Our first wedding at the Walker Homestead Barn! Photo: @ivoryandbliss Video: AKP Films by Jon Lensing
Facebook reminded us that seven years ago this week, we planted our first vines behind our home so that we can enjoy sunsets over our little own piece of Napa. Who could have imagined where that would lead us? Each sunrise, we have the privilege to greet the day with a visit to the feather flock and our four-legged critters. Each evening, we have the opportunity to pause and give thanks for the blessings of another beautiful day. #FollowYourHeart #PursueYourPassions
These pictures get us so excited for our year and working with the talented professionals below to make that special day for our guest their very own.
More pretty pics out here on the farm. Such talent!
Could these be more delightful? We look forward to working with these professionals as we host special events later this year.
It is National Wine Day and we are so close to receiving our occupancy permit from Johnson County! We plan to be share Walker Homestead Farm and Winery with you on Sundays from noon – 5:00 pm starting in March. “Find Me”, “Sun Kissed”, and our “Estate Cuvee” are our new releases and we are excited to share them with you.
“Find Me” is made from a Corot Noir, deep red grape from the Fort Madison area. This dry wine is a farm favorite, fruit forward, polished red wine aged on mocha and vanilla toasted French oak and pairs nicely with hearty, rich dishes.
“Sun Kissed” is made from a Traminette crisp, white grape from the Fort Madison area. “Sun Kissed” is bright, floral and delicate. You will want to spend the day with this one. Serve slightly chilled, lovely with salads or a cheese plate.
Our “Estate Cuvee” comes from our oldest grapes and is of a special blend that is perfect on a cold winter night or to follow your favorite meal. It is a great sipper after a long day.
We are excited to be open and can’t wait for you to come and experience Walker Homestead Farm and Winery!
I’ve never found it easy. Looking at an animal down the barrel of a rifle, their neck at the edge of my knife, or in my hands, helping it calm before the impending death. Depending on the animal there seems to be, at times, a sense of sacrifice. There is something primal that they can connect to, something that I will likely never know, when they seem to accept the circumstance. And then again there is a point where my heart pounding with adrenaline, calms. When suddenly this live animal turns into food. I start thinking about the different dishes I want to make, the cuts to put on salt, what to do with the scraps.
Harvesting rabbits is not an easy task, however it is quite simple. As far as animal harvesting goes, rabbits are one of my favorites. Death is quick, not as violent as some animals, and start to finish can be done with a single tool: a sharp knife. My goal when killing any animal is to bring death quickly and decisively. All in all, harvesting animals on the farm where they have spent their entire life and knowing how they are most calm are two of the best tools. You cannot bring death quickly or decisively to a panicking pig, a skittish rabbit, or a flailing chicken.
Our rabbits have so much to offer. Unlike chickens, which have a period of rigamortis, rabbits can go from the back yard to the oven within an hour. Rabbits really are the key to fresh meat. Our rabbit livers are large and delightfully mild, not to mention their kidneys and hearts that are soft little morsels of offal that do not disappoint. In addition to all these tasty treats, our rabbit hides are oh so snuggly and will soon be made into lovely slippers and gloves.
We recently hosted our rabbit harvesting class where we showed folks our process to slaughter as well as butchery when the rabbit becomes a meat product. We made a tasty rabbit liver pâté, as well as a tarragon-cream braised loin. Join us in the spring for our next rabbit class or this coming Sunday for our turkey harvesting class!
Proud we are that Shanti received the WFAN 2018 Woman In Sustainable Agriculture Award!
This is a national recognition, awarded for engaging women in building an ecological and just food and agriculture system through individual and community power. We love her for being a damn good farmer, good steward of the land, growing amazing produce, being a hard worker, and having such a big heart. And now this?
A lot to be thankful for this season and our great team is just the start.
