt that a 100+ pumpkin plants would allow us to gauge interest in farm activities based around the pumpkin patch, provide pumpkin picking over two weekends, and give kids and parents an opportunity to step outside of their daily routines to have some fun at our farm.

Cucurbits!

Cucurbits!

 

This year, we had a photo zone set up, a guess the weight of the pumpkin contest (won by Annie Robichaud this year), and a feeding area set up with our young pullets (laying hens).  Our feedback form allowed us to gather ideas for next year’s event.  We’ll have signage at the base of our road and parking signs as well.  Others suggested hot drinks, baby chicks, a photo of the MacCurdy Farmer with a cutout for pictures, and a hayride.  Also, given both my mother and I’s educational background, we’ll have information and activities centered around the cucurbitaceae (gourd) family.  We’re thinking along the lines of a blown up picture matching and an information sign on the life cycle of a pumpkin, .  Don’t forget, pumpkins are native to North America so it would be interesting to learn a little more about their nutritional value (organic) and how they grow.  We’ll make sure that these elements of the experience exist during next year’s pumpkin picking.  A perfect blend of education, family time, and fun on the farm.

One of our proud customers

One of our proud customers

Pumpkins retail for $3 (small – under soccer ball size) and $5 (medium and large).  At this time, we do not sell wholesale.  However, we have not ruled it out for next year as our current plan is to grow at least an acre of pumpkins.  For those of you planning on picking a pumpkin, please remember never to carry the pumpkin by its stem.  The weight of the pumpkin can cause the stem to break off, sending the pumpkin to be pureed instead of adorning your entry way.  In the spirit of making more pumpkins available to additional customers, I’ll be capping the number of pumpkins per person to no more than 3 for pumpkin picking.

Ol' Sir Howden

Ol’ Sir Howden

We are located at 29337 Route 134 Point La Nim, NB.  Look for an old barn and a green farmhouse on the south side (not the bay side) of the old road (Route 134).  The farm is situated between Methot Road on the east (Dalhousie way) and McNeish Bye Road (Dalhousie Junction way) on the west.

Guess Howdy's Weight

Guess Howdy’s Weight

Next year, we will be planting Howden, Tom Fox, and New England Pie pumpkins, which all turn orange.  We will also have white varieties like Polar Bear and Moon Shine, as well as miniature varieties like, Jack-be-little and baby bear.  Finally, for the sake of attracting customers we will also grow the Atlantic Giants and Big moose giant varieties.  It’s going to be an exciting year of pumpkin growing and picking.  Our seed will be sourced from either Veseys or Johnny’s Selected Seeds, depending on where organic seed can be sourced.  We look forward to having you to the farm next year, 2015, for a day of farm education, enjoyment, and entertainment,

White pumpkins

White pumpkins

More pictures to come for those of you who emailed or posted your Jack O’Lantern creations to the Facebook page.  The first five designs will make it onto the blog and our pumpkin picking page.

Categories: pumpkin, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Friends of the Farm – Hengst Quality Sausage

Point La Nim, New Brunswick is not only home to our small diversifying family run hobby farm but another local family run business, Hengst Quality Sausage.  In the name of collaboration, we teamed up with the Hengsts this end of summer to produce our first turkey sausages from MacCurdy Farm turkeys.  I know, just like Pavlov’s dog, I’m drooling at the thought of it too.

This summer, while the turkeys grazed on pasture in our fleet of pastured poultry pens (aka. chicken tractors), an idea came to mind.  Small scale farming always has room to consider value adding.  Those of you caught by the addictive game, Hay Day, on your smartphones, will quickly understand the concept of adding value to a farm product.  For example, pumpkins retail for $3 – $5 (depending on the size) but they can be value-added in the form of jams, pies, cakes,  and painted Jack-o’-lanterns.  Value adding allows us, in the case of pumpkins, beans, and strawberries, to find a return on our perishable products that might not sell at our local Farmer’s Market on any given Saturday.  Turkeys, on the other hand, require some more expertise.  Namely, quality production from our neighbour’s up the road.

