Friday, February 29, 2008

Would you like clones with that?

After an FDA decision not to require the lableing of cloned meat New York decided that it would take action on it's own. So the Department of Consumer Affairs is stepping in. from the NY Times

Strange world...

Leap day...

Remember everything you do today is "extra." Any progress you make is more then you would in a normal year.

Want to think today? Click on this then click "Now" to reset the timer and let it run a while. Talk about perspective... World Clock

Have a great Leap Day!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Only GMOs to solve the worlds problems?

GMOs are technology's gift to the world. Scientists solving the worlds problems through the mircle of transgenics. Feeding everyone and creating solutions to intractable problems...


This article is fasinating... Non-GM Breakthroughs Leave GM Behind

Scientists can solve problems and do by using tools which have been around for thousands of years, selective breeding. Including using genetic technology to map genes and help with selection of crops to propergate, but keeping genes where they belong, in the species they started in.

(You thought I was going crazy when you read the first line, didn't you?)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Add sugar to the list...

Sugar. I love my sugar. I will admit it. People who say they don't like it, have to be lieing in my mind.
I use organic cane in my coffee and day to day uses, but come Christmas time, jelly time, and other high sugar use times I buy it in bulk. Costco sells 10 and 25 pound bags of beet sugar from Michigan. I figure it's local for sugar, and I buy it.

Those days may be about to end and with them the pints of jelly given out like water and the hundreds and hundreds of cookies I use as standard Christmas fare (my cookie boxes this year each held 4-6 dozen cookies and I did 12, even before I had any for all the Christmas events and my husbands cookie habit.)

Am I getting lazy? Figuring that it is easier to buy a $15 dollar gift then give a box of laborious cookies (which have $10 in ingredients anyway?) No. Nothing that easy...

After a preemptive strike from the EPA of changing the allowable Glyphosate residue (Round-up) in sugar beets by 5000 percent (you read that right five THOUSAND percent) the stage is cleared for GMO sugar beets.

One of the problems with this is that beets are wind pollinated. Organic beet growers will need to be more then 3 miles (MILES) away from GMO sugar beets to ensure that their beets are not contaminated. Because containing any GMO genes (even accidental) means no organic certification. Plus Monsanto has a habit of suing people whose crops are contaminated by their genes, for usurping their intellectual property!
Then what about all the items I buy now looking for "sugar" instead of High Fructose Corn Syrup in the ingredient list. Breads, pasta sauces, jellies, sodas! ICE CREAM! Will I be forced to organic for all of these to avoid GMO, as now I buy organic corn products...

Then there is the issue of my bees. My poor bees. We feed them sugar water spring and fall to make up for the honey we rob from them. And WOW can bees eat sugar water, gallons a week. Natural beekeepers feed their bees sugar water instead of high fructose corn syrup (partially to avoid the GMO in HFCS) that the commerical beekeepers use. But now what? Feed the bees organic sugar? I guarantee you will not be able to afford the resulting honey. And some people have suggested that colony collapse disorder might be exacerbated by GMO foods, not to mention the increased herbicide (Glyphosate) load in the sugar which my delicate bees are now eating...

This is a brave new world we live in. One where most people seem to be keeping their eyes closed!

Monday, February 25, 2008

The challenge of eating...

There is danger in doing to much research or thinking to much about issues. It tends to turn simple things complicated rather quickly.

I remember the days when I would go to the grocery store and wander up and down the isles and buy whatever I wanted, the entire store was open to me. If I decided that I was watching my fat that week, I would get fat free salad dressing, the fat replaced with unpronounceable chemicals. If I wanted less sugar I would get diet coke (I miss diet soda!) or other artificial sweetened treats. If I wanted a burger or a glass of milk, what ever was on sale was fine.

But today, like many of my readers, I'm sure, buying is not so easy.

First is the dairy issue. If you do one thing organic, make it your milk, especially (in my scientifically unsubstanstated view) if you have children. So my milk is more expensive, but organic milk is readily available. But wait! Is it really organic if the cows do not have access to the outdoors? And if it still is, what do I do. So my milk and yogurt purchases are confined, and will soon switch to other, more local and wonderful sources...

