Fortress Farms Iowa

Fortress Farms Iowa A veteran-owned and family-run pastured livestock operation

We aren't dying eggs this year because the chickens did all the work for us :) Come on by and pick up some of our farm-f...
03/22/2024

We aren't dying eggs this year because the chickens did all the work for us :) Come on by and pick up some of our farm-fresh eggs.

How far did our "Cannonball Chicken" go this week? This baby was HUGE, weighing in at 7.75lb. Yes, you read that right :...
03/21/2024

How far did our "Cannonball Chicken" go this week? This baby was HUGE, weighing in at 7.75lb. Yes, you read that right :) I started by cutting off the chicken breasts so we could make a double batch of sesame chicken (recipe below), which we paired with roasted green beans and Jasmine rice. My crew devoured the entire meal. I then roasted the rest of the chicken in the Dutch oven. With the cooked chicken, I made a triple batch of chicken pot pie filling that made three meals for the family. Finally, I prepared a mom-sized portion of chicken salad (not pictured). All in all, our mega-chicken fed our family four meals this week.

https://www.budgetbytes.com/easy-sesame-chicken/

*For those looking to avoid soy sauce, coconut aminos make a good alternative in the sesame chicken

Order your chickens today! Operators are standing by...well, not exactly standing by...more like doing farm stuff and we'll respond as soon as possible :)

Now seems like a great time to give a PJ update: She is the sweetest cow ever...not that we have a lot of experience wit...
03/20/2024

Now seems like a great time to give a PJ update:
She is the sweetest cow ever...not that we have a lot of experience with cows, but she's pretty great. She follows us around her outside area (like a dog) when we go out to visit her during the day and make sure she has what she needs. When she arrived, she was used to being milked by a machine so we had to get her used to hand milking. She is doing fantastic with that and rarely kicks the bucket. Her milk has plenty of cream and we have enjoyed making our own butter this past week. Currently, I am making yogurt in the Instant Pot. We'll let you know how that turns out.
When I went out this afternoon, she was lying down, relaxing, and chewing her cud so I sat down next to her and hung out for awhile. It was quite peaceful.
We are looking into offering a herd share option for local families. For a monthly cost, herd share members would buy into the cow and receive a gallon a week for every share they own. More details to come.

What do you serve the farmhands (aka children) to get them out the door for chores and get ready in time on homeschool c...
03/19/2024

What do you serve the farmhands (aka children) to get them out the door for chores and get ready in time on homeschool co-op days? A delicious (and nutritious) blueberry oatmeal bake. This is a favorite in our home and can be premade (and kept in the fridge).

Ingredients:
3 cups of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1.5 cups milk
1 cup brown sugar5 cup nuts (optional)25 cup veg oil25 cup melted butter
1 large egg (beaten) or you can put extra eggs in for extra protein
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon5 teaspoon salt (less if you use salted butter)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix together thoroughly.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk milk, oil, butter, egg, and vanilla.
4. Pour wet ingredients into dry mixture and stir until combined, then fold in blueberries and nuts.
5. Pour mixture into the greased 9x13 pan and place in the oven.
6. Bake for 45 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.
7. Enjoy!

Notes:
1. You can exchange equal parts applesauce for the butter/oil for a lighter recipe.
2. This recipe was adapted from 12 Tomatoes Blueberry Breakfast Bake.

Here at the farm, we enjoy delicious foods. We also try to make foods as simple as possible and grow as much as we can o...
03/16/2024

Here at the farm, we enjoy delicious foods. We also try to make foods as simple as possible and grow as much as we can ourselves. One of our dinners this past week included chicken thighs from our Cannonball Chickens, butternut squash from our garden this past year, and roasted (store-bought) potatoes. You'll find the chicken recipe below. The squash was drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary and roasted for around 20 minutes in the 425 degree oven while the chicken and potatoes cooked. The potatoes were drizzled with olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and paprika and roasted the entire time I cooked the chicken.

https://www.justjessieb.com/2017/12/crispy-baked-chicken-thighs/

It's 3-14 and that means... it's Pi(e) day! We take that seriously around here. This year we celebrated with a chicken p...
03/14/2024

