Monday, March 30, 2009
Lately Dante and I have become increasingly disenchanted by " certified organic ". Don't get us wrong, we believe wholeheartedly in organic agriculture, and will always farm organically. We have really struggled with the decision but in the end feel it is best for our family, our farm, and our customers.
We don't use chemicals on our land, routine antibiotics on our livestock. We wouldn't hesitate to turn to antibiotics to save a life, just like we wouldn't deny antibiotics for one of our kids, our animals are all pets with names and the right to life saving medicine if it is needed.
All our animals are pastured during the grazing season. Not only is this healthiest for the animals, it is also healthiest for the farmer, physically, mentally, financially. We also take care of the local wildlife, by keeping the fields organic and open, surrounded by woods, and keeping our cows out of the year round brook we have, we are preserving important habitat for them as well. We employ a loving and highly effective LGD ( livestock guardian dog ), so we can coexist peacefully with woodsland predators. We are doing a major fencing project late spring, so we can utilize every blade of grass.
A couple of events spearheaded this decision to drop organic certification.
1.) A screw up by our butcher, totally his fault not ours, cost us $12,000 right as we were going into winter. Disastrous timing, eh?
2.) We learned that we could not use my Dad's locally grown hay for our cows, because he is not-and doesn't ever wish to be certified organic. So there went certified organic dairy. We decided it wasn't sustainable for us to purchase hay from a great distance, at a higher cost, and a greater expenditure of gasoline, when we could get it locally and at a great price. ( he is my Dad and he likes to eat pork and drink milk as well).
3.)The only certified grain we could get delivered to us was grown in Canada, and also trucked a great distance, and we were forced to buy more than we needed at atime at great expense all at once. All that money wasn't going local, wasn't even going to our country! We just didn't feel good about that. Yet organic certifiers recommend this feed company.
4.) The economy is tanking, we all need to tighten our belts. Basically we decided we could remain organic, but wouldn't actually be able to afford to feed any animals that way! Or we could continue to farm organically, with less restriction and governmental interfrence and standardization, do what makes sense and is the most sustainable. We will still be able to provide our delicious food, we are farming exactly the same but decided not to buy the word"organic" this year.
5.)We have made a dramatic move away from wholesale distribution of our goods to almost exclusively selling directly to our customers. This allows us to get to know our customers and speak face to face, and field any questions personally. We welcome you to be informed consumers and ask about how we raise our animals. I personally feel that organic certification is more important when you are selling to a middleman ( someone who is going to resell your product in his establishment ) because in that situation all the consumer has to go on is the appearance of your product and what the label can tell you about that product. You can't ask that package of porkchops what its life was like or what it ate for breakfast, but when you buy from us on the farm or at a farmers market you can ask us anything you want. We can build a relationship of trust between farmer and consumer because where would one be without the other?
6.) The fees for organic certification doubled this year! Another example of excellent timing. We like Mofga and are members and support what they do, but just couldn't see paying that kind of money for a label this year, being organic means so much more to us. Not to mention that it seems the USDA owns the word "organic " you can't even use it unless you buy it via certification. Our main focus is on Local agriculture and sustainable farming methods and a sustainable business so we can be around for years to come doing what we love!
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
We picked up lots of goodies at the butcher on Monday so are pretty well stocked.
nitrate free ham steaks and bacon ends
st. louis, baby back, and countrystyle ribs
Sausages- bratwurst, andouille, hot and sweet italian, garlic, chorizo, and maple breakfast.
Happy Birthday Dad! We'll see you tonight.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Maple, another one of our Tamworth sows, is looking pretty close to farrowing. I heard a nasty rumor that there may be a late season Nor'Easter snow storm next week. Bet we'll have piglets right about that time. Murphy's Law.
