Living Seasonally at Joy of the Journey Farm
Chris and Chrissey Eberhardt began making plans about ten years ago to build a retirement home, live a sustainable life and become part of a community. Her retirement only means she quit her day job, and a few years later fulfilled a lifelong dream to own Nubian dairy goats. Little did Chris and Chrissey know that their future plans would grow in to a full-fledged farm, which they appropriately named Joy of the Journey Farm. They joined the Saratoga Farmers’ Market as vendors several years ago.
“It’s a lot of hard work 24/7,” Chrissey said, “and the unexpected always happens when you have animals. So much for retirement! So why do we farm? It’s hard to put into words, but it becomes a passion, addiction, with loyalty to customers and a working relationship with other farmers.”
On the farm today, they also have chickens, ducks and their eggs; and English Shepherd dogs, which they own and breed. A versatile breed, this is the good ol’ farm collie, an excellent calm companion and working dog.
It didn’t take long, just a matter of four years, for the little band of two goats to grow to a herd of 30. Today Chrissey is milking 10 does, is expecting 20 or more kids starting in March and is planning for a total of 18-20 milking does by 2015.
In his spare time, in addition to regular employment, Chris is currently working on the creamery, which will be up and running late 2013 or 2014. Once licensed, it will allow them to sell fresh goats’ milk and a variety of dairy products, such as yogurt (which some people call go-gurt) and several delicious goats’ milk cheeses. In addition to the Market, shops in Saratoga Springs, such as For Earth’s Sake, Fallon Pharmacy, and Four Seasons, carry their products..
Not only are they vendors at the Saratoga Springs Farmers’ Market, offering their goats’ milk soap and body butter, and other lotions and balms made from all organic ingredients, they are also customers, where they buy many foods for the coming week. By using their home-grown foods along with those from the Market, Chrissey explained, “We haven’t been to a grocery store for other than some staples and paper products in about four years.”
They live, work, eat, and have fun in harmony with the seasons. Spring is exhausting because it is kidding time. Summer is for milking, gardening, and drying herbs. Late summer and early fall are busy months when they make goat stew in a pressure canner, freeze and can their own and the Market’s vegetables. They also make bread, cheese, yogurt, and kefir and along with lactate fermented foods like homemade sauerkraut. In winter they make soap and plan for the coming year by reading, attending seminars and even spend some time snowshoeing!
The months of February and March were once known as the ‘hungry months’, as the food put up in the fall started to dwindle and the root cellars began to empty. But this doesn’t happen at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, where winter vegetables remain abundant.
Chris and Chrissey supplement their own supply of winter vegetables with products from other vendors at Market to use in the following recipe. It’s easy to make, with little effort spent at clean up, and warms your kitchen as the ingredients roast in the oven.
Roasted root vegetables, with or without a big chicken
Ingredients (For four generous servings)
Notes: Freely substitute more or less of any ingredient to your preference. Ingredients marked * are available at the Saratoga Springs Farmers’ Market.
2 celery roots (celeriac)*
6-7 carrots (or some carrots and some parsnips)*
4 potatoes *
3 medium onions*
1 head garlic*
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tbsp. (or more) sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Non vegetarian option; all the above plus1 large whole chicken* and stock (or a purchased bouillon, such as “Rapunzel” brand)
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Wash all vegetables in water with a cap full of vinegar, and then rinse with water. Peel and cut the root vegetables into one-inch cubes. Cut the white and green parts of the leeks across into one-inch slices.
Peel and chop or slice a head of garlic.
Mix all the vegetables in a large bowl, adding enough olive oil to coat thoroughly. Toss in the herbs, and salt and black pepper.
For the vegetarian version:
Spread the chopped vegetables on a foil-lined sheet pan or cookie sheet and roast at 400°F for 45 minutes, turning occasionally. When tender, remove from the oven and serve on a platter.
For the non-vegetarian version:
Sprinkle the cavity of the chicken with salt, pepper, two tablespoons of butter, and about ¼ teaspoon each of rosemary and thyme. Put the whole chicken in a large Dutch oven or roasting pan. Arrange the vegetables all around the chicken, add about 1/2 cup of broth or stock, and roast for 1 to 1½ hours at 400°F, or until a thermometer inserted into the thigh of the chicken registers about 165°F.
Remove the chicken to a large platter, and surround with the vegetables. Scrape the pan and pour the contents of the pan into a 4-cup measure. Skim the fat from the liquid, return the liquid to the pan, reheat, then pour over the vegetables.