Friday, November 27, 2009

With Gratitude and the Pursuit of Happiness....

This amazing NYT "opinion" piece was sent to me by a friend this morning. The perfect concept to think about on the day after Thanksgiving, the day we are suppose to switch from gratitude to fast paced consumptive madness. Personally I prefer to extend the celebration of food, family, and harvest --- enjoying a second and third meal of turkey and the delicious sides, as well as the friends and family that gather for this special holiday. For some great recipe ideas using up the turkey left overs check out Dawn Warden's mainline blog Bocconcini. Speaking of turkey and gratitude, thanks to all of you who purchased a pasture raised turkey from Inverbrook or some other local farm--a true pursuit of happiness.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Turkey Time!

Early this morning we gathered up the turkeys and took them to the processor so they will be ready for pick up at the farm later on today. If you have pre-ordered your turkey from Inverbrook (pre-orders only) you have several options for pick up:

1. From 3-6PM in the kitchen of the large stone house, the last house before the barn. If you are coming down the paved tree lined driveway (the one with the Inverbrook Farm sign at the end of it, you simple follow the paved part--it will curve around to the right and take you past the door to the kitchen.

2. If you are picking up an order from lancaster farm fresh and/or want to purchase greens from the farm you can drive up to the distribution shed. YOU MUST LET ME KNOW SO I CAN PUT YOUR TURKEY IN THE REFRIGERATOR UP IN THE DISTRIBUTION SHED. You can pick up turkeys from 3-6PM today or basically all day tomorrow. This will be a self serve process, that is why I need to know ahead of time.

3. Finally you can pick up your turkey in the same location at option 1 but on Wednesday from 10AM-2PM.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call 610-563-3116 or e-mail

If you are looking for cooking guidance Fine Cooking is a great source of video instruction and recipe ideas. For some tips about the nuance to cooking a pasture raised turkey click here.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

An Admirer of Arugula

The little bit of warmth and recent sunshine has added longevity to the fall season greens (available at the farm on Tuesdays 8:30AM till dark, along with Lancaster Farm Fresh 4 Season Harvest drop off ), so I have been enjoying one of my personal favorites this time of year--Arugula. The wet cool weather tempers arugula's heat potential, and the resulting nutty, slightly hot, complex flavor pairs perfectly with sweet fall fruit like apples, pears, cranberries and my personal favorite asian pears. In fact I am going to make an asian pear/pine nut/arugula salad for the Kennett Farmers Market community potluck--I just have to decide on a cheese-shaved parmesan, chevre, blue cheese crumbled on top--the combinations are limitless.

Speaking of the combo of arugula,fruit and cheese click here for a great Brie, apple, arugula sandwhich recipe.

On the last day of the famers market Martha Pisano (of Highland Sheep Cheese fame) and I had a conversation about cooking chip steak and serving it over a bed of arugula, the warm meat slightly wilting the greens, yum. This reminded me of one of my favorite arugula recipes that my sister brought back from some trendy restaurant in NYC, basically it was flank steak cooked in a balsamic and shallot reduction. I could not find the exact recipe, but this is close. I suggest adding shallots to the vinaigrette using grass-fed beef to make it all the more flavorful. Enjoy!

Flank Steak and Arugula With Warm Balsamic Vinaigrette
The Washington Post, August 10, 2005

Flank steak is usually marinated, then broiled or grilled. This quick version dispenses with a marinade and cooks the meat in a skillet. Making it that way creates pan juices, which are deglazed with balsamic vinaigrette, pulling the dish together. Serve on a bed of peppery arugula and top with curls of Parmesan cheese.

Leftovers are great the next day on a crusty roll with a touch of mayonnaise (keep the vinaigrette separate until lunchtime to keep the roll from becoming soggy).

4 to 6 servings


• 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 1/2 pounds flank steak
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 12 ounces arugula leaves, tough stems discarded, washed and torn into bite-size pieces (about 8 cups)
• (4 to 6 ounces) A large chunk of Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat, tilting the pan to coat the bottom with oil. Season the steak with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Place meat in the skillet and cook until the underside is well browned, adjusting the heat as needed to keep the meat from burning, about 6 minutes. Turn and cook until the other side is browned, about 6 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer to a carving board to rest while making the vinaigrette. Set the skillet aside.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk the vinegar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup oil. Return the skillet to high heat, pour in the vinaigrette, and scrape up any browned bits in the skillet with a wooden spatula (don't let the vinaigrette reduce). Remove from the heat.

