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Meat share week 32

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TapRoot Meat shares

Week 3 November 16-22


Meat Shares:

Whole chicken at $5.00/lb ($20 value)


Monty meat shares

Whole chicken at $5.00/lb ($25 value)



Notes from the barn yard:

Lots of wintery preperations going on this week as well. More piglets to arrive in early December. Gilbert enjoys playing around in the feed bins :)



Recipes that work:

At our house we eat a lot of whole chickens. But I don't always cook them whole. I'll take a chicken out the of freezer and let it thaw in the fridge. The first night I cut off the breasts, usually for Kung Pao chicken, a quick and super delicious meal. It looks a little labor intensive at first but it come together in just a few minutes once you have all the ingredients together.

     Click here for a Kung Pao Chicken recipe

Then I would use the wings, drums, and thighs the next evening for roasted chicken pieces and vegetables. I use whatever vegetables happens to be left from our share, but usually potatoes, beets, onions, garlic, squash and such. Toss it all with some oil, salt and pepper and into the oven it goes at 350C for an hour.

What's left over I throw into the crock pot to make chicken broth for a soup, either for that week or I freeze it in 4 cup quantities (laying flat) for use later. I love having chicken stock in the freezer to use instead of water when making rice, quinoa, and lentils. 

Here is a cheeky, but very informative 3 minute video of piecing up a whole chicken. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRAFMFc-z-Y


If you have any question, comments, or concerns about your meat share please don't hesitate to e-mail me at justine@taprootfarms.ca. I am very interested in how the meat share is working out for you.


Meat shares week 31

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Meat shares week 31 November 2-7

Meat shares

Either whole small chicken ($12.50-$17.50) and chicken liver ($3.00)


Whole medium chicken ($20)

Monty meat shares

1 pk Pork chop ($9.50) or spare ribs ($10.00)


Chicken thighs ($8.00) or Bacon ($8.50)

Notes from the barn:

We've been getting a few questions regarding ham. Our ham comes in three forms: ham roasts, ham steaks, and deli ham (which always comes sliced in vacuum packs). Ham is a cured product. To cure a ham, the skinned back leg of a pig is immersed in a salt water bath for about a week, then it is hung in the hot smoker for a few hours, which effectively cooks the meat. Now the leg is called a ham. Ham products can be consumed right out of the package or you can cook them for a hot meal. Ham roasts can be heated in the oven (20 minutes per pound at 350C), ham steaks can be fried in a pan (fry at medium heat until cooked through), and deli ham can be diced and added to a stir fry, eggs, or soups.

Nathan is working away at winterizing the barn and shelters. Our barn is the winter home for the laying hens, rabbits, some pigs, beef cattle, and sheep.The open windows in the barn are being covered with greenhouse plastic, and pens are being made to house the incoming animals. 

Test Kitchen:

Whole Roast chicken in milk

Jamie Oliver tossed in milk and lemon zest with his roast chicken, and out came a succulent masterpiece: juicy meat in a rich, tart sauce that magically comes together while the bird cooks. Oliver roasts the chicken uncovered and bastes, but our version uses a lid for a supermoist result.


Serves 4 


  • 1 (4- to 5-pound) whole chicken
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 5 to 8 large sage leaves
  • 2 (3") sprigs rosemary


Active time: 25 minutes 
Total time: 2 hours

Preheat oven to 375°. Discard chicken neck and any included giblets. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season generously with kosher salt and black pepper, including inside the cavity. 

Place a 4-quart (or larger) Dutch oven or heavy oven-safe pot or pan over high heat. Add butter; when it melts and foams, add chicken. Brown chicken over high heat 10 minutes, using tongs to turn over. When chicken is evenly golden brown, turn it breast side down in pot and pour in milk. Bring to a simmer, then turn off heat. 

Add to milk the lemon zest, garlic cloves, cinnamon, sage, and rosemary. Cover pot with a lid or foil and roast 45 minutes. Remove lid and roast until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°, 30 to 45 minutes more. Remove from oven and carve or shred chicken (it should pull off the bone easily). If needed, add salt to sauce to taste. Serve, spooning sauce from pan over meat. 

