Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year 2010 YAKbread Special: Burlington's American Flatbread Hearth

Chef Brian at Burlington's American Flatbread Hearth just emailed us with this week's YAKBREAD special:

Vermont Yak Co. Hot Italian Sausage
Chipotle Cream Sauce
Fire Roasted Broccoli
Baby Arugula
Cabot Cloth Bound Cheddar

Reservations, anyone?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Happy New Year 2010!

Vermont Yak Company Localvore holiday dinner.

Yak tenderloin, with roasted root vegetables, Cyrus Pringle Red Hen loaf, crispy kale, and a bottle of Boyden Valley Riverbend red.

Happy new year from all of us!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

YAK TRACKS: The Story of Christmas (As Told By Yaks)

Celebrate Yak Over the Holidays!

A longhaired bovine, similar to an ox, the yak is found throughout the Himalayan region of South Central Asia, the Tibetan Plateau and North Mongolia. Also known as the “grunting ox”, it has short, thick legs and humped shoulders. The large, up-curved horns are 3 feet long and the animal has a thick shaggy coat that hangs down to the ankles, providing it warmth. The yaks are domesticated for a number of sources, such as milk, butter, meat, wool, dung and leather. Their coarse outer-hair is used in weaving ropes, belts and bags. The animal is also employed for pulling heavy farm machines and transporting large loads through the mountain passes. Yak milk is high in fat; hence, it is processed into cheese, yoghurt and butter. To know some more interesting facts and amazing information on yaks, explore the article further.

Facts About Yak

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Bovinae
Genus: Bos
Species: B. grunniens
Height: 6.6-7.2 feet
Weight: 661-2,200 lb
Lifespan: Up to 26 years
Diet: Grass, herbs, mosses, lichens, tubers.
Habitat: Alpine meadows and open hills.
Age of Sexual Maturity: 738 days
Gestation Period: 274 days
Number of Offspring: One every year

Interesting & Amazing Information About Yaks

* There are two types of yaks, namely, the wild yak and the domesticated yak.

* The respiratory rate of a yak increases with heat and at low altitudes, while at higher, cooler climates, the rate decreases. This helps the animal adjust to the varying climates.

* A yak can climb an altitude as high as 20,000 feet, the highest elevation of any mammal’s habitat.

* The large lung capacity of a yak enables it to inhale lots of oxygen.

* The male yak is known as “Yak and the female yak as “Nak” or “Dri”, by the Sherpas of Nepal.

* The wild yaks are black or brown in color, while the domesticated ones can be found in white.

* The domesticated yak is smaller and has a less shaggy coat, as compared to the wild one.

* The wild yak can survive a temperature as low as -40°F in winter.

* Even at freezing temperatures, a yak likes to bathe in lakes and rivers. Its warm coat provides insulation through a thick outer coating of long hair and a dense inner coating of matted, shorter fur.

* The digestive system of a yak is an internal heater, allowing food to digest at a temperature of 104 °F, keeping it warm in extremely cold conditions.

* A wild yak reaches its full size only between 6 to 8 years.

* Yaks can be seen in herds of 10 to 100, comprising of mostly females. Only a few male yaks can be found per herd.

* A yak has more than one stomach, which it uses to absorb all the nutrients from the plants it eats.

* The animal uses its firm, dense horns to break through the snow and get to the plants buried beneath. The horns are also used in defense.

* Yaks breed in the month of September and after a gestation period of 9 months, give birth to a single calf. In rare cases, twins are also born.

* The yak dung is dried and used as fuel in the treeless Tibetan plateaus.

* A yak can produce two to three pounds of under-hair each spring, which can be sold in the market up to $16 per ounce, when spun.

* North American yaks are divided into 5 categories: black, trim (black with some white trim), royal (black and white pied with a white blaze face), golden and woolly.

* A mature yak can graze as much as 6-10 pounds of grass hay per day. It alternates its day between browsing and lying quietly chewing its cud.

* The domestic yak can be found in large populations, while the wild yak is less in number, due to loss of habitat and extensive hunting.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Yak Berry Footage of the "Tail Gate Special"

Chef Tim at Burlington's Skinny P has created a masterpiece.

I felt like I was at Fenway...with a beautiful white plate.

Monday, December 7, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Yak Special at the Skinny Pancake!

At Burlington's Skinny Pancake this week, beginning Wednesday!

"Tail Gate" Crepe for $9.00.

