Eating Local Makes Shopping for Food MUCH More Fun

local food farmers marketWaaaay back when my kids were little (meaning a lifetime ago!), I'd drive to a local farm on Saturdays to pick up vegetables. Unlike with trips to the grocery store, the kids loved to go with me because it wasn't a chore. Rather it was an experience. We drove down a pretty, tree-lined road that followed the river to get to the farm. Once there, we got to enjoy the view of the farm's fields and greenhouses. There were chickens running around in one direction and pigs behind a fence in another. And we got to look through all of the vegetables and pick out what we wanted for the week. It was FUN.

 

I suspect that sense of adventure is "procuring" our local food had a lasting effect. Even now that the youngest is 16, she still enjoys going to the farmers market with me to wander around the stalls, and to see people and socialize. She doesn't enjoy the local cheese shop or the local butcher as much as I do, but she loves the local bakery as much as the farmers market (probably because she usually gets a goodie there, but still). 

 

Although my local food "procurement" no longer means a pretty drive along a river to a farm, because I've moved away from that area, I do still view buying local food in a different way than what I call "grocery shopping." Due to my youngest's schedule, I usually go to the farmers market alone, but I still go to the farmers market when it's in season. And it's still an experience and FUN because I see familiar faces and I enjoy walking around seeing everyone's offerings for the week. Going to the local cheese shop usually means catching up with the owner, and although the guys at the butcher's aren't exactly candidates for Mr. Congeniality, I do get a kick out of watching the wide variety of customers and what they buy. As for the bakery, well, it's a bakery. Who wouldn't enjoy it? Finally, there's the stand where I buy local milk: I like the milk so much, I frankly don't mind that it's not staffed by people I know, and it's right across the street from the feed store, so it's super convenient to get there.

 

Admittedly, going from place to place is not the most efficient way to buy food. But whoever said buying food was supposed to be efficient? I'm ready to start a new campaign to get people to view buying food in a whole new way. I haven't named it yet, but it would be something along the lines of buying food can be fun, if I ever were to launch such a campaign. (Open to naming suggestions here, people!) 

 

The issue is our mindset: viewing buying food as a chore (while buying clothes is a leisure time activity). What if we change that mindset? What if we commit to spending more time in the pursuit of good local food, with the attitude that we'll enjoy these shopping trips as excursions, not chores?

 

Take the Tyner Pond Farm pastured chickens, for example.  Buying your chicken from Tyner Pond Farm not only means a healthier chicken for your family, one raised on grass, not drugs. It also means driving out to the pretty Greenfield, IN farm to pick up that pastured chicken meat can be an adventure, plus educate your kids (and possibly you?) about where their food comes from. Not to mention with all the bright red buildings and fat and healthy cows, either you or your kids will want to make that drive again for sure! 

 

Buying local foods takes more effort than conventional grocery shopping because we lack a local food system that makes it otherwise. But it can also be more fun. So maybe we need to change how we look at it? Maybe we need to make food procurement fun or an adventure...an experience rather than a chore?

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Reason #6 to Cook: Making Time to Cook Now Can Mean Being Healthier Later

make time for eating healthy local foodsWhile folding laundry this morning, I was struck once again by the odd conundrum of doing our own laundry but not cooking our own food. I'm serious. Think about it: We aren't going to outsource the washing, drying and folding of our jeans and socks, but we outsource the feeding of our families. 

 

Hello? 

 

I blame our crazy lifestyles, including my own, which I consider to be less crazy than the lifestyle of many of my friends. For example, Miss Picky Eater gave me a Downton Abbey cookbook as a gift a few months ago (because she was feeling guilty about her teenaged behavior and this was a peace offering), and I still have yet to make anything from it...not because I don't want to, but because the recipes are complicated and will take more time in the kitchen than I've had to give. Just last night, I was thumbing through the cookbook, and Miss Picky Eater started asking me questions about it. I soon realized--based on her careful questioning--that she is hurt that I haven't cooked from it yet. But that's only because I haven't had time.

 

Wait: Is it that I haven't HAD time to cook from it? Or I haven't MADE time to cook from it? Because we can MAKE time for the things we want to do...like making time to spend hours at the mall. 

 

And making time to cook is imperative. To paraphrase the picture above, you can make time to cook now or you can make time to be sick later. That's because your choices are to cook for yourself or to have something cooked for you which usually means processed foods. And processed foods might fill you up now, but they're likely to take you out later

 

One of the best ways to get yourself cooking is to switch to eating local foods, like the vegetables and fruits you'll find at your farmers market, but also local meats and pasture raised chicken and eggs. You're not likely to find a local carrot in a processed form! Nor a locally raised chicken! Making a commitment to buying your food from local farmers not only helps them out (with income) and supports your community, but it will get you into the kitchen. Whether it's a local grass fed steak you're throwing on the grill or potatoes from the farmers market that you'll be boiling for potato salad, you'll be cooking now, and healthier later. 

 

Not convinced that time in the kitchen is time well spent? Read some other compelling reasons for cooking and eating local foods:

P.S. For more on the health problems that can come from eating processed foods, read 9 Ways That Processed Foods Are Killing People

 

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Just a Few of the Health Benefits of Grass Fed Beef

grass fed beef ribsIf you've been paying any attention, you might have heard of grass fed beef already, and you might have an inkling that it's better for the animals and the environment. But did you know grass fed is actually healthier for you too? 

 

In my experience in talking to people, we usually don't know this. We think of grass fed beef as something we "should" eat, but not as a healthy alternative to the confined cattle feeding operations. 

 

So exactly what are the health benefits of grass fed beef? I wanted to know, so I did a little sleuthing to find out... 

