Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Throw Away the Key

We are looking forward to booting 2011 out the door and throwing away the key. I am also asking the powers that be to pretty please bring more good than bad in 2012.

January: Good - Granddaughter Catalina Breeze born. Bad: Monster snowstorm  February: Good - Oldest son Riley home from the army to see his new daughter. Bad - Surprise lambings in bitter cold. Lamb losses and LGD attack March: Good – 75 healthy kid goats born Bad – lose two excellent milkers from difficult freshenings April: Good - Montecello, Kate’s horse from Welwyn, arrives for R&R from a jumping injury. Bad - Cannot find a creamery to bottle our milk and make our yogurt – creamery building delayed because of finances May: Good - Invited to present at the inaugural Slow Money Conference in NYC and new intern arrives. Bad – farmers market sales affected by bad economy June: Good - Kate is accepted for the Equine Management program at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, PA. Bad – have to borrow money to pay for Kate’s college July: Good – enjoying many guests at the farm stay and Fable is booked solid for Saturday dining and Sunday brunches Bad - The calm before the storm   August: Good – Neighbors. Bad - Hurricane Irene and no electricity for five days. Lost hundreds of turkey poults. September: Good – garden harvest is abundant. Farmers market sales pick up. Bad - Storm flooding causes severe damage along streams and roads. Farmers market sales plummet again. Family crises begin. October: Good – Warm autumn. Still picking and canning tomatoes. Bad - Family crises November: Good – great weather and crew for turkey slaughter Bad – Continued family crises December: Good – Kate home from college for the holidays. 2011 almost over. Bad - family issues escalate

Moonfall over Horse Pasture

Newborn Catalina snoozing

Montecello "Monty" arrives


The Rabbit Fleet
Slaughtering Easter lambsShane becomes Monty's groom

Letting Broiler Chickens out of Night Cabin
View of Farm from Uppper Pasture

White Highlanders on Pasture

Raspberries in July

Catalina at Delaware County Fair. Moo!

Bluebird in our Garden

Riley home to visit Catalina

The Hen Party

Just Picked Tomatoes and Beans

Just Picked Wild Apples for the Press

Shane and Susannah Pressing Cider

The Cider Press

Morning Clouds over Mountain
The Turkey Slaughter Crew Day 1

Turkey Guts

Susannah Plucking Bronze Turkey

Susannah and Kate cut Christmas Tree down

Hauling the Tree Home

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
The challenges of 2011 in both our home and business lives shape our outlook for 2012.  2011 was an important year for turning our energy inward to nurture and heal our family, to break or cement commitments and relationships, to question our judgments and actions, to adjust and make hard changes and to prioritize our goals and actions to attain happiness and sustainable success.   A heartfelt thank you to our family, friends and customers who provided us with the emotional and financial ballast to survive the many steps backwards in 2011 and who nudged and cheered us forward with promises of love and commitment.  A quick look into our crystal ball reveals renewed hope, happiness and success in 2012.  We hope to share it with you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Summer turned into September

Dirty Hands are De Rigueur

I was handing over change to the check-out clerk at the supermarket the other day. She grabbed my outstretched hand and said admiringly, “You must be a farmer”. She then proceeded to tell me how her grandparents had a farm and how she wanted to buy a farm someday.

I was brought up to keep my nails and hands clean; dirty hands meant that you were god forbid, a laborer. Remember how Rhett Butler figured out that the green velvet curtain clad Scarlet O’Hara was lying about her life at Tara? He spotted her dirt creased hands and knew that the soft cheeked belle was actually working with her hands, a sure sign that she needed a cad to rescue her. While it is nice to be admired as a farmer, I could use a good rescuing now and then or perhaps another pair of dirty hands to share the load.

