My husband Lorenzo and I started our farm journey once he retired from the US…
What is the name of your Farm, Ranch, or Homestead?
Where are you located?
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia
How and/or when did life as a farmer, rancher or homesteader begin for you?
I’ve always had a passion for animals for as long as I can remember. When I was about 9 years old my family acquired meat chickens, and shortly thereafter we got pigs. As much as I loved caring for those animals, I knew I wanted animals of my own that we wouldn’t end up parting with.
When I was 11, I started baking and selling bread to my friends and neighbors to save money for my very own flock of laying hens. After a year of hard work, I got my first 27 chicks in 2016 and it’s snowballed from there.
What do you grow and/or raise?
Currently it’s just a large flock of chickens. I’m passionate about breeding for green, blue and dark brown eggs. I’ve been raising Marans, Cream Legbars, Welsummers and Ameraucanas to play around with the genetics and egg colors.
One day I would love to expand into other areas of farming such as a garden and dairy cows.
What traditional methods do you use on your farm to grow your crops and/or raise your animals?
While many chicken keepers discourage broody hens, I embrace the mother hens and never take eggs away from my girls. I feel like there’s something so quaint and charming about a mother hen raising chicks and I’d choose that over an incubator and brooder setup any day. I do still incubate when I don’t have a broody hen, but I’ll welcome any help I can get from the ladies!
What words of inspiration or uplifting wisdom do you hope to impart on the future generation of farmers, ranchers, beekeepers, and homesteaders?
There will be some heartbreaking periods in farming. It might be one hard event or a hard season, but every farmer will experience hardships and it is so important to power through that. Last year I had 5 months straight where I wanted to give up because nothing was going right. Looking back, I’m so grateful I kept going because there was a rainbow in the end and I’m reminded of why I love this lifestyle with such a passion. Don’t ever forget why you started and why it means something to you and your family.
FarmMade is excited to celebrate Spring by elevating the egg to its proper status of miraculous! Within every culture worldwide, there is a reverence for new life, fertility and rebirth. Just one egg symbolize’s all three. The farm has held the tradition of building chicken coops and raising chickens to provide meat and eggs for their family, friends and communities for centuries. Chicken coops come in all shapes and sizes, intended to hold MANY of these sacred eggs, while sheltering the Mother Hens who lay them. It is in the gathering of eggs that a farmer is rewarded every day. The transfer from Coop To Kitchen creates a recipe book full of possibilities.
We, at the FarmMade test kitchen, have dreamed up cookie recipes that honor Springtime on the farm. THANK YOU to the egg farms that were excited to participate and send us a variety of colorful eggs. Another THANK YOU goes to Shepherd’s Grain, who were kind enough to send us three distinct flours to experiment with. Pastry, Whole Wheat and All Purpose. Flour is the unsung hero of every baked good. The quality of their flour is unsurpassed. Their close relationship with each farmer ensures their stringent requirements of no-till and NON-GMO farming practices are met.
This week we debut TWO very traditional cookies. The first one is a Jewish cookie called Hamantaschen, easily recognizable by its triangular shape and variety of yummy fillings, like poppy seed (the oldest and most traditional), apricot, fig, etc. We totally fell in love with them because they are like big thumbprint cookies! The second cookie we baked was a Norwegian Krumkake. Lucky enough to find an old decorative, two-sided iron griddle when we moved into our present homestead, we thought it was high time to put the hand written recipe card found with it, to the test.
Pick up a dozen eggs from your local farmer ‘helping farmers stay farmers” and let us marvel at your baking skills. Share a photo on Instagram of your own CoopToCookies creation, and hashtag your post #cooptocookies!!!
A beautiful dozen eggs raised and gathered by Savannah Marie aka The Teenage Homesteader
The GORGEOUS dark yellow and orange hues of a TRUE farm egg reflect its makers ability to free-range for the best nutritional bugs, berries, grasses, seeds, leaves, etc. The value of these eggs are exceptional as is their integrity to make and bake the BEST of everything!
RECIPE #1 Jewish Hamantaschen
Gathering ingredients to make the traditional Jewish Hamantaschen was fun! The possibilities are endless and so a baker can get quite creative. We made a very traditional Hamantaschen filling made with ground poppy seeds, honey, milk, egg yolks and vanilla. We added a bit more lemon to mimic the flavor of lemon poppy seed and lighten the deep flavor of ground poppy seeds. Jam fillings of apricot and raspberry were also used but any jam will do! To make our dough a bit easier to work with we used 3 1/2 cups flour to ensure it wasn’t too stiff and cracked when shaping. This dough should taste like a perfect cross between a butter cookie and sugar cookie. We used the recipe we found with the iron but you can also use this Hamantaschen recipe .
Don’t you just LOVE this rustic, well-used Scandinavian iron griddle? We just so happened to find this little gem, upon moving into our new homestead awhile back. It was sitting towards the waaaayyyyy back of one of the cupboards just waiting for someone to uncover its secret handwritten recipe. Our Norwegian heritage identified it right away and the excitement began! Typically, made around the holidays they can also be made to celebrate other things as well….like Spring! The pretty patterns on the griddle can get quite elaborate and are specific to where you go in Norway and what traditions each family upholds. They are usually a prized possession and kept for generations within a family as treasured heirlooms. Generally used on a stove top there is an electric version these days for convenience.
The trick to making the perfect Krumkake is all in the batter consistency. Typically, it takes 2-3 or maybe even four tries the first go around to establish the perfect cookie. But, once you get the hang of it there is no stopping! Be sure to coat the iron with melted butter every time along with flipping the iron over every 35-45 seconds on each side. The whole set up comes with a handy dandy wooden cone shaped stick that is placed on the cookie once done and rolled as it sits on the griddle. The fillings are whatever your heart desires!!! We used this recipe and came up with our own festive fillings of Chocolate Hazelnut Pastry Cream, Bananas Foster and Coconut Whipped Cream Bliss. There are so many options! They are like little ice cream cones that you can fill with sophisticated medleys and Springtime toppings.
If you so happened to miss our first two Coop To Cookies blog posts featuring Alchemist Farm and Comb Farms mosey on over and try your hand at a scrumptious Oatmeal Hummingbird Cookie recipe OR “The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER!!!” Bake one or all of our traditional FARM-EGG-REQUIRED recipes and be sure to leave a comment and/or photo in the section below or on Instagram with the #cooptocookies! If you want to win the special GIVEAWAY featuring Shepherds Grain Flour, JennyJens Farmhouse Apron and The Spoon Ladies (locally made in Bend, OR) fabulously made wooden spoon—follow the instructions on Instagram and you just might be the one to win!!!! Good luck and “thank you” for stopping by and saying HOWDY!