Then there is the chemical issue. On the top of that list is the ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup. So basically the entire interior of the grocery store is off limits. Gone a majority of salad dressings, tomato sauces, snacks, basically 90% of your grocery store is no longer in play.

After that comes local and organic produce. With local being more important, except in certain things, like potatoes, which we will buy organic before we buy conventional local. This is a constant challenge still.

Then seasonality, which to be honest I am still working on! I love my lettuce in the hot days of summer and a crunchy pepper in the cold days of winter. And fruit? When is the local banana season?

After that comes a huge list of do's and don'ts which we want to implement in our diets but are a struggle. Our recent joining of a food co-op will help us get decently priced, grass raised local beef and pork which will be a huge help in our next big step... No factory farmed meats...

The challenge is to readjust your thinking to what you can have and not what you cannot, but that is hard. Eventually I will get there, but for now it is one slow step at a time.

The good thing is that after something passes from challenge it becomes habit, and easier and more automatic to do. I guess I just have been thinking about food a lot the past week, when in my rush there was no time for good food, I was in my car 1100 miles in 2 days with a tightly scheduled and no time for real food day in between. So in that time I broke almost every rule I have set myself about food. Artificial sweeteners, transfats, fast food, high fructose corn syrup, conventional dairy, fast food, fast food, and fast food. Much of it while listening to "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" and feeling bad about what was in my food and mouth.

It is time to get on the bandwagon again (which should be easy because, honestly, I feel like crap.) One day at a time and one step at a time, we can all eat better and change our world a little at the time along the way.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Out of town for a while.

Hello, everyone. I just thought, before I disappeared I would post that I will be out of town for a few days so the next blog posting will not be until, probably, Sunday.

I am sorry for the lag in posts, but as with all family farms, family is the first word, and comes first, or at least before blog postings (chickens and crops cannot wait.)

In the meantime if you are looking for a good food fix, I recommend Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver as a great primer on the food system in this country.

Although I own the book, it has been glanced at a few times, I have yet to read it. But we got it as an audiobook for our iPods and I finally starting listening to it in earnest. I think it will keep me company on my 9 hour (each way) drives this week. But from what I have heard so far I am kicking myself for not finishing it sooner...

Monday, February 18, 2008


The countries largest beef recall is underway... (news story) and the great thing about it is that much of the meat went to feed children in schools!

If you have a strong stomach here is the video...

I guess I am always worried when I hear these stories. On one level I am worried about my food, although I often personally know the producers of my meat that is not always the case. On another level I am worried about our farm and other small producers.

Major food recalls often cause pressure for "ACTION!" meaning government action, meaning regulation. And this is scary because, typically, there were regulations in place that were ignored by the perpertrators. You already are NOT supposed to use "downer" cows for the human food supply, as happened in this case. Thinking back to the spinach recall you were already NOT supposed to sell from flooded feilds (flooding lets contaiminates like e-coli into the feild).

So regulataion becomes stricter - read more expensive - especially for small producers. Will a small butcher still be able to process a small farmers 10 or 20 cows a year, without going through a huge "regulated" slaughterhouse. Will a small produce grower be able to grow 1000 pounds of greens a year without "inspection." ((Don't even get me started on the National Animal Identification Program.))

Much of this regulation is cheaper for bigger producers who already have plants and can spend an extra $0.001 a pound, instead of hiring someone for $30 an hour to do that same inspection for 30 pounds.

I fear that some day, doing what I do will be illegal, or so regulated it's impossible for a small farmer. All of you who support local food need to be aware that the next 10-20 years will be battle against the further industrilization of our food supply.

Any battle needs warriors...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Blogger blues...

It seems like there is so little to blog about right now! Sorry for the lack of interesting topics. Today I decided to post some photos I meant to post before but never did...

Some of the seed tests. They are going well, almost everything is popping!

Barn last spring. I just love this photo, it makes me want Spring!

My dog. I don't think he looks big and scary although some people tell me he does...

I took this photo Janurary 8th! Can you believe how nice the plant looked? I had a whole row of bok choi that looked like this. Unfortantly, to small to use for anything.