It's 3-14 and that means... it's Pi(e) day! We take that seriously around here. This year we celebrated with a chicken pot pie and a Dutch apple pie. They aren't the prettiest, but the farm hands devoured them :)

Good morning! The newsletters and order forms have been sent out and this is a friendly reminder to all our awesome cust...
03/11/2024

Good morning! The newsletters and order forms have been sent out and this is a friendly reminder to all our awesome customers to get those turned in. We are getting ready to place our orders for chickens and pigs so act now! (if you want your freezer filled with delicious, pastured meat). If you did not get an order form and would like one, let us know. Thanks!

Today, we celebrate 18 years of wedded bliss. On the list of appropriate gifts based on anniversary number, I'm pretty s...
03/10/2024

Today, we celebrate 18 years of wedded bliss. On the list of appropriate gifts based on anniversary number, I'm pretty sure the 18th is the cow anniversary. PJ joined our farm this afternoon. We have no idea what PJ stands for so we are taking suggestions. So far, we have Princess Juliana, Peanut Butter/Jelly, and Pepper Jack.

We have a huge addition headed to the farm Sunday afternoon 😁🥛🧀🧈
03/08/2024

We have a huge addition headed to the farm Sunday afternoon 😁🥛🧀🧈

It's good to start the week with a small dose of cuteness 😄
03/04/2024

It's good to start the week with a small dose of cuteness 😄

Good evening, folks.  We know it is more difficult than ever to find quality food at affordable prices--but it is not im...
03/01/2024

Good evening, folks. We know it is more difficult than ever to find quality food at affordable prices--but it is not impossible.

Note the price of eggs at our local grocery store. That's right--you can buy fresh, colorful eggs from your local retail farmer for the same price. Our eggs are a bargain and I guarantee they have more nutrition due to how they are produced.

Come see us at Fortress Farms and pick up as many eggs as you like--only $4.00 per dozen. :)

About a month ago one of our customers approached us about making them a whole batch of soap in a scent we don't normall...
02/28/2024

About a month ago one of our customers approached us about making them a whole batch of soap in a scent we don't normally make. As chief (and only) soapmaker in the house, I (Jill) was intrigued. I ordered the scents and pondered the best way to bring the scents of clove and spearmint together. On soapmaking day, it smelled so good, I went ahead and made three batches of it. I hope you all love it as much as I do!
P.S. This is what soap looks like immediately after I cut it and put it on a tray to cure.
Large bars (around 5 oz) are $5 and medium bars (around 3.5 oz) are $4

In our house, we enjoy a good chicken salad. Unfortunately, we are a house divided as to what "a good chicken salad" mea...
02/26/2024

In our house, we enjoy a good chicken salad. Unfortunately, we are a house divided as to what "a good chicken salad" means. Some are on team Mayo and some are on team Miracle Whip. Where do you fall? I (Jill) tend to make something like this:

3 cups chicken (cooked and chopped)
2-3 stalks celery
1.5 cups seedless grapes (halved)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup mayo
1/2-1 T Dill
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1-2 T lemon juice
(depending on taste, you could do a sprinkle of garlic powder and turmeric)

Happy Friday! Snowy is here to wish you a fantastic weekend filled with many delicious snacks like carrot sticks and let...
02/23/2024

Happy Friday! Snowy is here to wish you a fantastic weekend filled with many delicious snacks like carrot sticks and lettuce. Yummmm!

