We want to take a moment to let you know how thankful we are for having you as a customer.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Warmest wishes from Forest Hill Farm
A "Corny" Celebration
In New England in 1623, a famine devastated the newly settled Pilgrims. Corn, their primary crop, became so terribly scarce that they rationed it kernel by kernel. Each person was given five kernels a day. That's all! When the famine was finally over, receiving the five kernels of corn became a symbolic ritual. On Thanksgiving Day, people each received five kernels of corn on their plate as a reminder of those hard times - and of their gratitude to God for their many blessings.
The word "thank" comes from an Old English word that means to think. Perhaps we could use this definition to add new meaning to this holiday - this "Thinks-giving."
Thinking people are thankful people. When you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner, give each person five kernels of corn. Ask individuals to think about each kernel and the blessings it represents:
First kernel- the beauty and bounty of nature God provides.
Second Kernel- our rich heritage of courageous men and women who helped establish this land of freedom.
Third kernel- the work each of us has - in school, at church or on the job - and the privilege of doing it to the best of our abilities.
Fifth kernel- God's power and presence throughout our past, present and future.
Make your Thanksgiving celebration a "corny" occasion this year for the whole family. It's a good way to think about how fortunate we really are.
From the Norway Lutheran Church 150th anniversary cookbook, Saint Olaf, Iowa
Turkey Brining Recipe
2 gallons water
1 can apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 cup sea salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 TBS peppercorns
1 cup brown sugar
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 oranges, cut in quarters
Mix all the ingredients together. Place thawed turkey In a food grade bucket or brining bag. Pour in brine. Refrigerate for 24 – 48 hours. Rinse turkey and pat dry. Bake or smoke turkey according to your favorite recipe.
Let Your Heart Be Full of Thanksgiving!
Welcome a stranger,
Seek out a forgotten friend
Keep a promise
Brighten the heart of a child
Encourage the young
Express your gratitude
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth
Speak your love
Speak it once again…
Let your heart be filled with
A few years ago Eva, our shepherd was in an accident. She had a wound on her paw that wouldn't heal. For over a year we tried several remedies. She wore boots like the dog's in the Iditarod, took antibiotics, went through miles of bandaging, nothing worked until she started healing with honey.
One veterinarian suggested re-breaking her leg to readjust the rod and plate. The theory that if Eva could walk straighter it would take pressure off the wounded paw. That seemed like a traumatic solution.
Then a family friend, who's also a veterinarian, suggested sugaring or honeying the wound. I decided to use crystallized honey. Every day we cleaned Eva's paw, spread honey on the wound and bandaged it. She started healing within a few days. By months end the healing was nearly complete.
Applying honey is a simple solution.
Bacteria can't grow in a high sugar environment and honey is naturally antimicrobial.
Healing properties of honey are well documented. Organic honey is perfect for healing cuts, burns, skin ulcers and surgical wounds.
The Results of Honey's Healing
Honey can Heal...
Case studies, laboratory research, and clinical trials confirm honey heals many ailments and has revealed surprising insights:
Consuming honey instead of sugar reduces weight gain, improves memory and reduces anxiety
Diabetic ulcers and infected wounds that stagnate under traditional care heal rapidly with honey
Burn victims and amputees, including civilian casualties during the Iraq war, respond well to honey bandages, making painful skin grafts unnecessary
A spoonful of honey helps alleviate side effects of head or neck radiation in cancer patients
Honey proves more effective and safer than children's cough medicines
Functioning as both a prebiotic and probiotic, honey stimulates intestinal health
Cataracts respond well to honey from sting-less bees from South America
In addition to the healing property of honey, another reason to keep pesticide free, pure and clean is that studies show pesticides threaten not only bees learning and memory but humans, as well.
Pesticides Influence Bee Learning, Memory
Royal Holloway University of London compiled a decade of studies on agrochemical research and the affect on bees. Their research determined that even at very low field-realistic dosages pesticides significantly reduced the bees ability to memorize rewarding scents which are a vital component in their search for food. Exposed bees had trouble remembering what type of flower to visit, where to find flowers, and which flowers they'd already drained of nectar. And at very low doses of pesticide exposure bees had difficulty finding their way back to the hive.
What does this mean for you – is Alzheimer’s in your future
Since the repeal of Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL) it's not easy to identify where fruits, vegetables and meat is coming from. 75% of grass-fed beef is imported. Other countries allow classes of pesticides banned in the United States. Consuming these products increases your exposure.
Studies link pesticides Alzheimer’s
DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) was used extensively as an insecticide in the 1940s, but has been banned in the United States since 1972 after scientists linked the compound to wildlife health and environmental concerns. DDT is still used in other countries to combat the spread of malaria.
"We have additional studies underway that will seek to directly link DDT exposure to Alzheimer's disease," said co-author Dr. Dwight German, Professor of Psychiatry at UT Southwestern. "If a direct link is made, our hope is to then identify the presence of DDE in blood samples from people at an early age and administer treatments to remove it."