Pinch me - the sweetness is over the top! The farm is bustling with babies from every corner; piglets, bunnies, goats, little freedom rangers, baby turkeys and Sadie, our new farm lab to keep us company during chores. It is midsummer and I can’t for a moment think of a happier place. We hope there is sunshine in your corner of the world. If not, get out here for a visit and let heavy thoughts just slip away. Love....
This quick and easy recipe is a constant in my kitchen. And if I'm completely honest, so many summer vegetables are cooked this way in my house for a few good reasons:
- IT'S QUICK AND EASY!!
- Allows each vegetable to do it's thing. Carrots get to be carrots, crunchy(not soft) and sweet. Broccoli gets to be broccoli, crunchy(not drabby green and mush) and fresh.
- Soft herbs and an acid(like lemon) help brighten and enhance your vegetable cookery. You even get to use less salt because herbs and acid help bring out flavors as well.
Give it a try. And I strongly encourage you to do it with other veggies as well. Summer squash takes to herbs super well. Carrots like grassier, greener tasting herbs, like parsley and tarragon. Play around. There are no rules!
One of my all time favorite herbs, chamomile is a mainstay in my garden and, when it's fresh, a mainstay in my kitchen. The plant in it's entirety is edible, although you almost only find recipes for it's delicate flower. Used for it's many medicinal attributes, chamomile is often overlooked for it's plethora of culinary properties. Floral and herbaceous, light and subtle. The flower is of course beautiful to look at, but holds much of the plants oils which is why it is used the most in the herbs transfer of flavor. However, it's important to be careful not to impart too much flavor. This is a time that practicing restraint is as good a tool as any. If you've ever had a dessert that used too much lavender, this is the territory we're treading. If you're not careful you'll have something that tastes more like soap than the herb.
Here is a recipe that utilizes the stems, leaves, and flowers of chamomile. Give it a try and let us know what you think or what you'd do differently. And if you have any extra, maybe you'd like to make a chamomile crown too.
Little gems. That really is what they are. I first got my hands on on this lovely green while working at a restaurant in Portland, Oregon. I learned a lot at this place in particular and maybe my favorite skill or tool I've developed: restraint. The produce I had the honor of working with was some of the best I had ever seen, and it is because of this that we did nearly nothing to it. And that's one of my favorite things to do with little gems. I peel off the outer leaves, cut the exposed root end, slice it in half keeping the head intact, season and eat.
Here's a recipe where you can grill the head after you've cut it, although this recipe would be equally delicious if you choose not to fire up the grill and leave all those beautiful veggies raw.
Our heritage Blue Slate, Bourbon Red and Royal Palm turkeys arrived today. We will keep this happy crew in the nursery for the first three weeks before graduating them to the pasture. Come November, you can take part of the harvest in a class that ends with you taking home a pasture-raised turkey for Thanksgiving! Check it out at: https://www.walker-homestead.com/offe…/heritage-breed-turkey.
Many of you are aware that our sweet little farm house and home to Shanti and Andrew, caught on fire on March 2nd. First is the shock of losing something we cared so deeply about, losing belongings, family heirlooms, photos, and most painfully, two beloved farm dogs. But once the smoke clears, there is the awakening to the realization that we are not defined by a physical structure that can fall victim to simple elements of nature. Our farm family is stronger than that one unfortunate event. In the same way a field burn brings on fresh growth and vigor, we have renewed energy and new found resiliency that is core to an ag community.
We will address the mechanics of dealing with the fire but we have every ounce of our being focused on forward movement. Andrews’s plans for our heritage Kunkune pigs are now laid out. Chris and Shanti are constructing the rabbit houses this week. Miraculously Shanti’s garden seeds survived the fire and the seedlings are coming in strong. There were tears of joy when the small sprouts confirmed for us their survival of the fire and water assault. A big thank you to the community for all your support and to those who helped build the Muddy Miss Farms cat tunnels last week!
How fitting that we kick off spring of 2018 in a demonstration of how this community pulls together to support one another? With love and gratitude from all of us on the homestead, thank you.
-Bob, Kristy, Chris, Shanti and Andrew