Melissa Aakjar here from Oak Summit Farm and Apiary.
A lot goes on at our farm, it takes a whole family to cover all the the skills we have acquired and use over the years. From fine woodworking and new timber framing, too restoring some of the oldest barns in America (done by my talented brothers Lucas and Dylan Aakjar). Further more we are constantly preserving for my small batch business Pitchfork Preserves, where we make handcrafted artisan jams, pickles and condiments for the past 6 years. Along with those things we may be found tending our chickens, rabbits, ducks, pigs and Bees. Lots and lots of Apis mellifera (the famous honeybee) are also constantly working on the farm. The bees go about collecting their nectar and pollen from the farm’s bee yard (one of many) and make some of the best honey you will ever taste. Have you ever had the pleasure of tasting pure Vermont Honey from our hives? I hope so. If you haven’t, you can find us selling our provisions nearly every Sunday at the Dorset Farmers Market.
Here on the farm we have chickens without boundaries. Foraging and roaming about as they wish, scratching up all kinds of bugs and even catching the occasional wood frog for a mid day snack. They lay beautiful eggs, so delicious my family can now eat nothing but our farm fresh eggs. We even have miniature chickens called Bantams, these snappy little creatures happen to be my favorite. Chickens are so rewarding. Not only do you get the bounty of their high quality eggs, you get daily entertainment. Watching their antics and hierarchies is way better than television. A truly rewarding experience for my family which includes; Addison (6 years old, going on 15) who is bold, caring, intelligent and she dreams of owning an angora rabbit one day, Leif aka Leif Bear (3 years old) who can usually be found hanging out with a little flock of brown leghorn bantams or using a shovel, and Philip who helps with just about everything from pickling to processing rabbits. Rabbits are a big part of our farm, we proudly raise 3 breeds; Flemish Giant (a rare sweet huge breed), New Zealand and our beloved Mini Rex. Our rabbits prove to be some of the most versatile livestock we have ever known and a very valuable asset to our families and farm. It’s quite rewarding to sell a pet rabbit that will be cherished for years. Watching our heritage flock of black and blue Swedish ducks in the pond, well.. I think I will save that for a whole ‘nother blog post. We have two locations, one of them is my house in Tinmouth, Vermont. Where we care for some rabbits, our little bantams and big ducks. The other is my parents breathtakingly beautiful homestead, in which my two brothers, Mother and Father reside. Being only a short drive away down a few dirt roads we couldn’t ask anything more, or could we?
I’m excited to be using this blog at this point in my life, it gives me the ability to share with you the amazing things we get to witness, fresh seasonal food at it’s finest and the natural beauty that surrounds us…..among other things. Animal husbandry tips and techniques we find useful, lets be honest animals provide us with a lot, including constant entertainment and some breathtaking pictures. We also plan on sharing recipes and good tips on eating locally and making the most out of what you have to work with. Local food is our passion and I assure you, it can make your life better and more rewarding. We can’t wait to share our photos and stories with you! Stay tuned…..
Spring is a glorious time of year. After months of winter and lots of snow this year we are finally seeing spring and it is beautiful. We are hatching some of our eggs in an incubator. We also have two nest boxes filled with baby bunnies. Here are some photos of spring on the farm.
At the farm we have a new stud.
A Broken New Zealand Rabbit buck named Spot.
We are breeding purebred New Zealand rabbits for meat and show.
Below are a few of our does, Soft and Blackie. They will be expecting their first kits this spring.
We will be selling rabbit meat at the local farmers’ market and providing quality rabbit stock for sale in the near future.
We are excited to have some foundation black and broken black New Zealand rabbit breeding stock.
Black and broken rabbits are more difficult to find than the more common white. At Oak Summit Farm we have white too, it is just not quite as unique.
I look forward to producing the broken black pattern in our breeding program and perfecting it over time.
We enjoy the company of our rabbits at the farm and selectively breed to enhance the New Zealand breed to the best of our ability.
Rabbit meat is one of the most lean and healthy meats available.
A 10 pound doe can produce as much as 300 pounds of meat a year.
Rabbit meat is healthy, has the highest percent of protein of all meat, has no chemicals, hormones or antibiotics and has been being used since as far back as 1500BC.
It is often compared to veal.
Rabbit Nutritional Facts
Looking at a chart is an easy way of looking at the value of rabbit meat and comparing it
to other common meats. Rabbit meat is high in protein and low in fat making it suitable for many diets.
NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF COMMONLY EATEN MEAT
MEAT TYPE % PROTEIN % FAT CALORIES PER LB.
RABBIT 20.8 4.5 795
VEAL 19.1 12.0 840
CHICHEN 20.0 17.9 810
TURKEY 20.1 20.0 1,190
LAMB 15.7 27.7 1,420
BEEF 16.7 28.0 1,440
DUCK 16.0 28.6 1,015
PORK 11.9 45.0 2,050