Bacon isn’t just for breakfast: Bacon Cornbread Recipe

This is one of our favorite bacon recipes. It travels well to potlucks, picnics, and barbeques, and still tastes good as leftovers. CSA customers, you’ll be getting a pound of bacon this week, along with chicken, pork chops, ground beef, a ham hock, and sausage. Enjoy!

Bacon Cornbread
Makes one 10-inch round bread

Adapted from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, an excellent bread-baking book.

1 cup coarse cornmeal
2 cups buttermilk
8 ounces bacon
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 T baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1 t salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 T honey
2 T unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 T bacon fat or vegetable oil

1. The night before, soak cornmeal in the buttermilk. Cover and leave at room temperature overnight.

2. Fry bacon in a 10-inch iron skillet. Using tongs, remove pieces to cool on a paper towel. Drain all but 2 T of fat from the skillet. When the bacon has cooled, crumble into coarse pieces.

3. Lower the oven setting to 350 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a mixing bowl. Stir in sugar and brown sugar.

In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Dissolve the honey in the melted butter and then stir the honey-butter mixture into the eggs. Add this to the soaked cornmeal.

Now add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until well blended and smooth, like thick pancake batter. Stir in the corn kernels (we like to use frozen sweet corn).

4. Reheat skillet with bacon fat until fat is very hot. Turn off the stove, then tilt the pan to grease the sides of the pan. Pour in the batter. Sprinkle crumbled bacon pieces evenly over the top, pressing them into the batter.

5. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until corn bread is firm, spongy, and golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then slice and serve.

Note: you can try this recipe in a 10-inch cake pan, 12-inch square pan, or 9 by 13-inch pan. We like the iron skillet because it gives the bread a sweet brown crust.

Father’s Day Beer Can Chicken

This picture was taken by a genuine father (in-law)

Father’s Day is around the corner and the first delivery of the Blue Heron Meat CSA will arrive just in time.

If you haven’t signed up yet, we’ve got a few spots left–check out our CSA page for details. It’s the perfect gift for Dad, and the first pick-up is this Saturday.

Father’s Day Beer Can Chicken

Two Whole Chickens

½ C veggie oil
½ C Water
2 T Worcestershire
2 T Soy Sauce
1T Cider Vinegar
1 T Mustard
1 T Brown Sugar
1 T Chili Powder
1 T Black Pepper
1 T Kosher Salt
6 Garlic Cloves
1 Medium Onion
1 Hot chili or 2 t cayenne

½ C Orange Marmalade (Apricot jam or the like can substitute)
¼ C Honey
2 T Cider Vinegar
1 T Lemon Juice
1 T Chopped Chives
1 T Parsley

Two cans of beer (or soda)
melted butter

Don’t be put off by the long ingredient list – this if fairly simple barbecuing. Once the birds are on the grill, there’s very little to do except make sure the fire doesn’t flare up. And besides, it’s for your father.

Combine all marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend – that way you don’t have to mince the garlic or onion. Put a chicken and half the marinade in each of two ziploc bags and refrigerate overnight or up to three days.

Set up a fire in half of your grill, or turn on one side of burners in a gas grill – you will cook the chickens in the other half. You want a medium fire (if your grill has a thermometer, about 300 degrees).

Open the cans of beer, drink a bit, fit the bird on the can, and balance it as best you can on the grill–this is probably the most difficult part of the whole deal.

Cook about 1 hour & 15 minutes or until the breast reaches 155 degrees. Glaze the chickens thoroughly and cook half an hour or until the breast reaches 165 degrees.

Rest the chickens for 20 minutes – REALLY REST THEM! IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE! Sprinkle lemon juice on top and serve – they will be flavorful and salty-sweet on the outside, just perfect.

Notes: This recipe is shamelessly cribbed from Adam Perry Lang, whose BBQ books have great recipes and a little too much of Mr. Lang talking about Mr. Lang. Also, about the cans or beer – the most useful thing about using a can is that the moisture prevents it from heating up – the beer or soda won’t flavor the meat much or ‘moisten’ it as is sometimes said.

Friday Surprise!

Yesterday we went to move the sheep to fresh pasture and came upon a brand new lamb! According to Tom and Cas, this is the latest lamb they’ve had since starting the herd over six years ago.

The lamb was sleeping this morning, tucked into a tall tuft of grass.

The mama ewe started bleating, encouraging the lamb to get up and nurse.

