Vero Beach Magazine Excerpt – Local Flavor – Nov 2012

Linda Hart is a licensed poultry farmer and entrepreneur who has started growing pumpkins on her Crazy Hart Farm in Fellsmere. Her pumpkins are heirloom Seminoles, one of the oldest varieties grown in Florida. “I started experimenting with the Seminoles for personal consumption and they have really taken off,” she says. She will likely have plenty to sell at the Oceanside Farmers Market on Ocean Drive this fall.

“The Seminole is very good-tasting – sweeter than other varieties of pumpkin – and it is an indigenous fruit that has been growing around here for hundreds of years. I think it is important to bring back the native foods of the area.”

Linda’s pumpkins grow on vines on the ground, but she says that Florida pioneers were surprised to see them climbing up trees where they picked the pumpkins high off the ground. “The Indians would girdle a tree with the vines to grow the pumpkins so they didn’t have to pick through any foliage to harvest the fruit.”

Linda is also experimenting with ways to cook her pumpkins. For instance, the flowered blooms of the fruit can be battered and deep fried. “Basically, pumpkins are simple to cook. Just cut them in half, scrape the seeds out and put them face down in a pan and bake them. If you want to be traditional, you can make pumpkin bread and fry it. This is what the Miccosukee and the Seminole Indians still do today for their powwows.”

In addition to their adaptability, pumpkins and other winter squashes have a long shelf life and will keep for months if stored in a cool, dry place between 55 degrees and 60 degrees.

VBM_Local-Flavor-NOV2012

 

Full Article (pdf)

Though winter squash is now plentiful, many cooks ignore this veggie’s edible pleasures.
DON’T SQUANDER THE SQUASH!
BY MARY BETH VALLAR
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DENISE RITCHIE

Vero Beach Magazine Excerpt – Local Flavor – March 2012

Crazy Hart Ranch owner Linda Hart has been raising meat chickens, Cornish game hens, heritage turkeys and laying hens for a more modest nine years. The business began as a backyard operation but became commercially certified in 2007, spurred by a phone call from Chef Michael Lander a year earlier. Hart has been rallying for small-farm interests statewide, most recently helping to re-write rules pertaining to eggs and poultry. If all goes well, she says, she’ll soon be able to sell eggs without the “for pet consumption” label currently required due to some bogus food safety concerns. Once building codes for processing facilities are created, Hart also plans to start her own small-scale poultry processing plant rather than rely on the only currently approved facility in Ocala. Pre-slaughter, between 2,000 and 3,000 birds roam freely on at least five grassy acres in Fellsmere throughout the year. Hart says she’s happy to have buyers visit the ranch and inspect the feed anytime.

Full Article (pdf)

Indian River County’s small farmers are struggling to meet a growing demand for fresh produce from chefs and consumers alike.
EAT LOCAL, EAT FRESH
BY DEBORAH BORFITZ

Vero Beach Magazine Excerpt – Local Flavor – Nov 2010

“Because of the homogenization of the American pallet, everyone is accustomed to a turkey that has been injected with saline or whatever else the producers use. But if someone who has only tasted a mass-produced, broad-breast turkey were given both to try, he or she would notice the difference right away. A fresh turkey, produced by someone like Linda that has had nothing added to it, has what I would call a very clean taste.”

Hart’s turkeys are Heritage Breed turkeys with smaller breasts, longer legs and bigger wings, “because they actually fly,” she says. Their breeding makes them naturally moist and flavorful.

A moist turkey is what every cook hopes to achieve but often fails, ending up with dry meat. Because white meat cooks faster than dark meat, Chef Lander explains, the breast meat could dry out before the thickest part of the thigh is fully cooked. So to solve the problem of dryness, besides constant and vigilant basting during the roasting process, he suggests brining the turkey.

VBM_NOV2010

Full Article (pdf)

A NEW TASTE FOR THANKSGIVING
BY MARY BETH VALLAR
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DENISE RITCHIE

Vero Beach Magazine Excerpt – Jan 2010

Linda Hart is the only farmer in Indian River County who is licensed by the USDA and Florida Department of Agriculture to sell poultry. She raises chickens and turkeys on her five-acre Crazy Hart Farm in Fellsmere. Now in her third year, she produced 1,000 chickens her first year and doubled that number the second year. This is still considered small, but is big enough for the one-woman operation. Hart markets to many of the same clubs and restaurants as O’Dare, as well as to a growing number of private clients.

“It’s not just high end,” she stresses. “Ordinary people who are concerned about health, safety and quality for themselves and their children are also very good customers.”

“They realize that buying locally is the only way they can know exactly what they are getting. Big processors have accountability to the government; I have accountability to my customers. If I put out a bad product, I will be out of business before the food safety people ever get to my place.”

Hart starts with chicks from hatcheries that are out of state and raises them from three to eight weeks, feeding them a specific high-protein diet. “At three or four weeks, we produce a Cornish game hen; at six weeks, we have a chicken and at eight weeks, a roaster. It’s all one bird, and just depends on how long we grow it out.”

