March 16th – Chicken Coops and Starting Seeds NOW – Your Back Yard Farm

It’s that time again!

Restoration Farm continues the monthly workshops to help you kickstart your backyard farm.

This month we will again cover a garden topic and a poultry topic.

The first workshop – STARTING SEEDS INSIDE – will cover how the pros get a jump on the gardening season by sowing quality seeds by a sunny window, or even under a grow light.  We will cover set-up, planting, and maintaining healthy baby plants that will be eager to stretch their legs in your garden in the spring.

The second workshop – BACKYARD COOP CONSTRUCTION – will cover the basics of a backyard chicken coop, including site location, style options, and size – and we will even be constructing a quick and affordable coop during the workshop!

Also included with entrance will be samples of farm products, a warm fire, and tour of current farm projects.  (It was too wet during the last workshop to see everything, but we’ll hope for sunnier days this time!)

Spring will be here before you know it.  Come out and make sure you are ready when the weather warms up.

Adults – $15
Kids (5-16) – $8
Under 5 – free
Family – $35

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Open Farm Day – Your Backyard Farm!

January 19th. 1-4pm – Chickens and Beds

For $15 there will be two walking workshops – Poultry 101 and Establishing Plant Beds (Turning Lawn to Garden) – along with samples of homestead chicken soup, and a warm fire with marshmallows. Kids activities include making a small take-home garden, feeding the animals and collecting eggs.

Come out an learn about how fun sustainability can be!

The poultry workshop will cover everything you need to know to manage a backyard flock of egg-layin’ entertainment. There will even be chicks for sale if you’re ready!

The plant bed workshop will cover the ins and outs of energizing your soil. Soil is not just a recipe, but a living eco-system full of exciting activity. Without this activity – its dead! Make sure your layout is prime for low-maintenance and make sure your soil is alive and working right now.


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Simply Sustainable Workshops

I’m giving a series of sustainable living workshops starting in May. You can download the flyer here. If you’d like to attend one of these workshops, please email me at

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Waste and What We Don’t Want

Betsy Burdette of the Tryon Daily Bulletin posted a relevant story about how much buying inexpensive goods REALLY costs us more in the long run. Betsy and Allen came out to my farm to buy some baby chicks. Our conversation turned to raising turkeys and how successful I had been. Their experience had been the same as mine – most of the chicks I bought from non-local sources didn’t survive. The ones I bought locally, but paid more for, did. Betsy pointed out “Each incubator egg costs more, but it is five times more likely to live to adulthood than an egg from a hatchery. So, does it really cost more?”

We’ve become a society of convenience and it’s costing us. As Betsy pointed out:

To change our buying habits will require more time and trouble on our part. It was more trouble to go out to Green Creek to buy eight chicks rather than order 50 chicks on line and have them delivered to the Saluda Post office. Large corporations have made it easy to go to big box stores where we can buy a lot of what we really do not want, but it is still easier than finding a local source. An added perk is that if we buy at Walmart or any store whose headquarters are someplace far removed from here, we don’t have to make the connection between the ream of paper we purchased and the clear-cut down the road.

You can read the rest of Betsy’s article here.

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Coq au Vin

The origin of the recipe is unknown. There are two popular myths as to its source: Napoleon and Caesar. What is known is that the recipe is very old (at least 400 years) but did not become popular until the early 1900s. Since then it has become one of the best known French recipes, both within and outside of France. Coq is the French word for “cock” (as in old Rooster, or male chicken). Vin is French for “wine” and “au” is French for “of the”. Consequently, “Coq au Vin” literally translates as “Cock of the wine”. However, as literal translations are not that meaningful, a better translation would be “Cock cooked with wine”. Until the 20th century it was common for rural families to have some chickens (for eggs and meat) and a rooster. The rooster would be kept until it was too old to perform its duties, at which time it would be killed and eaten. However, by this time the meat would be hard and stringy, so cooking it slowly in wine would tend to soften the meat and make it more edible. As such, the recipe has historically been considered “peasant food” or “poor people’s food” as the well-off would be able to afford a better cut of meat which would not require slow cooking in wine in order to be edible.

6-8 strips of thick apple wood smoked bacon 1/4 by 1 1/2-inch strips
3 1/2 pounds Good Shepherd Heritage Poultry ™ (Rooster or older bird a selection of parts, or all of one kind), thoroughly dried
.Salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
18 to 20 small white onions, peeled or roughly diced large whole white onion
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups red wine (hearty Burgundy,)
About 2 cups chicken stock or beef bouillon
1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced
About 2 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 pound fresh mushrooms, trimmed, washed, and quartered

1. Sauté bacon several minutes in 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy-bottomed casserole until lightly browned; remove bacon to a side dish and leave fat in pan.

2. Heat fat in pan to moderately hot, add chicken (skin side down), and turn frequently to brown nicely on all sides.

3. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper; add bay leaf and thyme. Place onions around the chicken. Cover and cook slowly 10 minutes, turning once.

4. Uncover pan and sprinkle on the flour, turning chicken and onions so flour is absorbed; cook 3 to 4 minutes more, turning once or twice.

