Monday, April 13, 2009

Jordandal Farms and Argyle Fiber Mill

Llama and I made a trip to Argyle, WI yesterday to visit Jordandal Farms. We spent some time talking with Carrie and she showed us around the farm. We saw the Jersey milk cows and they are very cordial and weren't skittish at all. They like having their noses petted and were comfortable with us only a foot or two away from them. We spent some time checking on the chickens that are very cute (and yes, tasty, the Jordandal Farms chicken we have had in the past was delicious simply roasted) but I found it interesting that chickens are not smart animals at all. They have to have rounded corners in their brooding enclosure to make sure they don’t pile up on each other and kill one another. Although Carrie did say that soon they will be large enough to move out to the pasture and run around on their own. There was a lamb birthed on Saturday that was abandoned by its mother (one of a set of twins), so Carrie has taken to bottle-feeding the little guy twice a day, which will continue for the next two months. I still find (and Llama too) that it is too cute to see the newborn lambs in knit sweaters, knowing full well that one day these babies fleeces will be used to make sweaters, but for now, they have to keep warm somehow.

We also were nuzzled by Nellie, who I am sure has a crush on Llama. Nellie is one of Carrie’s calves (I think a hybrid Normandy and Jersey, can’t remember for sure). Nellie likes to push her nose up against you for a pet, she reminds me of a dog with her love of being petted and hopefully you won’t ignore her or turn your attention away or she will bump you with her head so you will pay attention again.

Carrier also has 25 acres of land with produce on it for the Dane County Farmer’s Market and other surrounding restaurants that use her meats and products. Jordandal Farms has pork, beef, chicken, lamb, and even turkeys in the fall. We have purchased most of the Jordandal farms products from the DCFM over the last year and everything has had wonderful flavor, we had some pork chops from Jordandal a few months back and other than some kosher salt, we didn’t add anything and they were the best pork chops I have ever had. I highly recommend Jordandal Farms products. It was a treasure to go see the farm and meet the animals. Carrie knows all of their names and has every inch of the farm tightly under her care.

At the end of our trip I told Llama that we would need to make another trip out to Argyle to see the Argyle Fiber Mill and Yarn Shop when it was open. The fleeces and yarns from Carrie’s sheep/lambs are processed and sold there. However, I did not realize that it was Carrier and her fiber partner that ran the Argyle Fiber Mill. Carrier offered to take us there and give us a tour. We saw the carding machines, where they created the roving and batts for spinning, all of the rows and rows of fleece waiting to be processed. She showed us the washing room and the drying racks, it was a cool room filled with drying fleeces of wool, alpaca, llama and even some angora. Then she took us up to the storefront and showed us around. I even was able to see the scarf and hat that Carrie has been working on in her spare time (yeah, that’s right, in between running a farm and a fiber mill she actually has a few minutes to knit and craft). It was a great time and am looking forward to our next trip to Argyle to go to the fiber mill when they are open and to also see the rest of the Jordandal farms and visit the pigs (yes, for Llama). It was a great time and very inspiring for my amateur chef as well as very nurturing to our souls to get back to nature and see all the great things Carrier (and Eric, her husband) is doing to promote sustainable agriculture.