Friday, April 18, 2014

Raising Welsh Harlequin Ducks- Week 7- Moving Day

Raising Welsh Harlequin Ducks- Week 7- Moving Day

Raising Welsh Harlequin Ducklings

On March 3, 2014 my Welsh Harlequin Ducklings hatched at Metzer Farms and arrived at my house on March 5, 2014. To view the Raising Welsh Harlequin Ducklings from the start- Arrival Day Click Here

Today is April 21, 2014 and the ducks are now seven weeks old.

For the past six weeks the ducks have lived in my garage, and I must admit that I am happy to see them go into the duck house.  The ducks seem happy about the move as well.

Approximate dimensions of the duck house:
10' high in the front
6' high in the back.  
The rest of the structure is 8' x8'

Approximate cost to build the duck house $1100.00:
Almost all building supplies were purchased at Lowes

The following are some pictures of the finished duck house.







Phase two- the duck run-  Stay Tuned

Monday, April 7, 2014

Raising Welsh Harlequin Ducklings - Week Four

Raising Welsh Harlequin Ducklings

On March 3, 2014 my Welsh Harlequin Ducklings hatched at Metzer Farms and arrived at my house on March 5, 2014. To view the Raising Welsh Harlequin Ducklings- Arrival Day Click Here

Today is Monday April 7th and the ducks are now 5 weeks old.

Here are some pictures of the ducks in weeks 3 and 4.

The weather has finally warming up,  the snow is finally gone , and I have finally started to  build the 8' X 8' duck house (duck coop).  

I couldn't decide on one building design so I combined the following two plans.

First was a plan I bought for $5.00

The second was a plan found in  Storey's Guide to Raising Poultry, 4th Edition 

Because the ducks are almost fully feathered, and because the night time temperature is finally staying in the 40's (much warmer in the garage) I have shut of the warming lamp.

Stay tuned for further duck and building updates....

Monday, March 17, 2014

Raising Welsh Harlequin Ducklings - Week Two

Raising Welsh Harlequin Ducklings

On March 3, 2014 my Welsh Harlequin Ducklings hatched at Metzer Farms and arrived at my house on March 5, 2014. To view the Raising Welsh Harlequin Ducklings- Arrival Day Click Here

Today is March 17, 2014 and my ducklings are now two weeks old.

Being two weeks old means they have double in size and since and are much bigger now from when they hatched.   I have had to move them from their brooder located inside the house to a temporary pen / brooder out in the garage.   Over the past two weeks they have eaten almost 20# of starter /grower and drink about 1 1/2 gallons of water a day.  They also enjoy making a mess and playing in the water, ducklings just want to have fun.

Additionally being two weeks of age means that (according to  Storey's Guide to Raising Poultry, 4th Edition: Chickens, Turkeys, Ducks, Geese, Guineas, Gamebirds) you change the duckling diet from one that contains 20+% protein to one around 16-17% protein.  Unfortunately Rhode Island feed stores don't carry any waterfowl feed so I will have to augment the current starter/grower feed with 25% old fashion oats.  I have also started giving them some brewers yeast to supplement their Vitamin B (niacin) intake to ensure they have strong legs to waddle with.




They should start growing in their feathers soon and as soon as I can build the duck barn they will be moving to their permanent home.

Stay tuned for further updates....

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Raising Welsh Harlequin Ducklings - Arrival Day

Raising Welsh Harlequin Ducklings 

On March 5th, 2014 I received my Welsh Harlequin Ducklings from Metzer Farms.

I ordered 10 females and 2 males from Metzer Farms and was shipped 10 females, 2 males and one straight run duckling.  Two females died in transport.  

The Cost for the Ducklings:
  • 12 @ $6.65 (Plus) $22.20 for sexing charge (Plus) $16.45 for shipping = $118.45

Metzer Farm was very accommodating and refunded me the cost of the two lost females.