Vermont Yak Company Sweet Italian Sausage
Sauteed Peppers and Onions
A sprinkle of Cabot Cheddar Cheese
All rolled in a Savory Crepe

Chef Tim serves it up - hope to see you there!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Yak Berry Shots - Yaks In Winter

Our second snow of the season here in Mad River Valley. Two inches, a harbinger of things to come, we hope.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

YAK TRACKS: YAK SPECIAL - Yakking It Up at Burlington's Flatbread Hearth

Chef Brian at Burlington Hearth just emailed us:

The yak short rib special is going on tonight, it is a follows:

Vermont yak co short ribs braised in zero gravity porter.

With an apple cider demi-glace, roasted organic portabello mushrooms,
Yukon gold potatoes, and Shelburne Farms 1 year Cheddar.

Waiter, get me a table...

YAK TRACKS: Yakking About Yaks And Soccer

I think they need better coaching.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Meet Our Bobcat Neighbor

Rare to see a bobcat in the Mad River Valley.

But sure enough - one's been around the yak farm of late.

We're all that concerned about the yaks - they'd have no trouble dispatching a Bobcat - but we are curious about keeping the neighborhood safe. This fella looks to be nursing a hurt paw and maybe slightly older. We'll keep you posted.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Happy Thanksgiving from Vermont Yak Company!

The Thanksgiving Farmer's Market at the Round Barn today proved a huge success.

Good to reconnect with Valley neighbors and friends.

Here are some images from the day, below.

We'll be taking this coming week off from blogging - a "social media fast," to rest, recreate, and enjoy the company of family.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

YAK TRACKS: American YAKBread in Burlington

Delivered 30 pounds of sausage and ground to American Flatbread in Burlington this afternoon.

"We're very impressed with the product," said Chef Brian as I was leaving. "We'd like to get yak up here as a special every few weeks." I'll be sure to pass that on to the rest of the team.

Here's Chef Brian's full recipe:

I fire roasted a mix of the sweet and hot Italian sausage in our hearth,
then put the sausage on a flatbread with creamy alfredo sauce, roasted
delicate squash, baby arugala, and red onions. All the ingredients used on
this flatbread were either local or organic.

Yak to the future!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Yakking with Pete's Greens In Vermont's NEK (Northeast Kingdom)

I delivered 70 pounds of our fabulous YAK BEER BRATS sausage to one of Vermont's most forward-thinking farm operations yesterday.

Pete Johnson of "Pete's Greens" is a true visonary.

Here's a look at his Craftsbury-based farm up in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.

He's laid out several giant four-season greenhouses on his property, buildings big enough to get a tractor in for planting and plowing.

Pete currently offers several hundred individual "shares" of vegetables. Vermont Yak Company is excited to be part of their fairly new 65 customer "meat share."

Monday, November 16, 2009


Vermont Yak Stew with Pete's Greens' organic carrots, potatoes and onions.

Only at Montpelier's Skinny Pancake this week.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Got Yak For the Holidays?

Vermont Yak Company
November 2009 “Yak to the Future” E-Newsletter

November: Yakking for the Holidays!
“Lean, keen, and grass-fed green.”

Thanksgiving Farmer’s Market
Sunday, November 22 from 9 – 1
Waitsfield’s Round Barn Inn

Buy your steaks, ground and 4 kinds of sausage – hot, sweet, beer, maple - for the holidays!

For more information, or to buy through us at Steadfast Farm, contact us via e-mail at info@vermontyak.com, # 802.279.8302 (the yak phone).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Yakking About Yak "Retirement"

Happy Hunting Season here in Vermont!

I stopped by the local general store this morning to put air in the ties of the F-150, and ran into a small group of hunters who bagged this deer literally 20 minutes into their morning, the first day of hunting season here in Vermont, up off of the Moretown Common road.

It got me thinking about how we at Vermont Yak Company are in the meat business ourselves, though we are working with a domesticated animal, not one in the wild.

And then, I remembered an ongoing discussion on our YAKS YAHOO listserve about how to process yak meat.

From our YAKS YAHOO list - an elegant;y simple description of how to process yaks on-farm. We've done one of these ourselves at Steadfast Farm - to those who aren't used to local meat processing, the procedure may seem a bit grisly. But this is how its been done for thousands of years, friends.

Call animal to a special area with alfalfa they love, and that we can access easily with the backhoe or a tractor and fence off. Shoot and cut throat to bleed. (This is the hardest part for me, fortunately my husband does this, because they trusted us and were happy to come over, but by the time the bleeding stops I've wiped away the tears and have to go to work.)