The Flood and What it means to the Unflooded

Areas along the Delaware and Susquehanna rivers suffered serious damage from Hurricane Irene and Lee. National news focused on the devastation in Margarettville, Prattsville, Binghamton and Wilksbarre. Federal and state relief efforts have been slow to assist towns and families struggling to rebuild so private flood relief efforts are emerging locally in the forms of  benefit concerts, events, private parties and auctions. The recent Raise the Roof Flood Relief effort organized by the Hamden Inn, Morgan George of Sherman Farmstead and the Watershed Agricultural Council was a great success raising more than $6,000 for flood stricken farmers. And it was a good reason to see friends and fellow farmers and share food, beer, music and stories, especially after a long, hard summer. The New York Times covered the event. Enough is enough at least for now. The flood relief publicity is killing our businesses. Farmers markets revenue have been down over 40% from last year. Local restaurants are serving only a handful of customers on the weekends and hotels and bed and breakfasts in the region are still unbooked for the upcoming holiday weekend. Why? Tourists and weekend home owners, after seeing news footage of some of our Catskill towns, are assuming that roads are closed, businesses have floated away and the landscape is littered with debris and mud. Most of our region was seriously unaffected by the floods. We lost power for five days and had to dry off our milking goat herd because hand milking was impossible without power. We lost a slew of turkey chicks because they did not survive the first night without heat lamps. But after a week, life returned to normal. Except our businesses.  Farmers are helping farmers by lending a skilled hand for farm work or offering to bring unscathed fall crops to the farmers markets, by loaning hay, helping with milking and lending farm machinery and tools. Instead of organizing a fundraiser why not encourage visitors, tourists, second home owners to return to the Catskills and support our farmers, stores, restaurants, hotels and events. Better yet - go to the farmers market this weekend and support the farmers who are supporting their fellow farmers.

First Frost

The first frost came precariously close to my herb and vegetable gardens. The frost line was one foot from the garden gate. I stopped weeding the garden two weeks ago and it is a disgrace, a wild tangle of weeds taller than my waist. Somewhere in the overgrowth are the potatoes, onions and beets. A good hard frost will kill the weeds and reveal where I planted them. The sun chokes were blown over by the Hurricane winds. So there is a natural hedge row of yellow flowers along the end of the garden. Since there are still ten jars of sun choke relish in the canning cupboards from last year, I may forego digging the tubers this year. I harvested the rugosa rose hips and made rose hip jam and sauce. The seeds inside the shell are coated with sliver like hairs and when digested, irritate the digestive tract. The aborigines called it itchy bottom disease. After reading that, I painstakingly cut and deseeded every rosehip that I harvested from four large rosa rugosas. After many hours of cutting, seeding, boiling, straining, jamming and canning, the harvest yielded four eight ounce jars of sauce. In terms of labor, they are worth an ingot of gold – little jars of rose gold. I will open one jar every month from January to April to help me get through winter.

The Creamery is Coming Up

After the excavation debacle, and then weeks of flooded post holes, we finally got the foundation and the perimiters up. Trusses and roof are next. The equipment is in storage or on hold until the building is up and weatherproofed. The barn raising date will be announced soon.  Our farmer friends Dave and Sonia gave us a gallon of sheep milk. I made a gallon of sheep milk yogurt in the picnic cooler.  The yogurt was thick and creamy and as Sonia described it, like white velvet.  We are fielding calls from people interested in learning how to make yogurt and ice cream.  Once we are up and running, the possibilities are endless. 

Turkey Time

Because we lost most of the turkey chicks for the smaller size turkeys during the hurricane, we have a very limited amount of small size turkeys this year. So if you are looking for fifteen pounds or less, please order now. If the owls don’t stop picking them off, the larger turkeys will be in abundance this year. The owl net we attached to the roost seems to be fending off the owl predators. A reminder - we are usually sold out by the end of October so order early this year. Broad breasted bronzes or broad breasted whites are the breeds – the taste is the same – the bronzes have black pin feather marks on the skin and tend to be smaller.


The last brunch of the season will be held on Sunday October 11th. Only a couple of more weeks to join us this season for the farm tour and buffet brunch.  Dinners at Fable will continue as long as people continue to make reservations.  Last year, the last dinner of the season was the weekend before Thanksgiving. After Columbus Day, we bring in leather chairs, sofas and rugs and tuck the table up to the fireplace. The menu changes to hearty stews and soups and other seasonal fare that highlight the autumn harvest. The menu for the next two Saturdays is on our website at

Monday, July 11, 2011

July is Hotter than Hannah

Hotter than Hannah
I walked into Annutto’s the other day and the woman next to me exclaimed, “Wow, it’s hotter than Hannah.” Who is Hannah? How hot is she? I continued my produce shopping with an image of scantily clad, busty Hannah – kind of the Hustler version of Elly May on the Beverly Hillbillies. Hard to banish the image from your brain while you are buying local melons.