The ducks arrived in the following box
 at the Post Office in Coventry, RI.

Here is the brooder that I have set up for them along with
 the supplies needed for their first few weeks:

Here the ducklings day one exploring and making themselves at home:


The approximate cost for the duckling and supplies needed for this project:

Ducks- $118.00
Brooder- $60.00
Food- $8.00
Feeders (both duckling and future duck size)- $25.00

Total Cost To Date: $211.00

Check back soon as I will be posting additional post on their progress and building the duck coop.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

NOMADIC CHEF: The Ducklings Are Coming, Raising Welsh Harlequin ...

NOMADIC CHEF: The Ducklings Are Coming, Raising Welsh Harlequin ...: The Ducklings are coming, The Ducklings are coming After two years of anticipation and trying to decide whether  I wanted to raise chi...

The Ducklings Are Coming, Raising Welsh Harlequin Ducks

The Ducklings are coming, The Ducklings are coming

After two years of anticipation and trying to decide whether  I wanted to raise chickens or ducks I have decided to raise ducks.

I have decided to raise ducks, but just not any ducks, I have decided that the Welsh Harlequin duck from Metz Farms.  are the ducks for me.

According to Metz Farms the Welsh Harlequin is a fairly new breed, developed by Leslie Bonnett in Wales from two off-colored Khaki Campbell ducklings in 1949. They came to the United States in 1968 and were accepted into the American Poultry Association in 2001 in the Light Duck class. They are becoming a very popular breed due to their multipurpose characteristics.

They have excellent egg production abilities due to their Khaki Campbell background yet retain the instinct to sit and hatch a nest full of ducklings. They are calm, inquisitive and excellent foragers. 

They can also make an outstanding dressed bird as their under-feathers are almost exclusively white making their carcass as pretty as a pure white bird. Interestingly, they can be sexed after hatching with 90% accuracy by their bill color. Darker bills mean a male and lighter bills ending in a dark spot are normally females. Within several days this distinction disappears. They are also a beautiful bird, especially the feather patterns and colors on the adult females.

The ducklings are scheduled to arrive on March 5th 2014. I will have to pick them up at the Coventry, RI post office.

Here are some stock photos from Metz Farm

 Here is the future first home for the ducklings: My Home-Made Brooder

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Chefs Demonstrate Produce-Centric Dishes At New York Produce Show-By Paul Frumkin

Chefs Demonstrate Produce-Centric Dishes At New York Produce Show

By Paul Frumkin

Chef Stuchel & his team at the 2013 New York Produce Show- This marks the third year in a row Chef Stuchel has taken Johnson & Wales University Students to participate in this terrific show.

Chef Alain De Coster remembers the days when a typical restaurant vegetable plate meant pale little piles of steamed spinach, green beans, cauliflower, peas and carrots arranged on a dish with perhaps a poached egg placed in the center.
Chef Alain De Coster

But those days are long gone, declares the lead chef-instructor at The International Culinary Center in New York City.
“Something like that would be unthinkable today,” De Coster says during a culinary demonstration at The New York Produce Show and Conference. “Consumers are demanding much more when it comes to produce, and chefs are eager to give them what they want. The quality of the produce coming out today is phenomenal, and a well-thought-out vegetable plate can really show a chef at the top of his game. If you have a combination of beautiful vegetables — an explosion of flavors — they can take you in a wonderful direction.”
This new, more sophisticated focus on vegetables and fruit was apparent everywhere at the three-day show in New York. Professional chefs and culinary educators demonstrated to attendees how far the treatment of produce has progressed in restaurants, from being almost an after-thought of menu development to sharing star billing with costly proteins.
“One thing about vegetables — we can sell them as a main course like that,” says chef-restaurateur David Burke, snapping his fingers.
Such culinary experts as Kerry Heffernan, Joe Quintana, Mark Weiss, Burke and De Coster, as well as instructors and students from Johnson & Wales University and Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, carried this produce-centric message through the show.