Hook back legs through a cut near hock to bucket of backhoe with chains. Lift and lay out carcass on back on 2 big beams, to aid in skinning, covered with clean tarp. Begin skinning. Periodically lift with backhoe to allow hide to fall away while cutting off feet. Hang and gut. Use sawzall to split down backbone. Rinse to remove any cartilage or debris. (Am told by processor, getting it too wet could interfere in the aging process). Quarter with a hand meat saw, allowing quarters to lay down on clean sheets in which they're wrapped, and take to the processor where they're directly hung in the cooler to age for 2 weeks.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Yakking About "To Nose Ring, or Not to Nose Ring?"

From our YAKS YAHOO list:

Hello All:

Please help me with the decision as to whether to place a nose ring in my bull yak or not. He is very sweet, but he is a bull. However, I'm afraid of him getting the ring caught on something and injuring or ripping off his nose. He is 19 months old.

He has been raised as if he was a steer, and only realized this summer that he was a bull, and soon to be a father.

Any and all input would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Yakking About The "Yakity Yak" - and SNOW in Mad River Valley!

Picked up a "to go" order this afternoon from Skinny Pancake chef Tucker for four "Yakity Yaks."

I realize I am a bit biased here - but the garlic and onion infused ground yak, when combined with the apples and cheese, proved delicious.

And look, Tucker can "chalk" a yak, too!

And here's the F-150 Pick Up with a light dusting of the white stuff - bring on the winter.

BIG FARM day today: yaks separated, vaccinated, and young boys are now castrati.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Yakking About the "Yakkity Yak" Special at Montpelier's "Skinny Pancake"

...All I have to say is - I gotta get over to try this special.

Skinny Pancake Chef Jeremy Silansky (with whom I have had the good pleasure of herding our yaks last summer) has prepared a mouth-watering-ly "yaktastic" special at the Skinny Pancake in Montpelier this week.

Here 'tis:

VT Yak Company Yak with Champlain Orchard Apples, Pete's Caramelized Onions, and Grafton Smoked Cheddar in a Gleason's WW Crepe.

All week long. For $10. Sign me up.

Monday, October 26, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Yakking About Hay Bale Art...

I wish we could claim credit for some of these remarkable hay bale designs.

Alas, we are simply applauding...

Friday, October 23, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Smokin' Yak Maple Jerky Recipe!

Thanks to neighbors Jon and Krissa Hammond for this yak jerky recipe.

Mixing up the brine for 2-3 pounds of trimmed meat.

1 cup of maple syrup.

1 cup of water.

2/3 cup of non-iodized salt.

1/3 cup of worcestershire sauce.

1/3 cup of soy sauce.

1 tbsp. of black pepper.

1 tbsp. of cayenne pepper.

Place meat in brine overnight, stirring a few times.

Before smoking, drain meat, place on racks, and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

To smoke, warm smoker while meat is warming.

After adding meat, replace woodchips every hour for three hours.

After that replace every two hours.

Total smoking time will be 8-12 hours, depending on how lean the meat is.

YAK TRACKS: The "Daily Princetonian" Yaks About Our Yaks

Thanks to Kate and Rob's alma mater's Daily Princetonian for this nice story today about our Vermont Yak Company work at Steadfast Farm.

And one reader already posted a comment, wondering why we don't call ourselves a "ranch" rather than a "farm.

The answer? We are a small operation, built on land that was devoted to dairy farming for decades.

The term "ranch" smacks of bigness, and the West, and feedlots - none of which are to be found at our Vermont operation.

We prefer the term "farm."

Thanks for writing the article, Andrew!

Monday, October 19, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Zak the Yak, from Zero to Hero(es)!

Take a look at little Yak Zak.

He survived birth to us at Steadfast Farm in an early season snow storm last fall 2008.

We nursed him along, the little guy, and then sold him as a bottle-fed to a sweet woman in the Hero Islands last summer.

And now look at him! What a stud.

Way to go, Lucky Boy!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Happy FIFTIETH birthday, Yak Man Dave!

Our Vermont Yak Company team member Dave Hartshorn turns FIFTY this week, so we threw him a surprise party at the BIG PICTURE Theater in Mad River Valley. Here are some photos of Vermont's studliest farmer.

Dave and his partner Amy (who rocks).

The cake with a yak on it:

I got to pin the "flashing 50" button on him.

His new TIGGER surfboard.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

YAK TRACKS: High Cholesterol? Eat Yak Meat!

Always good to have the global press support our farm work.

And here's a still shot of the snow on Tuesday.

Yak on!

YAK TRACKS: October 13 - Snow In Mad River! (Yaktastic!)

Monday, October 5, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Yak Mud-Wrastlin' 2009

I know what you're thinking.

Little Flo is such a small yak.

But she's quick as lightning. Trust me.

