Hidden Creek Farm

As I tour West Michigan farms, one thing I’m surprised to hear is that many of the farmers weren’t raised on farms. Crystal of Hidden Creek Farms falls into this category, telling me she was raised in the country but not on a farm. When I asked her how they learned so much if they weren’t raised on a farm, she replied they’ve learned along the way. And what a lot they have learned!

On my visit to Hidden Creek Farm, I was blown away by how much they have going on there, especially given their location, right off River Road. The first time I happened upon their farm, I was en route to a friends house, turning off Whitehall Road onto River Road. As I was driving, I saw their roadside stand and sign. Right there amidst family homes and small neighborhoods was an 18 acre farm, complete with chickens, goats, cows, pigs, quails and more.

 

 

Crystal started our tour with their mini-market they call their “Farmacy” (LOVE IT!), where customers can stop by and pick up some eggs, honey, and when available, maple syrup. They also have a fridge for their customers who purchase their goats milk, and freezer where they keep their broilers (and sidenote: we’ve purchased their broilers before. Delicious! Buy some, you won’t be disappointed!) I loved that in addition to the food products available for purchase, Hidden Creek also has an assortment of handmade earrings and necklaces made from molted feathers from their chickens. How cool is that?! On trend fashion that’s sustainable and local. Just as exciting are the tanks, t-shirts, handmade soaps and bows available for purchase. Ladies, bring extra cash when you pick up your farm fresh products, you won’t want to miss this!  And gentlemen, Mother’s Day is coming up. Imagine the brownie points you’d get if you made that Mom in your life an omelette bar brunch, adorned her with some fashionable jewelry and gave her some time to indulge in a shower or bath with some wonderfully smelling soaps. Just saying. (Wink wink, nudge nudge, dear husband of mine).

 

Next up was a trip to the barn where I saw some of their pigs. Unfortunately the piglets running around didn’t stop long enough for me to get a good photo op. But trust me, I wanted to squeal with delight (pun intended) at how cute they were. On the other side of the farm, I got to see more of their hogs, running around, being their curious natural selves. Crystal told me they raise registered Tamworth pigs, a heritage breed known for their great foraging abilities. The pigs at Hidden Creek are raised on open pasture and a woodlot and when fed grains, given only non-GMO locally milled grains. Coolest part: these pigs (and other animals on the farm) are fed pulp from Rootdown and Bodhi Tree, two local businesses. I LOVE this! ALL of this! From the humanely raised local meat to the local businesses supporting each other. It just doesn’t get much better than that.

 

After visiting the pigs, Crystal showed me their broiler chickens, cows, eggs layers and goats. They offer 1/4, 1/2, and whole cows, whole and half hogs, lamb, goat, turkey, and broiler chickens for those interested in filling up their freezers. (Coming from a someone who has ordered many sides of meat, you really should consider this. I absolutely love the quality of meat we get from local farmers, and the ease of always having meat to pull out of the freezer for dinners and cookouts). To learn more about their animals, check out their website and “like” their Facebook page. You will undoubtedly be impressed by how well they take care of their animals and be even more impressed by how amazing care and attention translates into better tasting meat.

 

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Of course a tour of Hidden Creek Farm wouldn’t be complete without touring their garden spaces, flower gardens and raised beds, prepped and ready for a busy growing season. During the growing season, you can stop by their roadside stand to enjoy some fresh produce and stunning flowers. You can also find Hidden Creek at the Sweetwater Local Foods Market each weekend, selling what’s in season on their farm, as well as those super chic pieces of jewelry and other handmade/homemade goodies. If you want even more farm to table goodness, Hidden Creek is partnering with local chef, Chef Damon Covington, to present a Farm to Table evening on July 14.  Hidden Creek is also hosting two FUN filled open farm events, May 19th and September 15. Check out their Facebook events to see all the other local vendors who will be present to make these events you won’t want to miss.

For a couple who wasn’t raised on a farm, Crystal and Lee sure have farming pretty well mastered. Their commitment to humanely and sustainably raised meats and non-GMO, chemical free produce shows their dedication to providing high quality and healthy foods to the community around them. Thanks, Crystal and Lee, for sharing your beautiful farm with me and for continuing to be honest and transparent about your food! Can’t wait to come back for your events and purchase more of your amazing food.

 

 

 

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Homemade Granola

Today I’m sharing with you my favorite granola recipe that I’ve been making for years. Did I create the recipe? Nope! Why don’t I try making my own recipe? Because why mess with perfection? I’m a busy mom and when I find a good recipe that my kids will actually eat, I stick with it!

100 DAYS OF REAL FOOD GRANOLA <—Click Here for the Recipe

What I like about this recipe is it’s versatile and works with whatever you have on hand. You can easily tweak it to fit whatever nuts and seeds you have in your pantry. In fact, I’ve made this recipe completely nut free, instead doubling the pumpkin and sunflower seeds. And there are times when I haven’t had the right amount of spices so I subbed in pumpkin pie spice with no problems. Best part is this recipe makes a LOT, so you can make it once and have it on hand for awhile (if it lasts). This granola is super filling, so you won’t need much to feel satisfied.

After I make this granola, I employ a super secret mom trick: I put it in a half gallon canning jars with an easy to open lid and set it in plain view on the counter. Then I wait and watch as little (and big hands) snack on it throughout the day, pouring milk over it for breakfast, adding it to trail mix, sprinkling it over a yogurt parfait, made with some local fruit, of course. (Another unrelated super secret mom trick- the bread box in the top photo, also serves as a hiding place for the things I DON’T want to share, like my dark chocolate bars).

What does this recipe have to do with local eating, you ask? Quite a few ingredients can be sourced locally! Here’s the rundown:

Honey- I bought mine from B&K Bees of Hesperia. I’ve also purchased some from Crisp Country Acres before. The fun thing about trying different local honey is the taste changes depending on the plants the bees were frequenting! How cool is that?! Click here for my (growing) list of where to buy local honey.

Butter- My family loves the butter from Country Dairy! I may have gotten a funny look when I bought like three pounds of butter and several pounds of cheese at once. But we just freeze what we won’t use right away.

Nuts and Seeds– I shop at Montague Foods for my nuts and seeds. I love that they have these available in bulk. Less packaging waste that way. The bulk nuts and seeds are sourced by a company out of Grand Rapids named Ferris. I do understand that they are not grown locally. However, when it comes to items that don’t grow in our climate or aren’t readily available from a local source,I choose to at least buy them from a local store.

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Oats- Oats are like nuts and seeds in that it’s pretty difficult these days to find a local source of oats. I like heading out to Whispering Pines Country Store in Fremont, Michigan to buy bulk oats. What I like is you can buy small bags of oats or 50lb bags. They generally have a variety to choose from. Again, if I can’t buy a locally grown product, I’d at least like to give a local store my business. One note about Whispering Pines: bring a check or cash. They don’t take credit cards.

Hope you enjoy this recipe! If there are any ingredients listed above that ARE available from a local source, please let me know in the comments. I will update this post to include those local sources.

 

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