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/food/Lemon-and-Milk-Braised-Chicken-Recipe#ixzz3qXyUS2wu

12345 Spare Ribs

My (Justine's) dad used to make these ribs a few times a year and we would all be super excited when he did. Now I make them for my little family, and it gets the same reaction. They are sweet and sticky so I would recommend wet face clothes for kids, and adults, hands and faces. 

If you’ve ever thought that Chinese recipes were complicated, this dish dispels all preconceptions. Not only is it easy to remember, it’s almost effortless to prepare. To feed more people, just increase the ratios in proportion to the meat. For a tangier taste, switch the proportions of vinegar and sugar. Try it with beef short ribs too.

Time: 45 minutes
Makes: 4 to 6 servings

2 pounds pork ribs (spare ribs or country-style, cut into chunks)
1 tablespoon sherry
2 tablespoons vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons tamari
5 tablespoons water

In a large wide-mouthed heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, combine the rice wine, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and water. Add the spareribs and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally.

If the meat dries out and starts to burn, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time. The ribs are ready when the meat is tender and glossed with a sticky, reddish-brown glaze and the liquid has been absorbed. Serve with freshly steamed rice and a vegetable side dish.


If there’s still a lot of liquid at the end of the cooking time (this can happen if the meat contains a lot of water), remove the meat and raise the heat to high. Cook until the liquid turns into a thick, sticky sauce. Add the ribs back into the pot and toss to coat. You can also broil the ribs on high for 3 to 4 minutes to create a nice burnished crust while you reduce the sauce..


Monthly blog - October, 2015

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I’ve just come in from the flax field to complete some computer work that I put on the back burner back in August, when I started harvesting flax.

With all the leaves changing colour, things are beautiful here in the Annapolis Valley and like the weather, things at TapRoot Fibre Lab are changing! Here is what’s been happening:

  • We have started searching for used equipment. We have a lead on a seed cleaner out in Saskatchewan and are sourcing harvesters and Hollander beaters (for paper making).

  • We are building partnerships and networking with folks who are interested in our machines. I have been working on putting together a letter to send to individuals, businesses, and organizations that will include photos of the rippler testing and progress on the breaker, a description of our work thus far, and where we are heading.

  • A few weeks back we had a visit from a friend of ours who works with flax in Québec. He spent the day with us, talking about things to consider during our test runs and offered suggestions on how to improve the quality of our flax straw. His visit was jam-packed with information!  

  • We are testing out some products that we can produce while we are waiting for the long line linen machines to be built. Linen is our final goal, but there is so much more that the “cast away” fibres, seeds, and shivecan be used for!

  • Patricia is following up with her contacts from her recent trip to Belgium and is in the process of securing financing to move the TapRoot Fibre Lab into the next phase of development.

October happenings at TapRoot

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It has been a hive of activity around the farm this past month as we work to get the harvest in. Despite the late start to the season this year, we have an abundance of delicious veggies going into storage for the winter months and into share boxes for our members. 
(L) Garfield preparing Brussels sprouts for shares (C) Martel and Richard sorting grape tomatoes (R) Patrick sorting tomatoes
We have been saying goodbye to many of our seasonal workers on the farm team. Our summer students have returned to school and the Newfoundland crew has gone home until next year. And sadly, we had to say goodbye to one of our first pigs here at TapRoot, Shirley. She was one of our first pigs, and it was a tough day for everyone, especially Josh. 
In partnership with Nourish Nova Scotia, we piloted a school fundraiser--Nourish Your Roots. Students at four elementary schools in HRM and the Annapolis Valley sold boxes of healthy Thanksgiving veggies. It was a great success! You can read more about it HERE and watch a short ATV feature HERE. It was really gratifying to see the excited faces of the children coming out to meet the van and listen to them chattering to one another when they peeked inside the boxes. :)
If you're not a CSA member but would like to check out what TapRoot Farms has on offer, we are at the Prospect Road Community Centre until 1pm on Saturdays. Drop by to visit Justine and Gilbert and fill your basket with all kinds of deliciousness--veggies, fruit, eggs, meat, herbs. :)


Recipes from Denise's Test Kitchen

We made these crispy sesame fish burgers with lime mayo over the weekend and gave them two thumbs up. :)

Another winner for fish share members. This lemon dill pollock is nice and light with lots of flavour.