YAK TRACKS: Random Snap Shots of the Fall Farm

Thursday, October 1, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Four more yak recipes!

Yak Sausage and Wild Rice Pilaf

3 cups cooked wild rice (1 c uncooked)
Saute the following...
1 medium, chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
3 yak maple sausages
pepper to taste if you like
Take out the cooked sausage and cut into 1/2" slices.
Add a little water to the saute pan to create some broth.
Add everything together to heat and serve.
Top with some sliced, toasted, almonds or pecans
Serve with wilted greens or corn on the cob

Yak Sausage with Scrambled Eggs

Saute 2 yak sausages... any kind you like
When nearly cooked add 1-2 cloves of chopped garlic if you like
Slice up the casing and scoop out the sausage and crumble into bite-sized bits
Scramble 3 eggs seasoned with s & p and add the following ingredients when nearly done.
Sausage crumbles and 1/4 c. grated cheddar cheese if you like

Yak Hash

Dice a couple medium potatoes into small cubes.
Slice up a small onion and a 1-2 garlic cloves diced
Saute potatoes until nearly done and add onion and garlic cooking 'til soft
Cut up leftover yak roast into small cubes and add when potatoes nearly done to heat up.
Serve with scrambled or fried eggs for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Serve with Salsa if you like.

Yak Sausage and Potatoes

Slice a couple large or 3 medium potatoes
Slice up a medium onion (I like to go with the grain) and 1-2 garlic cloves sliced
Cut a pepper (any color) into chunks and add to potatoes when they are almost done
Add onion and garlic a little later and cook til soft
Cook yak sausage separately and cut into 1/2" slices adding to potatoes and cook til heated

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

YAK TRACKS: RECIPE - Yak, Onion and Barley Soup Over A Swiss Cheese Flan

Vermont Yak, Onion & Barley Soup Over a Swiss Cheese Flan

Recipe by Patricia Teague of Champlain College


Barley 1#
Olive Oil 3 Tbs
Yellow Onion Diced 2 ea.
Ground Yak 2#
Mushrooms Sliced 3 c.
Swiss Chard Chopped 1 bnch
Minced Garlic 1 Tbs
Beef Stock/Broth 2 qt.
Salt 1 Tbs
Black Pepper 1 Tbs

Cover Barley with Water and Cook Separately in a Sauce Pot. When Done Rinse with warm water and set aside.

Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add and cook until tender. Add Yak meat and stir until crumbly. Add the remaining ingredients mushrooms – stock. Cooking for approximately 40 minutes. Add Barley and heat through.
Serve in a large bowl over the Swiss Cheese Flan.

Swiss Cheese Flan

Butter 3 Tbs
Small yellow onion finely diced 1 ea.
Heavy Cream ¾ c.
Eggs 3 ea.
Salt ½ tsp
Black pepper ½ tsp
Swiss Cheese shredded 1 1/4 c.

Melt butter and cook onion. Take off heat and add cream. Add the remaining ingredients. Pour into ramekins. Place into deep pan and fill with water. Cook in oven until firm, approximately 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Using a sharp knife go around the edges of flan and turn out into soup bowl. Pour Yak on top and serve.

*This would be very tasty served with popovers, Yum!

Monday, September 21, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Meet our Yak Vet (and two yak calves)

YAK TRACKS: A breakout recipe for YAK BOREK

Thanks to our neighbor Jeannie Elias for passing this on!

Adapted from Contemporary Turkish Cooking
By Filiz Zorulu

Yak Borek
8 sheets phyllo dough (must be thawed)
(Phyllo dough tears easily, but ignore that and keep working!)
¼ lb. (1 stick) butter (melted)
1 egg (beaten, in a small bowl)
1 recipe Yak filling

Yak Filling
4 TB olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
4 garlic cloves
1 lb ground yak meat
3 TB tomato paste


1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Butter a ten inch quiche or tart pan
3. Heat olive oil in frying pan.
4. Add garlic to pan and allow to become fragrant for 30-60 seconds.
5. Add onions to pan and allow to soften 3-4 minutes.
6. Add ground yak to pan and cook until all pink is gone.
7. Add tomato paste to pan and turn pan off and allow to cool.


