Saturday, March 2, 2013

nurturing our food

I think it's this time every year that it feels to me, as though Spring will never come. The days are long and dark, temps are still freezing, the ground is barren and...my appetite is off the charts! It seems I creep into Winter with some restraint but by Spring I am craving all things fried, piping hot and crusty.
fried rabbit
 Every Winter I make my fair share of soups and stews..but there is no denying that crispy craving! We eat only what meat that is in the freezer from what we've processed or from friends who have...and nearly everything else we eat is made from absolute scratch. 
 
Our friends from Link Family Farm raise beautiful meat rabbits. Since we raise our own beef, lamb, poultry and soon to be added pork..rabbit meat has been a new and delicious find for us. 

There is much debate today about farms, especially those that raise animals for processing. For many reasons, I do not care to join that debate but since I am an avid animal nurturer, preserver, rescuer, healer and lover..I will weigh in on it with just a few of my thoughts on raising animals for food.
a young rabbit snug in its nest at the Link's farm

a Link Family Farm meat rabbit
I strongly feel that processing an animal should be hard. It should not be something taken for granted and convenienced. It is a process that is entitled to respect and tender loving care. A process that starts from the very beginning..from conception, to birth, to bottles and buckets, to land grazing all while being honored and nurtured. Processing is a part of our lifestyle and it has not been an easy one for me. I hear so often from other animal lovers that there would be no possible way that they could do that to a creature they have loved and cared for. I offer no answers, no argument and no judgement but I will say that if you can not do it, this is your choice but do tread softly about making claims that it's because you love animals more than those that make the choice to raise and nurture the food they eat. Long before supermarkets and trendy ways of eating...humans hunted for their food. It was a treat to bring home a kill and was treated as such. Nothing was wasted or taken for granted. There were no feed lots and no mass slaughtering. We may not have to hunt for food like our ancestors but there is great value in treating the process with the same amount of respect. When I eat meat at any other place besides home, I can not help but wonder if that animal was cared for..it is serving its purpose and I am thankful but was it loved, was it cold, hungry or hurting..did it have a name? With the animals on our farm or the farm of our friends..there is no wondering. Being aware is not easy and I do not think it should be. When things are fast and easy, they're quickly taken for granted. Farmers that choose the small scale processing way of life are a large part of the respect process to me. I have been there..I am there. It is our way of life, it is not easy and it should not be. 

“The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.”
― Joel Salatin, Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World

My Rabbit Pot Pie

Pie Crust
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup lard
1 egg
1 tsp vinegar
3 tablespoons of water

Mix first 3 ingredients then the next 3. Mix together and form into a ball - chill if needed to roll out.
Soup: 1 rabbit boiled and meat pulled off the bone. Stock is strained. Meat & stock are then returned to the pot. Add diced carrots, potatoes, celery, corn, limas or other vegetables of your choice and cook until tender. Add the seasonings of your choice - I like to add salt, parsley and chives. Thicken soup with flour and milk. Add pie crust to the top and bake for approx 30 min at 350 degrees or until the crust is golden brown.






RABBIT BURGERS contributed by Michelle Carr
2 cups rabbit meat
2/3 cup pork sausage
2/3 cup boiled potato
1 beaten egg
Cut meat from bones, then run through food chopper. Add the sausage, and mashed potatoes. Form into patties, season and fry.