Peaches are abundant right now. We've been eating them by the bucket in our house. I am really committed to eating local foods so come January, when I'm craving peaches, I don't run to the grocery store to buy peaches from Washington; I go to the freezer to thaw out peaches I've frozen. When freezing peaches, you want those fuzzy skins to be gone and here's how you do it with ease and in minutes.


I love peach salsa. I love it with corn ships and on tofu, and Andy loves it on chicken, pork, and fish (oh, and with corn chips, too.) It's lighter and (obviously) fruitier than straight-up tomato salsa and with peaches at their peak right now, it's a great time for all kinds of peachy recipes. Click HERE for the recipe.

We made this roasted cauliflower with red chile, cilantro, and lime last night at our house. Three words: Make. It. Tonight. Holy moly, it is amazing! Don't fear the red chile--there's just a hint of heat. Seriously, this is one of the tastiest cauliflower dishes I've made. Go and get your cauliflower on! 

I tried this butternut squash and smoky black bean kale salad last fall, and it's really yummy. Great colder weather salad. 

Black kale recipe #2: Tuscan white bean soup (with kale and sausage). I'm vegetarian so I make this soup with my own spicy "sausage" but Andy tells me it rivals carnivorous versions he's had, so I feel confident posting this and telling you it's earthy and authentic and delicious.


What to do with your habanero peppers once you've carefully handled and cleaned them? Try this fantastic spicy and sweet habanero-jalapeno jelly. So seriously yummy!

Try this spicy habanero avocado sauce on all kinds of your favourite dishes. It's great on sandwiches, eggs, crab and fish cakes, burritos and enchiladas, grilled meats... the list is endless.

We were hankering for Indian food at our house last night so among the dishes we cooked up was this creamy coconut eggplant curry. It was the first time I'd tried it and it was a definite "make again." It was really lovely with the other curry dishes we had and was super easy to pull together.

Four words: mint chocolate chip cookies. :) There are several other recipes for fresh mint when you click on the link. So good!


Unless it's really well cooked, eggplant can taste a little spongy. I'm not a big fan of spongy, but I am a fan of eggplant, so I like to ensure it's really well cooked. The easy way to do this is to fry it, but I'm a bit of a health nut so I roast it in the oven, instead. Much less oil, and I like the slightly caramelized flavour. Here's the HOW TO. Give it a try!

Chimichurri sauce is great served over grilled meat or fish, or in my case, tofu. :) It's an Argentinian condiment that is super easy to whip up and a delicious way to put your fresh parsley to use!

And finally, a creepy treat for Hallowe'en. Apple cider + apples + imagination = spicy shrunken heads cider. :)


Monthly blog - September, 2015

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Happy Belated Autumnal Equinox!

I have been busy in the flax field harvesting, drying, and retting this year
's crop. 
In August, I experimented with some flax from 2014 that had not retted 
long enough--I retted one-pound bundles of flax for varying lengths 
of time and noted any changes in colour and processing time. I 
also conducted some market research to identify yarn shops located in 
the Maritime provinces that carry linen yarns. 
Recently, Patricia visited Belgium for a week to talk to professionals 
in the flax industry.She had a wonderful time and blogged about her 
visit in the Facebook group: Flax Learning Tour 2015. 
The rippling machine testing is ongoing and yielding positive results. 
The challenge now is finding a cost-effective way to crush and clean 
the seeds. Construction has started on our second piece of 
equipment--the breaker--and the designs are finished for the third 
piece--the scutcher. Construction on the scutcher will begin when the 
prototype breaker goes into the testing phase. 
Have a safe and happy October!