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Fresh Farm to Home Food


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Initial post: Aug 22, 2011 12:32:04 PM PDT
We complain about all the chemicals in fresh produce or canned food. Yet small farms in the U.S. who grow healthier produce have problems linking up with customers. Especially since the chain grocery stores buy in mega-quantities from the mega-farms.

Slapping an "organic" label on something is no guarentee of anything more than a higher price. And at the same time, food prices are going up, and the news media says you have to be wealthy just to eat healthy anymore.

So here are some ideas of how to eat healthier produce, either by starting your own garden or buying from local farmers.

http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-farm-wic-20110818,0,4961107.story
CONNECTING WIC (Women/Infant/Children government subsidized food) WITH FARM FRESH PRODUCE

http://www.localharvest.org/

http://www.homefarming.com/

Some states have their own farm co-ops, such as:
http://openharvest.coop

Posted on Aug 22, 2011 5:44:36 PM PDT
terzap says:
We belong to a CSA co-op, Community Supported Agriculture farm, or have a subscription to one--whatever the technical term is. It's wonderful. It supplements what we grow in the little home garden, and every Tuesday we get a big bag heavy and groaning with all kinds of wonderful fresh, delicious, organic produce that feeds three adults (sometimes two more) all week and the grocery store trips are down to one a week, too. We get all kinds of things we normally wouldn't have tried (much less been able to find in the store, because some of the stuff is heirloom) and have loved all of them! (The only thing I didn't like getting was cilantro, but I'm one of those who can only taste it as soapy gasoline.) Anyway, our CSA uses sustainable practices including horse-drawn machinery. I only wish it wasn't so far away but all the closer ones were all subscribed up by the time we got ours (it was a gift). I love CSA day! (Tuesday is tomorrow, yippee!) I STRONGLY encourage everyone to check into it. If you're lucky enough to get one close by it can even be a fun place to go for the entire family. Ours has overnight camp outs, corn feeds, garlic festival, etc.

Posted on Aug 23, 2011 5:05:45 AM PDT
Terzap -

Thanks so much for your positive testimonial!

And the fact that "all the closer (farms) were all subscribed up" may help encourage other struggling small farms to try this "subscription produce" route.

Also, I'm curious. Is there any kind of Farmer's Market in your area, Terzap? Where you can buy produce from non-subscriber farms?

Posted on Aug 23, 2011 5:43:25 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 23, 2011 5:50:56 AM PDT
abbyful says:
I get a good portion of my meat through http://kc.freshconnect.com/ (it's a Kansas City thing). They get meat from local farmers/ranchers; you buy a bundle pack (I usually do lamb, bison, beef bundle), and they deliver it to your front door. Just leave a cooler outside, and when you get home from work on delivery day, you have it waiting.
I also love the farmer's market.

I grew up on a farm, I know first-hand how under-appreciated and under-paid farmers are. I do my best to support local farmers and cut out as many middle-men as possible.
And it's healthier too, especially with meats! Pastured livestock have meat that is leaner and higher in Omega-3s.

I tried joining a CSA last year, but the one I joined was mediocre. We got too much of the same stuff. I do not need 10-20 ears of corn every week for 8 weeks.

---

terzap, they use horse-drawn implements?! Wow, that's hard core. What types of food are they harvesting? Horse-drawn implements are far less efficient in terms of time and production, so I'm actually really surprised by that. The only time I've seen people "use" horse-drawn implements was at historical demonstrations.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2011 12:07:20 PM PDT
terzap says:
Yes, there is a weekly farmer's market in the main part of the town, and also produce stands in a few parking lots at area grocery stores. (White Bear Lake, MN.)

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2011 12:12:38 PM PDT
terzap says:
Here is a link to "our" farm's website: www.northcreekcommunityfarm.com

We get all kinds of food: early in the year, spring garlic, lots of beautiful lettuces, radishes, beets, broccoli, leafy greens, other coolseason stuff, some interesting root vegetables, and as the weather got warmer, corn, potatoes, herbs, peppers, squash, melons, onions, garlic scapes. we get a good variety and have only had corn once (today will be twice.)