 

  • Grass fed beef is lower fat than that raised on a feedlot eating corn. Lower in fat means lower in calories! And you'll get a lot less saturated fat if you eat grass fed beef instead of grain fed.
  • Eating lean beef like grass fed beef can lower your bad cholesterol levels. 
  • Grass fed beef is higher in beta carotene, the B vitamins riboflavin and thiamin, and some minerals. (Sounds a bit like a multivitamin in a steak, if you ask me!)
  • Grass fed beef is higher in Omega 3s. 
  • Grass fed beef also contains more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA can help with managing your weight, but more importantly, it might be a cancer fighter. 
  • Grass fed beef has more vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that boosts our health in many ways, and helps to prevent cancer, heart disease, strokes, cataracts, and possibly aging.

 

Now, that's an impressive list of health benefits! All from switching out your industrially raised beef to grass fed beef! But there are some other benefits too...

 

One is, getting more cuts of beef. When I buy grass fed beef from a local rancher, I can get short ribs and soup bones and a variety of roasts...none of which I can get from the grocery store, nor even my local butcher, who sells locally raised beef but only the popular cuts like New York steaks. 

 

Another is getting to know your farmer or rancher...and their cattle. For example, if you live in Greenfield, IN or the surrounding area, you can buy beef from Tyner Pond Farm, visit the farm, meet the farmers, and see the cows grazing in the field. In short, you can make a real connection to the food you feed your family. 

 

And a third benefit is simply the feel good you get when you support a small business and make a good, sound choice. 

 

Good for your body, your land and your farmer. What's NOT a health benefit of grass fed beef??

 

Note: EatWild.com has a really good fact-filled web page dedicated to reporting on the health benefits of grass fed beef as well as other grass fed meats. It goes into detail about the health benefits and cites multiple scientific studies that repeatedly find it's the grass fed meats that will get this nation healthy again, not the industrial, feedlot, antibiotic laden stuff we've been eating. If you want to learn more, I highly recommend reading the EatWild.com page.

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Our Real Food Journey Starts Here

Sustainable Alternative FarmHi there and welcome to my very first blog post! My name is Sarah and I’m thrilled to be joining the Tyner Pond Farm blog where I’ll share stories about my love for real, nutrient-dense food, my family, and sustainable farming. My husband, our 2 little boys (plus another one on the way!) and I live in Bloomington, Indiana but I am SO GLAD to know and be connected with Chris and Amy Baggott – owners of Tyner Pond Farm. My husband grew up in Greenfield and my in-laws still live there so thankfully we get to visit fairly often – in fact this past weekend we stopped by to stock up on meat from the Farm Store! Here are my kids enjoying the moos and clucks. It was a beautiful day! (We also drove by the Frosty Mug and they are making great progress!)

 

Our journey into the Real Food Movement began in January 2013, shortly after I gave birth to our second son, Owen. What began as tidbits we already, deep down, knew to be truths, suddenly became an avalanche of information from which we could not turn away. Books, articles, research, community discussions and more led us down a path to health and wellness that I never could have imagined. And of course, it all starts with food – real, whole, organic, properly cultivated food. Turns out industrialized agriculture has destroyed the true meaning and purpose of food which is to NOURISH our bodies. Tyner Pond Farm is an operation dedicated to raising animals the way they were meant to live: outdoors; with lots of access to sunlight; pastured, foraged, and grass fed. This means the animals not only enjoy a happy life, but also are replete with vitamins and minerals and an undeniably superior nutrient content that we humans are privileged to enjoy. It goes without saying that the absence of antibiotics and hormones also contributes to the incredible health of these animals and brings great peace of mind to me knowing that I am not feeding nasty pharmaceuticals or chemical additives to my family by way of their meat consumption. BLEH!
 

While I believe we possess a shared food culture and an innate understanding of how nature is intended to play a role in this, I have found the acceptance of such not nearly so simple. Industrialized food has done a tremendous job distorting our taste buds and providing false information when it comes to healthy food. For my family and me, our eyes were opened wide once we truly realized, and accepted, the complete and utter demise of our food industry, as well as its impact on our country’s “food pyramid” and growing epidemic of diet-related disease. By taking proper steps to fill our kitchen with real food, learning the joys of fermentation, and adopting traditional cooking methods (our grandparents and all those before them had it right!!), we started to live more fully and appreciate food on an entirely new, never before understood, level: as sacred, nourishing, and healing.

 

What is a real, traditional foods diet? For us it means consuming organic fruits and vegetables, pasture raised meats, lots of healthy stable fats (grass-fed butter and ghee, pastured lard, and olive oil), homemade bone broth, raw dairy, and properly prepared grains using soaking, sprouting and souring methods.

 

I’m very excited to share my food journey with you! Next up: simple pasture-raised roast chicken... a weekly staple in my kitchen! 

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Grass Fed Beef vs. Grain Fed Beef: Why Feeding Cattle the Way WE Should Eat Only Makes Sense

grass  fed beef vs grain fed beefA few months ago, Farmer Chris blogged about American's obsession with feeding their dogs healthy food while feeding their families processed, unhealthy stuff passing as food...without ever questioning the irony. He makes great points in his blog, but recently I realized a similar irony in how we feed livestock in this country. 

 

In part, my thinking grew out of getting pigs at our small farm, and realizing we'll be eating later what those pigs are eating now. But then I read this article on grass fed beef benefits, essentially pitting grass fed beef vs. grain fed beef. When it comes to the debate of grass fed vs. grain fed, the author makes great points about how we should feed beef cattle the way we should feed ourselves

 

The article at Mercola.com is definitely worth a read if you're wondering about the health benefits of grass fed beef. The author lays out the facts for you in great detail, and I challenge you to read about the health benefits and not be swayed. But for the purposes of the argument I want to make right now, let's focus on how it makes sense to feed cattle the way we should feed ourselves, i.e. with a vegetable-based diet, not a grain-based one. 