What happens to your ground when 4 inches of snow melts in a day of rain!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Rat Tailed Radish!

Our germination tests are looking good.
I was VERY happy that our Rat Tailed Radish seed germinated. This is a radish pod variety, meaning you wait until it grows a seed pod on top and eat that not the root!
Very yummy, and great in salads or stirfry (he German's pickle it!)

We bought 4 oz of the seed in 2004 from Johnnies, we have 2 oz left and it is at the end of it's life span. And now Jhonnies does not carry it and most places only have it in small quantities.

This is a great canadiate for seed saving this year as we don't let any other radish go to flower!

So maybe in 2009 our Rat Tailed Radish will be our own!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Tossing seeds and germination tests...

This weekend I went through all our old seed.

Wow, was there a lot of it! What I did was check seed storage ages against a book we have, and toss seeds that are beyond their storage time, leeks and carrots, for instance, only last a couple years, yet I had a packet of each from 2003!

For more on the line seeds I am running a germination test. 5 seeds of each kind in a moist paper towel. Keep it nice and moist and warm and we'll see what happens!

Seed starting will ba happening starting in mid March, so the time is quick upon us. The BIG seed order will go out this comming weekend, when we see what pops and what does not...

(I will post pictures of this when I get home today.)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

So much to buy!

The season for a farm to spend money is officially upon us!

In addition to all our seed, we need 3 new bee hives, a greenhouse, a post hole digger, fence supplies, a new solar fence charger, a roll of bio-degradable plastic mulch, starting supplies like trays and mix, and about 100 other miscellaneous things!
Later this year we will add a walk in cooler to our ever growing list.

At first all the looking and shopping is fun, but it slowly grows towards overwhelming! So we would like to thank all of our renewing and new CSA members for their support. When you come out to the farm and see the new goodies, you'll know you helped with some of all that.

For others on our waiting list, thanks so much for your interest. We still have spots and will be sending emails to our waiting list in small groups over the coming weeks. We have come up with a prioritized list based on if you wanted a share we could not give you last year, when we first heard from you, if you have bought shares from us in the past, and other things like that. In the future the list will be totally date based (as it is for anyone who contacted us past Nov 2007), but we did not keep track of that before. What we want to avoid is getting a ton of people excited and have to say "I'm sorry our CSA is full." 12 hours after we opened the spots. We think this way is more fair.
Thanks to everyone for your support of local food and our farm!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Happy Super Tuesday...

While those of us in Ohio just sit by, waiting for the Super Tuesday states to make their decisions, lots of you are voting today. Who do you really agree with?

Take this quiz and see...

Some of the answers are so close or you may want to pick more then one, be sure you click on the issues of the canidate you think you support when you are done. You may be more in line with them then the quiz shows.

Who did I come up with? I'm certainly not telling!

But where the canidates stand on milk labeling is not even on the quiz... :)

Back to milk...

I know I have not posted on the milk labeling issue recently. Basically because there was nothing I could say new! But I just recieved this email, so I thought I would bring the issue up again...
Copied from a Farm Sancturary Action Alert

"Stop the rBST Cover-up in Ohio

The dairy industry’s use of synthetic growth hormone (rBST) to boost milk production in cows has been under controversy since the FDA caved in to the lobbying efforts of Monsanto—a reckless and powerful agricultural biotechnology company—and rushed approval of the practice 15 years ago. State by state, the industry continues to lean on agriculture departments to silence debate on the issue, keeping consumers in the dark about the blatant cruelty and hazards of rBST’s use in animals. The latest battleground is Ohio, where lawmakers are preparing to decide whether or not to allow product labels that could expose industry’s use of rBST. Don’t let agribusiness dictate the fate of animals or deny the public’s right to know. Take action now!"

Sunday, February 3, 2008

First seeds...

I went to our mailbox yeseterday and inside was a precious envelope from Seed savers exchange with our ARK of taste item seeds! I was so excited!

But alas, there is NOTHING I can do for anouther 6-8 weeks. And in the mean time we need to get our hoophouse up to start the seeds in. We have picked the one we want, and it should serve us for a good few years. We need to wait for final approval from the park to stick it up, which should come soon.

So far this year is looking great!