Duck Soup

Do you recall the duck disaster last year when 100 ready-to-slaughter ducks escaped through the fence and swam down the stream.  We can only imagine they made it all the way to the Susquehanna River. Never found a single feather. The ducks are on the other side of the road – a good distance from the stream. Ducks are happiest in water so we have a swimming pool for them. They make a mess of the water and it has to be changed daily. We are slaughtering ducks every Thursday along with the chickens. Here is my favorite duck recipe using the raspberries that are ripening faster than we can pick them.

Whole Roasted Duck with Raspberry Port Sauce
1 five lb whole duck
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Rub salt, pepper, and paprika into the skin of the duck. Place in a roasting pan.
Roast duck in preheated oven for 1 hour. Spoon 1/4 cup melted butter over bird, and continue cooking for 45 more minutes. Spoon remaining 1/4 cup melted butter over duck, and cook for 15 more minutes, or until golden brown.

Raspberry Port Sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup ruby port
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons seedless raspberry preserves
1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup raspberries

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the port and white wine and cook over moderate heat until the sauce is reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 7 minutes. Add the raspberry preserves, vinegar and mustard and whisk over low heat until smooth. Add the raspberries and cook, whisking gently to break up the berries. Whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and season with salt and pepper; keep the sauce warm.

Be A Local Hero - Invest in Kortright Creek Creamery

Be a local hero. Invest in Kortright Creek Creamery, and help local dairy farmers succeed. Why are we building a creamery on our farm? We have been milking goats for 15 years. In addition to the sale of raw goat milk on the farm, we have been bottling organic goat milk, making organic yogurt in three seasonal flavors and soft cheese for 8 years. The Big Creamery with which we were working is no longer available. The nearest creamery that can accommodate small producers is over 3 hours away.

We were faced with two options: sell our goat dairy herd and close down the dairy or build a creamery on our farm. Eight years of working at the Big Creamery gave us the expertise on how to bottle milk and produce yogurt and cheese. We learned what to do right and most importantly what not to do. We visited many small creameries to see the operations and inspect the equipment. And most importantly, we asked each dairy producer, “If you could build your creamery over again, what would you do differently?” In collaboration with Farm Catskills, a non-profit agricultural organization, we secured a Rural Business Enterprise Grant from the USDA for the purchase of the equipment for the Creamery. We now have everything we need to bottle milk, make yogurt and cheese and other dairy products. Everything, except the building. The creamery will function as a community creamery for local dairy farmers who want to experiment with creating value-added dairy products and need a facility and a support team to help them add value to their milk so they can survive and succeed. The Farm Catskills USDA grant includes funds for training in production, marketing and distribution.

Invest and enjoy the rewards:
$5-$24: a kid goat named after you. You receive a birth certificate and photo.
$25-$49: selection of organic goat milk yogurts (5 6oz cups for $25 or 10 for $49)
$50-$99: selection of organic goat milk and goat milk yogurts
$100: dinner for two at Fable = farm+table or 5 Sunday brunches (excludes, tax, beer and wine and service)
$250: The Farm GetAway - one night stay at Stone & Thistle Farm’s bed & breakfast and dinner for two at Fable= farm+table (excludes tax, beer and wine and service)
$500: The Farm Adventure - Farmer for a Day (see flyer) for up to four persons. One night stay at Stone & Thistle Farm’s bed & breakfast and $150 of meats, cheese, goat milk products or farm products from the farm’s store.
$1,000 +: One day private workshop: your choice of cheese making or yogurt making in the new creamery or sheep herding with expert sheep dog trainer or butchering workshop with rabbits or poultry, plus a farm luncheon plus a one night stay at Stone & Thistle Farm’s bed & breakfast.

Can’t invest cash but have time to help build or materials to donate? Let's barter!
See for more details on how to invest.

It’s Rabbit Time
The pasture raised rabbits are ready to slaughter so we are serving braised rabbit smothered in raspberry onion sauce on Saturday July 16th at Fable. I love the taste of rabbit.  Yup I am still trying to use up the raspberries!
Amuse:  blue cheese and basil honey toasts 
Blue Cheese is from Caulkins Creamery, the basil from my herb garden and the honey from Mark Vamos

Starter: smoky bacon and garlic soup
Bacon and garlic from our farm

Main: braised rabbit smothered with raspberry onion sauce
roasted spiked red beets
Rabbit, onions and raspberries from our farm and beets from Lucky Dog Farm

After:  greens with berry vinaigrette dressing
Greens from Lucky Dog Farm

Dessert:  raspberry pavlova
Raspberries and eggs for meringue from our farm

Hope to see you soon.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Jewels of June

Herding Hens
One of our border collies, Marly, is 12 years old and spends more time in the grass lazing around than working with the sheep or goats.  He was herding the hens for awhile and then flopped down to rest and keep an eye on them.