 

To quote the article on the grass fed beef:

 

When a ruminant is left to eat on its own, it doesn’t choose corn or soy to munch on… it selects grass. Therefore, when a cow grazes on natural grass pastures, its body composition is affected accordingly: the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is slightly above two. In other words, two parts omega-6 to one part omega-3, which is very close to the ideal ratio between these two fats.

Conventionally raised cattle, on the other hand, are shipped to giant feed lots and fed corn to fatten them up, this has an impact on your health as well as theirs.

When a cow’s diet primarily consists of grains, its body’s composition (and subsequently yours) changes. In fact, previous studies on grain-fed steer found the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats was between 5-to-1 and 13-to-1, which is far from the ideal. 

 

Do you see the direct correlation between what a steer eats and what we eat? When we raise beef cattle on grass, we get a healthier meat to eat, one that's lower in fat and calories, and higher in Omega 3s and important nutrients like B vitamins, calcium and magnesium. 

 

Ready to join the grass fed beef vs. grain fed beef debate? If you are lucky enough to live in the area of Greenfield, IN, make sure you give grass fed beef a chance by buying from your local farm, Tyner Pond Farm. There, the grass fed beef cattle are all raised on pasture, eating grass all day and enjoying the sun in the winter and the (ahem) weather in the winter. You can visit the farm to see the cattle for yourself, buy their grass fed beef at the local farmers market, or order online for free delivery (if you live or work within 50 miles of the farm). 

                                                  

 

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The Business of Food: Is That Really How We Want to Raise Our Meat??

fruit box labelEarlier this month, we got away for a vacation on the other side of the state, where the region is a major apple producer. On our way to our vacation home, we drove past countless apple orchards and storage buildings, which got me thinking about the big business that is food. (Most of the buildings we saw had signage for the Trout brand, so I opted for one of their fruit box labels for the image for this post.)

 

It's a funny comparison for me. We have six apple trees on our property. (I call that section The Orchard, although I'm not sure six apple trees + three pear trees really = an orchard.) They are all different and all ripen at a different time. Some are better for cooking than others. Some store better than others. Seeing as how our farmhouse was built 133 years ago, we don't know how long the trees have been there, and they are definitely heritage types, not modern day. It's obvious that they were planted with thought, to give the farmers a regular supply of fresh apples from August through October, and for a variety of purposes, from canning to cider to eating fresh. 

 

And that was the norm. 

 

Nowadays, however, apples come in only a few varieties and they are grown en masse in parts of the country where they grow best, like the other side of the mountains from where I live. Driving through there, one gets a sense of the big business that is apple growing. Only walk through the produce department of your local grocery store to see all of the uniformly shaped apples stacked pyramid style, and then try to imagine the acres of trees, stacks of shipping crates, and clusters of cement buildings all necessary to grow, ship and store these apples. 

 

I'm not saying it's good or bad. The nation loves apples, and our state benefits economically from that love! 

 

But it does bring about a comparison to how meat is raised in this country now. Just like our old farmstead used to be self sufficient fruit-wise (I say this because there are cherry trees across the street that are on land that was at one time part of our farm's acreage, and I assume they were also part of the orchard way back when), American communities used to be more self sufficient when it came to local food systems. 

 

Then food production shifted, becoming concentrated and industrialized, leading to the the feedlots and confined housing we use for raising meat today...methods which lead to unhealthy animals, meat, people, pocketbooks...you name it. We pulled the animals off of grass and have put the chickens and pigs inside, the cattle into feedlots. And we call that business as usual. 

 

Although apples can only be raised in certain places, cattle, pork and chicken can be raised just about anywhere in the continental U.S. Which means concentrating apple growing to certain regions makes sense, but concentrating meat production into the hands of a very few does not. 

 

Why? Because raising animals in an industrialized way is bad all the way around. Consider just beef, for example. Most cattle are fattened in CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations). In plain speak, this just SUCKS for the cattle! They're fed corn for fast fattening, and there's not a blade of grass in sight. They are crowded into these facilities to be eating, fattening machines, period. Eating all that corn is bad for the cow and leads to a higher risk of E. coli, because their bodies aren't made to process corn. The meat that results from this system is higher in fat and lower in nutrients compared to grass fed beef (which means cattle raised the way nature intended, eating grass with room to roam). So right there it's bad for the cow and bad for you. Then there are the drugs these cattle are given to keep them from getting sick given the crowded, unhealthy conditions they live in. Those drugs get passed along to you in the meat! Then there's the environmental impact of that many cows pooping and peeing in one place, and all of that waste has to be managed (compared to cattle out on grass that spread their waste around and thereby fertilize the ground). Plus all that corn the cattle eat has to be raised as cheaply as possible, which leads to heavy use of chemical-based fertilizers and pesticides. Hmmm... what else... Oh, yes, then there's the economic impact, because the meat industry in this country is controlled by only a handful of processors. (Think corporation, not rancher.) 

 

All of that said, I can't think of one good reason to eat conventionally raised beef when grass fed beef is available. Can you? 

 

Yes, the business of food has become business as usual in this country, and maybe with the apples, that's a-okay. But when it comes to this nation's meet, business as usual needs to stop, and grass fed needs to become the norm once again. 

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Ready for Fresh Air and Sound Sleep? Try a Farm Stay for Your Next Vacation!

farmhouse for farm stay at Tyner Pond FarmToday I'm in my office, which is a great place to be when I need to get a lot of work done. But it was hard to leave the farm this morning. In fact, it's hard to leave the farm every morning! It's even harder to leave the farm to take a vacation like we did last week!! Why? Because the farm offers fresh air to breathe, entertaining animals to watch, quiet evenings to enjoy, a big sky full of stars to get lost in, wildlife galore, and the sounds of the river and the frogs and now the crickets. Even with all the work that goes into every day there, I'd still rather be there than anywhere else. It's beautiful, peaceful and restful, even when you're slopping a bucket of pig food across the garden. 