Combined with our garden, it's been great. I'm looking in to getting half a local beef or so as well and have just connected with a small local butcher who deals almost entirely with locally produced meat.

Posted on Aug 23, 2011 1:46:05 PM PDT
Thanks so much for your comments and information, Abbyful and Terzap.

I was especially surprised that grocery stores would allow produce stands in their parking lots. So perhaps the food prices are comparable to the produce inside the store?

I also like the idea of buying half a beef. Do you have a freezer to store it in, when it's butchered?

Has anyone built a small greenhouse or a small tank for farm-fish?

Posted on Aug 24, 2011 1:50:34 PM PDT
terzap says:
RE: grocery store: I apologize, I was mistaken on that. I'm still a recent transplant to this area (from western Oregon where a farmstand or farmer's market is practically on every corner in some places), and only drive around once a week or so since I have to borrow a car. (That's usually on our CSA day, and I've only just now finally learned to get there and back without needing to follow written directions. LOL.) I was reminded by my sister that parking lot where the veggie place is doesn't have a grocery store. (But that is where the local butcher shop is. )

I hope to eventually have a place where I could have greenhouse and fish pond/tanks, as well as chickens. (I'm trying to talk my sister and BIL into three or four backyard hens, but it'll take some time). Years ago when I lived in an apt in ND, I tried to set up my screened in porch as a greenhouse and I grew wonderful cherry tomatoes, nasturtiums (the entire plant is edible and the flowers are beautiful--what a great plant), salad greens, and herbs---even scarlet runner beans. Unfortunately, being a screened porch, the pollinators couldn't get in and my beans were covered with flowers but no pods. I also had a deck container garden at my little apartment in Oregon--again, mostly herbs and leafy greens, but also flowers and cherry tomatoes. Prior to that I did live on a farm in NJ and although horses were the main crop, we had a great orchard and there was a huge big garden I could play farmer in to my heart's content, supplying myself, the owners of the property, and two other people who worked there with its bounty.

One day, I hope to be able to do that again.

Posted on Aug 24, 2011 2:51:14 PM PDT
Great Cook says:
Marilyn Martin ,
Great thread.
I go to the Farmers markets. Also I like to spend my money to support the local farmers and my county..
I notice the veggies do not last as long, but that is ok. I suppose cause there picked fresh that day, not like the markets , which are picked days in advance when there not ripe..
There are feed stores/Mills that mix chicken food that is healthy when you have to suplement in the winter, or when the grass dies down in the summer.
But No soy.

I always buy Organic.
If the meat your buying from the farmer is not Grass fed, but is corn feed, I think you might as well buy from your market!
Its really not any healthier.
If its eating Corn, its going to be GMO, from Mansanto (yuk) (Check with your farmer)
Cows should not eat corn, but naturally eat Grass, that should not be sprayed with poisons.

A market Can NOT just slap a sticker on to say its Organic.
It cost allot of money to have any farm be Organic.A market could have a Major law suit. The food is tested ALL the time.
That said, I do Not trust food from Mexico etc. that says its Organic.

I live in California, and If it says it Organic , it better be, or there is a big fine to pay and jail time.

I do have a small veggie garden, although I have a few acres.
I'm just starting a chicken coop for maybe 5 chickens..
I have been buying Only , Grass fed, or Range free eggs from someone that does
not Cage there chickens, or feed them anytype of soy in there food..
True grass fed chickens have 3 times as much Omega 3 or more, and less chols , plus many other valueable nutriments in them.
The eggs taste so much different, so Yummy..Bright orange yoke, not yellow.

I have found the second ingrediant in Organic chicken food, is SOY..Which is GMO, which is causeing Thyroid cancer and making people fat and sick. Soy is a cheap food .
Only Fermeted soy is ok, and you can't eat too much of that.

