Flank steak fajitas

Fajitas make a quick but satisfying meal when you’re short on time. Pop your flank steak in a marinade when you have time. Put together the rest of the meal right before serving. add lots of veggies, salsa, and other good stuff to make a smaller flank steak feed a lot of people. This meal will please the whole family!

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Slow cooked beef ribs

There’s nothing better than coming home to see (and smell) that supper is ready!

Braised Beef Shanks

It’s great to try a new cut of beef. I love finding new recipes and using the unique cuts and our family was happily surprised the first time we tried beef shanks! This is a cut that is best cooked slowly, but you’ll be glad you took the time to try it.  Although not tender like a steak you can throw on your grill, cuts like shanks, briskets and short ribs have a tremendous amount of flavour.  I encourage you to give them a try if you haven’t already. These cuts also tend to be much more economical, especially if you’re feeding a large group!

-Laura

What does grass fed mean in Saskatchewan?

Labels such as “grass fed” , “grass finished” or even “organic ” are not regulated in Saskatchewan. Originally the grass fed label was used to describe animals that had not been fed grain, but less than scrupulous marketers began including ( and still do) animals that spent ” a significant portion” of their lifetime on grass and then finished on grain. This is enougFarm Fresh Beef signh to qualify almost every beef animal raised as grass fed. In response, the label “grass finished” was born.

Third party certified Organic beef is present in Saskatchewan and there are pre-established standards.  Organic does not mean grass fed, just as grass fed does not mean organic. Much of the organic beef sold is finished on grain in feedlots. Grass finished cattle may have antibiotics and other chemicals prohibited in organic systems.

Third party certification is available for grass fed in Saskatchewan as well, but the cost to be certified can be prohibitive . As with most certification processes, the focus is largely on what “cannot” be fed or given, rather than focusing on how things can be managed for optimum health.

So how do I find out what I’m actually buying?

How can you be sure you’re actually buying what you think you are? Easy! Ask the person who raised it. Not sure what to ask about? Not a problem. Start with something you’re concerned about, unsure of or even curious about. Most producers love nothing more than to talk about their stock and how they raise them.

Ideally what you are looking for is someone who is proud of their cattle, in love with their grass and obsessed with the soil. The health of all of them are more closely linked than most people would believe.

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Pasture-raised pork: why, how and when?

Our kids, Anna and Jeremy have undertaken the job of raising pigs on pasture the last few years. They are now the pig experts at Box H Farm, since this was a new enterprise for all of us. You can read more about their pork venture in an article about our farm that appeared in the Western Producer this fall: https://www.producer.com/2017/09/new-ventures-seen-as-ideal-way-to-expand/.

Anna and Jeremy Hoimyr with pastured pigs

Anna and Jeremy having quality pig time. Photo credit: William DeKay

Why?

In small numbers, pigs are a great fit for our farm. We keep them on land we wouldn’t otherwise use, like rows of trees around the yard. They are good foragers.  Also, they are hilarious! There’s nothing quite like watching a pig run through tall grass, ears flapping. They love a good scratch. All our fruit and veggie scraps are a treat (although they do always leave the carrots uneaten). Watch our video here (https://www.facebook.com/BoxHFarm/videos/780440388800501/) to see more about how they love to be scratched!

How?

We have a portable enclosure that we move weekly or more often, to allow for fresh forage. At each new location, we put up an electric fence and then let those pigs out!  We cannot forget to move them, or leave them in one spot too long in wet weather.  Pigs love to root in the earth and will turn over all the soil given time and the right conditions. Anna and Jeremy pull the pig cage with a quad to move it and the pigs quickly learn to walk behind as it moves. They are noisy when we lock them in but quiet down as soon as the cage moves onto fresh grass!

We also use a portable feeder and waterer.  We feed our pigs grain along with the veggies scraps and the plants they find. That is why our pork isn’t “grass fed” like our beef. Pigs are not ruminants like cows, and don’t do well on an all-forage diet.  We think that the most important thing is that the pigs can move freely, root in the earth and have shelter and shade. These are happy hogs.Pigs sleeping in grass

When?

