I’ve always loved veal, especially in my Italian dishes. It wasn’t until Doreen I learned of Rose Veal. Doreen works hard to provide their cattle and calves with the best possible life they can. Doreen has an incredible story starting on a farm, leaving the farm, and eventually finding her way back to the farm after battling years of medical issues. Their farm in New York raises mixed breeds of dairy cattle, Irish Dexter’s, laying chickens, meat birds (both chickens and turkeys) and Heritage Turkeys. Doreen sent me this veal dumpling soup, it was fantastic. Delicious broth with little doughy dumplings filled with rose veal meatballs.
Lisle, NY (about 4 hours north of NYC)
- When did you start farming? What brought you into farming?
I grew up around my grandparent’s small dairy farm, which burnt in the early 1980’s. I started back into farming after a battle with severe depression and a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.
- Are there any differences between your farm now and your farm when you were a kid?
Our farm is primarily a grass based operation with rotational grazing systems of many pasture paddocks. My grandparent’s farm had one small area for pasture. The biggest difference is how we raise our veal. Traditionally, on farms like my grandparent’s was, you didn’t find calves outside. They were kept in small boxes or crates or tethered in tie stalls. In our operation now, the calves roam the pastures right beside the dairy cows. Our cattle are all given free choice on where they want to be. Most days they are found lounging in the pastures, sucking up the sunshine.
- Who farms with you and what are their roles?
I farm with Rich Barrows. We have lived together for 10 years (in November) and have worked together to rebuild the farm. Rich is the go-to guy on all the haying and planting. He’s also a mentor to me for cattle care since he had his own dairy up until the mid-1980’s.
- What has been the hardest part of farming for you?
There are two areas that are extremely difficult. One is my attachment to animals. I think as a woman, we tend to lead with our hearts and we tend to become emotionally involved with the “kids” we take care of. Second is how we get treated sometimes. It’s difficult to explain that we really don’t fit into any bracket of farming. We aren’t organic but we aren’t large scale producers either. We aren’t really a small farm (NY average sized farm is 150 acres, the exact size of our farm) either.
- What has been the most satisfying part of farming for you?
The most gratifying part of farming is that I get to watch the farm grow, not just grasses but livestock too. In 2009, we started with a single steer and 23 chickens. Today, the farm is home to 30 head of cattle, 50 laying chickens, meat birds and heritage turkeys. It’s also been amazing to watch how we are received within our area as providing good homes to cattle. We also don’t advertise our meats for sale; instead it’s all been accomplished through word-of mouth referrals.
- What crops (or animals) do you grow and why?
Our farm consists of 110 acres of rotational grazing areas. We do use some areas to produce our winter feed stock of hay but primarily, we graze these areas. We raise mixed breeds of dairy cattle, Irish Dexter’s, laying chickens, meat birds (both chickens and turkeys) and Heritage Turkeys.
- What is your favorite thing to do with a food crop you grow?
Veal and Barley Soup and Veal Stuffed Dumplings. Recipe below!
- Any memories you want to share about this feature ingredient?
I grew up eating white veal and always considered it a very bland meat. The rose veal, which is pink in color, is a mildly flavored and tender meat. Rich and I are actually addicts and prefer the veal over steaks.
Future of Farming
- What is one message you’d like to get across to the general public about what you do?
Everything we do here started because of a rescue cow that came from very poor, neglectful living conditions. We were determined from then out to do what we could to make sure that every animal we owned would never end up that way.
As we built our herd, we weren’t afraid to do some research or utilize one good (like milk) to create a new product. We also needed to find a way to keep the farm productive and profitable, all while keeping animal health in mind.
- What advice would you give to anyone interested in getting into farming?
Don’t be afraid to explore outside of the traditional box of what you considering farming. You don’t need thousands of dollars or hundreds of acres of land. Start small and grow from there. Our first grazing paddocks were established on 4.5 acres, $800 worth of electric fencing supplies (step in posts, braided wire and an energizer) and 8 cows. We fed 2 hay bales in a summer of drought while other farms were supplementing that year starting in August. Land can be leased, portable structures are affordable and water can be transported. Planning is the key to success, not initial investment amounts.
To find more from Doreen, you can visit her Farm website, her blog, or her farm blog. You can give their farm Facebook page a LIKE, check out her pretty photos on Instagram, or tweet with her on Twitter @cnyfarmgirl.
I was very intrigued by this recipe. I had never made anything like these dumplings. It did take some time, but it was totally worth it. They turned out delicious. I made a few changes to the recipe, I will note them below… I wouldn’t be a good German wife if I didn’t add cream to this! 😉
- DOUGH FOR DUMPLINGS
- 4 cups flour
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups water (start with about a ½ cup, then add a little at a time until it balls together)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- DUMPLING FILLING
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 1 lb ground rose veal
- 2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- BROTH BATH
- 6 cups of broth (you can create your own or I used chicken)
- 2 cups chickpeas (I substitute sweet corn)
- 1 lemon (juiced)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon pepper paste (I have substituted 1 tsp. red pepper flake)
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- paprika powder to taste
- 2 grated tomatoes (can substitute canned stewed tomatoes)
- ** I added 2 stalks celery and 2 carrots, chopped
- Garlic Yogurt Cream – 1 cup of plain yogurt mixed with 3 mashed cloves of garlic
- Garlic Sour cream or cream cheese – 1 cup sour cream or cream cheese with 3 cloves mashed garlic
- Non-Dairy – 1 cup steamed, mashed cauliflower with 3 cloves mashed garlic
- DUMPLING DOUGH
- Mix ingredients, by hand mixing and kneading (wet hands to prevent sticking) until the dough doesn’t stick to your hands. Divide into 4 big equal parts.
- DUMPLING FILLING
- Mix all ingredients together in a separate bowl.
- Flour the counter and place a ball of dough. Flour the top of the ball and flatten with your hands. Using a rolling pin dusted with flour, roll until ¼ inch or thinner. You can almost see through it at this point. Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut 2” squares. You can also use a 2” biscuit cutter. Place a small bit of meat filling into the center of your dough. Pull up the edges and seal. Set aside on a tray, leaving a small space between each one.
- BROTH BATH
- Combine ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, slowly add the dumplings. In roughly 10 minutes, they will begin to float. Remove from heat and add one cup of cold water.
- Combine ingredients in a skillet and heat until tomatoes reach a sauce-like consistency, remove from heat. Add the sauce to the broth with the dumplings and serve.
- Serve with one of the toppings or simply add heavy cream.