Posted on Aug 25, 2011 4:12:21 AM PDT
THANK YOU so much for your thoughtful, intelligent and relevant comments! I'm learning a lot.

I agree, grass-fed meat is probably healthier, but there aren't enough grass-fed cattle to feed everyone. I like Terzap's idea to buy half a beef, then butcher and freeze it.

Chickens are probably the easiest to raise in a backyard or on a spare acre. Has anyone had success with raising a tank of farm-fish? (Tilapia are said to thrive in crowded conditions, and are being considered as a food crop for eventual colonization of the moon.)

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 25, 2011 5:31:01 AM PDT
abbyful says:
RE: "grass-fed meat is probably healthier"

There's no 'probably' about it. Pastured livestock and wild game have meat that is leaner and significantly higher in Omega-3s. Most Americans are very lacking in Omega-3s, the ideal ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 is 1:1 or 1:2, yet most Americans have a ratio of 1:10-1:20, that's 10x-20x the Omega-6s we should have!

I feed my dogs a diet called raw prey-model; because they don't usually get grass-fed meat and/or wild game, I have to supplement them with fish oil to get their Omega-3 level up.

----

As far as not having enough grass-fed cattle... We Americans should diversify the meats we eat. So many people eat only beef, pork, chicken, and turkey for their meats.
Goat, for example, you can raise more meat faster and on less land. But most people in America turn those nose up at it, even though it's the most widely consumed meat world-wide.

I personally eat a wide array of meats on a regular basis. The common ones, plus deer, pheasant, dove, duck, lamb, goat, rabbit, ostrich, bison, etc.

Posted on Aug 27, 2011 10:37:03 AM PDT
Abbyful -

What exactly is your dog's "raw prey-model" food?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 27, 2011 11:49:04 AM PDT
abbyful says:
They eat, balanced over about a week's time:
80% meat (preferably 1/2 of that mammal meat); also included as "meat" are non-secreting organs
10% bone
5% liver
5% other secreting organs (ex: kidney, pancreas, thymus, brain, spleen)

I wrote a blog post that explains more: http://abby-eats.blogspot.com/2010/11/my-pet-wolves.html

Posted on Aug 27, 2011 11:55:16 AM PDT
abbyful -

Thanks!

Posted on Oct 10, 2011 8:27:08 AM PDT
There is a new form of home gardens now called "refugee agriculture", where immigrants can grow food they are used to from their former country.

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20111009/ZNYT02/110093013/-1/news?Title=When-the-Uprooted-Put-Down-Roots
WHEN THE UPROOTED PUT DOWN ROOTS

http://www.csrees.usda.gov/nea/ag_systems/in_focus/smallfarms_if_part_refugees.html
USDA'S EXPLANATION OF THEIR SUPPORT OF "REFUGEE AGRICULTURE"

http://newrootsforrefugees.blogspot.com/p/about-us.html
EXAMPLE OF A LOCAL GROUP OF "NEW ROOTS"

Posted on Mar 22, 2012 2:28:30 PM PDT
http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2012/03/in_portland_food_innovation_ce.html

IN PORTLAND (OREGON) FOOD INNOVATION CENTER LINKS FARMS TO FORKS
And rural Oregon to international markets.

Posted on Apr 4, 2012 7:36:25 AM PDT
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/04/dining/hatching-your-own-batch-of-eggs.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120404

MORE URBAN AND SUBURBAN FOLKS KEEPING CHICKENS
Although what to do with too many eggs can be a problem.

Posted on Apr 4, 2012 5:02:23 PM PDT
Good posts, Guys. This is the way of the future.

Farmer's Markets are springing up like mushrooms here in Australia. Actually it only takes three or four real farmers to keep a large market viable, as many marginal or partial vendors join in. Knowing what you are buying and who produced it is the key to happy shopping. The culture of the folk who attend these markets make the day a very exciting social affair as well. I figure even if I am buying 'suspect' products, I might as well buy them at the market I enjoy as tramp through the supermarket to get them (even if I do save a few pennies). Simply put, I like to support the market collectively as well as the true farmers.