Divide the arugula among individual plates. Holding the knife at a 45-degree angle, slice the steak across the grain into thin slices. Place overlapping slices of the steak over the arugula. Whisk any meat juices into the vinaigrette, and spoon the vinaigrette over the steak and arugula.

Using a vegetable peeler, shave a generous amount of Parmesan cheese onto the meat and greens. Serve immediately.

Recipe Source:
Adapted from "The Carefree Cook," by Rick Rodgers (Broadway Books, 2003).

370 calories, 28g fat, 6g saturated fat, 44mg cholesterol, 278mg sodium, 4g carbohydrates, 1g dietary fiber, n/a sugar, 25g protein.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Blues and Greens of Community Action

This post is about two very different ways you can participate in important community action to strengthen and protect our vibrant local food system. I will start with the more social of the two, even though this event is slightly less urgent. The Kennett Square Farmers Market is teaming up with the Kennett Flash's monday night Blues Jam to present a community potluck and yes, electric blues jam. For more information about this event check out the posting on the Kennett Square Farmers Market blog. Last year the potluck was actually at the farm, and the food and crowd were just amazing. I am sure the mix of music and Kennett spirit will produce an even more magical evening. Hope you can make it out next Monday November 23rd, 6:30PM (music starts at 8PM).

The second action requires immediate attention and is all about the up coming Food Safety Legislation. Although I whole heartedly support legislation that protects the health and safety of the consumer, there are parts of this bill that could have a very negative impact on my operation, in particular the rules and regulations regarding the selling of greens. I have written about the impact of these regulations in earlier posts and I encourage you to educate yourself about this important legislation and the potential impact it could have on small farms like Inverbrook. For more information on the Senate Food Safety bill, please see National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition's Talking Points.

Below I have included a letter from Brian Snyder executive director of The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, followed by a step by step action plan. My hope is that you will find the time to make yourself heard--the future of my greens depends on it.

Dear PASA-folk,

Okay, we knew this was coming and here it is, perhaps pushed ahead on the schedule by a delay in healthcare legislation. This summer we dealt with the House of Representatives on food safety and experienced some success. Now it’s the Senate’s turn.

This Wednesday the Senate HELP Committee (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) will begin active debate on S. 510, a bill that differs in many respects but shares the same basic objectives as HR. 2749, which passed the House at the end of July. Rather than go on at length about what needs to change in the current bill, please read the alert below my signature as sent out this morning by NSAC (the National Sustainable Ag Coalition), our partners in tracking this issue all year long.

As you can see, NSAC has identified Senator Casey as a key figure in this debate. Senator Casey is important not only as a member of HELP, but also by his participation on the Senate Ag Committee. In addition to the concerns listed below – and others you may have – I’d also like you to ask Senator Casey and/or his staff to confer with PASA on food safety matters before he participates in the HELP markup process next week.

For your information, I will be in Washington D.C. on Monday and Tuesday of next week and will be meeting with key people involved in this debate (hopefully including Senator Casey or his staff). The phone number and other relevant information can be found below.

Thanks again for your ever-present support at times like this…

Brian Snyder



The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee will take up S. 510, the Senate version of major food safety legislation already approved by the House of Representatives, next Wednesday, November 18.

The bill would put real teeth into federal regulation of large-scale food processing corporations to better protect consumers. However, the bill as written is also a serious threat to family farm value added processing, local and regional food systems, conservation and wildlife protection, and organic farming.

We need a food safety bill that cracks down on corporate bad actors without erecting new barriers to the growing healthy food movement based on small and mid-sized family farms, sustainable and organic production methods, and more local and regional food sourcing.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and the National Organic Coalition, have fashioned five common sense amendments to S 510. We need your help to make them happen! The House has already passed their Bill. This is our last best chance to affect the final legislation.