After nursing, Mama looked it over and cuddled for a while. It’s hard to tell how small they are–the lamb is about the size of a rabbit. Mama is our smallest ewe.

Then the lamb started exploring on springy, wobbly legs!

Mama stayed close by. This is her first lamb and she’s doing great!

Spent Brewery Grains for the Pigs

Last Thursday drove over to Elkhart in The World’s Most Beautiful and Reliable Farm Truck and picked up a batch of leftover brewery grains from the kind folks Iechyd Da Brewery. It’s been a long term goal to find ways to feed pigs on what otherwise would be food waste, so it was great to find this so close to home. Generally, spent grains are good to replace up to a third of pigs standard feed, so the only question was if the pigs would like it…


Oh, yeah, that’s right. They’re pigs. They like pretty much everything, and they hit the grains like a ton of bricks even though they had been eating all afternoon, fighting with each other not only to eat the most grain, but stand on the most grain as well. Chip says he’ll have more for me next Tuesday, which I guess will be good both for beer drinkers and the pigs.

Come on, buddy. The corral is open, just walk around the fence and you can eat all you want.


Beef Quarters Available, Facebook

Here’s a picture of three nice looking (If I do say so myself) cattle on the way to the butcher, in preparation for our Summer Meat CSA.

We made a last minute decision to sell quarters of one more animal than we had planned to, so we have last minute beef available –  three quarters of beautiful grassfed Black Angus beef for all your summer grilling etc. needs. Each quarter costs $550 and will provide about 135 lbs of custom-cut beef. We have to wrap this up in the next week, so let us know!
Also, we’ve started a facebook page – – we’ll be updating there as well.

Blue Heron Sausage at the Constant Spring–Tonight!

We are big fans of First Fridays here in Goshen, especially the May edition. We highly recommend coming downtown tonight for the I ❤ Goshen Bicycle Criterium–an awesomely fast bike race that draws professional cyclists from miles around.

But tonight we are especially excited because A Constant Spring is serving up a First Fridays special: Blue Heron pork sausage! So if you don’t have plans yet, come downtown tonight. Since they are serving food in the alley next to the bar, you can watch the race and enjoy a delicious meal at the same time!

See you there…

Waking up the Piggies

This morning we checked on the pigs around 8:30 and they were all still asleep snuggled up, until they heard us and got startled:


This Wednesday we moved the pigs out from winter quarters to summer pasture – it involved a pretty sizable truck load of feeders, feed, quonset hut for shelter and of course our beauty pageant winning trailer with 25 impatient pigs inside.

The thing about doing this move is that it’s always fun to see just how much the pigs like fresh ground to root up – they squeal and complain as we push them off the trailer in their new home then take a look around and stick their noses straight into the ground and start to snuffle around. In a few hours they had found the best grassy are and had eaten quite a bit of it.

You’ll have to pardon the last picture, but it’s one of the good outcomes of having pigs where they get plenty of roughage – pig poop that is dark black rather than grey or yellowish. It means they’re not just rooting around, but eating grass and tubers and bugs, and that varied diet that comes from forage is a big part of what makes them taste especially nice. Whatever color it is, it still smells terrible.

New Baby Chicks

Today we got new baby chicks! Summer CSA people, these are for you. Here they are taking their first drinks:


On to Grass!

In an unprecedented move, the cattle and sheep moved from their over winter area onto lush green grass yesterday! I have never moved animals onto our perennial pastures so early, but the exceptionally warm temps spurred tremendous growth. We are grateful to be finished hay feeding and look forward to a long grazing season.  The animals noticed me setting up fencing and quickly came when called to enjoy the salad bar.  Below is a video of the sheep leaving the winter area and enjoying fresh grass.

Close to the Ground, Signs of Spring

Earlier this week Adam and I went for a walk in the woods where we pastured the pigs last summer. For the most part, it still looks like winter: A few dry leaves still clinging to otherwise bare branches. Blackberry canes thick with thorns and nothing else. Crumbling wallows where once the pigs mudded up on hot days.

But if you squint a little you can see the slightest tinge of green on the ground. And if you get on your hands and knees, you can see spring is already on its way! It will be a while before our pigs can return to these pastures–we want them to fully recover from winter first. Who knows how this early spring will play out for farmers–it could bring a longer growing season, or it could create problems with trees and plants blossoming too early–but admit I like to see signs of the new season!