1. Lay a sheet or two of aluminum foil on a counter to make a work surface that is bigger that the dimensions of the phyllo dough.
2. Lay one sheet of dough on foil, with widest edge toward you, brush with butter.
3. Lay second sheet of dough on foil.
4. Place one quarter of the yak mixture in a long line at the bottom of the wide side of the dough, the side closest to you.
5. Starting from the edge with the meat on it, carefully roll the phyllo, jelly roll style, or like you are rolling a cigar, roll it away from you, so that you end up with a cylinder of phyllo wrapped around your yak mixture.
6. Brush your cylinder with butter.
7. Now roll this first cylinder pinwheel fashion and place it in the quiche or tart pan. Be gentle and careful with the dough, but don’t fret. So what if it tears, it will still taste great.
8. Repeat steps 2-6 and then take the next yak filled phyllo cylinder to continue the pinwheel pattern in your pan.
9. Repeat step 8 twice more. You will ultimately make 4 cylinders and keep curling them around each other.
10. Brush finished Yak Borek with beaten egg.
11. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

You will almost certainly be the only family on the block, or person at your Pot Luck eating Yak Borek!!! Thanks to the Vermont Yak Company!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

YAK TRACKS: September Special! $7 Per Pound Ground!

The headline here says it all.

Now's the time to stock up on yak meat for the winter.

And, if you'd like a live yak to do your laundry for you, give us a call.

BYOC - Bring Your Own Clothesline.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Yak It Up! Sunday Community Celebration On Waitsfield's Old County Road

Can you say "yak meat balls"?

Join the owners of Vermont Yak Company - Dave Hartshorn, Susan and Ted Laskaris, and Kate and Rob Williams - at the Yellow Farm House Inn on Waitsfield's Old County Road this Sunday, August 30 between 3 and 5 p.m. for an afternoon of music, munchies and fun. "We wanted to celebrate our first full year in business, and thank our Mad River neighbors for all of their support, and having a community party seemed a good way to do it," says the yak team. Yak meatballs and other light food fare, live music byEliza Lynn and Phineas Gage, and a chance to visit with the yaks grazing in the Yellow Farm Inn pasture will be a part of the afternoon. The event is free and families are welcome. Bring a picnic blanket, some drinks, and a frisbee or three to try your hand at the Inn's frisbee golf tee.

For more information, call 279.3364 or email rob@vermontyak.com.

Monday, August 24, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Surf and Turf, Yak Style!

We had a chance to visit with some old friends in Yarmouth, Maine, this past week-end.

They had not yet had yak, so we threw some yak sirloins in the cooler, and they gathered some fresh Maine lobsters, and we combined culinary forces for one of the most remarkable summer meals of the season.

Here are the "ocean spiders:"

And here is the yak sirloin:

Papa Steve and son Elias are chowing down on some yak meat here.

Yak and Lobster - a great combo!

Friday, August 14, 2009

YAK TRACKS: Come On Down To The Washington County Fair!

Fair Days are here!

The yak team met early this morning at Steadfast Farm to load up Tashi (the very first yak born on Vermont soil - born May 12, 2008) and baby calf Kate's Pride (born August 1, 2009 - just 2 short weeks ago) on the big John Deere pick-up/hauler and bring 'em down the road to Kenyon's General Store.

Tashi seemed in his element - he's gotten awfully big since last spring, but is still happy enough to have a halter on him - all that bottle-feeding seems to be paying off (fingers crossed). And Kate's Pride is the durn cutest yak I ever did see.

Here's a look at the animal tent - we're easy to find, on the south end of the fair grounds, almost right next to to the incoming road.

Here's the official skinny on the Washington County Fair:

Come enjoy the yesteryears of a small fair. Cows, goats, horses, sheep, Gymkhana, amateur photo contest, quilt contest, ice-cream eating contest. Many 4-H displays to include new for 2009 vegetables and floral arrangements. Great food and entertainment daily plus a midway carnival to entice any age. Free on grounds parking.

This is Vermont Yak Company's very first county fair - we're a bit nervous, very excited, and looking forward to sharing our yaks and our vision with all comers. Here's a look at our booth, with Theron, Anneka and Emma holding down the yak mojo.

This is the first time in a while that the county fair is being held in the Mad River Valley - thanks to Doug and Donna Kenyon for offering their property - and here's a map to get to the fair.

We hope to see you this week-end!

Friday, July 31, 2009

YAK TRACKS: American YAKBread, T Shirts and Burdock Bashing...

What a week! Before we head out on vacation tomorrow, let's do a photo wrap up.

Here are some "Yakberry" photos.

AMERICAN FLATBREAD served up a delicious yak sausage Flatbread.

THE COLLECTION gift shop in Waitsfield is now carrying our T Shirts:

We've adopted a new "stuffed yak" mascot - you haven't seen the last of him.

We've had quite a week at the yak farm.

And five UVM students showed up today to help me bash burdocks. Here. Brittany is wearing a "burr lei."