The study found elevated levels of DDE in blood samples of 86 patients with Alzheimer's disease as compared to 79 control patients from the UT Southwestern Alzheimer's Disease Center and the Emory University Alzheimer's Disease Center.
Source: UT Southwestern, one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation, integrates pioneering biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution's faculty includes many distinguished members, including five who have been awarded Nobel Prizes since 1985.
Your Children and Pesticides
Beyond Pesticides has a Pesticide-induced Disease Database which sites studies and research about children's exposure to agrochemicals. Visit their site to educate and protect your family.
Limiting your families exposure is as simple as switching to an organic diet. You can do that by growing your own fruits and vegetables, buying organic meat and dairy, and by using clean products around your home.
Remember, You have control over your families health.
Lets pretend that in your line of work the numbers started to change. There's a sudden decline in people needing your services. Lets pretend that you're a teacher.
One morning you walk into the school. Something's wrong, you can feel it. When the bell rings one-third of your students are missing.
A few minutes later the principal walks in and asks to speak with you. She shares that in each classroom thirty percent, and in some classrooms seventy percent, of the students are missing. The trend continues day after day. The declining enrollment is alarming. And it's not just your school. This is happening at all the schools in your state.
In the coming months you learn the trend is happening globally. 30 - 70% of school-aged children have vanished. What's causing this and where have the children gone?
Now it's getting personal. The decline is affecting your contract. Lower school enrollment equates to lower numbers of teachers. How will you meet your financial obligations and feed the family?
Seems far-fetched, right? Well, this is exactly what's happening to the bees. They're vanishing without a trace. Beekeepers have lost 30% of their colonies. In some areas the numbers are closer to 70%. Remember; one out of every three bites of food requires bees for pollination.
In the book, More Than Honey, (there's also a video available) Markus Imhoof and Clause-Peter Lieckfeld use a similar scenario;
If 70 percent of all cattle or 30 percent of all chickens were to die annually, states of emergency would be declared everywhere. The death of bees is at least that dramatic and with even more far-reaching consequences.
Vanishing Bees is a Global Crisis
The more personal an issue is the more meaning it has for you. The declining bee population does directly affect you. One of the reasons for the decline is due to herbicide and pesticide use. Studies show that when hives are located close to genetically engineered crops both honey and pollen contain toxic levels of chemical residue. Bees suffer with memory loss and nervous system disorders after visiting plants genetically engineered with systemic pesticides (neonicotinoids). The toxins create confusion, the bees can't find their way back to the hive.
Really great slogans. But, what’s really happening on the farm that’s producing food for your table?
Close your eyes. Imaging a farm. Do you see lush pastures. Animals grazing. Pigs sleeping in the warm sunshine surrounded by shade trees and green grass.
I drove past a farm yesterday with a new van parked out front. The signs on the side read, 'Farm to Table’ and ‘Know Your Farmer Know Your Food’. This particular farmer has several confinement hog houses.
Do they qualify for the ‘Farm to Table’ campaign? Of course. They’re farmers. They sell direct from their farm to customer’s tables.
Do they fit the model for the ‘Know Your Farmer Know Your Food’ campaign? Yep, they do.They sell at farmers markets. Customers get to know them.
But, DO YOU, as a customer picture something different when you support a farm?
Are you thinking of pigs in a pasture or hogs crowded inside of a building.
Are you thinking of cattle grazing under a blue sky and sunshine or steers stuffed under a shed roof with just a few square feet to move around.
Across the mid-west farmers markets are re-opening for the season. I suggest that you really get to know your farmer. Ask questions. Things aren’t always as they seem
How familiar are you with these terms:
Free Range vs Cage Free
Pasture raised vs Confinement
Organic vs 'Beyond Organic'
The California Supreme Court ruled that producers who mislabeled products as organic are open to lawsuits as protection from fraud in the organic industry.
I’m not sure whether the farms that label themselves as ‘Beyond Organic’ will have to change their advertising but it 's food for thought.
And remember; If we are what we eat most of us are fast, cheap and easy. Lets change that!
A new Study on Organic Farming confirms quality is the key ingredient.
A newly released study concluded that Organic meat and dairy products are healthier; more nutrient rich than meat and dairy products from conventionally raised animals.
Professor Carlos Leifert of the Nafferton Ecological Farming Group at the University of Newcatle reports that Organic meat and dairy has 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s are linked to better immune function, reduced cardiovascular disease, and improved neurological development.
Researchers, led by Leifert, found that organic crops had 60% higher key anti-oxidants and lower levels of the toxic metal cadmium than conventionally produced crops.
We're organic farmers because we believe it's the right way to farm, not because it's the popular way. In fact, it's only become popular in the last few years. Organic farming is about quality over quantity. Organic farming is better for the animal, better for the environment, and healthier for the consumer.