 

But you don't have to live on a farm to enjoy all of the benefits! You can do a farm stay for your next vacation. A farm stay holiday can give you just a bit of that peace and quiet to restore your soul before you're back to the grindstone. 

 

If you're anywhere near Greenfield, IN, consider a farm stay holiday at Tyner Pond Farm. That brand new house in the picture above was built just for you on the farm. It has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a modern kitchen (for cooking up farm fresh food!), and a huge dining room table. It sleeps nine people easily, and offers a delightful woodstove for winter evenings at the farm. 

 

With a farm stay at Tyner Pond Farm, you can cook up eggs and bacon fresh from the farm, then spend the rest of your day enjoying the chickens, pigs and cows. Ask about helping with farm chores if you're so inclined--farmers can always use a helping hand!

 

It's also incredibly easy to book a vacation in the farmhouse at Tyner Pond Farm. You simply go here to fill out the form and someone will get in touch with you. 

 

And forget your watch and your smart phone. The chickens, cows and pigs don't have a way to tell the time of day. They have only their senses and their stomachs. They go to bed earlier during the long nights of winter and wake up super early when it's the long days of summer. That's their clock, and that's how they determine their meal times. Plus they go at their own pace...something we should emulate when we want to truly relax.

 

The Hubby and I, we don't do farm stay vacations because we wake up on a farm every morning. Nor will we offer such an option. Our farm is small, and we're still in the process of renovating the tiny farmhouse, rundown barn and neglected fields. So it's not as if we'd open up our doors to guests! We do have friends who love to visit, however, staying for just a day or pitching tents in the orchard to stay overnight. They enjoy the wide open sky and fresh air as much as we do!

 

And when we do have to leave the farm and have someone farm sit for us, it's like a mini vacation for them. Last week while we were gone, my step father stayed at the farm. He told me before we left that he hadn't been sleeping well, and he was waking up every couple of hours. Ha! While he was taking care of our place for us, he said he slept through the night every night! That's what fresh air and farm chores will do for you! 

 

For me, I love when other people get to experience it, the fresh air and sunshine and peacefulness of it all. Do yourself and your family a favor, and give yourselves that same kind of experience with a farm stay near you!

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World War II Poster Has a Modern-Day Food Message for Us All

local foods poster from WW II eraI've developed an interest in vintage posters that promote local foods, growing your own food, and not wasting food...all posters that were common during the WW I and WW II eras as the government encouraged victory gardens and food conservation, so there'd be food to send to the thousands of troops and sailors fighting in foreign places. I've become so interested in them that I started a Pinterest board...and I'm not a big Pinterest user!

 

My sudden interest in these posters stems from their relevance to today, and I don't mean some kind of obscure or figurative relevance. I mean a direct relevance. Consider the poster you're looking at to the right, saying "4. buy local foods."

 

When I first saw this particular World War II era food poster, I thought it had been tamperered with...photoshopped to include local foods (and who knows what else). So I went looking for a reputable source for it to make sure it's the original version. As far as I can tell, it is. 

 

But the "don't waste it" message is also noteworthy about this poster. We Americans throw away 90 billion pounds of food every year while 1 in 6 of us lack food security (i.e. knowing where our next meal will come from). The amount of food we toss into the garbage is sinful, and yet another indication that we've lost any kind of connection with our food production. Buying local foods almost guarantees it won't be wasted because we value it more, we often know who raised it, and we are probably cooking it, which gives it even more value in our eyes. In my opinion, there is a direct correlation between buying local foods and making less food waste.

 

Even beyond call to buy local foods and not waste food, the advice of this 70-year-old poster is needed more today than during World War II, in some ways...

 

1. Buy it with thought: Yes, buy food that's humanely raised, whether that means choosing pastured meats over meat raised in a confined feeding operation, or vegetables raised by employees who are fairly treated and paid. Or consider the distance your food had to travel and put some thought into that too. Do you REALLY need a strawberry in January?? Or can you wait until they're in season in your area in June? And then you can freeze them for use during the following winter!

 

2. Cook it with care: Hmmmm...perhaps the important word here isn't "care" but "cook," now that we live in a society where cooking is less common. So maybe this one only needs to be "cook it" meaning stop buying processed foods and buy food that is still close to its original state, like a whole grass fed chicken vs. a box of frozen chicken nuggets. 

 

3. Use less meat and wheat: This message is perhaps more relevant to the WW II time period, because meat and wheat was shipped off to feed the soldiers and sailors. However, the slogan "less meat, better meat" is a modern-day one that's intended to encourage us to buy local pastured meats of high quality vs. the cheap industrially raised (and antibiotic-laden), and we should be living by that guideline in order to end the industrial meat business and only eat humanely raised animals. As far as wheat, wheat has gotten bad for us because of the breeding of overly white, nutrition-deficient wheat. I guess you could say, "less wheat, better wheat" meaning seek out the white whole wheat that has the nutrition we need, and avoid the breads full of yeast and "dough conditioners.

 

4. Buy local foods: Need we add to this advice at all? This is uber relevant to our modern times. We need to buy pastured meats and in season produce from our local farmers, period. And we need to support an infrastructure that makes this possible by LETTING GO OF OUR OBSESSION WITH CHEAP FOOD. 

 

5. Serve just enough: According to one source I found, the portion sizes in restaurants have increased four times since the 1950s...four times!! And we know that portion explosion has happened at home too. In part, I suspect it's because we don't eat as families. A key word in this bit of advice is "serve" just enough, implying food being served during a meal hour. Compare that to eating alone or on the run. I don't know about you, but if I'm home alone for a meal, I usually do eat more because there's no conversation going on. And now that 25% of meals in America are eaten in cars, I'm pretty darn sure those meals aren't being "served" at a dining room table with careful consideration of portion control and food waste!