The event, presented by the Eastern Produce Council and Produce Business magazine, showcased nonstop celebrity chef demonstrations throughout the second day at Pier 94 in Manhattan. At the same time, culinary instructors and their students roamed the show floor, foraging among participating exhibitors for fruits and vegetables they could transform into cutting-edge preparations at their Culinary Innovation Stations.

The demonstrations were sponsored by Bejo Seeds Inc., Earthbound Farm, East Coast Fresh, Five Star Premium Greens & Herbs, Hooray Purée Inc., Mann Packing, PRO*ACT, Rainier Fruit Co. and Tasti-Lee Tomatoes.
During the demonstrations, participating chefs shared their recipes and cooking techniques for popular produce-based dishes. Joe Quintana, regional executive chef for the 15-unit Rosa Mexicano restaurant chain, discussed the upscale Mexican concept’s signature dish, guacamole made-to-order tableside. “Each restaurant consumes an average of nine cases of Hass avocados each day,” Quintana said, “for a total of more than a million avocados a year chainwide.”

Rosa Mexicano’s recipe for guacamole calls for avocado, onions, jalapeño chilies, cilantro and tomatoes, prepared with a traditional molcajete y tejolete — or mortar and pestle — at each table.
Avocados are not the only high-volume produce item used by Rosa Mexicano, Quintana says. Each restaurant uses 40 pounds of tomatillos and 35 cases — weighing 15 to 20 pounds per case — of cilantro each week, both of which are included in its salsa verde.
For the event, Quintana also prepared Sopa de Calabaza de Castilla a la Mexicano, or pumpkin puree soup. The recipe calls for pumpkin puree, olive oil, onion, garlic, jalapeños, Mexican cinnamon, allspice berries, cilantro and heavy cream. The soup is garnished with pepitas, or pumpkin seed croutons.
“Produce plays a big role in menu development at Rosa Mexicano,” he says. “We try to bring something special to the flavors of Mexico.”
De Coster also prepared a pair of dishes showcasing a range of vegetable and fruit items during his demonstration. For his first dish, he combined both fruit and vegetables in an onion medley, baby spinach, seasonal mushroom and Lady Alice apple torte. The tourte incorporates a variety of onions (cippolini, red and white pearl onions and shallots) and mushrooms (oyster, chanterelles, button or shiitake).
For his second dish, he prepared a Pissaladière Monégasque, a pizza-like tarte from the south of France. The crust is topped with white onions, a fondue of tomatoes, baby arugula leaves, garlic, thyme, coriander, anchovies, and black pitted kalamata olives.
De Coster acknowledges the new wave of awareness surrounding produce. “There is an emerging movement to show just how good produce can be,” he says. “Chefs are more demanding when it comes to purchasing, and we’re seeing that in the farm-to-table trend. It’s all about taste.”
David Burke, executive chef and owner of the New York-based David Burke Group — which includes David Burke Townhouse, David Burke Fishtail and David Burke Kitchen — acknowledges that professional “chefs are no longer treating vegetables as secondary citizens. Now you’ve even got stars, like the ’magical vegetable’ kale. Isn’t it amazing how something can be around for decades and then it becomes a star?”

