Now at The Butcher’s Market in Cary!

 

We are excited to announce that Buck Naked Farm’s honey is now available at the TheBM-logo-whitetext-dropshadow Butcher’s Market in Saltbox Village, Cary.  If you haven’t visited them, you should, like this weekend.  The Butcher’s Market is a specialty grocer specializing in prime meats and hard to find essentials for completing the perfect meal.  Aside from their growing offering of sauces, condiments, and really good honey, they offer a self-serve smoker chip selection, fresh local breads, and seasoned advice from folks with the culinary experience to make your grill sing.

The Butcher’s Market is tucked away in the quaint Salt Box Village shopping center on DSC_0033Kildaire Farm Rd (home of Sugar Buzz Bakery, Science Safari, & Ace Hardware).  We are happy to offer another convenient location to grab some NC honey.  Keep an eye out, as we hope to offer additional Buck Naked Farm products there in the future.

Mattress sales and barbecues aside, Memorial Day is a significant and solemn American

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Thank you

holiday.  We are humbly grateful for the sacrifice so many families have made in their loved ones protecting our country and freedoms.  This is not lost on us.  We remember their devotion and commitment so that we may pursue our happiness.

 

We’ll be celebrating our uniquely American traditions with great food & family.  I hope you’ll stop in to The Butcher’s Market to get acquainted.  Raw honey is the perfect ingredient to sweeten your salads, add tang to your sauces, and doll up your desserts.  Enjoy your All-American weekend!

Duckingham Palace

IMG_5753Sauce decided back in March that our poultry flock was incomplete.  He needed ducks.  My experience with ducks was the throwing-bread-to-at-the-local-pond sort.  But I learned that duck eggs (& meat) are highly prized for their flavor.  Duck eggs are significantly larger than chicken eggs & have a richer flavor.  Plus they really churn them out.  Some breeds lay every day or even twice a day!  “I’ll take care of them” quipped Sauce.  (Parents, you know where this is going).

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Babies are cute for a reason

From Backyardchickens.com

Egg comparison (Backyardchickens.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was sold on the ducklings from the start.  There is nothing cuter than their tiny

Overly social chicken

Overly social chicken

webbed feet & bills.  But within weeks I was ready for duck a l’orange.  What a mess. Their sloppy eating, drinking, & poop echoed of animal party frat style.  They seriously made the chicks look darn Victorian-proper.  Yuck.  Plus, they aren’t very friendly.  Running, flapping, and hoarse quacking erupted every time Sauce wanted to hold one.  And with those cute paddly feet, you really do want to hold one.  But they are pretty anti-social (unlike our chickens).  But things changed with the relocation of the ducks from the brooder to the castle…

 

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Spaghetti deep in construction

The Palace

The Palace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enter Duckingham Palace.  Our home-crafted duck tractor, complete with its own drawbridge.  Sauce dubbed the lead male duck, Sir Kane of Duckinghamshire.  Paul  & Spaghetti up-cycled the palace from our former deck.  (Deck to duck!)  The ducks now have pasture grass & bugs to eat as they please.  And boy does it please me.

We move the palace every few days to IMG_0118give them fresh turf & to allow the former area’s  soil to regrow with its newly added duck fertilizer.  What about a pond?  Well it turns out that these are land ducks (Khaki Campbells) who technically don’t need a pond.  But we offer a tub for drinking & bathing – plus it’s great fun to watch them flap & paddle around.  Thanks to the Palace, the flock is safe, happy & productively slowing-mowing our field.  Improvements loom: wheels to speed movement, an onboard watering system, GPS….

While the Palace grew out of ducky necessity, it occurred to me that it  would be ideal for meat chickens (something I’ve wanted to try for a while).  They too benefit from a pasture system but require a maximum security facility from predators.  Summer break assignment Spaghetti: build me another one.  More to come on Poultryville Palace.

Ducks take about the same amount of time as chickens to mature & begin laying eggs, about 6 months.  (So far we still can’t tell who is Sir and Maiden.)  Duckinghamshire will be on royal egg-watch around August.  And we shall herald their arrival.  Sauce already has a few customers lined up thanks to our friends at Ninja Cow Farm, so we may need to expand the kingdom before long.  Long live Sir Kane and his maidens!

 

Nice to Mead You

Saturday we joined Chatham Extension & Chatham County Beekeepers to celebrateIMG_6375-1 Pollinator Day.  There were fantastic displays about honey, types of bees, pollinator-friendly plants, products of the bee hive, and cooking with honey.   A local 4-H’er also had an impressive collection of butterflies and growing larvae.  Neat stuff.  The bee cage drew a great crowd who got to peek inside a hive with the protection of a screened venue.  Things got entertaining when a young fellow started passing around drone honeybees (They are the males, who have no stinger.  They are fun to play with!)  But not everyone was convinced.

