Pastured Chicken-stock up while you can

Three meals in one: Baked Chicken, Chicken Salad Sandwich and Soup Stock. Make a choice to have a pastured freedom ranger for dinner tonight. You can’t go wrong at $3.50/lb. We have an ample supply of chicken right now-come visit us at the farm store (expanded hours starting Sept 1st) and pick up a chicken for dinner. The cool weather and the start of school and soccer season has brought my crock pot out of summer storage and back to its prominent place on my counter. Stuff with lemons and onions, dust with your favorite spices, add vegetables and dinner is ready. Perfect timing for a hungry family at the end of the day. Stay in touch with whats happening on the farm and weekly updates at http://www.facebook.com/hickorynutgapmeats

Chickens are Ready!

Pasture raised chicken is the perfect meat to come around the table to with family. I often roast two at a time so I can have some leftover to feed the farm crew the next day for lunch. One of our freedom rangers (that’s the breed of chicken) will feed about five people. If you’re not quite a family of five – fear not- you can easily cut these whole birds into pieces and just freeze the portion you aren’t using. The best thing about buying one chicken is it gets you three meals, dinner that night, lunch the next day and stock for soup in the freezer. You can’t go wrong! We have kept out prices the same $3.50/lb for a farm raised chicken, come on by and bring some home today. Or even come on SATURDAY during our new expanded farm store hours. Now open Wednesday through Friday 1-5 and Saturday 10-5pm. Hope to see you there or here http://www.facebook.com/hickorynutgapmeats with updates on where to get our meat each week at Asheville restaurants.

What is an Abattoir?

An abattoir is another name for the place where animals are butchered. You will see these terms interchanged often in the industry of raising animals and selling meat. Hickory Nut Gap Meats uses two such abattoirs to process our animals. Mays Meats located in Taylorsville, North Carolina and Washington County Meats in Bristol, Virginia both located two hours from our farm.  Hickory Nut Gap Farm, and other local producers in our company, take pigs and cows we have raised  to one of these two abattoirs, or processors as we tend to say, for their final moments. Both Mays Meats and Washington County Meats are Animal Welfare Approved (a third party certification) processing facilities, which in short, means they take great care of  the animals we have raised in the last phase of their life. Why is this so important? We believe honoring the animal with a peaceful exit rather than a stressful one ultimately affects the quality of the food we are consuming on many levels. The long term relationship we have developed with both of our processors is essential to ensuring our animals well being even after they leave the farm.

In the past year there has been an erroneous account of where we process our meat in a short essay in the Mountain Express. We were never contacted by the author who assumed he had his facts straight. He did not. It was stated that our business and environmental impact are in fact not sustainable because we truck our pigs all the way to Pennsylvania. Two hours is the maximum time our live animals spend on a trailer and they do not go to Pennsylvania. We do ship meat to PA to be further value added because no such facility exists in our region. This meat is shipped UPS and made into our beef jerky, beef sticks, and kielbasa summer sausage.

Opening in 2011, a federally inspected poultry processing facility will add one more option for local processing. This is going to allow us to raise more pastured chickens to help meet our current demand and offer more of a variety of cuts. In the five year range, is talk of a processor in western North Carolina that could serve our growing agricultural economy. At Hickory Nut Gap we too are exploring adding value and variety to our meat selection by having an on farm aging room and value added capabilities as well as an inspected kitchen and on farm eatery. We will keep you posted!

Sign Up for our MEAT CSA!

The CSA Concept

Community Supported Agriculture or CSA is a relationship between a food producer and food consumers. Traditionally CSA shares have been offered by a vegetable producer on a weekly basis throughout the season who in return provides the customer with an assorted box of freshly picked vegetables. This buying concept was sprouted from the idea that the customer was investing in a particular farm business they respected by buying a CSA share, similar to buying stock in a company. The money was paid upfront and the return on your investment came later when the crops were harvested. Not all years are good for growing tomatoes and of course no one can predict the weather so the shareholder took the risk with the farmer as the season progressed.  

There are various models in use and we have crafted our CSA model to accomplish two things that we feel are essential for a win-win situation between a farm business and a CSA shareholder. First we are committed to providing high quality, healthy meat to our shareholders with satisfaction guaranteed. Secondly we are planning our supply based on the six month commitment we have as partners in this endeavor and expect that to be a mutually respectful relationship. Our goal is to keep it simple and exciting. Here are the nuts and bolts of the CSA program here at Hickory Nut Gap Meats. 