Burke demonstrated the versatility of the “magical vegetable” when he prepared a vegetable torte with charred kale and kale-whipped potatoes that also includes roasted cauliflower florets, zucchini, yellow squash, red peppers and eggplant. “Tortes can be a rich, hearty vegetable dish,” he says.
The veteran chef says he expects to see fruits and vegetables elbow their way further into the spotlight in restaurants, which also is likely to result in smaller portions of meat and fish. “Even at steakhouses we’re seeing clever side dishes with produce,” he says. “And it’s economical for us. Vegetables can weave in and out of any menu.”
Growers are helping to drive these new trends in produce usage, he adds. “Growers have listened to chefs — we’re getting better vegetables. Today, we can get whatever we want from suppliers. For example, when it comes to herbs, everything in the world is at your fingertips.”
Kerry Heffernan, who honed his culinary craft at such New York restaurants as Montrachet, Bouley, Eleven Madison Park and South Gate, told attendees that adding a variety of produce to menus allows chefs “to take things in new and challenging directions.” As an example, Heffernan prepared a salad pairing oranges with carrots. “We’re definitely seeing produce used in different ways,” Heffernan says.
Featuring the freshest ingredients also has become something of a mission for many chefs. Restaurant customers, he says, “are even used to seeing root vegetables like carrots and turnips served with the tops still on, which is an indication of freshness that translates to [the dish] being more nutritious.”
Heffernan also discussed how certain vegetables, such as kale, have emerged as culinary stars and how this trend is expected to continue and grow. Citing potential candidates for future menu stardom, Heffernan points out, “Leeks are wonderful and don’t get enough attention. Rutabaga is the unheralded star of the winter produce spectrum, and salsify also bears a lot of interest. Dill is due to make a comeback, too.”
Mark Weiss, a professionally trained culinarian who bills himself as the “DJ Chef” and accompanies his cooking demonstrations with music, demonstrated the preparation of several dishes, including sautéed shrimp flavored with garlic, jalapeño peppers and red wine, served in scarlet butter lettuce rose cups.

Like many of his other professional colleagues, Weiss cites the widespread farm-to-table movement as being an important trend that is helping to shape menu development. “Produce is all about fresh and flavor now,” he says. “People are so conscious of what they’re eating these days.”
Weiss also predicts that scratch-made preparations and gluten-free dishes will continue to take on added importance in the foodservice industry.

Foraging Young Chefs
Meanwhile, as chefs demonstrated the importance and versatility of fruits and vegetables in the menu development process, culinary school educators and their students fanned out across the exhibition floor with the mission of bringing back a cornucopia of interesting produce that would enable them to prepare cutting-edge dishes at their Culinary Innovation Stations.
Douglas Stuchel, assistant professor at the Hospitality College of Johnson & Wales University, Providence, RI, says his school’s four participating students were sent out with foraging bags to gather ingredients early in the day, after which they returned to the station to prepare anywhere from 20 to 30 different dishes. Every recipe had to serve 50 portions.
“We had about an hour or so to forage, and then we cooked for seven hours,” he says, comparing it to a “mystery basket” competition.

Fourth-year pastry program student Michelle Johnson said the students were nervous at first but got used to the action of foraging quickly. “It was exciting,” she says. “We had some ideas before we went in and then started foraging.” She says the group gathered “a lot of mushrooms, onions, potatoes, avocados and tons of herbs.”
Among the team’s dishes was a savory fruit salad containing fresh fruit with pine nuts and fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary and chives. “People are more willing to experiment with sweet and savory flavors,” Stuchel observes.

John Abels, lead instructor at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Chicago, IL, also led a team of four culinary students participating in one of the two Culinary Innovation Stations at Pier 94. He said his students visited about 15 exhibitors who had agreed to take part in the event, from which they brought back such items as potatoes, kale, baby fennel, fingerling potatoes, and finger limes. Jefferey Brown, one of the students, says the group foraged for more than an hour before returning to their station to begin preparing the dishes.
Among the preparations was an apple crisp, made with Lady Alice apples, dusted with salted caramel powder (made by creating a buttery, salted caramel toffee and blending it in a food processor with tapioca Maltodextrin, a food-grade chemical that converts fat to powder). The group also prepared a beet salad with candied walnuts.

Commenting on the show, Abels calls it “a tremendous learning experience for our students. It taught them several new skills — for instance, communicating with vendors, identifying quality produce, sourcing new products and thinking critically on their feet.

“I am always impressed at the magnitude of this segment of the industry,” he adds. “This is the third year I’ve been here, and there is more produce every year.”