Rettland Farm

Rettland Farm

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rettland Farm Original Kielbasa

Time for the big debut!

I'm thrilled to announce that the first Rettland Farm Original sausage is on the market.

What is It?:

The first sausage developed exclusively by Rettland Farm to showcase our Berkshire pork is a Fresh Kielbasa.

Kielbasa typically features garlic and marjoram, and ours is no exception. What is different, though, is that I spent a lot of time trying to get the garlic right. I hate garlic that overpowers everything, and I want the meat to stand out in the sausage, not the seasoning. I used Organic garlic, and prepared it in a such a way to take the bite out of it, so the garlic flavor is there without having it waft through your sinuses and ooze through your pores all day long.

The marjoram was purchased from a small herb farm about 3 miles from here, Alloway Creek Gardens and Herb Farm.

Other ingredients? Water, Kosher Salt, Onion, and Black Pepper. That's it.

How to Cook It:

I think that most sausage really benefits from being fried in a pan or grilled, to put a nice, caramel color on the outside, and to give a nice "crunch" to the casing. Since we are a long way from grilling season, let's focus on the pan fry.

I'd strongly recommend adding a fat to the pan before adding the sausage , to keep the sausage from scorching. My fat of choice to cook sausages is butter . It browns nicer, and more importantly, tastes better than vegetable oils on the sausage.

Once the pan and butter are hot over medium high heat, I add the sausage and immediately cut the heat to medium. After getting a good sear on the casing after a minute or two, I flip it and cut the heat again, to medium low. After the second side is seared, I reduce the heat to low, and leave it there for the duration. Usually one last flip is all that is necessary to finish the job.

I cook the sausages to an internal temperature of at least 175 degrees. Don't worry--it won't be all dried out at this temperature, like a commercial sausage would be. It will still be moist, tender, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Trust me.

How to Eat It:

I think these sausages are great on a bun, with a slice of good cheese (not the individually wrapped oil-infused garbage, but REAL cheese) and some good old French's mustard. Fancy? No. Incredibly tasty? Yeah, pretty much.

For a larger meal, I think the sausage sauteed with onions and served with pierogies would be really great. And really Polish.

Once you have a chance to try the kielbasa, please share your serving suggestions in the comment section. I think it would be great to hear how other people are enjoying their sausage.

How to Get It:

Until the Farmers' Markets open in May, the best way to get this sausage is to get in through the Member's Club, our monthly home delivery service. If you're not receiving our monthly email newsletter, send me an email at to be put on the list.

So there you have it--the first installment in the line of Rettland Farm Original Sausages. Once you get your hands on some, I'd love to hear your feedback, either here in the comment section, or privately at Your honest opinions will help me put the absolute best product out there, for the eating pleasure of all.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Rettland Farm Sausage--The Beginning

This post signals the beginning of something new and exciting at Rettland Farm.

Those who have been regular readers may remember my interest in terroir--the concept of food or drink tasting a certain way as a result of the environment in which it was raised. Historically, terroir has been associated with wine, but recently it has been applied to broader categories of food by "food people".

In past posts, I've wondered about what influence pasture has on the taste of meats that we produce. While we're still developing and defining the effect on pork, I think it's safe to say that there is a noticeable influence of green grass (and all the other associated goodies) on our eggs and pastured broiler chickens.

But I wanted to take the concept of terroir further. I wanted a product that could, through terroir, sort of define the "Taste of Rettland Farm." This product would be firmly based on our meat products, but would also include other food ingredients besides meat.

So, the result of all this brainstorming, mulling and wishing is this:


In the very near future, I will be rolling out the first (of hopefully many) original sausages that will include our pork (and maybe chicken) and also other simple, all-natural ingredients. These sausages will serve as a kind of taste compilation of all things "Rettland", stuffed into a casing. There will be breakfast sausages, dinner sausages, grilling sausages--you name it. We'll have a sausage for every occasion. And since pork can now be considered a health food, you'll be able to eat a sausage daily...

The sausages will be hugely influenced by seasonality and the origin of the ingredients. In other words, the sausages containing springtime ingredients won't be available in November, and you can bet that there won't be many ingredients grown outside of Pennsylvania. There will also be some influence by holidays or other local events or celebrations.

The Rettland Farm Sausages will all have several things in common though:

1. The meat that we use in the sausages will be of the highest quality, and will include some of the best cuts of meat from the animal. Unlike commercial sausage, Rettland Farm sausage is a premium product, not just something to do with the leftovers.

2. All of the ingredients in our sausages will be used in a state as close to their natural state as possible. Aside from some grinding and perhaps some occasional heating, I don't expect or want a whole lot of processing.

3. There won't be many ingredients in the sausage. Some meat (usually pork), some salt, and maybe some herbs or other seasoning ingredients. Most importantly, none of the ingredients will sound like something you worked with in your college chemistry lab--that's a promise.

4. On a related note, my ultimate objective is to showcase the meat. This means that the seasoning ingredients will only be used to that end. I hope to have the supporting ingredients be just that--complementing and not overpowering the meat. Subtlety will always be the goal.

5. All of the manufacturing of the sausages will be done in a USDA and Pa Department of Agriculture inspected facility. Our good friends at Charles Nell Meats in Littlestown are going to be key partners in this venture by manufacturing the sausage for me to their own strict quality and safety specifications.

So that's the basics on the sausage. In the coming weeks, I'll feature each new addition to the sausage line right here on the blog, and I'll include some discussion on the ingredients and their origin, and the thought process behind the theme.

Check back often! This is going to be great!