News and Events

  • June 22nd, 2011

A few notes from Jeneen on cooking your pastured chicken:

Your local chicken is a little different than those that were raised in the industrial model and package with liquid injections. Our local farm raised meat and poultry cooks up differently because it is inherently leaner.  I have found that the average pastured “chicken body” –as we like to refer to them- cooks up perfectly in a 400° oven for 1 hour.  If you don’t have an instant read thermometer invest in one because it is a great tool when enjoying farm raised meats.  Cook to an internal temperature of 155-165° sticking the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh.


To get crunchy skin use your fingers to loosen the skin so you can rub some butter on the breast side of the chicken but under the skin; add some chopped herbs under there, too.  If you are not inclined to handle the chicken body than a little olive oil and salt and pepper sprinkled on top will do.  Pre-heat the oven to 400°; put the bird in a roasting pan breast side up and baste a few times during the cooking process. Plus, it is always a good idea to let a bird sit for about 10 minutes after you take it out of the oven (tent it with some foil) which gives it time to reabsorb its own juices before carving.


If you are interested in butchering your chicken into individual pieces I highly recommend watching New York Times food writer Mark Bittman’s video…


Posted in From the Gardens of Jeneen Wiche, Growing Together, Recipes of the Harvest   Print This Post
  • June 21st, 2011

I think we are all in store for a rarity among many of us…local lamb!  This is Jeneen’s first year raising sheep and as with any livestock enterprise, it takes some time to get going.  When I first visited Swallow Rail Farm in late winter/very early spring, they were building fence…she was so excited to get her first few ewes in!  This year, Jeneen is working with her friend, and neighbor, Debbie Young.  Debbie raises Hamshire-Suffolk cross lambs in Finchville.  When Jeneen and I were talking months ago about how all this would work and her desire and need to generate farm income, lamb made sense.  It makes sense for us to provide Debbie an avenue of selling her lamb while Jeneen’s is up an coming.  It makes sense to be able to offer you an item that most of us in Kentucky homes overlook at the grocery. We need to try it and expand our palate. We are excited and hope you will be, too.

This should work real simple….you can express your interest in purchasing lamb and Jeneen will follow-up with you on details of the order.  To have Jeneen contact you, simply email me at or enter “1” quantity from the online ordering menu, and I will share your contact info with Jeneen.  Please visit the online ordering menu at

The lambs should be ready sometime late July / early August.

To get you a bit excited, we thought we’d share a few pictures from the Wiche/Smart household from Sunday—-she cooked a shoulder roast to celebrate Andy’s 40th birthday…watch as the day progresses…must have been great and enjoyed by all!

Posted in From the Gardens of Jeneen Wiche, Growing Together   Print This Post
  • May 14th, 2011

I feel like we have a new addition to our farming family….I am so delighted to introduce you to a new friend of mine…Jeneen Wiche. She and I have meshed very well together and we hope you will reap the benefits of our new-found friendship! Our “gardens” compliment each other. Jeneen specializes in farming with her hands and her many years of experience. Jeneen, with her husband, live on a beautiful piece of property between here and Louisville where she grew-up and raise a garden everyone would be proud to be apart of. We share the understanding of the importance of today’s agriculture and re-connecting folks to farms. We have different practices due to size and scale; thus our management decisions are different. We share a passion and I want you to have the opportunity to learn about the opportunity to eat from her farm…. I’d asked her to introduce herself to you…so…enjoy meeting her and get ready to enjoy the bounty of her farm!

My family moved to western Shelby County in 1979 when I was ten years old. My father’s desire was to develop a horticultural experience that emphasized ornamental and edible plantings; today my husband Andy and I continue to care for his legacy while we reshape the focus of Swallow Rail Farm. We want a small working farm that can enrich our lives, the animals we raise and the customers we hope to serve. Along with Courtney Farms and the other growing partners in Kentucky agriculture we can experience a farm to table relationship that means fresher food for you and a new model for Community Supported Agriculture that allows for unilateral support. Thank you.

The Garden
We are very small so it is easy for me to manage my fruit, vegetable and animal production in an old-fashioned way. Our fruit and vegetable production is done without synthetic chemicals or fertilizers; I may use a botanical or biological control (i.e. neem oil or spinosad) under severe pest pressure otherwise I employ row covers or picking and squishing. We work the soil gently and by hand with a broad fork or garden fork; we use composted manure from my sister’s horses down the road or our own chickens. We fertilize with fish emulsion, sea kelp, cottonseed meal, rock phosphate, etc. to feed the soil at critical times; and we harvest our own rain water in a thousand gallon rain well off the barn. I plant, tend and pick everything we grow.

The Hens
We have about 40 chickens that include barred Plymouth Rock, Wyandotte, Leghorn, Maran, Brahma, Rhode Island Red, Amber Sex Link (that’s not a typo!), Australorp and Araucana. We let the chickens run free, and trust me chickens like to run free and carry on in all sorts of manner! They love chasing mayflies, eating grass and snagging an earth worm when we first turn the garden in the spring; their eggs are superior because of it. When we are home they roam freely about; otherwise they have the run of the barn and chicken yard. We keep a radio on at the barn which helps deter daytime predation. We supplement their foraged diet with Layena Crumbles™.

The Herd
The sheep want to eat grass, legumes and forbs so that’s what we let them do! The Katahdin breed was chosen because they are adaptable to cold and heat, resistant to many of the problems that other breeds face, are an excellent meat breed, lamb easily and are good mothers and do no have to be sheared because they are a shedding hair breed.

Kentucky Proud
Swallow Rail Farm is designated a Kentucky Proud Farm by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and as such will be proudly offering the following a la carte items from the farm through Courtney Farms this season: EGGS, ASPARAGUS, GARLIC SCAPES AND GARLIC, SPECIALTY VEGETABLES AND HERBS, BLUEBERRIES, BLACKBERRIES, FIGS, PEARS, APPLES, PERSIMMON, CHESTNUTS and LAMB TO ORDER (this year lamb is from Debbie Young’s farm in Finchville, Kentucky).

Of course, visits are welcome; we are located in western Shelby County about 30 minutes from downtown Louisville.

Posted in From the Gardens of Jeneen Wiche   Print This Post
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