New Pigs, Corn Free/Soy Free Chickens, and New Farm Tours
It has long been my goal to get out a weekly or at least bi-weekly newsletter, as many of the farm visitors have requested more frequent updates on farm happenings and new products, especially in the summer when we have lots of fresh produce coming into the store every day. If we can keep things relatively calm at the farm I hope to spend Thursday evenings and/or Friday mornings getting a weekly update out. Wish me luck!
We picked up a trailer full of new baby pigs last week from the DeBacker Farm near Aledo, Illinois. Dave DeBacker and his family have been raising pigs outdoors on pasture for many generations and he has been our primary source of new feeder pigs since 2015. He raises the piglets with their moms so they can nurse until they are about six weeks old so when they are weaned they have well developed immune systems. Most commercial hog farms wean their piglets at 15 days old and then have to feed them antibiotics for the remainder of their lives to fight off diseases.
The new pigs are also trained to respect electric wire so that we can move them to fresh pasture with only electric fencing in our now fully enclosed 12 acre hog pasture. Come visit the new pigs on our next free farm tour (see more below on the tours).
This week we also harvested our first batch ever of pasture-raised broiler chickens raised on a certified organic soy free AND corn free diet. The feed ingredients included organic peas, wheat, oats, flax seed, and some fishmeal. (but 40% less than our traditional soy free feed). We ordered this special feed in from a mill in western Nebraska so the trucking was expensive. But it looked very appetizing, and the chickens really gobbled it down.
We will have fresh corn free/soy free chickens available in the farm store through Sunday while supplies last, and frozen after that. This is our last batch of soy free chickens for the year, they are also available for orders through our online poultry store. Online orders can be picked up in the farm store, curbside, or delivered to your home via FedEx.
This week we also conducted two private farm tours for the Boys and Girls Club of Dundee Township, guided by our newly rehired farm apprentice Mike Milkowski. Mike worked for us two years ago and decided he wanted a career in education, but missed the farm life so we brought him back as a farm apprentice AND our coordinator for farm education programs, including tours and workshops. He does a great job guiding our free weekly farm tours every Saturday at 2:00 PM, And if you would like to schedule a private farm tour for your school, church, company, or family group, please email Mike directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FARM STORE UPDATE
With summer vegetable harvest in full swing we have lots of organic homegrown and local fruits and veggies in the store every week.
This week Karolina is harvesting lettuce, squash, rainbow chard, green beans, cucumbers, zucchini, basil, carrots, and cabbage from her organic gardens here at the farm.
We will also have fresh blueberries, apricots, peaches, sweet corn, yellow squash, microgreens, lettuce mix, and red and gold beets in the store harvested fresh from other local farms.
We asked Jackie at Bushel and Pecks in Beloit to prepare chicken bone broth from our stewing hens, and beef bone broth for our grass fed beef bones in her commercial kitchen. Both are available for sale in the store with limited quantities.
And for those ice cream lovers, we just received a shipment of Blueberry Ice cream from our friends at Joe's Blues in Michigan. Locally produced, this is the richest ice cream you can buy!
HEALTH NOTES - THE TRUE COST OF CHEAP FOOD QUANTIFIED
Last year I wrote a blog post about the true cost of "cheap food" produced by the industrialized American food system. Now a new report from the Rockefeller Foundation quantifies in great detail the immense “hidden costs” from our food system and their impact on human health, the environment, and social and economic inequity.
Consider this: In 2019, American consumers spent an estimated $1.1 trillion on food. That price tag includes the cost of producing, processing, retailing, and wholesaling the food we buy and eat. It does not include the cost of healthcare for the millions who fall ill with diet-related diseases. Nor does $1.1 trillion include the present and future costs of the food system’s contributions to water and air pollution, reduced biodiversity, or greenhouse gas emissions, which cause climate change. Take those costs into account and it becomes clear the true cost of the U.S. food system is at least three times as big—$3.2 trillion per year. READ THE FULL REPORT
RECIPE OF THE WEEK - SPRING INTO SUMMER SALAD
I've been too focused on meat recipes lately so I decided a salad would be great now that we have so many fresh veggies in the store PLUS local goat feta and chevre from Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery. This recipe is from Edgewood Farm Organics in Princeton, Illinois, and published in the Band of Farmers cookbook.
- 1 bunch spring radishes
- 1 cucumber, washed and skinned
- 2 cups edamame, steamed and cooled
- 2 cups peas (fresh, if possible)
- 1 cup green onions, chopped
- 1 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lime juice
- 2 tsp. local honey
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 2 Tbsp. fresh dill
- 1 tsp. turmeric (optional for extra health benefits)
Wash radishes, then chop or slice them and place in big bowl. Chop cucumber and add to bowl. Add remaining ingredients to bowl and mix well. Refrigerate for an hour or up to a day for full flavor, ENJOY!
Thats it for this week, Get ready for the heat wave coming this week and cross your fingers for rain!
To Your Health,
Cliff, Anna, and the Farm Team