I am one of the farmers too, so I guess my opinions have to be seen as biased, but the markets are a ton of fun. I produce and sell honey, untouched by any hands but mine. The patrons love it, appreciate me, and the whole deal is a win / win. It also gives me access to the public to promote honey in a generic sense. I sell copies of the books The Hibernation Diet and the follow on book, The Honey Revolution: Restoring the Health of Future Generations Every now and then a customer gets really turned on to improve their health, and that is a reward that cannot be quantified by money.

As a lifelong health conscious and diet conscious person (my father had me on this since I was ten years old!), I also enjoy preaching the good word about healthy lifestyle. Meeting with so many folk at the markets who share that conviction, or at least are interested and curious about it shuts out a world of sickness, despair and depravity I am happy to leave out of my day.

What is desperately needed is more mixed farms, like market gardeners and small holding farmers. Far too much of the arable land is now in the hands of large organisational farmers and they produce mono crops to a price, not a standard. The age of small farmers is over, it would appear, but that can be reversed quickly if the public seek out and support anyone who is willing to produce and market real food.

I am entirely delighted with First Lady Obama for putting in her little White House Garden. I am sorry the press have been more or less inattentive (or was it gagged?) to that story. To top it off, a beehive was also installed there and that really put the cat amongst the pigeons for my industry. Urban beekeeping has taken off big time since then, although it was probably the advent of massive bee losses that started it a bit earlier. The city of Melbourne, In Australia, has granted their local bee people $28,000 to double the number of apiary sites in their city. Such a thing would have been unthinkable ten years ago.

Inflation is killing our society, and that is blatantly obvious in the food chain. To keep a product at the same price it must be constantly produced at lower and lower costs, and this is usually achieved by means that sacrifice quality. Hand grown, local and fresh produce (whether certified or not) should not be expected to compete in price with mass produced (chemically?) lines. I get people telling me my honey is too cheap, others tell me it is too expensive. You know which ones I take notice of, don't you? Getting more value than what you pay doesn't happen often, but getting less is common enough. Quality will be remembered long after price is forgotten.

We all need to be mindful of what our top priority is when we make special effort to get food in. Is it all based on price or do we value quality more? Obviously we want them both, but they cannot both be our top priority! I refuse to pack small jars of honey as hand labor vs computerised factories is not a fair contest. If we want hand crafted produce it is going to be up to us to keep the lady who makes the pickles in wages.

Farmer's Markets may one day merge into supermarkets. I work a market now in a large parking lot surrounding an old hotel. I am told the site has been sold to a supermarket chain, so I watch with interest to see if the supermarket's intention is to move the farmer's market off the site, incorporate it with the new deal supermarket or whether they either want to capture the foot traffic or simply see the site as a good piece of real estate. Supermarket managers do visit these markets, for sure, and I suspect they want their customers back! Indeed, the Mall design may morph into an open market design, with little garages right around the perimeter of the parking lot for lease (at huge prices of course) to interested farmers.

Too much organisational efforts will kill the spirit of honesty and individuality I realize, but with much vigilance we may be able to benefit as the process deteriorates into just another scam. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty!

Happy hunting and gathering!

JohnS

Posted on Apr 4, 2012 5:06:53 PM PDT
PS: Anyone new to amazon forums who wish to post should be aware that if you cannot see the posting you made, you need to look for more pages or alternately click on `Newest First' at the far right hand side in that blue bar immediately under the title line.

Posted on Apr 5, 2012 10:22:27 AM PDT
John S. -

Thanks for your post. I love your attitude and enthusiasm for supporting local growers - and eating healthier.

A big problem here in the U.S. is that regular food prices continue to go up, since so many farmers have abandoned wheat, soybean, and other animal feed and food crops, to grow corn for ethanol. And the joke is on the consumer: ethanol ruins an engine, so Detroit is currently crowing about all their new car sales ...