We had planned to sell our pasture-raised pork on our website, but in 2016 and 2017 it has been sold out locally.  We will be raising a few more pigs in 2018, so are excited to be offering the chance to pre-order pork for the next fall. Please contact us if you would like to book a 1/2 pork.  You’ll need about three cubic feet of freezer space for 1/2. In 2017 our halves of pork averaged 70 lbs.

Our pork is usually ready by late November. You’ll have pastured bacon for Christmas morning!

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Fried Cutlets

Box H grass finished beef cutlets are a tenderized steak from the “round”, the rear leg/rump area of the cow. This area is well exercised, and is also quite lean. Slow cooking roasts and steaks from the round is a great way to tenderize this meat, but we don’t always have time for that!  These thin, tenderized steaks make for a very quick and tasty meal.  My recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman’s Fried Round Steak. Check out her website to see photos and further directions. If you’d prefer not to fry your steaks, there are plenty of oven-baked tenderized round steak recipes out there too!

How to buy

Our cutlets are available directly from Box H Farm. Visit our farm shop online or in person to buy. We are offering free delivery on all beef orders in November to Regina, Weyburn and surrounding rural areas! Contact us or read more here to learn about this special. You can also buy our 2 lb cutlet and sausage package from Local & Fresh. Enjoy 1 pound of beef and onion sausage and 1 pound of cutlets, delivered to you by the great team at Local & Fresh!

November *free delivery* special!

In the month of November, we are offering free delivery to your home in Regina or Weyburn on all beef purchases!  Order online or contact us by phone or email to place your order.

How do I get free delivery?

Shop for your beef package and use the coupon code FreeDelivery2017 to apply the free shipping option. We will contact you at the phone number or email you provide to set up a delivery date. There is no minimum order amount!  Add honey to your beef purchase and we will deliver that too!  We can’t wait to meet you!Two boxes stacked. Grass finished mixed eighth pack

Still have questions?

Call or email us anytime to learn more about our grass-finished beef or how the free delivery option works. Our contact info is at: https://www.boxhfarm.ca/contact-us/

Priazo

This recipe makes two “pies” bakes in bread dough and filled with ground beef and pepperoni. They puff up when you bake them and my family really likes this meal. The leftovers seem to disappear too, but with two teenagers in the house, leftovers seem to be rare!  I think this recipe came from the Western Producer paper originally.

Grass fed beef

Box H Farm’s lean ground beef packages are sold through Local & Fresh and on our website. If you’re in Regina or Weyburn, we have a special coming up with free delivery to those cities. Contact us to learn more.

No clouds but some silver linings

No clouds

If the news reports are right, our little part of the world is experiencing one of the driest summers in the past 150 years. With only about two inches of rain since our snow melted, this has been a tough summer.  We’ve done all we can to protect our land including selling cows and buying hay.  We have spent years trying to build soil, but this has been a year to try not to lose ground.

Silver linings

The Environmental Stewardship Award (TESA)

While we haven’t enjoyed the weather much, this has been a great summer overall!  We were honoured to receive Saskatchewan’s TESA award this summer.  This award recognized cattle producers for excellence in protecting and enhancing the environment. Winning the award gave us the chance to attend the Canadian Beef Industry Conference, and meet environmental award recipients from the other provinces. It was inspiring to hear about the great work others are doing for the environment and their communities. You can read an article about the award here.

Family receiving environmental stewardship award on stage

Our family receiving the Saskatchewan TESA Award in Moose Jaw in June.

Great partnerships

Working with some great people to sell our beef has also been a highlight!  We’ve been lucky to sell our beef through Local & Fresh in Regina and Weyburn, and to sell beef to Reid’s Artisanal Butchery.  It’s been such a good learning experience for us to work with Greg Reid, and learn more about beef from the point of view of a chef and butcher.

My takeaway from this summer is that while we do have to deal with the realities of life, we shouldn’t spend time dwelling on what we can’t change. Weather will always be a challenge to those of us who earn our living from the land. Let’s celebrate our successes, and those of others.

But I still can’t help checking out the window for clouds each morning…

-Laura