Canadian Bacon w/ Carmelized Onion Sandwich
Makes 4 sandwiches
REAL canadian bacon
4 farm eggs, fried in butter or bacon drippings
1 onion sliced, also sauteed in butter or bacon drippings
4 slices cheddar cheese
8 hearty slices of homemade or sourdough bread
Greens, whatever you have on hand
Assemble and Enjoy!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
4 Tbsp butter
2 large yellow onions, diced
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
2 tsp thyme, ground
1 tsp cumin, ground
1/4 tsp turmeric, optional for color
2 pounds white potatoes, washed, skins on and cubed
6 cups chicken stock, homemade
6 Tbsp cold water
2 cups heavy cream or half and half
4 cups corn kernels, fresh, frozen or canned and drained
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper, ground
In large stockpot, fry bacon until cooked and crispy but not burned. Drain fat, reserving 2 Tbsp, and place bacon on paper towel to cool. Set aside.
Add butter to the reserved fat and cook onions, and peppers until crisp-tender.
Add the spices, potatoes and chicken stock. Cook on low until potatoes are almost cooked through.
In small glass, dissolve cornstarch in cold water.
Add mixture to hot soup a little at a time stirring constantly. This will thicken up very quickly. Keep stirring.
On low heat, add cream or half and half or milk to the chowder and stir. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until hot. Do not bring to a boil.
Add corn and black pepper, stir and remove from heat.
Serves 10-12 or more.Read more: "Chunky Corn Chowder Recipe: Recipe for Thick Corn Chowder: Vegetarian, Vegan & Low Fat Versions!" - http://winter-recipes.suite101.com/article.cfm/chunky_corn_chowder_recipe#ixzz0Amgn1TCl
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Here's a link to a synopsis, if you get a chance to see the whole documentary please do. Compare those pigs with the photo I posted yesterday of Marigold and her litter curled up snoozing in their nest of hay.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I think these sweet ones are already spoken for.
She had a smaller litter than I would have expected. I think Boris, the boar, may be past his prime.
Four out of the five kids are coming down with colds. Baby Ida May scared us last night with our first experience with croup. I have a sore throat too.
There were cow tracks the whole way down our lane today. This means the 2 bull calves and probably Madeline the heifer went galavanting while I was gone. I'm not too impressed, when the cat is away the mice will play, I guess. With all the snow we've had, the electric fence is in shambles and a joke. Another project for Dante.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Ida May born 08/08/08 at 2:22p.m. She just turned 7 months a couple days ago. She is beautiful, inquisitive, quick to smile and laugh. We love her so much! She also has 3 teeth, and boy are we glad that last one finally came through.
She was a bit cranky, poor thing. Ayla ( 2 years old) calls her " pickle" and " little popcorn". She is almost crawling and presently rolls from place to place. She also says "ma ma", "da da" and "ba ba"
and a whole bunch of razzing and blowing sounds.
No food for Ida yet, with Dante's strong family history of asthma and allergies we hold off. She is a lovely plump 22lbs anyway. Doing just fine on mama's milk.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
4 ( 4 ounce )beef tenderloin steaks
1/4 tsp Maine sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground blk pepper
1 garlic clove minced
1 TBsp Olde Sow butter (shameless promotion )
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1lb button mushrooms, quartered
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 TBsps worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
2 TBsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1.) To prepare steaks sprinkle evenly with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. Rub 1 minced garlic clove over all steaks front and back. Melt butter in a large well seasoned cast iron frying pan or a heavy bottomed stainless steel one, you may need more than 1 TBsp. Medium high heat, add steaks and cook for 3 minutes each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from pan and keep warm.
2.) To prepare mushrooms, add shallots and mushrooms to pan and saute for 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Add 2 garlic cloves and saute 30 seconds. Add wine and next 3 ingredients and cook until liquid is nearly evaporated. Remove pan from heat and stir in parsley. Serve mushroom mixture with steaks and a hearty red wine.
Of course potatoes go well with this meal.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Sunday, March 1, 2009
The kids are cranky, tired, I feel similar but want to get out there and start feeding hay. Oh, Yeah-the shavings to bed the cows down with are also trapped a half mile away. Well, things will look better, tommorrow morning in the daylight.