 

6. Use what is left: Well, this one requires home cooking, doesn't it? How can you "use" what is left of pizza pockets from the freezer or KFC chicken, except as leftovers in the next day's lunches? Cook up a pork shoulder, however, and you get leftover pork for another recipe another day. Extra vegetables can go into a soup or salad another day. The carcass left from cooking a chicken can become the basis for stock. 

 

Just think what our local food systems would be like if this advice was taken to heart in the 1940 and stayed our way of doing things! We wouldn't have the industrial ag complex we have now, animals raised on pasture would be normal, eggs would have actual nutrition, farmers would know they could count on having a need to meet. 

 

Call me nostalgic but doesn't this poster just make a lot of sense for us??

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A Story of Local Hay as an Analogy for Local Food

local hay as analogy for local foodWater is heavy on my mind right now because the effect of the California drought is hitting home...not in a way one would expect, but in a way that demonstrates once again the need to support our local sustainable farms. 

 

This story I'm about to tell you isn't even about water or connected to food...well, people food anyway. It's about our hay, and a potential demand for it, given the California drought, plus a changing mindset, all of which can be an analogy for our need for local food systems. 

 

Here's what happened: Last year while the Hubby was deployed, I made the executive decision to take down a fence and make our whole back 10 acres of our property into one big hay field. We don't need that much hay, but we have to show income from our property in order to keep our agricultural property tax status. So why not make more hay than we needed, and sell some hay? (That's a picture of part of our hay field above.)

 

Then last month we did our first cutting and had bales to sell...not a lot, about 300, but that was a big deal for us, the newbie farmers, and we were admittedly a little timid about asking for money for our hay. Our hay is nothing special, just bent grass, and the fields have been neglected for almost as many years as the rest of the farm has, so they're not in great shape. 

 

We sold the hay for cheap, just a dollar per bale over what we had to pay to have it cut and baled, and even at that low $3/bale price, I felt uncomfortable charging people. But guess what? These customers are already asking us to do a second cutting so they can buy more. Why? Well, in part because of the drought in California. 

 

Let me explain: I live in Washington state, which is like two states. We have a west side (where I live) that's temperate and wet and harder to farm in. We have a dry side to the east which is where most of the farming is done because the summers are hotter and reliable. The horse people I know on the west side tend to prefer the hay grown on the east side to what we call "local hay." Heck, I preferred it back before we bought our farm and started raising our own hay! I turned up my nose at the local stuff, I admit it. They can grow more nutrient rich hay like alfalfa on the east side, while we are limited to what we can grow on the west, and there's the broadly accepted mindset that eastern Washington hay is simply better. 

 

But the drought in California not only means higher food prices for people. It means higher hay prices too--because there's projected to be less hay--which means the farmers on the east side expect to be able to sell their hay for a lot more money to the people in California. (This is what I'm hearing, anyway.) That means the people on the west side where I live are going to HAVE to buy local hay. 

 

And here's my analogy to local food: They're finding out that local hay can be good hay! One of our customers told us yesterday that a thin rescue Thoroughbred she is taking care of started gaining weight once she started feeding our hay. All of her horses are fat and shiny on it, she says. She has asked us twice now to pleeeeeease do a second cutting so she can buy more. And she used to buy eastern Washington hay! 

 

This is what can happen with local food too. Once people get introduced to it, the idea of it, and the deliciousness of seasonal vegetables to shipped in ones, or pastured meats compared to feedlot ones, people will start to be willing to look for and buy local foods, thereby eliminating the threat to food prices caused by a drought in a far-off place (unless you happen to live in that far-off place, of course). 

 

In this case, the demand for our measly supply of hay started with the California drought, but the hay has proven itself to be good and much more affordable. Could the same thing happen with local food? Could the California drought have a silver lining and push more people to try local food? 

 

Hay, I sure hope so!! 

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Give the Gift of Local Goodness

From: chris@farmersmarket.com

There are so many compelling reasons why eating local makes sense:

1. Local foods are fresher (and taste better)

2. Local foods have less environmental impact (lowered carbon footprint due to lack of shipping)

3. Local foods preserve green space and farmland

4. Local foods promote food safety -- you know exactly where it came from and how it was raised/grown

5. Local foods support your local economy

6. Local foods create a sense of community through Farmer’s Markets and groups like Tyner Pond Farm's Food Clubs.

Thank YOU for your support of the local food movement!

Being an integral part of the local food movement is one of two important aspects of Tyner Pond Farm. The other is complete dedication to sustainable farming methods. Inspired by Joel Salatin and Holistic Management principles, Our approach to farming is natural and sustainable, for healthier land, livestock and customers.

We use environmentally sound practices -- like rotational grazing -- and innovative, highly effective yet simple equipment -- such as mobile poultry cages -- to produce all-natural beef, pork and chicken for your family.

Share the love for local goodness with a gift certificate!

Tyner Pond Farm  7408 E 200 S  Greenfield  IN 46140  (317) 345-3099

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Save 5% When You Order Ahead

From: chris@farmersmarket.com

Now you can save 5% when you place your order ahead of time for pick up at the 

Greenfield Farmers Market

on Saturdays!

All summer we will have a booth at the downtown Greenfield Farmers Market located at the corner of State and North from 9am to 1pm.

When you choose Greenfield Farmers Market as your food club at check out you get 5% off your total order.  This is what you will see at checkout:

Be sure to get your order in by:

 6pm on the Thursday before market day, 

so we have time to pack your order and load up the truck.

We'll see you there!

Tyner Pond Farm  7408 E 200 S  Greenfield  IN 46140  (317) 345-3099

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$1 off Whole Chicken Ends Soon

From: chris@farmersmarket.com

Get 'em NOW while they are $1 OFF!

WHOLE CHICKENS are $1 off now thru Friday*

 

Fresh, local and pasture-raised.

Taste the difference.