Gender Hopping
You would think an experienced rabbit raiser would know better. Last year I tried to breed a rabbit for four months. I understand that there is no such thing as a rabbit that cannot be bred but I was convinced that I had the only unbreedable rabbit on the planet. Perhaps she didn’t like guys? Perhaps she was already bred? After the four months of every day “put her in with the buck stint”, we slaughtered her – and lo and behold she was a boy with testicles the size of quarters. So last fall I made extra sure that the boys were boys and the girls were girls. We slaughtered the boys and kept the girls for spring breeding. By April 1st all of the does were bred for May 1 kindling. Except one. Every day for thirty days I put her in with the buck. Nothing. Not that the buck was not interested. He just kept trying and trying and the deed was never done. So I checked her sex. Yup. A female. I found three dead kits in her cage. Could she have been bred when my back was turned? The doe in the adjacent cage was due so I was not sure if the kits were from the doe next door that crawled into the unbred doe cage and died. So for the next thirty days I put her in with the buck. Nothing. I did a little research to see if there was such a thing as a hermaphrodite rabbit. The rabbit expert explained how to palpate for underdeveloped male rabbit anatomy. Bet you don’t read this stuff everyday! So I checked to see if there was an anatomical problem according to the expert instructions. Sure was. She is a boy. Where the penis has been hiding for the past six months who knows. It’s not a normal looking penis but it’s there and explains the unbreedable rabbit. I concluded that my unbreedable doe has an incompletely closed penile shaft characteristic of a condition called pseudohermaphroditism. Something new to learn every day. So she is not a hermaphrodite – she is a he with deformity. Will he taste differently?

Just Because I Bragged
Never brag. About anything. The times I remember shamelessly bragging came back to bite me in the ass. Hard. I was bragging to a group of people at a conference last week that although farm chores are endless, at least I did not have horses to take care of anymore… Since my daughter left last spring for an internship at Welywn Stables in Rhinebeck and took her two thoroughbreds with her, the days of mucking stalls, scraping together enough cash for hay, grain and shavings, putting blankets on, taking blankets off, farrier bills, fencing issues and then finding the time to ride, were over. The VERY next day my daughter called me to tell me that she volunteered me to take care of her older thoroughbred that she had been leasing and that Montecello “Monty” was coming home for a few months. And because he was fully clipped for the winter show season, he could not be thrown out in the pasture. He needed blankets on and off, sheets on and off, groomed regularly and hooves picked. And, “Oh by the way”, she added before she hung up, “he needs a pony to keep him company.” The horse barn hasn’t had a horse in it for a while and the stalls are now occupied by kid goats, yearling goats and piglets. We rushed to move all the kid goats into another barn, remove all the nails, clips and pointy edges from the stall, pack in new bedding with shavings and salvage the rubber horse buckets from the dairy. We set up the round pen because Tom didn’t want the pasture pugged up or the grass would not grow. We worked endlessly for three days to get ready for his arrival. I even put up his old brass name plaque next to his stall door, made him a Welcome Home sign. That was in April. Now the pastures are lush with grass and Monty is out on the fields. He has a stream, trees and cows. As long as he thinks he is a cow there is no need for pony. Thank goodness.

Monty bossing the cows

Monty with the cattle
Nicole arrives in time to Slaughter Chickens
Our new intern Nicole arrived two weeks ago. Since her cabin has not been built, she is living in the trailer. The first week was very hot and she worked very hard. We were worried that the combination of heat, our crazy family and slaughtering chickens the third day on the job would do her in. She survived it all and has been a great addition to our family and farm. Her main job is taking care of the broiler hens.  What a blessing to have someone ask, “What can I help you with?” Music to my ears. We are looking forward to a fun summer with Nicole.

One day old chicks in brooder
Nicole with ready to slaughter broiler chickens
The Garden
I built the pea fence but did not get the peas into the ground until June 1. “It’s too hot, they won’t grow,” my family chorused. I built the fence therefore they will grow. There are peas breaking through the ground. After all it was 90 degrees three days ago and yesterday we had a frost. They will grow.

