Genuine Faux News of the Farm
Vol 3 Issue 10 - October 2007
I find that I usually focus on encouraging everyone to buy from local producers of food, but I forget to encourage support for the other parts of our local food system. I was reminded of this by a recent thread on the Practical Farmers of Iowa listserve.
The number of meat processors/lockers in Iowa is dwindling. Yet, if we want a healthy local meat production system, it is imperative that these businesses continue to exist and remain profitable. The job is not highly lucrative and the work is not glamorous. So, it is not surprising to learn that it doesn't take many additional roadblocks to stop someone new from entering the field or many problems to encourage someone to leave it.
One of the things we can do to support lockers and local meat processors is to maintain a healthy demand for their services. If we continue to support local growers that use local lockers we help maintain a consistant demand for their business. So, when we sponsor cooperative buys, we are not only supporting the local grower, we are supporting the local processor.
We also support our local processors by being willing to pay fair prices for their work. While this is, in part, our job as producers, it is also your job as consumers. If the consumer continues to demand the lowest possible price for food, then pressure is exerted on all parts of the chain. And, at present, I suspect the processors are under the tightest squeeze.
At present, there appears to be 4-6 processors for poultry (only one does ducks). The nearest locker that will do organically certified beef processing is in Cannon Falls, MN. If this part of the chain breaks, then you will see a number of small producers cease production.
Rather than assume the worst, we can look to the past and the future. Prior to WWII, Iowa grew widely diverse foods. (Did you know Iowa was the #3 apple producer at one point?) We have the natural resources in our land and the remnants of an infrastructure that can be revitalized. The demand for locally produced and sustainably grown foods is increasing, especially on the coasts of the United States. But, it is here, in rural Iowa, that we should lead the charge for redeveloping our local food systems.
Let us introduce our board of directors - and you know them well. Well, yes, this was a trick announcement. YOU are our board. We are soliciting suggestions for next year from our share holders. Do you have feedback for us on what went well or how we could do better? Let us know!
We would appreciate ideas or thoughts on the following:
Things people can do to support local agriculture and sustainable practices:
3 Issue 10 - October 2007
Once October is reached, we have to begin expecting that deliveries may have to cease when the produce gives up. At this point, we WILL deliver shares during the weeks of Oct 1, Oct 8 and Oct 15. Any deliveries after that point will be announced as we know what will be available. This set of deliveries will put Tripoli at 20 weeks and Waverly and Waterloo/Cedar Falls at 19 weeks.
Tripoli Delivery: Will continue at the farm from 4pm until 7pm on Oct 5,12 and 19
Waverly Delivery: Oct 2 & 9 - normal location. Oct 16 Parking lot directly SOUTH of the Science Center at Wartburg College from 4 to 6 pm
Waterloo/Cedar Falls Delivery: continues at same location/time on Oct 4,11 and 18.
Remember - we do not leave farmer's markets even though the weather is bad. We will remain during the advertised times in order to get you your produce. The exception, of course, would be severe weather. We may be forced to take shelter in that instance. We will be happy to throw a share into bags for you while you sit in the care - after all, we don't ALL have to get wet!
In your shares this month:
The current plan is for us to return in 2008 with our CSA subscription service. We are unsure as to whether we increase the number of shares from the 42 sold this season. We will be developing 2008 brochures this week.
The "turks" have surrendered and are now cooling off in the freezer. As of October 8, there were 8 to 10 birds still available for purchase. Available sizes range from 15.5 lbs to 23 lbs. Our smallest bird this year came in at 14.51 pounds, equivalent to last year's largest bird.
We attribute this success largely to our willingness to give them the run of the pasture sooner in their lives. We may have been a tad bit overprotective last season. Also, they have feasted daily on GFF produce.
Again, these birds are free range, fed organically certified feed and were treated humanely. Cost of each bird is $3 a pound. The following weights are still available:
18 18.06 18.33 18.49 18.58 18.92 18.98 19.17 19.34 20.03 20.49 21.61 22.47 22.6 22.93
Birds are not injected with saline at the point of processing, so you will get more meat per advertised pound. Many commercial birds are injected with up to 20% solution. Please also note that these birds have less fat content. We would like to encourage you to cook them at slightly lower temperatures and use a foil cover to help maintain natural moisture in the bird.
Our turkeys were processed by Martzahn's Farm in Greene. As always, they have done a fine job!