*$1 off whole chicken sale ends Friday, June 6, 2014.

Tyner Pond Farm  7408 E 200 S  Greenfield  IN 46140  (317) 345-3099

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$1 off Whole Chicken Ends Soon

From: chris@farmersmarket.com

Get 'em NOW while they are $1 OFF!

WHOLE CHICKENS are $1 off now thru Friday*

 

Fresh, local and pasture-raised.

Taste the difference.

*$1 off whole chicken sale ends Friday, June 6, 2014.

Tyner Pond Farm  7408 E 200 S  Greenfield  IN 46140  (317) 345-3099

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Is Offal Awful? Nope, Natural and Naturally Nutritious...as Long as It's From Pasture Raised Meat, That Is

beef heart recipeDo you know what offal is? If not, here's a dictionary definition for you: "the organs (such as the liver or kidney) of an animal that are used for food." This includes heart, tongue, stomach and brain too. These are just a few of the parts of animals that have been eaten as food for centuries. Humans have also commonly eaten meats made from an animal's head (head cheese), intestines (chitterlings), organs like the pancreas (sweetbread), and testicles (Rocky Mountain oysters).

 

Are you grossed out yet?

 

It's ironic that we are not only grossed out by the idea of eating these parts of the animals, but we probably haven't ever seen them and wouldn't know a pancreas if it slapped us in the face. We are so far removed now from the production of our food that we can't even stand to look at tongue let alone eat it. But we are the weird ones, not the people who continue to eat these traditional foods. Darina Allen in her cookbook "Forgotten Skills of Cooking" makes a wonderful observation that kids today can sit through gory, horrific movies, but are grossed out by the idea of eating organ meat. Does that make any sense at all?

 

But it didn't used to horrify us and it used to be something we knew how to cook as recently as the 1940s. My World War II era cookbook, that was apparently ready for printing before the U.S. joined the war because it's after the index where one finds the section on wartime cooking, has recipes for cooking offal because the usual cuts of meat were used to feed soldiers. (In fact, the whole section on wartime cooking reads like modern day nutrition. Things like white flour and sugar also went to the troops along with the standard cuts of meat, so homemakers were encouraged to cook with whole grains and natural sweeteners, for example.)

 

The other cuts of meat might be the preferred ones, but it's the offal that's the superfood of the meat world. I won't go into the details of the nutrition here because each type of offal has its own nutritive powerhouse, but an article titled "The Health Benefits of Consuming Organ Meats" explains the nutritive value of organ meats plus provides many good resources (scroll to the end) for recipes using offal. 

 

If you're ready to try offal, or you already make it a regular part of your menu, one caveat: be sure it's offal from pasture raised meat. If not, if it's from animals raised in confinement as most animals are in the U.S. today, the drugs given to those animals (that make it possible for them to be raised in confined spaces without getting sick) are probably concentrated in those same organs you're wanting to eat. Yes, offal is high in nutrition, but if it's from these factory farmed animals, it's going to be high in other things too, and not worth eating. 

 

You can buy pasture raised grass fed beef liver and tongue from Tyner Pond Farm, when you're ready to be open to offal. Granted, you won't want a freezer full of this until you get comfortable with it and figure out how to cook it, so here's a thought: Order up a bunch of the ground grass fed beef, and buy just one piece of offal at the same time. That way, you have hamburger for the things you do know how to cook, and one piece of organ meat to experiment with. You'll be helping the farm to sell more of the animal, helping your family to more nutrition, and helping yourself to greater confidence in the kitchen. :-) 

                                                         

P.S. One tasty sounding recipe is the recipe for Grilled Beef Heart With Roasted Golden Beets and Horseradish that's pictured above. You'll find the original photo and the recipe at www.offalgood.com.

 

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Buying Clothes vs. Buying Food: Why Is One an Outing, the Other a Chore??

local foods boy grabbing apple at farmers marketClothes vs. food: The only thing laundry and dishes have in common is you can only be caught up with either for 15 minutes. As soon as I've folded the last pair of socks, a dirty something is showing up somewhere in our house. As soon as I have dried and put away the last dish, a dirty glass or a lunch bag shows up in the kitchen, headed for the once-empty sink. But really, do food and clothes have much in common beyond that? Our attitude towards each certainly differs!

 

As I was shoving yet another load of laundry into the washer the other day, I was thinking on how people so willingly hand over the duty of cooking for their families, but still manage to get clothes washed, dried, folded and put away. Maybe it has something to do with timing. Cooking has to be done at set times. Laundry does not. I often start a load of laundry before bed, so I can pop it in the dryer when I first wake up in the morning. Or maybe it has to do with cleanup. Cooking means cleaning up. Laundry IS cleaning up. 

 

Americans average 29 minutes a day cooking, far less time than we used to spend. And who has time, right? You're either getting ready for work or headed to work or at work or driving home from work or dropping off kids or picking up kids or running errands or doing something else demands your attention. If you're home, then there's the dog to walk, the mail to sort through, the yard to mow, the bills to pay, the laundry to start, etc. There is always something that needs doing--always.

 

Out of alllllll the things that demand our time and attention, cooking ends up way down on the bottom of the list of priorities, and why not? Corporate America has made it so easy to not cook. Dinner can be a frozen pizza or a frozen dinner or takeout food or canned food or heck, a protein bar and a bowl of cereal.  

 

But then there's the priority issue too. Americans spend hours every day in front of televisions, on their mobile phones, on their laptops... and some of that time could be spent in the kitchen instead, but won't be because cooking isn't a priority. 

 

What if we had the same attitude towards our laundry? Wait. You can back this up and make an even better comparison: Let's compare not only cleaning vs. cooking, but the procurement of the clothes and the foods in the first place too. 

