I recently had the great pleasure of spending an afternoon with camera in hand at the lovely Brykill Farm, a small, family-owned grass-fed beef ranch, in Gardiner, NY.

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I feel very lucky on two counts. First, that Brykill Farm is just minutes from my home. And second, that I can call Susan Eckhardt, the owner of the farm, my friend.

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Every time I visit, I am so impressed by how Suzy has created a place of stunning beauty, where her animals live healthy, happy lives.

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And when I say stunning, I really mean it.

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Brykill Farm is comprised of 450 acres. There are woods (where Suzie and I foraged for ramps earlier this spring), there are pond/stream habitats (home to numerous wildlife species), and there’s more than ample pasture for the cows (they are carefully rotated around the property).

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Suzy resides right on the farm, with her children and husband, Johannes Knoops. They live in this lovingly restored stone house, a dwelling that’s been standing for hundreds of years (the home is on the National Historic Register).

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Suzy and Johannes, an architect, have also renovated several guest houses on the farm (these are available for rent).

Brykill holds itself to high humane standards, treating its herd gently and advocating a late weaning schedule so that calves get to spend as much time with their mothers as possible…

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…and they spend their days happily chomping on grass and other wild foods.

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This allows the meat they produce to be high in omega-3 fatty acids (including super healthy CLA/conjugated linoleic acid). Their beef is range finished with organic grain from another local farm, something Suzy feels very strongly about.

The animals are never removed from pasture, but the additional grain they eat ensures they’ll have a higher fat content than purely grass-fed beef. A higher fat content means more CLA (this nutrient is stored in fat) and a better flavor than beef that is 100% grass-fed.

Only a small number of cows go to the slaughterhouse each year. Suzy insists on using a local company to process her beef: the cows need only travel a few miles to the slaughterhouse, so the end of their lives isn’t too stressful.

Suzy also raises chickens.

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Check out their gorgeous coop- these are lucky birds!

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For more information about Brykill and to find out how to purchase their beef, you may contact the farm here.

Many thanks to Suzy for allowing me to hang out with her and take photos of her beautiful place…in my next post, I’ll share a recipe featuring her wonderful beef!

I’ve been a big fan of the Yogi Tea company for many years and I was very happy to accept a package with four different teas from the company for review.

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I enjoyed each blend very much. Each one has its own fresh and distinctive herbal character.

The Kava Stress Relief Tea is heavy on the cinnamon and is quite naturally sweet. It’s wonderful over ice on a hot day.

I thought the Bedtime Tea was very tasty, and I do believe it helped me to unwind, as well. It has a great licorice flavor.

The DeTox Tea has a lot going on- it is at once a little bitter, but it is also a little spicy. I think it’s really nice first thing in the morning.

If I had to name a favorite, though, it would be the Green Tea Kombucha. It has a complex flavor that includes mint and lemongrass. I love it warm, or iced, and I even played around with using it in a recipe. I stir-fried tempeh and bok choi with ginger in a little organic coconut oil, tamari, rice vinegar, and mirin…then I tossed in some shelled edamame, cooked buckwheat soba noodles, and chopped basil and cilantro. I put these in a serving bowl and poured the green tea over the top…

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…then garnished it with some Asian chili-garlic sauce. It was really delicious!

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If you like the sound of these teas, you are in luck…the Yogi Tea company wants to give an identical sample pack to one of my readers! So here’s how you enter the giveaway:

1. Leave a comment telling me how you feel about tea. What’s your favorite- black? Green? Herbal? And have you ever cooked with tea? If so, how?

2. For an extra entry, follow me on twitter and then leave me a comment telling me you did so. If you already follow me on twitter, let me know that, too.

3. For a third entry, you can “like” Healthy Green Kitchen on Facebook. Again, if you are already a “liker”, just leave a comment letting me know.

So that’s it. Up to three entries for each person and I’ll choose a winner at random. The giveaway closes Sunday June 18 at midnight and I’ll pick a winner Monday morning. US readers only, please. Good luck!

Slightly cooler temperatures plus lots of rain this past week equals one very happy garden…

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…everything for this Garden Pea and Rose Petal Salad came straight out of that happy garden!

To make this salad I used a mixture of greens (green and red head lettuces, spinach, and an Asian green called purple pak choi), sliced peas, chopped basil, and it’s garnished with rose petals.

Rose petals are indeed edible, but you should only eat them if they have not been sprayed with anything nasty (pesticides and such). How strong the flavor of the petals is really depends on how fragrant your roses are… I didn’t add a lot of them to the salad, just enough to give it some lovely color and a bit of their “rose-y” taste.

I used a simple dressing featuring homemade yogurt and honey, and I dressed it pretty sparsely. I like how the slightly sweet dressing tempers the slightly bitter greens, but if you prefer a vinaigrette-style dressing, feel free to use that instead.

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Forgive me for listing the measurements in “handfuls”, but that’s how I usually do things when a recipe goes straight from the garden to the table. I’d estimate that one of my handfuls is approximately 1 cup. If you don’t have the specific ingredients listed here, don’t fret- this is an adaptable salad…just use what you’ve got.

Garden Pea and Rose Petal Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

*1 handful of green leaf lettuce
*1 handful of red leaf lettuce
*1 handful of purple pak choi
*1 handful of spinach
*1 handful of basil
*10-15 fresh peas
*rose petals
*1 tablespoon organic, plain yogurt
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*2 teaspoons honey
*1 garlic clove, minced

Directions:

1. Clean all of your greens very well and tear them into bite-sized pieces.

2. Chop up the basil and slice the peas.

3. in a medium bowl, mix together the greens, the basil and the sliced peas. Toss in a few rose petals, too, but keep most of them for garnish.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, the olive oil, the honey and the garlic. Pour over the salad and toss well. Garnish with the rest of the rose petals.

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This salad is linked to Real Food Wednesday over at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.