• Publishers' Note Summer 2013

    Publishers' Note Summer 2013

    According to a 2009 report prepared by the Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative, the earliest published account of fish in Lake Champlain was by Zadock Thompson in his Natural History of Vermont (1853). In his report, Thompson described 48 different species of fish, and historically, the commercial fisheries on the lake targeted whitefish, walleye, yellow perch, lake sturgeon, eel, and lake trout.

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  • Set the Table with Garlic Scapes

    Set the Table with Garlic Scapes

    Garlic scapes are one of those totally edible and delicious things that most people don’t even know exist. Every spring, hardneck varieties of garlic (having overwintered but not ready to harvest until July) send up a curlycue stem with a bulbil up top. The bulbil is sort of a mini bulb that can grow new garlic in a couple years or just be eaten like garlic right now.

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  • A Fly in the Ointment

    A Fly in the Ointment

    There’s a small insect causing big damage to soft fruits that ripen late in the season. It’s new to our area, and spreading fast. Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) has been buzzing across the country for the past few years. First, it was found in California in 2008; then in 2009 it moved to Florida, Oregon, and Washington. From Florida, it moved up the East Coast to arrive in New England in 2011, and last year it was found across much of Vermont.

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  • How to Love a Lease—Vermont landowners

    How to Love a Lease—Vermont landowners

    Sustainability, simply stated, is the capacity to endure. But the high cost of land in Vermont, combined with the financial challenges of owning land, are threatening the sustainability of local agriculture. According to Vermont’s Farm to Plate report, “Affordable access to farmland was described [by stakeholders] as a serious barrier for new farmers or those seeking to grow and expand.”

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  • How to Love a Lease—Young farmers

    How to Love a Lease—Young farmers

    At the end of a mostly impassable class 4 road in Calais lies the brick farmhouse of Fair Food Farm. In some ways it seems remote, but as Emily Curtis-Murphy sees it, “It’s a great place to farm.” Before she delves into her experience of farming on leased land, Emily takes me on a brief tour. She and her family rent their house from one landlord and, two miles away, rent land owned by a different landlord for the rest of Fair Food’s operation.

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  • In the Tank

    In the Tank

    On a sunny spring day earlier this year, steam was pouring out of sugarhouses, calves and lambs and kids were being born, and greenhouses were teeming with plant starts. And on Curtis Sjolander’s Mountain Foot Farm in Wheelock, in the barn just behind his house, hundreds of brown trout were swimming in their large tanks, slowly growing in cold waters.

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  • Hooked on Aquaponics

    Hooked on Aquaponics

    Aquaponics is gaining traction on a larger scale as an alternative to traditional methods of produce and fish farming. In developing countries with a limited water supply, people like aquaponics guru Travis Hughey are introducing the concept as a way for individuals to grow their own food while making the most of their limited resources.

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  • Ocean to Mountains

    Ocean to Mountains

    Ethan Wood cannot wait to show you how his scallops twitch. “You see that move?” he asks, breathless. “You see that? These things are alive!” We’re standing in the back of a refrigerated truck in Lebanon, New Hampshire. The scallops, sitting in a plastic box atop a bed of ice, do in fact wriggle when Ethan gives them a little prod. Less than 10 hours ago, the mollusks were still in the waters of Nantucket Bay.

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  • Students Harvest the Future  at Local Colleges

    Students Harvest the Future at Local Colleges

    The agriculture renaissance is upon us. With the growing demand for agriculture graduates, Vermont colleges are leading the way with a variety of agriculture and food-related degrees aimed at preparing students for one of the fastest growing green job fields in the United States. Organic farming, sustainable food systems, nutrition, and animal health are taking center stage during this unique era when environmental and sustainable issues span the globe.