Share Sizes

 $420 or average of $7.00/lb each month

Example A:
5 lb Chicken (when in season)
2 lbs Pork Breakfast or Specialty Sausage (Brat, Italian, Chorizo)
3 lb Ribeye Steak

Example B:
2 lbs London Broil
1 lb Flank Steak
2 lbs Pork Tenderloin
3 lbs Bacon
2 lbs Ground Beef 

 $600 or average of $6.67/lb per month

Example A:
5 lb Chicken (when in season)
2 lbs Pork Breakfast or Specialty Sausage (Brat, Italian, Chorizo)
3 lb Beef Short Ribs
2 lb NY Strip Steaks
2 lb Chuck Roast
1 lb Stew Meat

Example B:
2 lbs Sirloin Steak
2 lbs T-bone Steak
1 lbs Skirt Steak
3 lbs Breakfast and/or Specialty Sausage
2 lb Fresh Ham
1 lb Hot Dogs
2 lbs Pork Chops
2 lbs Pork Ribs

Box Variety
We strive to represent all types of the meat we raise on the farm each month in your box. Currently we raise chicken, beef, and pork at Hickory Nut Gap Meats. Chickens however are the variable as they are only raised seasonally.  Most of the meat in your box will be frozen but if possible we will provide you with some fresh products.  Each month we will offer recipes corresponding with some of the cuts in your box.  Part of the fun of being a CSA member is experimenting with new cuts that you may not cook in your normal routine. Of course you can always give those cuts away or store them in your freezer until the inspiration hits you. The beauty of meat, you can freeze it!

Should you need something specific from us, say for a birthday dinner or special occasion, you can add on cuts to your monthly CSA box.  Add on cuts and special orders picked up at the same time as your CSA box are 10% off retail prices for CSA members.   We will be putting the boxes together the week of the pick up so we will not know ahead of time what cuts will be in the box. So if there is something you have your heart set on go ahead and put in a special order at 10% off! 

Payment Options
We offer two ways to pay for your CSA share. You can either pay for your entire six month share upfront, that would be $420 for a 10 pound share or $600 for a 15 pound share. Or you can pay 50% at sign on $210 for 10 pound share and $300 for the 15 pound share and the remaining 50% prior to your fourth month’s box delivery.  Monthly payment plans are available upon request.  To pay, you can either, call and let the person working the farm store enter your credit card number, or send us a check.  In the future we plan to have secure online payment processing through our shopping cart.  Again we have committed to supply you with high quality grassfed beef and pastured pork and chicken for six months and reciprocally we ask you honor your six month commitment to us.  

Pick Up Locations
CSA pick up will be the first Tuesday of the month.  We will send you an email reminder the Monday before pick up.  You can pick up your CSA share at the West Asheville Market during the May – October market season between 3:30-6:30pm OR at our Farm Store between the hours of 1-6pm that Tuesday.  Shipping is also available for our out of town members but normal shipping costs will apply in addition to the monthly charge for your box.  We ask that once you select a location you continue to pick up at that location for the entire six months.

No Show Policy
If you cannot come to get your CSA share that month for one reason or another, please arrange for someone else to pick it up for you. I am sure if you give them a pack of ground beef they would be happy to do it! If you fail to arrange for someone else to get your box please be aware that we will invoice you a $20 no show charge.  If we fail to have your box at the previously agreed upon location we will issue a $20 Gift Card. 

Sign Up
We accept new CSA members twice a year, in December and June. This will allow us to process your information one month ahead of time and have your first CSA box ready the first Tuesday of January or the first Tuesday of July.

****For this first round of members which will have their first box pick up Tuesday February 1st the season will run February-June (five months). Fees will be reduced to $350 for 10 pound share and $500 for the 20 pound share. Payment, in the payment plan fashion you choose, is due by Jan 21, 2011. ****

Please contact Erica VanSteeis [email protected]  or 828.628.1027. She will collect the necessary information and get you started as a Hickory Nut Gap Meats CSA member.

Eat Local. Our Meat CSA.

