On Cairncest Farm in Plainfield, two brothers, Edmund and Garth Brown, have resolved to eat only what they raise/grow/forage/hunt themselves for an entire year. Edible Finger Lakes is carrying biweekly updates from the Brown brothers as they embark on this food journey.
Food for a Year: November 17-December 1
Part of the tagline for our year-long adventure in homegrown food goes like this “… eat only what they raise/grow/forage/hunt themselves…” It took until the very bitter end before I managed to fulfill the fourth element from that quote. New York state allows spring turkey hunting, but I didn’t succeed at getting a bird in May. It also holds a fall turkey season, but unfortunately disease and predation have taken a toll on the wild turkey population and the season was shortened significantly in 2015 compared to previous years. So I didn’t get a turkey at all in 2015. But of course the most popular large game in New York is the white-tailed deer, and I did get one of them.
Venison is delicious when cooked somewhere in the rare to medium-rare range. With virtually no intramuscular fat, it is much leaner than domestic meats and goes from fantastic to shoe-leather desiccated if it spends even one minute more than necessary on the grill or in the pan. For some reason several people I know severely overcook their venison and then claim to be “indifferent” about it because it’s “dry.” Try as I might to gently extoll the virtues of rarer meat, it seems my advice falls on deaf ears.
My favorite recipe is to slice a boned loin into rounds about 3/4-inches thick and then marinate for two hours in a splash of red wine, olive oil and soy sauce. Cooked over moderate heat in a heavy metal pan until medium rare—it makes for a real show-stopper of a meal. Getting a hunting license is not the only means to this end; befriending somebody who likes to hunt is often the simpler route to a venison dinner.—Edmund
Brothers Edmund and Garth Brown are owner-operators of Cairncrest Farm in Plainfield, New York. They produce and sell grass-fed beef and pastured pork. They blog about their 2015 homegrown challenge here.
Read the last Food for a Year post here.
Photo by Normandy Alden