Market days at Restigouche Farmer’s Market have their ups and downs for all vendors.  On those days when the crowds are waning, I usually saunter over to the Hengst Sausage booth to toss ideas around with Mark and have a tasty mild italian sausage (my favorite) off their grill.  Our conversations cover a lot of topic areas, mostly related to food, but on one occasion we discussed some possibilities for our larger retail turkeys that might not sell.  The turkey sausage idea was born.  Through many conversations with Mark and Jane, I’ve realized that they are just as passionate about locavorism and small sustainable family run businesses as I am.  Like us, they endorse buying seasonal local farm products and, like us, they understand that supporting small farms like ours boosts our local economy and funnels money back into the hands of farmers to help nourish the people of our region.  So, I jumped at the idea to try something new.  I love novelty.

As I came to find out from Mark, and his wife Jane, turkey sausages are quite common.  We talked at length about producing the best product we could with the turkey meat and settled upon mild Italian turkey sausages.  A bit of spice is nice.  To share in the experience of sausage making, I carved all of the meat off of the thawed turkey frame and boiled the flesh off of the bones (You can use up to 10% cooked meat in a sausage).  The meat, fresh and cooked, was bagged in freezer bags.  We bottled the remaining turkey broth as stock and have decided to sell it at the market for all of you scratch soupers out there.  I am a strong believe in using everything from a turkey and a chicken.  It’s healthy and you pay the animal respect by eating all of it.  A quick trip to deliver the frozen meat to the Hengsts and then the magic could happen, sausage making magic that is.

The before picture.

The before picture.

One of the most endearing qualities about Mark and Jane with their sausage business is their openness and willingness to talk about everything related to their operation.  In my opinion, it is a reflection of the knowledge they have required over their 20 + years in business and that passion that so often accompanies the entrepreneurial spirit.  They love to do what they do and they aren’t ashamed to share it.  They are exactly the type of people that we would want to collaborate with on a project handling the meats of our labor.  Their openness has allowed many people who grow and raise their own food in this region to create variety in their culinary selection.  Hamburgers, sausages, and steaks are all equally at home on the bbq grill.

Hengst Quality Sausage

Hengst Quality Sausage

Hengst Quality Sausage is a family owned business.  They use recipes that are over 60 years old with only the best ingredients available.  As Mark says, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear.”  Isn’t that the truth.  Mark and Jane’s respect for the older traditions of sausage making are very apparent.  You can see it in their diligence and attention to detail in making and cooking their sausages.  Mark and Jane have been stuffing sausage goodness for over 20 years.  Now, thanks to their automatic stuffer, they can produce sausages at an accelerated rate getting them to grocery store shelves and home freezers at a much quicker rate.  They also have a variety of other food products available from beef jerky to smoked meat.

Mark’s passion stems from his roots in sausage making.  His father was a butcher and a sausage maker who worked as a chef in many of the finest hotels across the country of Canada.  Today, Mark continues to refine his craft as a next generation sausage maker.  Their business continues to evolve in a shrinking market via many pathways including word of mouth and social networking sites like Facebook, which can be found by searching their business name.  Their business finds success through the support of family and a collective effort to make quality the word that stands out in their business.  You can find their sausages and other products at the Restigouche Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning from 8 – 1 pm just across the way from our market booth.  Just follow your nose, it’ll take you to sausage heaven.  Trust me, I’ve tried every sausage they make, including our MacCurdy Farm turkey sausage, and all of them carry that taste that makes you want to go back for more.

Italian Turkey Sausage

Italian Turkey Sausage

I think it would be safe to say that both of our families could be considered Bay of Chaleur locavores who seek to provide tasty and healthy food products for the omnivorous diet in our region.  That is what excited me most about collaborating on this project with the Hengsts.  Tradition and innovation both play an important role in how our businesses evolve in our region.  There must always be a respect for those generations who broke ground ahead of us and a spark within us that seeks to make refinements and improvements while we are at the helm in hopes that something exists for the next generation of farmers and sausage makers.

MacCurdy Farm turkey sausages are available at the Restigoucher Farmer’s market.  Make a note of stopping to have a chat at one of our booths the next time you visit.  Conversation creates relationships as well as opportunities.  It did for us at MacCurdy Farm when we chatted with the Hengsts.

We will soon have a drop down menu on our MacCurdy Farm website entitled, Friends of the Farm, that will share more details concerning Hengst Quality Sausage products as well as other local businesses who use our products in their food creations.  Look for this added site feature in the very near future.

MacCurdy Farm

MacCurdy Farm

 

 

 

Categories: Bay of Chaleur, Locavore, MacCurdy Farm, pumpkin, turkey, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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