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Happy Creatures in Charlotte, NC

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

This January we were visiting Matthew’s folks in Charlotte for his father’s birthday.  We visited Creekside Acres farm, which is only about 30 minutes east of Charlotte.  We were picking up some chickens and legs of lamb for the party that Saturday.  It was a perfect day, and we got to meet John, Kathy, and the animals.  They had Jersey cows grazing in the pasture, sheep and goats in outdoor pens, chickens pecking around, some horses, two turkeys, golden retrievers, and fourteen cats.  Free-range chickens aren’t common around here, but John and Kathy feel it’s important, even though they’ve had severe losses last year due to hawks and foxes.  I for one am happy that they’re sticking to it.

Due to the drought conditions North Carolina faced the last several years, John couldn’t pasture the sheep this winter because he’s allowing the grass to recover.  It’s really true that a livestock farmer must also be a grass farmer.  The sheep are eating hay instead until he can allow them to pasture again.

No pigs here yet.  But John has a friend back in Georgia that raises hogs, and he’s thinking of starting.  It seems to me that he and Kathy just might have enough going on!

They’re not certified organic.  Organic feed is really expensive, and they don’t have the acreage to grow their own, yet.  For now they source their feed locally and ensure that it’s not GMO.  For everything else they follow organic-or-better practices.

We couldn’t pass up getting a gallon of fresh raw milk (for “animal consumption only” – glad that loophole is in NC too.)  Originally we were planning on making some fresh ricotta, but we never got around to it.  Instead, we added it to our coffee and used a bunch to make super-creamy delicious risotto.

John and Kathy are amazing people.  Their commitment to the well-being of their livestock, the nourishment of the land and their community shows in everything they do.  We wish they were more local to us, but were happy to give them our business while we were in the area.

Look – it’s a blag!

Monday, January 4th, 2010

This is where we’ll post recipes, insightful commentary, and musings on the awesomeness of bacon.