Step 1: Make a Call

Please Call Senator Casey's office at (202) 224-6324 and ask for the aide in charge of food safety issues. Tell them you are a constituent and are calling to ask the Senator to support the amendments proposed by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and the National Organic Coalition to the Food Safety Modernization Act. Specifically, ask your Senator to support the following key changes to the bill:

The bill should direct FDA to narrow the kinds of value-added farm processing activities which are subject to FDA control and to base those regulations on sound risk analysis. (Current FDA rules assume without any scientific evidence that all farms which undertake any one of a long list of processing activities should be regulated.)

The bill should direct FDA to ease compliance for organic farmers by integrating the FDA standards with the organic certification rules. FDA compliance should not jeopardize a farmer's ability to be organically certified under USDA's National Organic Program.

The bill must provide small and mid-sized family farms that market value-added farm products with training and technical assistance in developing food safety plans for their farms.

The bill should insist that FDA food safety standards and guidance will not contradict federal conservation, environmental, and wildlife standards and practices, and not force the farmer to choose which federal agency to obey and which to reject.

Farmers who sell directly to consumers should not be required to keep records and be part of a federal "traceaback" system, and all other farms should not be required to maintain records electronically or any records beyond the first point of sale past the farmgate.

Step 2: Report Your Call
Let us know how your Senator responded by clicking here and typing in a brief report.

Step 3: Learn More (see link above to NSAC taking points)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Plan a Local Thanksgiving

Over the next couple of weeks I encourage you to keep checking up on both the Inverbrook Farm Blog and the Kennett Square Farmers Market Blog which will be filled with tips, recipes, and more about making your Thanksgiving meal a true celebration of our local bounty. It makes sense to start with the focal point of the traditional meal--the Turkey. We are proud to offer own Inverbrook pastured raise turkeys (see pictures).

Unfortunately most of our large turkeys are spoken for, we do however have a handful of smaller turkeys yet unclaimed--probably in the 9-12lb range. The size our of turkeys is always a guess, and quite frankly, providing the focal point of your very special holiday meal gives me a bit of an ulcer. Our type of small scale natural farming lets nature dictate size, so as long as you can be flexible with the size of your turkey, we are happy to provide the very special bird. Our turkeys sell for $3.20 a pound and will be available the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. You can place an order request by e-mail After you place an order I will follow up with pick up details. The wonderful weblog CCDwell recently posted a feature on sourcing local turkeys--so if you want a bigger bird or go all out a get a heritage breed--the have all local sources listed.

Turkeys are also available through the Lancaster Farm Fresh Buy Coop we will be hosting here at Inverbrook. To read more about the wonderful local organic coop click here to read an article that appeared in Grid magazine. To find out more about signing up for the 4 Season Harvest please read the previous post.

Yesterday's New York Times Food and Dining section featured a debate about what people like better-- the turkey or the sides. Perhaps the pictures I have included in the post will not do much to swing the debate towards the turkey. Although the turkey might not win in the looks department, our humanely raised poultry certainly tastes good, and you can be rest assured have a happy life until the end. Click here for the link to their dining blog about the subject. Besides the debate, this week's food and dining section featured some great recipes including this one for Dry-Brined Turkey, enjoy!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happy to Host Four Season Harvest through Lancaster Farm Fresh

Inverbrook Farm is happy to announce that it will be hosting (serving as a drop off site) Lancaster Farm Fresh's - a local farmer run organic growers cooperative -- 4 Season Harvest Program. The drop off will begin Tuesday, November 17th and continue through at least the week of Christmas every Tuesday. Pick up will be possible every Tuesday from 8:30AM-5:30PM from the Farm.

This is a new collaborative project for both Inverbrook and Lancaster Farm Fresh--so please bare with us as we work out the potential kinks of drop off, ordering and distribution. Like joining Inverbrook CSA, you will be guaranteed farm fresh produce of the highest possible quality and the added bonus of supporting and strengthening our local food system through this creative and collaborative food distribution model. Lancaster Farm Fresh actually shares warehouse space with Kimberton Whole Foods, which allows LFF to offer some of Kimberton Whole Foods specialty items like their house brand of coffee. I will also make Inverbrook Farm products like frozen pastured poultry, eggs, and, depending on the weather, field greens like lettuce, arugula, and asian mix available for purchase. You will not need to pre-order these items--they will be available on a first come first serve basis in the distribution shed.

To sign up for the 4 Season Harvest click here. If you have any further questions feel free to contact me