December Healthy Eating Newsletter
After the Halloween snowstorm and early November single digit cold snap we resigned ourselves to a long winter. However, it looks like fall is returning for the next week so we will take full advantage of the warmer weather to get some of our fall chores completed like spreading compost and power washing the tractors and trailers before winter returns
Pictured above, Lucy's kittens are running all over the barn and even outside now. We've given up trying to lock them up before we leave, they will just have to learn to outrun the raccoons that roam around the barn at night.
The egg shortage continues, the hens are still not giving us many eggs with the shorter days and cold nights. Last year they started picking up production in January as the days got longer, we hope to see that first of the year increase again this year. On the positive side the Moo Crew have stepped up their milk production, we have a good surplus for the first time in several months. Contributing to the surplus is Sugar, as she is back into production after calving last week. With the surplus we have opened up bulk (5 gallon bundle) milk sales on the website certain days of the week, and in the store as well to keep the extra milk from going to the pigs!
FARM STORE UPDATE
New In the store this past week we now have our stewing hens in stock, and more pasture-raised ducks from Timberfeast farm (and they left us with a few packages of duck feet!). These are our retired 2 year old laying hens, they don't have much meat but they are perfect for making chicken soups, stews, and bone broth. We also have a good selection of grass fed lamb cuts from Terra Vitae Farms, and an extensive inventory of grass fed beef cuts, pastured pork cuts (including nitrate free smoked hams), and whole chickens as well as chicken parts and turkey parts.
For those looking for last minute Christmas gifts we have a large selection of Mion handcrafted personal care products in the store including natural soaps, shampoo, body lotion, deodorant, bath balls, chap sticks, and more. And a variety of grass fed cookbooks, cheesemaking and fermentation books, healthy living and healthy eating books, and more. And why not give the gift of good food - check out our holiday special packages (all 20% off) and our Gift Certificates - order in the store or online!
HEALTH NOTES - WHAT WE LEARNED AT THE ACRES USA CONFERENCE
Anna and I look forward to the Eco-Ag Farming Conference every year in early December, organized by ACRES USA Magazine. We are typically coming off a crazy November of winter preparations and Thanksgiving turkey sales, and the conference is a welcome break from the farm and time for rest, relaxation, learning, and inspiration. As usual the conference was full of leading edge thinkers and visionaries in the sphere of regenerative ecological farming, soil health, and healthy living, including Dr. Zach Bush, Carey Gillam, David Montgomery, Dr. Nasha Winters, John Kempf, and many more.
The first keynote speaker was Dr. Zach Bush, a triple board certified physician who has been studying the impact of environmental toxins on human health, in particular the spectacular increase in the incidence of chronic illnesses, cancers, developmental disorders, obesity, and autism in the US. The staggering increase in these illnesses closely mirrors the amount of glyphosate (Roundup) applied to American farm fields beginning in the mid 1990s. It was truly eye opening, as he explained how glyphosate, patented as an antibiotic, has rapidly degraded the diverse microbiome in our soils, waterways, and our guts. Learn more about his research on his website.
If that wasn't depressing enough, the Keynote speaker on day two was Carey Gillam, an investigative reporter who documents the truly deviant and criminal behavior of Monsanto, the creator of Roundup herbicide, in her book WHITEWASH: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science. I was truly amazed that this carcinogenic poison is still being widely sold and used around the world, even after its designation by the UN as probable carcinogen, the clearly documented government and scientific corruption that allowed it to be approved as a pesticide all over the world, and the 42,000+ pending lawsuits from sufferers of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Monsanto (now owned by Bayer), has already lost the first 3 lawsuits with multimillion dollar verdicts and the troves of information that came out during the discovery process of those lawsuits was particularly damaging for Monsanto.
Amidst all this depressing news about glyphosate, corruption, and diseases we were uplifted by David Montgomery's talk about his research into soil degradation and regeneration. Dr. Montgomery is a professor of Geomorphology at the University of Washington, and over the last 10 years he has been studying civilizations and soils all over the world. His first book, Dirt, chronicles how widespread soil degradation led to the collapse of most ancient civilizations, including the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Mayans. And we are on the same path today with our industrial/chemical-based farming systems. More depressing news.
HOWEVER, Dr. Montgomery has spent the last 5 years traveling the world, meeting with farmers who are leading an agricultural movement to restore soil health. He has a simple prescription for regenerating soils - Ditch the Plow (stop tilling), Plant Cover Crops (no bare soil), and Grow a Diversity of Crops. Farmers that are following these simple practices - whether organic or conventional, are restoring fertility and organic matter to their soils, reducing or eliminating chemical pesticides and fertilizers, reducing pollution, increasing production, and returning profitability to family farms. Now that was some good news! I am currently reading his new book Growing A Revolution: Bringing our Soil Back to Life and would highly recommend it anyone interested in agriculture and feeding our future generations.
RECIPE OF THE MONTH - OLD FASHIONED BEEF STEW Here is a simple, straightforward beef stew recipe - the kind that might have been cooked on top of woodstoves years ago. From the Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook, by Shannon Hayes (available in our store). Serves 4 - 6.
1 cup all-purpose flour or potato flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 pounds grassfed stewing beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 tablespoons butter, lard, or tallow
2 large onions, peeled and cut into wedges
1 crumbled bay leaf
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 28-ounce can of tomatoes, whole or crushed, undrained
2 cups beef broth
2 quarts water
6 to 8 carrots, scraped and cut into chunks
2 small turnips, peeled and cubed
4 boiling potatoes, cut into large chunks
Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika in a shallow bowl.
Dredge the meat in the flour. Heat the fat in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the meat, and brown on all sides. Add the remaining ingredients, except the carrots, turnips, and potatoes. Cover. Bring the stew to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for 2 hours.
Add the turnips and carrots, cover, and continue cooking for 45 minutes longer. Then add the potatoes, cover once more, and cook for another 20-25 minutes, or until you can pierce the potatoes with a fork.
We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday with friends and family, and look forward to seeing you soon at the farm store.
Cliff, Anna, and the Farm Team