Will this be your New Years Resolution? An obtainable resolution living in this town with all the amazing vegetables, breads, cheeses, honey, sorghum, grits, and meats grown in our area.  We at Hickory Nut Gap are crafting a CSA for meats model to make this goal easier. Are you interested in receiving a weekly (or monthly) “basket” of grassfed beef and pastured pork treasures. Please send us an email to [email protected]  stating your interest and your wish list of conveniences. We are developing this idea and would like to implement starting in the new year. A quick and easy way to get healthy meats to your table. Pick up locations could include farm store, farmers market, or neighborhood drop offs. We just need a mass following to make it happen. 

Thank you for your feedback in our recent survey, we have heard your requests and our prioritizing tasks to make our business better in the new year. The shopping cart, long awaited, is underway and with fingers crossed will be up by the mid January. We value you as customers and invite your feedback anytime. It’s the only way we know the impact we are having and will be able to serve you better.

Talking Chicken and Turkey

Pastured Chickens available again! $3.50/lb for whole birds. We will be offering breasts, thighs and drumsticks, wings and stock chicken in the coming weeks as well. Whole chickens weigh in the 4-6 lb range and these freedom rangers, as the breed is called, makes a wonderful, quick dinner. A tip from my friend Holly: “I start the chicken in the oven, take the kids to soccer, pull it out when I get home start a quick pot of water for couscous and dinner is done!” Maybe a few vegetables on the side would be my only suggestion, a winter squash from Flying Cloud Farm, delicatta is my favorite this week!

Thankgiving (what!) light years away in your mind, I suspect, but the time is now to reserve your Hickory Nut Gap pastured turkey. In the past, most of our turkeys weight between 12-23 lbs and this is what we are expecting again. They are $3.50/lb. Your Thanksgiving meal centerpiece is available for the choosing on the day you pick it up (usually the Wed-Sat before Thanksgiving)

Email [email protected] to reserve yours, supplies are limited, no deposit required. We trust you won’t forget that part of the meal!

Chickens are Ready!

The crew arrived today with fresh chicken gizzards for lunch. Our intern/chef extraordinaire boldy peels them, and sautees in olive oil and garlic. Three of us down them with a mmm sound reaction. One tightly purses his lips with a shake of the head and well the two others of us with less courage just politely decline. Its kind of a rule that on chicken killing days you don’t eat chicken but today with 96 birds under their belt, gizzards just seemed like a good idea. Somewhere there was some inspiration.
Not sure if there are any gizzards left folks but we do have whole, fresh chickens  available for $3.50/lb. That is until they are all sold. Come by the farm store Wed-Sat between 1-5 to claim yours. Its a first come first serve situation, but their will be another batch coming on at the end of August.
The freedom rangers, which we have been pleased with so far, are weighing about 4-6 lbs, a perfect sized broiler. I know many of you would rather buy chicken pieces (breast, legs, thigh) etc but I encourage to try roasting a whole bird or purchasing them fresh and cutting them up to freeze into your own family size portions. Feasting on a pastured raised chicken is a real treat especially in the middle of winter-plan ahead here its a seasonal product. Our most dedicated customers purchase 12 chickens each sale enough for two chicken dinners every month. Come by the farm to get your pastured chickens or visit our booth at the Asheville City and North Asheville Tailgate Markets this Saturday morning. Don’t forget if you wear your HNGF t-shirt, it’ll score you a free pack of ground beef!

Sale Password: just ask, “What is a Freedom Ranger?”

Let it be known. You have successfully navigated to our NEW  website and our blog. Feel free to share this password with anyone and everyone who would like to take advantage of our sale! Mention the phrase What is a Freedom Ranger? and receive 10% off your entire purchase at the farm store and all three farmers markets we attend from June 1-5th! So you’re wondering the answer -see you at the farm store or market for that!

Baby Chicks Arrive

Arriving via the Fairview Post Office 300 chicks happily chirped as we quickly loaded them in the truck for the final leg of their journey. We are trying a new breed of chicken this year called the Freedom Ranger. I love that name maybe a future bluegrass band name of Cyrus, Nolin, and Levi’s!  They (the chicks, not the boys) are quickly growing out of their cute chick phase and will be out on pasture in the beginning of May. Stop by during farm store hours Wed-Sat 1-5 and check them out.