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A peek at Christmas on a family farm

Actu - Une ferme du réseau vous raconte leur Noël!

"The moment of excitement: the last meat deliveries before Christmas!

Jean-Pierre graciously steps aside and lets Santa Claus take over for the day.

We don't know where Jean-Pierre disappears to, but we have always been impressed with how well Santa seems to know our drop-off route.

He delivers his baskets of meat with the same gusto as he delivers presents to little boys and girls.

Perhaps you've seen him, at St-Hilaire, or on rue Rachel on the Plateau Mont-Royal?

We don't stay up late to celebrate on Christmas Eve. We are so tired after the bustle of the season that we would fall asleep in front of our guests.

We have another tradition. At noon, the whole family bundles up and heads down to the river, which is covered with snow, silently dotted with trees.

No deer, no squirrels, nothing on the horizon.

But, hanging in the branches are...our presents! We make a big ruckus in the snow as we "rescue" our boxes! Then we return home, to taste the treasures of the table, especially the long-awaited Lac St-Jean Pie.

Our friend Yvon usually pulls out his accordion and after a couple of tunes, we let go of our inhibitions, joining our voices to his. We don't always hit the right notes, but even the wrong note is just another reason to laugh.

At some point, you can be sure that Jean-Pierre will disappear, just like Santa, returning north. The smart farmer takes advantage of this one time of the year for some well deserved rest! The chickens, the cattle, the horses, they all cooperate. They seem to welcome the peace and quiet, the slower pace.

For my part, I read one novel a year, and it is always during the Christmas break, curled up in front of the woodstove, with my good old wool socks on! No way that I would give up this precious moment to check out the Boxing Day sales, no!"

Jean-Pierre and Debbie from the Ferme le Crépuscule, Yamachiche, wish you happy holidays on behalf of all the family farmers in our community supported agriculture (CSA) network. Thank you for supporting our dream of farming on a small sustainable scale!

debbie's treasured family recipe for lac st-Jean pie

These days, game meat can be hard to come by.

In recent years, our family tourtière recipe has undergone quite a few transformations. We call the latest incarnation "Yamachiche Organic."

I was testing out recipes before I even met Jean-Pierre:

  • the original cipâte recipe handed down to me by my grandmother in the Gaspé, with partridge and hare
  • the tofu years
  • our very own Le Crépuscule version

But the finishing touch came from an herbalist friend, Colombe Desjarlais, who suggested that I add a secret ingredient: balsam fir buds!

Step 1: Lay out uncooked lard-based pastry dough in a pie pan. (Leave enough dough for the top.)

Step 2: Prepare the following entirely organic mixture, stirring everything together in a big bowl.

454 g of Le Crépuscule cubed pork
454 g of Le Crépuscule cubed veal
454 g of diced Le Crépuscule chicken
908 g of ground pork (2 packs of 454 g)
908 g of ground veal (2 packs of 454 g)
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of cloves
1/2 tsp of savory
1 bay leaf
1 pinch of black pepper
1 tsp of sea salt
6 medium potatoes, in 2 cm cubes
7 to 8 small balsam fir buds

Step 3: Add the mixture to the pie shell. 

Step 4: Add the balsam fir buds to the top.

Step 5: Add water equal to the meat.

Step 6: Cover with pastry, but leave an opening. 

Step 7: Bake at 250 degrees for 5 hours.

My grandma Laurette from the Matapédia Valley always said that the pie was even better reheated. No worry about overcooking it!