 

Buying clothes vs. buying foods
We have no problem making time to procure clothes. We'll go to the mall and spend hours walking around, trying things on, socializing, meandering. I know some people who do this on a regular basis, even though they have closets full of clothes. Ironically, we don't need these new clothes like we need food. We just want these new clothes. And we take a lot of pleasure in going shopping and looking and touching and trying things on. If we acquired clothes the way we acquire food, we would go to just one store that offered everything and buy the cheapest of everything we needed, from socks to shirts to sleepwear. Can you imagine buying clothes that way? No?

 

But that's how we buy food. We don't seem to have (make?) time to procure food. We don't go from store to store meandering, looking for the freshest produce or the most exotic fruits. We don't want to go from the farmers market to the bakery to the butcher. We want one-stop shopping when it comes to groceries. And we don't take our time or socialize. Instead, we go to one store and fill our carts with the cheapest of everything and get out of there. 

 

Shopping for clothes is a leisure time activity. Shopping for food is a chore. Why is that?? 

 

Then once we have those clothes at home, they get hung up then worn then washed the ironed and hung up again. Or they are carted to the dry cleaners where we pay for the clothes all over again to get them cleaned. 

 

Meanwhile, we're popping a frozen dinner in the microwave for the grownups and frozen pizza pockets into the oven for the kids...and calling that good. 

 

Why is clothes shopping so much more enjoyable than food shopping?  Why is laundry something we willingly do but cooking is not? Why is clothing (which we don't really need to survive) more important to us than eating (which we do need to survive)?

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Can't Find a Farm to Table Dinner? Host Your Own, no Farm Required!

sustainable farm to table dinnerThis weekend, we'll be going to a farm to table dinner to feast on seasonal, local foods. I'm excited because I know it will be fun and tasty and I love to support our local farmers, but I'm doubly excited because it will be my husband's first farm to dinner experience. 

 

I attended my first one last year by myself because the Hubby was deployed and I finally decided doing things alone would be better than doing nothing at all. This picture is from that dinner last summer. 

 

After months of not having a husband to cook for, and finding it a challenge to get inspired to cook for Miss Picky Eater, I sure wanted to cook after going to this sustainable farm to table dinner! I missed cooking and I felt like I was missing out on a whole season of local foods by not cooking. So I talked some city friends into making the long drive south to our farm and I got started on a menu, making it as based on seasonal, local foods as possible. The dinner was a success, both in the use of local foods and in the full bellies and appreciative diners. Lucky for me, everything tasted wonderful! 

 

So if you're not able to go to a farm to table dinner, or you want to introduce more people to the concept of local foods (hint, hint), host your own dinner. You don't need a farm. All you need is local foods, recipes, a table and chairs, and hungry guests! 

 

Recipes galore can be found on the Internet, so no issues there, and if you're in the Greenfield, IN area, your local foods shopping can start at Tyner Pond Farm. Check out their pasture raised chickens or grass fed beef, or the hot dogs made from their berkshire hogs. Once you've chosen your meat or meats, build the rest of your menu around that. Not sure where to buy other local foods? Ask Tyner Pond Farm. Farmers know farmers. They'll point you in the right direction for local vegetables, fruits, cheeses and breads. And remember, local wines and beers fit right into a farm to table themed dinner too! 

                                                     

 

 

 

 

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Time to Stock Up on All Natural Grass Fed Beef from Tyner Pond Farm--and 13 Ways to Cook It

all natural grass fed beef makes great goulashJust like stocking up on pasture raised chickens makes a lot of sense for keeping your family fed, so does stocking up on all natural grass fed beef from Tyner Pond Farm. And now's the time to do it! 

 

Having a few pounds of ground beef in your freezer can prepare you for a wide variety of meals. I buy several pounds at once, but put the beef in the freezer in one pound packages because that's the right size for our small family. Then, as long as I've remembered to defrost the meat ahead of time, I'm set for all kinds of dinners, including: 

 

 

That's almost 2 weeks worth of dinners! Plus if you make enough, you have the leftovers for lunch too. Imagine: You can stock up on all natural grass fed beef from Tyner Pond Farm, buying 14 pounds of meat for your freezer, and be ready to cook 13 dinners! 

 

OK, I'm the one writing this and now even *I'm* inspired to get stocked up on beef! Now that I've made a list of all the different ways to prepare this grass fed beef, I am ready to switch these around with some chicken dishes and vegetarian ones, and have a month's worth of dinners planned out ahead of time! 

 

Plus most of these grass fed beef dishes rely on ingredients you can have on hand in your pantry, like canned tomatoes and beans, which also makes planning ahead easier. 

 

But it starts with the all natural grass fed beef from Tyner Pond Farm, so let's start there. And if you're lucky enough to live within 50 miles of the farm, you can have the beef brought to your door step free of charge. What could be easier than that??

                                                        

 

P.S. Do you have a favorite go to recipe using ground beef? Please share it with us, either as a comment here or on our Facebook page! :-)

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What If Food Were as Meaningful to Us now as It Was 70 years ago?

What if we still thought about food in this way, as a precious resource, one to be valued and conserved? What if we still had a direct connection to food, so direct that being careful with it could mean our troops came home sooner? 

 

Would local foods be more common in the kitchen, easier to find, and more likely to end up in our bellies? 

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More Kitchen Improv: Ethnic Wraps With Pastured Chicken

ethnic wrap made with pastured chickenWell. What a week! All of a sudden we were bringing in hay on Monday, racing against a sudden change in the weather that did a lot of farmers in, as they'd cut hay thinking we were looking at a long stretch of dry weather but in reality, the rain hit us by surprise, and hard! Combine that stress with the Hubby's friend visiting from back east, who went straight from airport to farm to outside bucking hay, me getting behind on work because of the hay stress, the Hubby going back to graveyard shift this week, and horse issues...and let's just say I haven't been an organized cook yet this week. 