5. Remove from heat, gradually stir and swirl in the wine and enough stock or bouillon to almost cover the chicken. Add the bacon, garlic, and tomato paste to the pan. Cover and simmer slowly 20 to 30 minutes per pound, then test chicken; remove those pieces that are tender, and continue cooking the rest until tender. You may add additional broth to keep cooking sauce bubbling. If onions are not quite tender, continue cooking them; then return all chicken to the pan, add mushrooms, and simmer 6 to 8 minutes. Sauce should be just thick enough to coat chicken and vegetables lightly. If too thin, boil down rapidly to concentrate; if too thick, thin out with spoonfuls of chicken broth.

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Grandma Litkes Sunday Baked Chicken

Grandma Litke was a God fearing woman and never missed church on Sunday, which meant she had to get up early to start dinner. One of her specials was baked chicken. She’d get everything ready and just before she walked out the door it all went into the oven. She knew her bird would take longer to bake than most and she had the cooking time planed according to the stan-dard 45minute sermon, 3 hymns, the offering and the preacher handshake as they went out the door of the church. Bt the time they had arrived home the house smelled wonderful, and the bird, well the bird was cooked to perfection.

4-5 to 5 lb Good Shepherd Ranch Heritage Chicken™ roasting type
2 tsp salt
1 branch of celery
1 small onion sliced
½ clove of garlic minced
Poultry Seasoning
¼ cup olive oil

Clean chicken thoroughly. Wash quickly in side ands out with cold water and drain thoroughly. Sprinkle one half the salt inside the chicken. Truss chicken lightly to hold shape. Choose a kettle of a size into which the chicken will fit snugly. Keep the shape uniform so that the bird will stand squarely in its back when put into the roasting pan. Add 2 ½ cups of water along with celery, salt and onion. Cover tightly and heat to boiling, then reduce and simmer for 30 minutes. To keep the chicken moist, spoon some of the hot broth up over it from time to time during this parboiling. Remove the chicken, drain off the broth and measure, there should be about 2 cups fluid to be used with dressing. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of seasoning in to cavity of bird. Mix ¼ cup of olive oil with remaining seasoning packet. Brush chicken on outside. Place chicken in roasting pan that has a rack that lifts the bird ½” from base of pan. Add ¾ cup of broth around chicken. Cover the roasting pan and place in a moderately hot oven (375` F ) and bake until chicken is very tender and browned or from 30 to 35 minutes per pound or 2 ½ – 3 hrs. for a 5 lb bird.

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Wheat Harvest Midday Chicken

Wheat harvest is still a community event and while the harvest is more efficient than before one thing that is constant is the need to feed a hard worker. This recipe was used by my Grandmother and Great –Grandmother to feed large groups of harvesters. It was often served cold on sandwiches or kept warm and served with piping hot mashed potatoes, (This recipe can also be found in Molly O’Neill’s book “One Big Table”)

1 Good Shepherd Heritage Chicken™ ( 4 lb Barred Rock) cut into frying size pieces

1/2 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp paprika (optional)
Cooking oil
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup half & half

Rinse and pat pieces to remove excess water. Make mixture of 1/2 cup flour (whole wheat can be used ) 3/4 tsp salt, 1 Tsp poultry seasoning, and 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper, (add paprika if desired) Dredge chicken pieces in mixture then fry until lightly brown. Places pieces in a roasting pan and pour mixture of 1 cup cream and 1/2 cup of half and half., cover and bake at 325` for 2 to 2 –1/2 hours. You can make a very rich gravy with pan drippings.

Note: Variation on the above recipe: use 1-1/2 can of condensed milk instead of cream. Add 1 large sliced onion before adding chicken to baking pan. After baking is complete remove bones and spoon mixture over home made biscuits


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Ultimate Chicken Bake

Pre heat Oven to 325F.
1 (3lb) Good Shepherd Heritage Ranch Chicken™ Jersey Giant prefered
8 oz cream Cheese softened
2 cups shredded cheese (like Colby/Jack blend (divided)
½ cup blue cheese salad dressing
1/4th cup favorite hot sauce
1 (14oz) chicken broth
3/4cup boiling water
1 ½ cups raw uncooked brown rice
½ cup diced celery
½ cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup Panko bread crumbs

Grease a 13×9-inch baking dish. Cut chicken into serving pieces; remove and discard skin if desired.

In medium bowl combine cream cheese with 1 cup shredded cheese, blue cheese dressing and hot sauce; whisk until smooth. Pour chicken broth and hot water into baking dish; sprinkle with rice, celery and red pepper. Lay chicken pieces on top of rice mixture; spoon cream cheese mixture over chicken. Cover with foil and bake for 2 hours. Adding addi-tional water if needed. Meanwhile in medium bowl combine remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese and Panko bread crumbs. Remove foil and sprinkle chicken with crumb mixture. Return to oven and bake uncovered for additional 15 min or until chicken is done and topping is browned. Let stand 10 minutes

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Our Mission

Restoration Farm is a family-owned farm located along the Green River in the beautiful foothills of Polk County, North Carolina.  We raise free-range chicken and turkey as well as farm-fresh vegetables.  We also sell all-natural washing detergent, available for purchase through our online store.

Restoration Farm’s mission is to educate the public about heritage and self-sustainability.  Did you know if a “catastrophic event” hampered the nation’s transportation system, New York City would run out of food in three days?  Three days!!  Our mission is to educate people how to sustain their own food supply using the methods our grandparents and great-parents used.  This heritage-based process was invented before mass-transportation, before big-box grocery stores and before electricity!  Which means these techniques can be used to feed your family without these modern-day luxuries, saving you money and cutting your dependency on stores for your food supply.

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