The third chicken meal in our "How Far Does Your Cannonball Chicken Go?" challenge is a simple BBQ chicken, green beans,...
02/22/2024

The third chicken meal in our "How Far Does Your Cannonball Chicken Go?" challenge is a simple BBQ chicken, green beans, and homemade mac and cheese (see recipe below) dinner. The mac and cheese is sprinkled with Vinny's BBQ seasoning which takes it to the next level. This week ended up busier than expected so having a premade protein in the fridge helped get dinner ready on time. If you enjoyed this challenge, let me know, and I will do it again with different recipes :)

Here is the basic recipe I (somewhat) followed. I used 1 lb pasta, made about 1.5x sauce, used milk instead of cream, and didn't bake it.
https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/homemade-mac-and-cheese/

How Far Does Your Cannonball Go? Tonight's dinner takes the chopped-up (cooked) chicken breasts and turns them into an e...
02/21/2024

How Far Does Your Cannonball Go? Tonight's dinner takes the chopped-up (cooked) chicken breasts and turns them into an easy Chicken Tikka Masala. When we have more time and energy, we enjoy making a homemade version of this dish. However, this week is busier so we are cheating with two jars of sauce from Aldi along with premade naan (also from Aldi). We will pair this with jasmine rice (made in the Instant Pot) and a salad. The green flakes are cilantro :).

Our Spring 2024 farm newsletter and pre-order form are hot off the press!  If you would like us to send you a copy, plea...
02/21/2024

Our Spring 2024 farm newsletter and pre-order form are hot off the press!

If you would like us to send you a copy, please reach out!

I hope you are looking forward to us getting critters back out on the green, green grass as much as we are!

How Far Does Your Cannonball Go? Tonight, we are using the bone broth and about 1/3 of the cooked chicken to make a chic...
02/20/2024

How Far Does Your Cannonball Go? Tonight, we are using the bone broth and about 1/3 of the cooked chicken to make a chicken tortilla soup with zucchini in it. OK, before you decide this is a terrible idea, just hear me out for a minute. We had a lot of zucchini over the summer and eventually started chopping it up to freeze because there is only so much garden-fresh zucchini you can fry before people start judging you as "unhealthy" or whatever. There is also a limit to the amount you can leave on other people's front porches before you get caught and they throw the zucchini back at you. Anyways, tossing it in soup is a great way to use it up...and, uhhh, add an extra veggie to the meal. You really can't even taste it because it takes on the delicious Mexican flavors of the soup. You can make it as fancy (chips, guac, cheese, etc) or as simple as you like. It could also serve as a Whole 30 or Paleo meal if you leave out the fun stuff. The recipe below is similar to what I make. I tend to just toss in whatever we have on hand and not follow a recipe exactly.

This healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe (Mexican tortilla soup recipe) is loaded with fresh vegetables and seasoned with Mexican flavors.

I'll start this challenge by cooking the whole chicken. My favorite way to do it is in the Dutch oven (similar to the re...
02/19/2024

I'll start this challenge by cooking the whole chicken. My favorite way to do it is in the Dutch oven (similar to the recipe found below). For this week, I immediately took all the meat off the bones and separated it into storage containers...OK, I did let it cool slightly so I didn't burn my fingers and have to cry about it. From there, I put all the bones, skin, and extra juices into the Crock Pot to make bone broth overnight. For bone broth, I add two TBSP of apple cider vinegar, some carrot pieces, a quartered onion, a couple cloves of garlic, cut-up celery, salt, pepper, and herbs, then fill the rest of the pot with water and let it all simmer on low for 12-24 hours. As you can tell, it's all quite scientific. For those who want more precise measurements, see the recipe below :)

Chicken in a Dutch Oven https://www.bowlofdelicious.com/lemon-garlic-and-rosemary-whole-roast-chicken/
Bone Broth in the Crock Pot https://www.yummly.com/recipe/Foolproof-Slow-Cooker-Bone-Broth-1352616?prm-v1

Here at Fortress Farms, we make every attempt to use what we have and stretch it as far as we can. This goes for buildin...
02/18/2024

Here at Fortress Farms, we make every attempt to use what we have and stretch it as far as we can. This goes for building repairs as well as our grocery budget. This week, I'll take one of our 6.5 lb chickens and turn it into three meals for our family of six.

Around the farm, we call our frozen whole birds "Cannonballs" because it fits with the fortress theme and is kind of a play on the "Butterball" turkeys. So, we will call this series "How Far Does Your Cannonball Go?"