 

Which led to more Kitchen Improv last night. I'd spent most of the afternoon dealing with horse issues, and the Hubby was headed out the door at 6 p.m. for work, needing dinner before he left and a lunch packed to take with him. Lucky for me, I had put a pastured chicken in the slow cooker the day before (to make Tuesday's dinner) and I had the meat left from that. So I was once again scouring the kitchen for whatever I had, laying it all out on the counter, and figuring out what to do. Although this time, it WAS like an episode of "Chopped" because I really was racing against the clock. (Sheesh...racing the weather one day and the clock the next...I thought farming was supposed to be low stress???) 

 

What you see in the photo is the result. I'm calling it an Ethnic Wrap with Pastured Chicken because the ingredients were both south of the border and from the East. This dinner was pulled together with: 

 

  • Leftover pastured chicken from the previous night
  • Carrots from the farmers market
  • Lettuce from the farmers market that I'd already chopped up for salad but not used yet
  • Leftover refried beans from the freezer
  • Salsa from the fridge
  • Flour tortillas from the freezer
  • Limes, lime juice, honey, jalapeno sauce and rice wine vinegar all of which I had on hand
  • Parsley and cilantro from the herb garden 
  • Oh, and pickling juice from pickled radishes

 

I chopped up the chicken, then made a dressing of lime juice, lime zest, honey, jalapeno sauce, rice wine vinegar and chopped parsley and cilantro. I mixed all of that up and put in on the chicken, stirred, then let that sit while did other things. I heated up (blackened?) the tortillas, mixed the refried beans and salsa and heated them up on the stove, and grated the carrot and mixed it with pickling juice from pickled radishes and parsley.

 

When all was ready, I laid out tortillas, spread them with the beans/salsa mixture, sprinkled the marinated chicken on, sprinkled on grated carrot, and put some lettuce on. Then I wrapped them up, cut them pretty, and put them in front of the Hubby for a quick dinner. (Two more got wrapped up for him to take to work.) 

 

Quite honestly, I was afraid of the combination of refried beans/salsa and rice wine vinegar. My mind couldn't make it make sense, but my cooking intuition said "Do it!" so I did. And...it worked!! These wraps were delicious!!

 

I don't put this out here into the world thinking everyone should make this. I put this out into the world to challenge you to have some good local ingredients on hand (like pastured chicken and farmers market foods) and to start going for it, cooking, getting creative, finding your own way in the kitchen. 

 

Because really anything is possible when the ingredients are great. And what could be better than fresh, in-season local produce and pastured chicken from Tyner Pond Farm??

                                                             

 

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400 Chickens?? Ice Cream Company Uses Local Foods, Points the Way for the Rest of Us

local foods ice creamThe Hubby was gone for a couple of days for training for work, and raided his hotel room to bring me back "gifts" of things like the little shampoo bottle and tiny box of bath salts. He also brought back two magazines for me, one of which was focused on local foods in our part of the state. And in that magazine, I read something that really opened my eyes to how the local food movement can become a key part of a business.  

 

It's one thing to be touting local foods and pasture raised meats to the family cook. But once you go down that path, you have to change how you think about, buy and cook food, because it's not the same as going to the local grocery store and getting whatever is cheap, no matter where it was grown or if it's in season. If you've been going local, you know how challenging it can be. 

 

Now imagine a business doing that same thing. I don't mean a business that sells local foods. I mean a business that creates a product to sell, and decides to use local foods to make their product. That means all of those challenges people like us face on a small scale are multiplied by a hundred fold or even a thousand fold! 

 

But in that magazine the Hubby brought home, I read about one such business and it gave me much hope. It's an ice cream company, and a good sized one at that. They have 400 chickens on their property to supply the eggs for the ice cream. They have planted an orchard so they can provide their own fruits for the different flavors. They contract with a local dairy to supply the milk and cream. They not only pay more for their ingredients as a result of their local foods focus. They have to work harder to make it happen too. 

 

And they are VERY successful, without customers even knowing what kind of local food systems they're putting into place!! Why? Because they make damn good ice cream! 

 

Taking this approach is not the cheapest way of making ice cream. And therein lies the key point of all of this, in an age when our society is all about cheap food fast: It's not that the business must be willing to pay more for ingredients to make this happen. It's that the customers (you and me!) have to be willing to pay more for food! 

 

We Americans like to point fingers and say the government should make this happen and business should make that happen. In reality, however, we are the ones who need to make things happen by our own actions. And one of those actions is deciding how we spend our money. 

 

Let's consider just the chickens raised by this ice cream company. Four hundred chickens is a lot of chickens. And feeding 400 chickens can't be cheap. Most businesses would look for the cheapest option, buying factory farmed eggs from chickens raised in cramped, inhumane conditions...either living in cages their whole lives, or in a "free range" facility that's so crowded the chickens can't even move. That way, they can sell their end product for cheaper and profit a little bit more. 

 

For this company, the chickens are raised naturally and egg production is more costly which means the ice cream is more costly and the profit margin is less. But they aren't putting money first. This is true of their dairy costs too. A small local dairy is going to be delighted to have the steady customer in the ice cream company, but the milk and cream are going to cost more because they're not produced via the industrial ag way. That's because they are choosing to do the right thing, not make the most money! 

 

And guess what? That's what we have to do too! We have become so conditioned to go for the cheapest and fastest. We are really the ones who are to blame for our messed up food system, not the Tysons and the Cargills and the Monsantos of the world. When we demand cheap, corporations like this are only too happy to oblige, to the detriment of the animals, the land, the environment, the small farms, and even to our health. 

 

I applaud this ice cream company for being committed to make the BEST ice cream rather than the cheapest. I hope this business is a sign of things to come. But be forewarned: It's not the businesses who have to make this shift from industrial ag to local food systems happen. It's us! You and me, all of our friends and family, everyone we know. WE are the way to change!

 

Now, let's go have some local foods ice cream. :-)

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