Every day that we live in Iowa, I learn how much I don’t know about farming.
Jake’s still a city kid at heart, and I thought I was, too. But since our move to North Dakota, I have become very taken with the rolling prairie and big skies. I was driving back home to Mason City from Riceville at dusk the other night and realized that I like feeling humbled by nature. The vastness of the colorful sky and bobbing of the fences along farms made me feel small and I liked it.
One of the best things about moving to Iowa has been connecting with all types of farmers. Many of these farmers are gifted bloggers who I enjoy following. They share their favorite recipes and glimpses of their lives caring for their farms. I especially get a kick out of Cristen’s stories about raising pigs on her blog Food and Swine. Her recent post about their pig Cookie Dough blowing bubbles in their kiddie pool made me giggle.
Two North Iowa farmers we’ve connected with are Steve & Marcy of Twisted River Farm located in Rock Falls, IA. This is their first year farming.
When Steve told us they were beginning their farming efforts by raising chickens to harvest, we jumped at the chance to order them. Through social media, they chronicled raising the chickens in a pen that they rotated around a pasture for seven weeks.
In the pen, the chickens had access to sunshine, grass, and exercise, plus a diet of all the bugs they could eat and organic feed produced in Webster City, IA. Steve explained that these birds were raised in a pen because the particular breed is slower and easy for prey to catch.
The great news is that Twisted River farm sold out ALL of their chickens this first go-around.
Unfortunately, Steve and Marcy won’t be able to raise another harvest of chickens this year. In the meantime, they are not only working full-time jobs, but strategizing how to grow their business and taking time to research what will fit their efforts by touring other farms. Many customers requested that Twisted River Farm sell eggs next year, so Steve and Marcy hope to add eggs and produce in the future.
We ordered two chickens and enjoyed one immediately after delivery. I simmered the bird and pulled the meat from its bones (which I froze to make stock with later). Then, I made Jake’s favorite thin crust pizzas and topped them with the moist chicken.
You can find my favorite pizza crust recipe in my recent post about making beet flatbread. Before you bake the flatbread, coat it in a light coating of olive oil and season it with salt and pepper.
We may have discovered our new favorite combination of pizza toppings! Our finished flatbread reminded me of the Roasted Chicken and Basil Pesto Flatbread we loved ordering from Maxwell’s in Fargo, ND. Try the following:
- Minced garlic scapes, if available. Otherwise, spread some finely minced or grated garlic on the crust under the cheese.
- Fresh mozzarella cheese
- Pulled chicken
- Roasted kholrabi (peel, dice, roast with olive oil, salt & pepper at 375℉ until golden)
- Caramelized onions
- Diced tomato
- Reduced balsamic vinegar to drizzle over the baked pizza
Once you top your pizza, bake until the crust and cheese are golden brown and sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes if you like it spicy.
Thanks for the chickens!