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Buyers Club

We have decided that we would like to start a Buyers Club for the meats that we raise.  We will start out focusing on our pasture raised broiler chickens and turkeys this coming season.  If this arrangement works well for everyone we will expand to include our lamb and beef.

We think that this Buyers Club will benefit your family as well as our farm.  How is that?
We want to offer our pasture raised poultry at a discounted price to those who will pre-order their chicken and turkey before the start of the 2018 growing season and secure their order with a non-refundable deposit. The deposit will be applied to the final purchase price.  Whether you want only a few chickens and a turkey, or you want to stock up your freezer to feed the family throughout the year our Buyers Club benefits you by letting you plan ahead, work with your budget, and pay throughout the season. This is your opportunity to get high quality, clean, and nutritious meat at a lower price than if you waited to place your order when the birds are processed.

A Buyers Club helps us so that we can appropriately plan how many birds to raise in the coming year and to anticipate pasture rotation for the cattle, sheep, goats, and poultry throughout the year.  And as part of the Buyers Club you gain a special sense of participation in the restoration that is taking place here on our small family farm – you can feel confident that you are participating in the restoration of our local ecosystem, cleaning up our area ground water, sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, and providing clean and healthy meats to our local community.  We love raising healthy animals and we appreciate the idea that our animals have a job here on the farm with our holistic restoration agriculture practices, as well as a calling to nourish your family when they leave their home.

If you are interested in the details about our new Buyers Club, please contact us right away and we’ll get you the details.

 

What is Restoration Agriculture?

What is Restoration Agriculture?

Generally speaking it is a form of land and animal management that has as it’s core value the regeneration of the ecosystem that calls our land home. Hundreds of years ago our vast continent was home to incredibly diverse flocks and herds, flora and fauna, and fish and birds. Mankind lived well here too, but we utilized our resources differently than we do today. Our continent once consisted of vast grasslands, clean rivers, woods and forests – all of which worked as part of a fantastic system that we don’t see so much anymore. The early settlers were astonished at this rich land, a land of bounty, a land of hope and promise. Our land is not able to produce the vast quantities of crops that it once was and our animals are not thriving as they once were, and restoration agriculture focuses on how we can restore what we’ve lost.

Restoration Agriculture has grown out of permaculture, and permaculture is a blend of two words – permanent and agriculture. Permaculture focuses primarily on perennial crops (fruit and nut trees, perennial grasses) as opposed to annual crops (corn and soy). Many things that have become part of “the way things are done” are more destructive than we realize and as we learn more we are adjusting so that we do things with less destruction and more regeneration. The idea is that the ecosystem we manage; the land, soil, microbiology, insects, fish, birds, wildlife, and domesticated animals all work together for mutual benefit of every species – especially humans.

This is a holistic perspective, meaning that we recognize that the whole is made up of many parts that function independently and yet are vitally connected to one another. We understand that if one part suffers, the other parts can pick up the slack for a time but if that suffering part does not recover and dies off the whole is greatly affected. Like our bodies are comprised of many parts and systems, we understand that each system is interconnected and should one part or system ultimately die the whole is greatly affected. We instinctively understand that each of us is a single whole made up of many parts and systems. Everything in creation is part of at least one system or part, and that system or part is just a piece of a greater whole, and each whole is just a part of an even greater whole, and on it goes. Continue reading

Why Is Good Food So Expensive? Part 2

In our last post we cited three suggestions as to why it feel like good food is a burden on our budgets:

~ The business model of industrial agriculture has placed the dollar as the ultimate bottom line.  While this is necessary for any business small family farmers have very different values.
~ Low quality foods (mass-produced processed foods) may have a greater volume on your plate but your body will need more of it to feel satiated.  I believe this is why our standard portion sizes have grown so much over the years.  There is even talk of our populations being malnourished because we aren’t getting the quality nutrition we require from our “Standard American Diet”.
~ Prepackaged and fast foods are convenient and have been on the market for so long that a great many people simply do not know how to cook anymore.  Many people are intimidated by their kitchens and simply don’t feel comfortable trying something new.

Our previous post talked about industrial factory farms looking for creative ways to reduce their production costs including using ingredients such as junk food and food waste when raising animals for consumption.  We determined that  “cheap inputs and a higher volume means a lower end price” and that industrial factory farms can bring in their materials at prices that are not available to small family farms.

Today though let’s focus on the second two suggestions in our original list:  Our need to eat more of the cheap food in order to feel full, and intimidation of food preparation. Continue reading

Why Is Good Food So Expensive? Part 1

One question that is often asked today is “Why is high quality, healthy food so expensive?”  It’s a very fair question!  After all, food costs have been sharply increasing for more than a decade and some families spend as much, if not more, on their grocery bill each month as they do on their housing.  That’s a lot of money!  Very few of us have enough money that we can simply buy whatever we want, whenever we want, and feel no financial pinch.

Young families have lamented that they feel forced to use their grocery budget to buy a greater volume of lower quality foods because “it makes more meals” than if they buy higher quality foods.  To buy higher quality foods means they are concerned that there will not be enough to feed the family, and that is frightening.  I can really appreciate this concern.

An example that I’ve shared with some young families is this:  Years ago when our children were small my husband’s line of work was very unpredictable.  We were really pinching every penny to make it through each month!  One of the things I decided to do was to start making bread instead of buying it.  At first it was a financial necessity, but at some point we realized that we preferred homemade bread over store-bought bread.  The times I’d buy bread our family wouldn’t be satisfied with their toast or sandwiches and often felt like they needed to eat more just to feel full.  This solidified my opinion that homemade bread is more than just a good financial decision because it cost less to make and we needed to eat less of it to feel full, it’s also a good health decision because I know that my family is eating quality ingredients.  It was a win on several fronts.  Once I got the hang of this concept, learning to make more meals from the food I had was a delightful way to make our food dollars really stretch into good healthy meals.