I've heard of small Farmer's Markets in parking lots of big grocery stores. I guess the idea is to bring people to the site, and if they can't find what they want in the stands outside, they can go inside to finish their shopping.

Honey is truly wonderful, but it's expensive here with the disappearing honeybees. I used to order little tubs of flavored honey from some monks in another state, and put it in my morning coffee.

Do you see many home gardens or chickens in urban or suburban homes, like is taking off here? My husband and I have trouble growing tomatoes, but planting a pepper plant beside it seems to keep most of the insects away, non-chemically.

Posted on Apr 5, 2012 10:50:24 AM PDT
Here's another consideration for buying farm-fresh chickens, or raising your own:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/05/opinion/kristof-arsenic-in-our-chicken.html?src=recg
ARSENIC IN OUR CHICKEN?
A recent study found that poultry grown on factory-farms are routinely fed caffeine, active ingredients in Tylenol and Benadryl, banned antibiotics and even arsenic.

The scientists doing the study were basically looking for just antibiotics. "We were kind of floored. It's unbelievable what we found."

Indeed!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2012 5:06:44 PM PDT
I did hear a story about 4 laying hens arriving at one household, although long overdue, but not in a large city. I doubt the Australian public have done much towards self reliance for food. Food shortage world wide is not a popular subject here, possibly because of our low population and strong currency. We can still afford to import plenty of fresh fruit and veg. But as we have traditionally been net exporters of foodstuffs, we are pretty smug in our attitudes towards food shortages.

I hate be the bearer of bad news, Marilyn, but honey (real Honey) will seem cheap now by the viewers of tomorrow. It really isn't foodstuffs getting expensive; it is money losing value via inflation. The 'barrow load of notes for a loaf of bread' image may well return to a supermarket near all of us. Yes, the credit card will prevent the need for the barrow, but............ Google 'Roof Top Bees' 'Urban Bees' or some such and see what comes up. These volunteers are stirring up a sleeping giant in terms of what demand for honey the market is capable of.

At present only about one percent of the sweeteners used is real honey. As the information spreads about the health benefits of real honey over other sweeteners, it will take oh such a slight shift to double the demand and that will still only be to Two Percent!

Think of honey as medicine and you will soon realise just how big a bargain it is. When the New Zealanders secured a medicine licence for their Manuka honey the price on the shelf soared to ten times what one would expect to pay. Now the pharmaceutical companies are buying up all they can get right on down to the producers themselves. A seventy five dollar jar will still save one thousands in minor medical expenses (veterinary ones too).

Cheers,

JohnS

Posted on Apr 6, 2012 8:08:46 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 6, 2012 8:09:15 AM PDT
Another good reason to use honey or other natural sweeteners, is feeding toddlers. Studies have shown that kids under five refuse to eat anything that tastes "bitter" - like citrus fruits and some veggies. So adding a little sweetener - especially something natural like honey - can help with the meal-time tantrums with toddlers who won't eat.

We used to buy industrial heavy mayo that had a sweet taste to it. So even the restaurant industry has discovered the secret ingredient of using just a little sweetener, to either cancel out bitterness or make a good dish even better.

Posted on Apr 6, 2012 3:57:03 PM PDT
It is hard to find even a tin of green beans that has not had sweetener added. Soon even frozen vegies will have sweetener added. Maybe we can get our water supplies spiked with sweetener?

God Save the Quee Bee

Posted on Apr 7, 2012 7:43:05 AM PDT
John -

I'm not in favor of all these sweeteners in processed food, but food companies have learned that they sell more products if they aren't bitter. So most of the time you probably don't even taste the sweetness.

http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2008/12/guide-to-natural-sweeteners_08.html
NATURAL SWEETENERS
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Discussion in:  Health forum
Participants:  10
Total posts:  64
Initial post:  Aug 22, 2011
Latest post:  Aug 5, 2013

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