Week 5 is underway and I wanted to send a few updates. In particular, I wanted to alert you to a change in this week's sauerkraut.
Previously, our sauerkraut was in 2# heat sealed plastic bags. Our producer, Junior, informed me about a month ago that he could no longer offer those bags. As an Amish gentleman, he was advised by the church to discontinue using the heat sealer, which is electric. As a result, either I needed to buy his sauerkraut company and own the electric powered bag sealer, the cabbage, the bags, the inventory, and everything else; or, we had to change the packaging.
I chose change the packaging. We decided to go with glass quart jars. The good part is they look great and are reusable. The bad part. They have less "head room." Our sauerkraut is a living product. It is a lacto-fermented product and it continues to off-gas once it is packaged. This is a very good thing. Unfortunately, in the mason jars it does put a lot of pressure on the lid. When you open it, don't be surprised if you hear a hissing noise and/or the brine spills out through the ring. Please open it over a sink.
Sorry for not warning you earlier. It is probably a good idea to "burp" the kraut occasionally (weekly) if you aren't going to use it immediately.
Butter has arrived:
The last couple weeks we have been touting that butter is coming in...but then it doesn't. There has been a real shortage lately (read below for more). On the brights side, we have 60 cases of butter in our hands and will have it on all routes this week. 2# rolls of butter are $8 each.
For your baking needs, we also have eggs ($3.5 or 2 for $6), milk, and yogurt available at the back of the truck.
The butter does freeze fine as well. Actually, we keep ours frozen. Butter, being a fat, absorbs odors (and flavors) very easily. It is best kept frozen. If you buy the 2# roll, consider cutting it down the middle lengthwise. This creates to crescent shaped halves. Then cut those halves into quarters. Now you have quarter cup sticks of butter. Wrap them in plastic wrap or waxed paper and freeze in a zipper bag.
So you may be curious why butter has been hard to come by. All dairies, in general, have one common problem - balancing. Balancing is when you have the perfect mix of low fat or fat free products and whole fat products. Skim milk, chocolate milk, and yogurts are typically low fat or fat free products. Butter, whipping cream, egg nog, and ice cream, as well as whole milk, are full fat products or concentrated fat products. A dairy cannot produce butter if it doesn't have a low fat milk product to offset it. To get the cream, you have to skim the milk and be able to sell both parts.
Small dairies like Hartzler have limited supplies of milk and an unpredictable market. This time of year, not only is butter demand up, but ice cream is still going strong and egg nog sales are very popular. To further compound it, the cold can reduce the production of a dairy cow, particularly in a grass based production system. There simply isn't enough cream to go around!
SPECIAL NEW ITEM: HOMEMADE PIES AND QUICHES
The new pies have arrived and are selling very well. We have more coming in on Friday for the Friday and Saturday customers. Below is a little more info about the offerings.
The crust: A dense, flaky pastry crust made with local soft red winter flour, lard, and butter.
The fillings: Local sweet potatoes and eggs in the pies and in the quiches they use grassfed beef from their farm, grassfed cheese from a neighbor, eggs from their farm, salsa made on their farm from their tomatoes, peppers, onions, etc, and local cream.
Each pie is a sweet potato pie (think a rich pumpkin pie) with a butter-cream frosting. We selected this arrangement because they freeze excellent. You can then sit the pie out a few hours before guests arrive and serve it at Christmas or New Years.
Sweet Potato with Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting - $14 for a 9 inch pie
Sweet Potato with Banana Buttercream Frosting - $14 for 9 inch pie
Sweet Potato with Molasses Glaze Drizzle - $14 for 9 inch pie
Quiche with smoked beef brisket, cheese, and salsa - $14 for 9 inch quiche
We also have available some frozen Sweet Potato Pies with Toasted Meringue topping and house made caramel drizzle. These are from Lucky's Cafe in Tremont and are on sale for $19 at the back of the truck.
Bloody Mary Mix
Clark Pope's Bloody Mary Mix is back in stock and will be on all routes this week. Be sure to pick some up as a stocking stuffer or to simply serve as guests are visiting. The slightly spicy bloody mary mix (and some booze of course) are sure to warm your guests up on these cold December nights.