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Bee cage

Our booth

Our booth,  empty while I’m off learning about mead

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Honey display & tasting station

The highlight of the day (for me) was the mead making demo by Starrlight Mead.  I’m no alcohol aficionado – really a lightweight.  But I was fascinated by the idea of a new (to me) use for honey.  Mead is simply fermented honey wine.   It’s as ancient a drink as you can imagine.  Pre-Egyptian.  Fertile crescent kind of stuff.  And later, the drink of choice of the Vikings.  So I’m in good company.

Starrlight owner, Ben Starr, walked the group through the basics of equipment, procedure & recipes.  You can get started at home for ~$50 and 3lbs of honey (which ain’t cheap.  Luckily, I know a guy).  They may have offered samples too, but as I was trying to keep an eye on Buck Naked’s booth, I missed somethings.  So I visited their stellar retail store behind Chatham Mills – cool tasting bar & all.

Their mead menu is extensive but I opted for their honey-heavy “Traditional Semi-Sweet” to start.  Wow.  Really wow.  I gotta try this with our honey!  If you haven’t tried mead, you should.  Despite the marketing challenge of renaissance festival imagery and generally unflattering name, honey wine is excellent.  Any wine drinker who appreciates honey will love it.  It is a beautiful (adult) way to savor the unique flavor nuances of honey.  It would be truly lovely with a picnic in the warmth of summer.

It should take 5-6 months to ready a home-brew batch, but that will be just in time for the holidays!  Next time you need a break from the usual pairings, try something old, unusual, and very tasty – mead.  Or skip the tights & jesters and just call it honey wine.

Professional help

gambler

WRAL posted this story yesterday about the decline in US honeybees.  Lead story was 27% colony losses last winter.  But the bigger story is 44% losses over the entire year.  44%.  And really, this isn’t news.  Beekeepers face this level of losses every year.

The data comes from an annual survey from the Bee Informed Partnership.  We, along with 1000s of beekeepers big and small contribute data of our bee yard experiences to create regional and national snapshots of honeybee health.

And the news continues to be bad.  Imagine a company losing 44% of their stock each year, or a farmer losing 44% of his herd.  How about losing 44% of your stock portfolio each year.  Catastrophic, right?  Beekeepers face it every year.

Who cares?  Beside, bees sting people.   Only people who eat food should care.  Honeybees alone are responsible for pollinating at least 25% of our diet.  Without them, count on vastly fewer berries, apples, and cucumbers.  And totally forget eating almonds again.  Then there’s the honey.  Honeybees aren’t our only pollinators.  Truth be told, they aren’t even native here.  There are many native bees & flies that pollinate our crops.  But honeybees are extremely efficient, manageable, and they do make excess honey.

So, maybe this isn’t a tree-hugger moment, or the poster child of the week.  Maybe we should care now.  (I do like to eat.)  The whys of bee decline are scary and complicatingly intertwined – a toxic storm of viruses perpetuated by tiny mites (unheard of 20 years ago), loss of forage & pesticide cocktails.  It’s a daunting challenge but a battle worth fighting.   [Writer steps down from soapbox]

This weekend is the Chatham County Pollinator Festival.  A celebration of all the insects and mammals who turn flowers into food we eat.  The event is FREE and runs from 9am-1pm at Chatham Mills in Pittsboro.  We will be there along with many other folks offering education & activities for young and old.  Come make a beeswax candle, plant a pot, or try mead – honey wine!  You might find that honeybees are pretty friendly and darn good neighbors.

Wake County will have a similar event coming in June.  More on that soon.  If you can’t make this weekend’s event, it’s easy to help.  And it truly does matter.  Forage loss is largely due to development.  So replace some of that forage in your development!  Start by planting some pollinator friendly plants and skipping the mosquito yard spray this year.  If you are a gardener, they will thank you with increased yields.  Plus it will boost the odds for the bees, and by default, us too.

Free Tasting Friday & Saturday!

Buck Naked Farm will be out sampling our products this weekend.  On Friday 5/6 stop by Lauralee Gifts in Cary to try our new strawberry vanilla jam as well as other local items.  Lauralee’s is hosting their open house just in time for Mother’s Day.  There will be local chocolates and other pop-up vendors to peruse.  Open house is 5pm-until? tomorrow night.  Come pick up one of our local product gift bags or another specialty gift for mom (or you!)


Saturday 5/7 is the opening day of the Holly Springs Farmer’s Market!  We’ll be there with our namesake honey, jams, soaps plus farm offerings of lettuce, kale, herbs, and free range eggs.  Plus we will have our new Honeysucklers lollipops made from real honey.  This year’s market is packed with vendors old and new for a great variety of products (produce, mushrooms, local meat, seafood, baked goods, ice cream, and honey!). The market is off Main Street in downtown Holly Springs from 8:30-12:30.  Come celebrate spring with fresh, local food!  

Hope to see you there!