I run a different type of farm. Or perhaps, I'm a different type of farm marketer. Either way, Wholesome Valley Farm has evolved into an operation with many complimentary components. To be cliche, we don't put all our eggs in one basket.
But this week, we did put all the eggs into quiche. The farm kitchen at WVF is really the instrument that helps balance our workload as well as the supply and demand for local foods.
We bake bread, English muffins, and crackers all year long. In the summer and fall, we process excess vegetables into canned goods, frozen foods, and sometime simply do the minimum to get them in the freezer. And in the winter, we stay busy with big projects like this week's quiche.
This week's quiche is a great example of how the farm kitchen helps me to accomplish several goals:
- keep the staff employed year round
- find a home for excess produce, eggs, and more from our network of farmers
- and offer something exciting to our subscribers that isn't rutabagas and storage cabbage
We started on this week's quiche back in January. At that point, one of the busy projects was to start rendering excess pork fat from the New Year's hogs and make it into lard. From there, the lard was cut into whole wheat flour to make a whole wheat pie dough. The dough was rolled out, formed into a pie pan, and blind baked in the oven before going to the freezer. *Note: vegetarian quiche crust does not contain lard.
Next, we had to start prepping all the vegetables. This included peeling hundreds of pounds of rutabagas, onions, potatoes, and carrots. Each vegetable was then cooked separately, such as sweating the rutabagas, blanching the potatoes, caramelizing the onions.
The meats also had to be prepared. The fresh hams were brined with a cure and smoked to perfection, then cut from the bone and shredded. One of the other big projects was preparing the turkey, which required an aromatic brine first. Then the birds were cut down and cooked in their pieces. The bones were used to make stock (for another upcoming project) and the breast were roasted off. The leg quarters were placed in a dry cure of fresh herbs, salt, and sugar for 24 hours before being cooked confit. The meat was then picked from the bone and shredded for use in the quiche.
And, then the cheeses need shredded. For the hard cheeses, this meant removing the rind and cutting into small pieces before grinding. In all, about 250 lbs of cheese were used for this project.
Lastly, the eggs. This time of the year our sales are slower, but the hens keep laying, so the quiche helps absorb some excess supply of eggs. We cracked 450 dozen eggs and made our egg batter for the quiche.
After all the components were ready, we created an assembly line to build the quiches and bake off, 18 per oven, day after day until all 1,000 were made.
It was a long project but the kitchen staff at the farm really enjoyed it. We hope you enjoy the fruit of our labor, and we thank you for staying committed to our local supply chain all winter long.