I’ve learned a few things about cheap food:
~ The business model of industrial agriculture has placed the dollar as the ultimate bottom line.  While this is necessary for any business small family farmers have very different values.
~ Low quality foods (mass-produced processed foods) may have a greater volume on your plate but your body will need more of it to feel satiated.  I believe this is why our standard portion sizes have grown so much over the years.  There is even talk of our populations being malnourished because we aren’t getting the quality nutrition we require from our “Standard American Diet”.
~ Prepackaged and fast foods are convenient and have been on the market for so long that a great many people simply do not know how to cook anymore.  Many people are intimidated by their kitchens and simply don’t feel comfortable trying something new.

Let’s tackle the first item listed above and save the next two for a later post.  I’ve talked with people who say, “I can get chicken at the discount store for 99¢ per pound, why on earth would I buy chicken from you for $5 per pound?”  This is a good question! Continue reading

Emotional Health Tips

As we enter the cold and dreary time of year there are many people who find it difficult to remain at peace and hopeful with our long, dark, cold, and wet days.  You might be surprised to learn that your diet can help bring back some of that balance, and not just in the winter but all year-long.

Years ago I read articles that spoke of schools and prisons changing the quality of the foods that their kitchens offered and that the results showed both children and prison inmates were better able to concentrate and were better able to control their impulses.  While the prison inmates were given supplements, it appears that the children were given better quality food and had stronger improvements.  (sorry, I can’t find the follow-up articles.  but if you have a link, I’d love it if you’d share it with me)

What intrigues me about this is that we can make a profound change in how we feel by eating better food, and instinctually we’ve always known this.  We’ve had traditional comfort foods for a very, very long time.  Not only do these traditional comfort foods help us when we are ill, but they can help bring us into balance when we are down too.

One of those “feel better foods” is bone broth made from clean animals. Continue reading

Nutrient Density and Animal Products

The phrase “nutrient dense food” is a hot one these days!  What does this phrase really mean?  Basically it speaks of the ratio of nutrients in food.  But what is this ratio in relation to?

When we look at our food labels and see how much of a nutrient is found in that food item, what we are seeing is the value of each listed nutrient based on how many calories are in one serving.  The ratio looks like this:  Total Fat per Calorie, Protein per Calorie, Iron per Calorie.  Foods that offer many vitamins and minerals without excessive calories are considered nutrient dense.  Leafy greens are considered by many to be the most nutrient dense foods. Remember, nutrient density is determined by how many calories are in the food.  You might remember from your high school chemistry class that a calorie is a unit of energy.  Our food labels today are based on a suggested diet of 2,000 calories per day (though many of us don’t need so much energy every day).  These food labels tell us the percentage of our daily minimum requirements of selected nutrients per calorie in a serving of that particular food.

While this sounds great is is also a bit confusing and inconvenient.  Most of us consume our meals based on satiety, not caloric intake – meaning that we eat our meals when we are hungry and we eat until we feel full. Continue reading

Pasture Raised Eggs Are Fantastic! – Customer Review

Yesterday I met with a woman who buys eggs from us regularly.  We hadn’t been able to connect for a few weeks and she began to tell me about how much she enjoys our eggs.  She told me that she had purchased free range organic eggs from Costco as well as eggs from another friend who has backyard chickens.  She said, “It must be that they’re pastured, because your eggs just taste so much better.  I really like your eggs best.”

Some of the chickens in the fall/winter sheep pasture

I attributed their fantastic flavor with being outside and “grazing” through the yard, the garden, and nearby pastures but I also attributed their fantastic flavor to The Red Bridge Farms feed that we use as well.  This feed is wonderful and has a lot of the additional ingredients that are valuable to me as the caretaker of these animals and this land when it comes to “nutrient cycling” – allowing the chickens to spread the nutrients around the property as they search for the bugs even in this cold and wet season.

I was very pleased to hear that our eggs are so much more pleasantly flavorful and I fully agree that it is due to their being pastured and the top notch feed they get.

Lamb Chops

Lamb Chops

Lamb chops are delicious!  Usually they are a special occasion dish because they are a prime cut of meat and they tend to be smaller pieces of meat, be sure to save the bones to make meat stock (no waste!).

Makes 6 lamb chops

Ingredients:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 lamb chops, about 3/4 inch thick

Directions:

1. Finely chop the rosemary, thyme, and garlic.

2. Using a mortar and pestle or small food processor, make into a paste with the salt, cayenne, and olive oil.

3. Spread mixture on to the lamb and marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

4. Bring the lamb to room temperature outside of the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

5. Put your grill (indoor or outdoor) on high heat and grill for 2 minutes on one side.

6. Flip over and grill for 3 minutes on the second side.

Moroccan Lamb Meatballs

It’s fun to try recipes from other parts of the world because we get to try new combinations and flavors, and we have the opportunity to learn where some of these places are on the map.  Moroccan Meatballs served over couscous is one delicious way to incorporate ground lamb into your family’s mealtime.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 onion
  • 1 small potato
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 Tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tomato
  • 3 shallots
  • 1 cup assorted mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp saffron

Prepare the Meatballs:

  1. Finely chop onion, potato and parsley in a food processor the. Add mixture to the chopped lamb and combine.

  2. Mix in egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and turmeric. Place in fridge for 10-15 minutes.

  3. Chop the tomato and the shallots.  Then in a large pot, heat up one tablespoon of vegetable oil and sauté the tomatoes and shallots. After about 10 minutes, add the mushrooms, salt, pepper, turmeric and saffron

  4. Form the meatballs and add them to the pot. Add half cup of water, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Prep Time:  45 Minutes
Serves:  6

Recipe also found here