Memorial Day – Summer in Full Swing
What a way to start the summer. Memorial Day weekend was packed with three farmers markets, Fable on Saturday night and Fable for brunch on Sunday and Bed & Breakfast guests. Busy is great; but why does it all happen at once?

We enjoyed our Fable guests this weekend. Lots of new people were visiting the area for the holiday. We love meeting new people and discovering their connection to the Catskills and to food and our farm. Guests share their favorite recipes, wines and adventures. The Memorial Day Fable dinner was a mix of wild spring food like dandelions caper butter and Japanese Knotweed and Rhubarb compote. Did you know that nasturtium buds taste like capers too? For dandelion capers – pick the flower bud when it is small and tight. Put in a jar with olive oil and kosher salt. Voila – capers! We are continuing our celebration of spring for the June 11 Fable dinner with the best of spring including smoked trout, spinach and rhubarb.
Amuse:  smoked trout with honeyed horseradish
Starter:  printemps soup
Main:  spring chicken roasted with lemon balm and sage and peas in pods with lemon verbena sauce
After: baby spinach greens with spicy rhubarb dressing
Dessert:  strawberry sundae with rhubarb compote

Here’s the recipe for Printemps soup
Printemps Soup
Servings: 10
1/4 cup butter
1 pound leeks, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 quarts water or chicken stock
3 large potatoes, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
4 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound fresh spinach
1 cup heavy cream

1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the leeks and onion, and cook until tender.

2. Pour water into the pot. Mix in potatoes, carrots and asparagus. Season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

3. Stir spinach and heavy cream into the soup mixture, and continue cooking about 5 minutes before serving.

Hope to see you at the farm or Fable soon.  In the meantime, enjoy the photo tour of Stone & Thistle Farm. 

View of Farm from Mountain
Irises in hen wagon field
Green Green Pastures

Scottish Highland Crosses

Monday, May 2, 2011

Rabbiting at Stone & Thistle Farm

Rabbit Rerun
Meat rabbits have been part of our farm family for nine years. When my children were young, we asked each of them to pick a “business” on the farm that they could manage independently. They were responsible for the whole project from daily animal care to recording revenue and expenses. We provided them with “seed” money and supervised their project. Katey picked rabbits to raise. We brought her to visit Charlie at Rabbit Tracks farm in Davenport and she chose two meat breeds: a New Zealand buck and three California Red does. Charlie showed her how to keep records for breeding, kindling and general care. We bought Raising Rabbits the Modern Way by Bob Bennett. Katey and Tom built rabbit hutches and bought feeders and water bottles.

Katey nine years old with her first breeding doe
Since Katey left home to be a working student at Welwyn Stable in Rhinebeck and abandoned her rabbits to lavish her love on horses, I have taken over her rabbit business.  The first thing I did was cull (slaughter – no waste; we ate them) any of the does (females) that were producing less than four kits (baby rabbits) per kindling (birth).  I kept young does out of two litters and bred them to the older buck. After several unsuccessful breedings and small litters of one, even two kits, I realized that the buck was too old.  In November, I culled the old buck (male) and bought a young, just old enough to breed buck.   Shane named him Bernard.

Winter is tough on rabbits so we provide the breeding does with cages in the barn and pack them tight with hay for warmth.  We wait until spring to breed them because the kits won’t survive in the sub-zero temperatures. Now that spring has arrived, it’s kindling time again! Using the young buck Bernard, I bred the does in March.  What they say about rabbits is not necessarily true.  Bernard was not interested in the does. Like Ferdinand the Bull, he was much more interested in smelling the green hay in his hutch.  He cowered in the corner of the hutch and stared at the doe intruder.  The Raising Rabbits manual suggested using younger, inexperienced does with Bernard since the older does may be intimidating and too agressive (so much for the older woman initiation theory.) Putting young does in several times with him would make him comfortable with breeding. And to get him in the "mood" the book suggested I tickle his sides.   I felt ridiculous getting a rabbit in the "mood", but the session worked and he bred the first doe’s head.  It took a few days for Bernard to figure out heads from tails but he finally successfully bred doe #1.  How do I know he was successful?  All bucks are different, but most of them seize and fall over on their side as if dead when the “deed is done.”  The first time my daughter bred a doe she ran off screaming for help believing that her buck was dead.  Thank goodness, to the best of my knowledge, she has not had therapy as a result of that incident.