Some people have their ducks in a row; however, ours prefer more of a gaggle formation 😆
02/16/2024

Some people have their ducks in a row; however, ours prefer more of a gaggle formation 😆

Here's a little dose of cuteness. The five bunnies are thriving, energetic, and growing hair.
02/14/2024

Here's a little dose of cuteness. The five bunnies are thriving, energetic, and growing hair.

It's been a week of highs and lows here at the farm. Last Sunday, we marked one year since our arrival. Josiah made a ca...
02/11/2024

It's been a week of highs and lows here at the farm. Last Sunday, we marked one year since our arrival. Josiah made a cake with his grandma to celebrate the happy occasion.

On Tuesday night, Jill's grandfather passed away. He leaves behind a legacy of faith, love, and laughter... as well as countless amazing stories of his high school pole vaulting days, meeting his beloved wife of 65 years, serving in the National Guard, his career as a police officer, growing up on a farm, and so many more. He is missed dearly, but he is not lost. We know where he is and we'll see him again one day.

We found a fun surprise yesterday morning when we went out for chores. Five healthy kits for Jacob's rabbit, Cottontail....
02/03/2024

We found a fun surprise yesterday morning when we went out for chores. Five healthy kits for Jacob's rabbit, Cottontail. At least a few have black eyeliner around their eyes like the father, Snowy. Jill readily admits she was wrong about doubting the pregnancy and accusing Cottontail of just getting "plump."

One egg, two eggs, red eggs, blue eggs. Okay, they aren't quite red, but look at the rainbow the girls are laying now (t...
01/30/2024

One egg, two eggs, red eggs, blue eggs. Okay, they aren't quite red, but look at the rainbow the girls are laying now (teal, olive, pink, light brown, and dark brown)! Does anyone local want some ? We are selling the large eggs at $4/dozen and mediums at $3/dozen. Forget Skittles, this is the healthy way to taste the rainbow ;)

January 13:  I cleared snow amid blizzard-like conditions (note the barely visible buildings in the background) while dr...
01/29/2024

January 13: I cleared snow amid blizzard-like conditions (note the barely visible buildings in the background) while dressed like a vagabond snow pirate

January 29: Snow is gone and the temp is in the 30s and 40s

Wonders never cease.

Josiah is very pleased to announce the arrival of his first duck egg, courtesy of one of the Indian Black Runners he bou...
01/27/2024

Josiah is very pleased to announce the arrival of his first duck egg, courtesy of one of the Indian Black Runners he bought several months ago. He has been diligent in caring for them as his own project and we are proud of him.

Clean up your life with our nourishing  ! While we can't promise it will fix your problems, you will definitely feel and...
01/19/2024

Clean up your life with our nourishing ! While we can't promise it will fix your problems, you will definitely feel and smell good while you are dealing with them ;)

We have two sizes available in the following varieties:
Gingerbread
Cedarwood-Vanilla
Orange-Vanilla
Coconut, Lime, Verbena
Cranberry, Orange, & Vanilla
Rosemary-Mint
Unscented

Medium soaps (pictured here) are $4 and large soaps are $5 each.

* We are currently working on an online store to efficiently sell soaps to our non-local customers. Until then, we will accept checks with an additional $5 to help offset shipping costs. Thank you all for your patience and encouragement.

The kids have taken different roles and levels of involvement with this bench project, but each has contributed.  Georgi...
01/17/2024

The kids have taken different roles and levels of involvement with this bench project, but each has contributed. Georgia and Jacob were happy taking turns sanding down the rough spots from top to bottom, but we all pitched in to throw on a couple coats of polyurethane to seal it.

I had expert help in trimming the rotten pieces off the bridge planks and getting them ready to secure to the base of th...
01/15/2024

I had expert help in trimming the rotten pieces off the bridge planks and getting them ready to secure to the base of the bench.

If you are wondering if using the weight of the entire front end of the tractor, in addition to using 2" ratchet straps was required to get the planks even and straight enough to accomplish this feat, the answer is an emphatic yes. The planks were somewhat warped, but that is okay... I've been told my sense of humor is warped, too. :)

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Wesley, IA
50483

Telephone

+15152274471

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