Hart handles her own processing at a plant in Ocala, which is one of the requirements for her license. “I hire a crew of six to eight and we can process 300 to 500 chickens in one day.”

She sells her poultry at both the Oceanside Farmers’ Market and the Fort Pierce Farmers’ Market, and is gaining recognition and support from local chefs. Chef Landers ordered 300 Cornish game hens for Christmas for the Moorings Club. And Jeff McKinney, executive chef of the Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club, sponsored a turkey tasting for Hart in 2009.

“Jeff invited a number of chefs and caterers and he cooked one of my turkeys and a brand-name turkey,” Hart says. Everyone rated her locally raised turkey far superior. This past holiday season she provided over 160 turkeys for local family and restaurant dinners.

Hart is also gaining professional recognition. Last summer at the Florida Small Farmers’ Conference, sponsored by the University of Florida and Florida A&M, she received one of three prestigious Florida Innovative Farmer Awards.

VBM_LocalFlavor-JAN-2010

Full Article (pdf)

BUY LOCAL, BUY FRESH
BY MARY BETH VALLAR
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DENISE RITCHIE

Field to Feast – The Local Palate – October 2012

Field to Feast: Recipes Celebrating Florida Farmers, Chefs, and Artisans (2012)

Pam Brandon, Katie Farmand, and Heather McPherson have compiled a beautiful book of Florida’s bounty that feels like a drive through the coastal woodlands and the country roads of the Sunshine State. Full of portraits of the people who grow and cook the plethora of foodstuffs Florida offers. Field to Feast is at once a travel companion, coffee-table book, and useful cookbook. The recipes are diverse: Chefs James and Julie Petrakis of The Ravenous Pig offer an Alsatian Tart with Spring Peach Salad, which contrasts nicely with Brined and Herb Butter-Basted Turkey from Crazy Hart Ranch in Fellsmere. It’s a delicious and unique portrayal of a thriving culinary landscape.

Scanned Document-02

thelocalpalate

Proclamation of Thanksgiving

Proclamation of Thanksgiving

This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America’s national day of Thanksgiving. During his administration, President Lincoln issued many orders similar to this. For example, on November 28, 1861, he ordered government departments closed for a local day of thanksgiving.
Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on September 28, 1863, urging him to have the “day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.” She explained, “You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution.”

Prior to this, each state scheduled its own Thanksgiving holiday at different times, mainly in New England and other Northern states. President Lincoln responded to Mrs. Hale’s request immediately, unlike several of his predecessors, who ignored her petitions altogether. In her letter to Lincoln she mentioned that she had been advocating a national thanksgiving date for 15 years as the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book. George Washington was the first president to proclaim a day of thanksgiving, issuing his request on October 3, 1789, exactly 74 years before Lincoln’s.

The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” According to an April 1, 1864, letter from John Nicolay, one of President Lincoln’s secretaries, this document was written by Secretary of State William Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. On October 3, 1863, fellow Cabinet member Gideon Welles recorded in his diary how he complimented Seward on his work. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops.

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

 

Narragansett Heritage Turkeys Facts

If you wanted to know more about Narragansett Heritage Turkeys, you can read more here at this link to a Livestock Conservancy page.

SOME BASIC FACTS

Status:
Threatened

Use:
Meat

Egg Color:
Pale cream to medium brown with spotting

Egg Size:
Large

Market Weight:
14 -23 lbs

Temperament:
Highly dependent on selection by breeder, Some select for aggressive, others docile.

 

That’s it for now, hope to hear from all of you soon!

 

2014 Crop

Our 2014 crop of Narragansett Heritage Turkeys are in the pasture and will be ready for Thanksgiving.  We are now taking orders by email or phone.

Crazy Hart Ranch has Narragansett heritage turkeys that are raised on pasture and
supplemented with conventional grain without antibiotics or hormones.  They will be fresh frozen, approximate weights are: hens 7-9 lbs., toms 14-16 lbs., with a limited number of larger (up to 18 lb.) toms available. The price is $10.00/lb.;  serving recommendation is 1-lb. per person for a hen and 3/4 lb. per person for toms.

Turkeys may be picked up from the ranch in Fellsmere on Saturday, November 22nd and Monday, November 24th.  We will deliver to Heritage Hen Farm in Boynton Beach on Tuesday November 25th from 3 to 7 pm for the convenience of our South Florida customers.

We are taking orders now and recommend pre-ordering since availability is limited. Ordering may be completed by email on line at www.crazyhartranch.com, or by phone 772-913-0036 and secured by a $40.00 nonrefundable deposit.

Deposits may be sent to:  Crazy Hart Ranch 12416 91st St., Fellsmere, FL 32948.

Please include your name, size of turkey (within one of the above weight ranges), email and a phone number that you can be reached at daytime, evenings and weekends.

Thanks for supporting your local Florida farmer,

Linda