Spotlight On a Real WA Farm: Toboton Creek Ranch

This post was originally written by Travis Bettinson, Owner & Chef of Junip Foods

“WE SELL WHOLE GOATS”…certainly catches the eye. At least the eye of a beard-insulated, future farm owning, pragmatic chef. Magnetically, I was drawn to the stand of Toboton Creek Farm at the U-district farmers market. A few days later I was a small goateposit’s worth poorer. Two weeks later, yet again, my bank account lessened by the value of a small goat-payment. The upside was three-fold:

1)    Walking through the farmers market while curious citizens and stand-tenders gazed at the two goat legs poking out of a trash-bag. I specifically remember a woman serving Naan, near the northwest exit, shouting to me “at least you don’t look suspicious!”

2)    Butchering Maxwell Copper-Bottom, the chosen name of the goat, from whole animal to the parts that I wanted: a neck, legs, two shanks, shoulders, sirloins, tenderloins, offal meats, and bones.

3) Countless dishes such as Sarawack Goat Shoulder Curry w/ red camarang & white rice, Mustard & Apricot Glazed Goat Leg w/ red onion, butternut, feta, and orzo salad, and Goat Sausage spiced w/ cumin, chile d’arbol, coriander, red wine & cinnamon.

 

My culinary magnet led me to further discourse with one of the owners of Toboton Creek Farm, Lynda Kofford-Di Ciccio. This time the words “Muscovy duck” and “slaughter weight” were thrown around. Cut to me a few weeks later in Lynda’s car, driving to her farm in Yelm.

After retiring from their respective nursing and teaching professions, Lynda and Dan bought the farm 12 years ago. Of their 40 or so acres only a very small percentage is not left untouched for pastureland. When rolling through the gate to the farm you see Lynda and Dan’s small house, their two story generic barn on the right, and their feeding lot that they describe as “organized chaos”.

When the email was sent out that the pens would be organized into bucks, does, show goats, and kids, the chickens and ducks must have been playing angry birds on their Ipoult. They imperturbably floated from pen to pen laying eggs where they want and disregarding the needs of anyone else.

Behind the pens is a vast pastureland bequeathing its worms, grass, insects, streams and dense foliage to the needs of the animals, whose unclipped wings made catching them akin to a three stooges episode.

In the mornings, Dan leisurely feeds the goats, and picks up any eggs that he can find in the feeding bins or on the ground. Lynda would scrub the eggs of which I was able to see the massive ethereal white duck eggs, the pale green Araucana chicken eggs, and the shining dark chocolate Black Copper Maran eggs.

When going out to feed their Old Spot pig, Dan must cross what I call the vast “Sea of Cuteness”. A thirty-foot stretch stockpiled with two-week old kids whose sole purpose in life is turn the 8 second walk into a 5 minute “baa-fest”. À la The Grinch, my heart expanded three sizes when dozen of these soft and fluffy cherubs of the farm made a concerted effort to scale each other and my legs to get to my potential food-giving hands.

…To continue reading the rest of this post and to see Travis’s great photos of the other animals at the farm CLICK HERE

And to check out Toboton Creek Ranch CLICK HERE 

 

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