Harvest Squash and Apple Soup
Cook onion & carrot in cider covered for 12 minutes (or until very tender). Do not drain. Stir in other ingredients.
Transfer cider mixture to blender bowl. Add squash. Cover and blend until smooth. Place mixture in saucepan. Stir in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes (until flavors blend - stir periodically).
Optional - add sour cream and chives to top each serving.
from Farmer's Market Cookbook - Better Homes & Gardens
Vol 3 Issue 10 - October 2007
Most winter squashes can be made into a pie. However, we can safely eliminate acorn and spaghetti squash from possible candidates. Varieties that are particularly good at being adapted to pies are Long Island Cheese, Amish Pie, Musquee de Provence, Australian Butter and Kikuza.
If you find a recipe calling for a can of pumpking just remember this:
1 can = 2 cups cooked pumpkin / winter squash.
Pumpkin Chiffon Pie
Mix the above on low heat and stir in
Mix well. Cook, stirring occassionally until gelatin dissolves (approx 25 min). Chill until the filling can drop from the spoon.
Beat egg whites until stiff. Beat 1/4 cup sugar into egg whites.
Fold egg white mixture into pumpkin filling. Place into large baked pie shell.
The following works for any winter squash - from acorn squash to pumpkins. Acorn squash, being smaller, will take far less time to cook. Excess squash reheats readily and can easily be placed in a freezer bag and frozen.
Many squash have extraordinarily hard skin. Use a large, sharp knife and use common sense when cutting open a squash. If you are unable to cut a squash in half, you may soften it by puncturing holes in the squash and using the microwave.
We are looking at a couple of grant opportunities. If you are interested, or know of someone who might be interested in being a resource or partner in one of these projects, please let us know.
Vol 3 Issue 10 - October 2007
by Sudsbury Six
The Chicken Decoding Special Forces has been in operation for some time and we have requested the opportunity to report recent findings. It is our duty to sort through and decode the shredded materials provided to us on a semi-regular basis. We have discovered what we feel is important information and submit it for your review:
"the do is what from Saturday then once is until was it due bee dew."
Clearly, something is afoot and we are hopeful our willingness to decode these materials and report them will help someone.
Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver
Yes, yes, we know we recommended something by Kingsolver in August. However, consider this: Tammy read this in September. If this does not impress you, let us remind you of what September means to us. September is when Tammy starts a new term teaching at Wartburg College. In short, she does her best to lead two lives during that month. Yet, she still couldn't resist reading a chapter or two each evening.
This latest book introduces us to her own family's effort to raise their own foods using sustainable methods and to support local food networks. The book is full of anecdotes that Tammy and I can relate to personally and will give others insight into what we (and others like us) deal with on a daily basis. Kingsolver includes good portions of facts and opinions to go along with the personal stories. You will be alternatively annoyed, amused and amazed (I couldn't help it, I MUST alliterate).
Perhaps most revealing are the contradictions Kingsolver finds within her own pursuits. Visit her website: http://www.kingsolver.com/home/index.asp to get a brief taste by reading the first quote in the book description.
Our meat chickens will be taken to the processor on October 9 and will be brought back and available beginning October 10. We estimate that there will be approximately 80 birds available at $9 a bird ($10 if you want a cut up bird, otherwise, they are whole). As of October 9, there were 30 birds still available for purchase.
We estimate that the birds will be from 3to 5lbs in size once processed. These birds are free range and have been fed GFF watermelons and certified organic feed. The organically raised insects are just a nice bonus for their diet!
The breed is a type called Freedom Rangers, meat chickens bread to be able to thrive in free range conditions. We have found that these birds appear to have better natural immune systems, they are more intelligent (which isn't saying much) and are much more active and interested in the world than the Cornish Cross bread everyone grows for meat.
This is our second batch of birds of this variety. We found that the taste of the meat was far superior to the Cornish Cross. Though, admittedly, there is slightly less white meat, the overall quality more than makes up for this loss.
Our chickens are also processed by Martzahn's Farm.
The current beef and pork buys are full. However, we are still taking requests from interested parties. If we get enough requests, we will execute additional buys as soon as we are able to do so yet this fall.
At present, we have arranged to buy a side of grass fed beef from David Burns in Lawler. We have also arranged to buy a hog from Pat Menenga of Plainfield. We will be in contact with participants within the week with more details on each.
Vol 3 Issue 10 - October 2007 page 5