Greetings from frosty Chewonki Neck. We’ve been hearing a lot about eggs lately. “Take some home for your family”, “There’s quiche for lunch”, “Oh look, deviled eggs”. Post holidays, with few participants and staff on the Neck, chickens still lay eggs and cows need to be milked. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, we feel blessed by the abundance. It’s a time to share with the communities around us and to marvel at the creativity of the kitchen. We’re so lucky! (I recall the “winter of the beets” a bit less fondly, but that’s a story for another time!)
For those of you who were here this summer, you can be proud of those beautiful animals that you bonded with. They’re still hard at work . Custard anyone? Yum!
Wherever you are, we hope you’re warm and cozy.
With best wishes from all your friends at Camp Chewonki!
From the Camp Office
It’s official. Space is TIGHT! As a result, we’ve added a couple of additional Puffin sessions:
- Boys Puffin Program 1b July 9-18
- Girls Puffin Program 2b August 4-13
If you have family or friends that are still looking for a summer camp program please contact Leslie for more information, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now Hiring For Summer
Every year we welcome former campers, alumni, and new friends to join us as part of our summer team. We want you! We’re already hiring for the 2022 summer season – cabin leaders, trip leaders, activity heads, support staff, kitchen staff, facilities support, and much more! If you would like to step out of the ordinary and spend an extraordinary summer making a positive difference in a child’s life, please check out our job board.
News From The Neck
From the Farm
This winter is proving to be an egg-cellent season on Chewonki’s farm, with our laying hens producing upwards of 140 eggs each day! Two different breeds of chickens live on the Chewonki farm: Novogen Brown Egg Layers lay brown eggs (as you might guess based on their name!), while Easter Eggers lay eggs in a range of blue and green hues. Because we’re raising these particular chicks for egg production, we specifically order only female chicks. A chicken is born with a tiny version of every egg she’ll ever lay inside of her. Both breeds come to us from Pennsylvania, where they hatch and are immediately put in a box and shipped to Maine through the postal service. The local post office gives us a call when the box of peeping chicks arrives, and we quickly pick them up and unload them one at a time into our chick brooders, where they’ll live under warm lights with plenty of protection from cold and other critters. Our chicks come to us having never had anything to eat or drink, so the first thing that we do is dip their faces in water to introduce them to what water is and where they can find it.
After spending their first month in the brooder, our laying hens move into an Egg-mobile, a chicken coop on wheels. The floor of the Egg-mobile is a grate (it’s so great!), so the manure from the chickens falls through the floor and onto the grass, fertilizing it. We move the Egg-mobiles to a new part of the pasture every week throughout the growing season; the chickens free range around the Egg-mobile during the day and then naturally go inside to roost as the sun sets. We shut them in to keep them safe just after the sun sets each evening. During the winter, we shut the coop around 4:00 pm, but a farmer or helper has to come to the farm closer to 8:30 pm to shut in the chickens at the end of long summer days. The Egg-mobiles stay in one place throughout the winter so that we can plug in water heaters and lights in the coops. The Egg-mobiles each include a grain feeder, waterer, feeder for oyster shells (a supplement that helps the chickens lay eggs with harder shells), roosts, and laying boxes.
A chicken can produce one egg roughly once per day. Chickens prefer an enclosed, dark space for laying their eggs and they like to lay eggs where eggs have already been laid, so most chickens lay their eggs in the laying boxes, which include a slanted floor insert that directs the egg to a compartment that can be accessed from outside the coop. That means that farmers and Chewonki participants can collect eggs through a specialized hatch from the outside of the coop. It’s egg-citing to find laying boxes full of eggs every day! We wash the eggs before sending them to the dining hall, where they are turned into all sorts of delicious meals and desserts. In this season, our girls are laying lots of eggs daily but we don’t have huge numbers of eaters on campus, so our eggs have been traveling 30 minutes south to the Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program in Brunswick, where they can be shared with folks in need of more food.
One of the silliest parts of raising chickens is the few weeks when the girls are just starting to lay eggs for the first time around the age of four to six months old. Their bodies are figuring out how to do it, and sometimes they misfire. It’s not unusual to find huge eggs with two yolks inside, tiny eggs the size of a large marble, misshapen eggs, and eggs that lack a hardened outside shell and feel like Jello. That sounds funny, but it’s no yolk!
From the Kitchen
We have a lot of eggs! The chickens at Chewonki are currently producing more than one hundred eggs a day. Participants and students have cared for chickens here on campus so we say thanks to them for laying (get it?) the ground for this bounty.
You may ask “what in the world are we doing with all of these eggs?” especially as we are between programs and not feeding many people right now. Many eggs have been donated to local hunger relief organizations and for the MCS faculty and the handful of Foundation staff who join us for lunch, Chewonki cooks have served up deviled eggs, egg salad, omelettes, quiche, southwest scramble, banana bread pudding and more, and coming soon egg drop soup and egg foo young. Above is a picture of our walk-in refrigerator. You can see that we have eggs of all sizes and many colors. Thank you farmers!
Happy cooking from Susan and the kitchen team!
Classic Deviled Egg with a Chewonki Twist
- 12 eggs (hard boiled)
- ¾ cup mayonnaise (or to taste)
- 1 t salt
- 1 t pepper
- 2 T Dijon mustard
- 1 t curry powder
- 2 T sweet chili sauce
~Hard boil 12 eggs. There are many ways to hard boil an egg. I was taught to put eggs into a pot and cover them with cold water. Cover and bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the eggs sit, covered for 5 minutes, then submerge in cold water.
~Peel and halve the eggs. Put the yolks into a mixing bowl and arrange the whites on a platter.
~Mash the yolks very well using either a potato masher or the back of a sturdy fork. You can also puree them in a food processor. It is worth a little extra time to get the yolks very smooth.
~To the yolks add and mix well: mayonnaise (a little extra mayo means you will have a bit more filling for each egg half), salt, pepper, Dijon mustard, curry powder, sweet chili sauce
~To fill your egg cups you can use a teaspoon to carefully fill the egg white or you can use a piping bag. If you don’t have a piping bag, a zip lock type bag works well: put your filling into the bag and snip one of the corners off to allow the filling to squeeze through.
~For garnish we used curried farm pickles made by our farm crew last summer. They are delicious! We topped each egg with a sliced pickle, but chopped pickles would be nice too. Traditionally deviled eggs are sprinkled with paprika. Smoked paprika would be delicious on top of these curried eggs.
Food Facts with Russell
Can you find Ginny? Ginny, our newest mammal ambassador, will be hiding out in our feature picture each month. Submit your solution to email@example.com. Can’t find her? We will share the solution in next month’s newsletter. Here is December’s solution.