I marked the due dates on the calendar (30 days from breeding) and a few days before the due dates, place nest boxes in their hutches. The boxes are filled with wood shavings and hay.  A few days before the does are due to kindle, they begin building their nests.  They gather the hay in their mouth and build a deep nest in the box. 

Doe gathering hay for her nest

The doe finishes building the nest with fur that they have pulled out from their chests. Some does begin pulling hair out weeks before their due date and they are practically bald at kindling time. Others pull their hair out a few  hours before they kindle.  I still get excited about opening the hutch in the morning and find the fur nest moving and wriggling.

The Nest box with newborn kits in a nest of fur, hay, shavings 
One day old kit

5 week old kits hopping in and out of their nest box

The doe nurses her kits only once or twice a day. In ten days, the kits open their eyes and in three weeks they are hopping out of the next box.
By six weeks, the doe is rebred and the kits are put in rabbit cages that move on pasture.

The cages are dragged on pasture twice a day. The growing kits have ample room to run and bounce. 

The Rabbit Cage Fleet 
Doe and her 5 week kits in pastured rabbit cage on the farm
The young rabbits or fryers are slaughtered on the farm at around 12 -14 weeks.The slaughter process is very simple and takes five minutes. The skin comes off in one pull. It makes a good muff when scraped, salted and tanned. The head and feet are discarded. Often falconers will use the head and feet for training their prey birds.
Tom slaughtering a rabbit

Rabbit meat is delicious. Older rabbits are made into rabbit stew. Stew can include almost any vegetable. Here is one of my basic rabbit stew recipes.

Rabbit Stew
4-6 Servings
3 - 4 lbs rabbit
6 potatoes, quartered
8 carrots, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup beef consomme
3/4 cup beef broth
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon basil
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon thyme

1 Cut rabbit into pieces. Layer onion, potatoes, and carrots in bottom of a crock pot. 2 Add spices to the pot. 3 Add rabbit, salt, pepper, consommé, and about 3/4 cup beef broth. 4 Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Thicken gravy as desired. Serve with sweet potato biscuits.

Young rabbits or fryers are sautéed with garlic and butter and fresh chives or parsley. This is my favorite recipe that we serve mid summer at Fable using almost ripe pears from our neighbor’s pear trees.

Braised Rabbit with Pears Recipe
Serves 4
2 young rabbits, each cut into 6 to 8 pieces
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 cups dry red wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 firm, slightly not-quite-ripe pears; skin removed, cored and halved
3 tablespoons chilled butter

Season rabbit pieces and dust lightly with flour. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 3 - 4 minutes. Add rabbit pieces and brown each evenly. Add wine, broth, vinegar, sugar, bay leaves, rosemary and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add pears to the pan, cover and simmer for 30 minutes more. Remove rabbit and pears and arrange on plates. Remove bay leaves and rosemary from pan. Whisk in butter until melted and spoon sauce over rabbit.

The Updike
Tom makes a great rabbit linked sausage with rabbit, pork, apple, salt, garlic and spices. We sell it in our farm store and at the farmers markets.

Rabbit Workshops
Tom recently gave a rabbit slaughtering presentation at the Callicoon market to a large group of people who are raising or thinking of raising rabbits for food. We held a rabbit workshop last summer and will repeat it this year if folks are interested. A description of the workshop:

Rabbit to Roaster
Rabbits are caged raised during kindling and transferred to pasture cages at weaning. See the rabbitry and pastured rabbit cages. Learn how to raise rabbits on pasture. Learn how to slaughter rabbits and break down the rabbits into parts used for stewing, braising, sautéing and grilling. A rabbit meat inspired lunch will be served. In Fable, the farm’s restaurant, participants will work together to prepare dinner using all parts of the rabbit (including the liver and kidneys) Dinner will be accompanied by the seasonal dairy and produce raised and harvested on the farm.
You don’t have to be a farmer to raise rabbits for meat. A backyard hutch is easy to make and works well for three to four does. And the slaughter process is so quick and easy that every family should be adding rabbit meat to their diets. The French eat a lot of rabbit and every farmers market in France sells live rabbits which are slaughtered a at the market or at home. We don’t have to be French to eat rabbit. Hop right into rabbit raising or buy rabbit meat at the farmers market Bon Lapintite!

Farmer selling live rabbits at Bayeux Market in Normandy France