They holidays are here. I can’t stop thinking about what I get to eat next. There is so much amazing food everywhere I go. Yesterday for an Open House we made an appetizer tray with our very own Sopressata, Granny Smith apples, Looking Glass’ Chocolate Lab cheese and Roots and Branches homemade crackers. Everyone raved AND it was so simple and fast.
Whether you are entertaining or just feeding your family and guests consider us for your meat needs.
This years holiday specials include:
Beef Prime Rib: $12.50 /lb
Whole Beef Tenderloin: $19.oo/lb  quantities limited
Sopressata and Pepperoni: $8/pack
Holiday Box of Meat: $100  mixed grassfed beef and pastured pork box that will last all week

The season is winding down and we are beginning to put the farm to sleep for winter. We have harvested the Thanksgiving turkeys (on a nice warm day) and the last batch of pastured chickens (not warm at all). If you’re the planning type come on over because now is the time to stock up on $3.50/lb, pasture raised, freedom rangers. I count on two chickens per month for our family which amounts to 14 birds coming up to our chest freezer to keep us fed over the next 7 months! The first chickens of 2012 will be ready to harvest in June. Chicken is the perfect reason to turn on the oven and warm up the house.
Other end of the fall season tasks include making the last of the cider, which will be available frozen through the winter, getting the barn ready for the pig herd to help us turn bedding into compost, putting the cows out on the stockpiled fescue to graze on our Rutherford County farm, mulching the blueberries, and of course getting more firewood. The always at the back of your mind task of firewood.

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

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.

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!

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 orders@hickorynutgapfarm.com  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.

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 cory@hickorynutgapfarm.com to reserve yours, supplies are limited, no deposit required. We trust you won’t forget that part of the meal!

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!

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!

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.