“It is the quality of our work which will please God and not the quantity.” -Mahatma Gandhi
Additionally, other studies have shown that Organic grass-fed beef is the best source of lean protein.
Did you know that the average Weight Watcher customer looses six pounds in two years? That’s less than half a pound per month. They count calories, buy expensive pre-packaged food and anxiously step on the scale. They’d get better results by switching to grass-fed beef. And they wouldn’t have to make any other dietary changes. I highly recommend reading Pasture Perfect, by Jo Robinson.
Organic, grass-fed beef is better for kids, too. Studies show that pesticides lower IQ scores. Evidence suggests that genetically engineered food may contribute to Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, and allergies in children. Organic food is clean. It's pesticide free.
The safety of Red meat is in the news, again. Health concerns about red meat, along with processed or grilled meats is brought up periodically. Now the World Health Organization (WHO) is weighing in -
As an organic meat producer I believe our farm is distinctly different; Organic, grass- fed beef is healthy. The practice of MIG grazing improves meat quality, restores the environment, and is beneficial to the life-cycle of livestock, crops, and soil. Quality is more important than yield.
A customer shared this podcast from WGN Radio in Chicago. The guest, Dr. Michael Fenster is a cardiologist and chef. This doctor highlighted interesting issues and omissions in the latest study. Some of these include:
Antibiotic use in animal feed Dying gut bacteria Grass-fed, grass-finished beef Heritage breeds of pastured hogs Artificial additives in food Genetically engineered crops and Glyphosate Hormones in meat Safe Food Labeling; House Resolution 1599 and much more...
The connection between healthy food and overall health continues to grow. Our herd continues to grow, too. The steers are sold out for this year. In January we'll start taking orders again. The details will be posted in the January newsletter.
There are 19,474 organic farmers in the United States. We're proud to be one of them. If you think about it there aren't even enough of us to fill a football stadium on any given Sunday. We're a small group who share our customer's appreciation in healthy living. We value the environment more than the bottom line and believe the health of water, soil, and wildlife are our shared responsibility.
Every year I look forward to our annual organic re-certification visit. Our inspector is great, his name is Gary. He's a wealth of information and very pleasant to visit with.
Gary shared a link to a video featuring Roy Thatcher. Gary inspects Roy's organic farm, too.
I appreciate Roy's hard work and ethics - especially regarding quality. While most farmer's biggest concerned is yield, organic farmers greatest concern is quality. We do our absolute best to provide products that are good for our customers and of the highest quality. I couldn't have said it better myself, thanks, Roy!
...I forget what store-bought eggs taste like, how pale the yolk is.
...I forget that store-bought chicken doesn't have flavor, that the flesh is pale, the texture rubbery. Pastured poultry is superior to conventionally raised in every way.
...I forget that pasture raised pigs don't smell bad, the meat is tender, juicy, and the fat is beneficial.
...I forget that most families don't cook with lard. They've never tasted homemade pie crust or biscuits.
...I forget that walking out your front door to pick cherries, raspberries, gooseberries and apples, from the trees you've planted, is a luxury. It's a special benefit of arranging your life differently than most people choose to do.
...I forget that fresh garden produce is a choice. It's trading your time, planning, and labor in exchange for a plentiful harvest.
I forget that there's nothing sweeter than homegrown peaches or the sight of baby ducklings chasing after a bug.
I forget that most livestock producers don't believe in the restorative powers of MIG grazing. Instead of planning a grazing program they allow their animals to forage randomly. This creates a barren pasture, soil depleted of nutrients, and not enough organic matter or cover crop to control evaporation. These poor decisions, made by many farmers, are a choice. A choice that negatively impacts water quality, wildlife, and climate.
There have been several visitors to the farm recently who've enjoyed the beautiful views and learning about grass based farming. Many of them recall memories of their grandparents farms which were like ours in many ways.
Their grandparents had pigs in the pasture and chickens pecking in the yard. Small orchards provided fruit and cider. Large gardens fed the family and everyone worked together. Picnic tables were sheltered under shade trees where cool breezes relieved the heat of the day.
Sometimes I take for granted that each day is my own. I'm greeted by beautiful surroundings with the people I love and the life we've chosen. Our farming practices are intentionally organic.
Our plans for this farm included rotational grazing, we started out following this practice but in 2009 Keith became interested in Management Intensive Grazing (MIG Grazing). It's the practice of heavily grazing an area by increasing the number of livestock on a small parcel of land for a very short period of time and then moving them to the next paddock. This practice replenishes the soil by allowing grazing, trampling, and animal waste to increase organic cover and vital nutrients. This restorative practice is essential to preventing desertification. We've been following the practices of Allan Savory and Greg Judy.
This is the 2010 areal view of the planned paddock layout:
These photos show the paddocks after grazing with new areas the cattle have moved to.