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  • Farmers Kitchen—Les poulets, s’il vous plaît

    Farmers Kitchen—Les poulets, s’il vous plaît

    When we’re selling at a local farmers’ market or get a call ordering a CSA share, we’re often asked, “What is a French chicken?” I, or my wife Rocio, will often say, “Well, it’s a chicken that speaks French and has a little pointy, black mustache,” but actually we’re referring to our certified organic Red Bro chickens. These delicious birds originated from France, where they are referred to as poulet rouge (red chicken) and are found under the label “Rouge” (Red Label).

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  • Last Morsel—The Family Car as Solar Dehydrator

    Last Morsel—The Family Car as Solar Dehydrator

    All summer long, I feast like a queen from the garden, but never lose sight that fall is coming, and we’ll still want to eat. My husband and I therefore freeze, ferment, can, and dehydrate food for winter, and since one of our goals is to avoid the use of fossil fuels to prepare or store our food, we often favor dehydrating.

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Farmers Kitchen—Les poulets, s’il vous plaît

Applecheek Farm

John and Rocio Clark
John and Rocio Clark

Written By

John R. Clark

Written on

July 03 , 2013

When we’re selling at a local farmers’ market or get a call ordering a CSA share, we’re often asked, “What is a French chicken?”

I, or my wife Rocio, will often say, “Well, it’s a chicken that speaks French and has a little pointy, black mustache,” but actually we’re referring to our certified organic Red Bro chickens. These delicious birds originated from France, where they are referred to as poulet rouge (red chicken) and are found under the label “Rouge” (Red Label). The Red Label in France indicates that the chickens had plenty of space, were raised on pasture, and had grass on which to forage. Of interest, though, is that they must also meet gourmet standards. In France, the poultry are tested every year by consumers in blind taste tests. They’re rated in comparison with other poultry on appearance, taste, and texture. There are also sensory profiles performed twice a year by a jury of trained experts.

We learned about this breed from a friend of ours who was raising them and who gave us one to try. At the time, we were pasture raising the very common Cornish Cross chicken (not exactly a breed developed for foraging on pasture). When we put our first Red Bro in the oven, we thought it could not get much better than what we were already growing, but one bite and wow! We were never going back. It’s now our children’s second favorite meat from the farm—after bacon!

Not only were we surprised by the taste of these chickens, we were also surprised by their performance as pasture-raised birds. For one thing, we had almost no loss or mortality among the young birds. Second—wow! Did these birds love grass! We discovered the Red Bros to be foraging machines. When they were moved to fresh pasture, they would forget about the grain and jump right into grazing. We figured we went from 15 percent of diet being grass (Cornish Cross) to at least 50 percent of diet being grass (Red Bro).

As “foodie” farmers, we were very excited; we were not only raising a bird with superior taste and texture, but one with superiority in nutrition. When animals forage on grass, the higher the nutritional value: higher levels of vitamins, lower saturated fats, lower cholesterol, and a balance of omegas 3 and 6 fatty acids.

Part of Applecheek Farm’s mission is “to be a model of sustainability and create healthy food that provides optimal nutrition and restores ecological capital within our soils, while providing space where community can come together to celebrate food.” Red Bro chickens fit right into that mission.

Applecheek Farm is a second-generation family farm in Hyde Park that sells beef, pork, veal, chicken, duck, milk, and eggs. You can find them at the Montpelier farmers’ market on Saturdays and the Stowe farmers’ market on Sundays. Or join their meat CSA and enjoy deliveries to Montpelier, Stowe, Waterbury, or Burlington. Contact: 802-888-4482 or applecheekfarm.com.

About the Author

John R. Clark

John R. Clark

John R. Clark of Applecheek Farm, a second-generation family farm in Hyde Park that sells beef, pork, veal, chicken, duck, milk, and eggs. You can find them at the Montpelier farmers’ market on Saturdays and the Stowe farmers’ market on Sundays. Or join their meat CSA and enjoy deliveries to Montpelier, Stowe, Waterbury, or Burlington.

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Home Stories Issues 2013 Summer 2013 | Issue 25 Farmers Kitchen—Les poulets, s’il vous plaît