The Weblog

This page contains news, event information, and other items added by myself, the intrepid farmer-in-process at Old 99. I send out a message every week, but most are set with a delete date about two weeks later. I archive some of the posts if they have content other than weekly availability of produce and meat.

You can send me questions too, which if they are of a general nature, I can post to this Old99 blog.



 
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Old 99 Farm, week of Oct 6 2014 and Eco-friendly Meat and Dairy: 10 reasons why


It’s tues am, a mild spell, the barnyard cover is almost done, and lambs are going to the butcher today. I’m suffering a recurring low back syndrome that got so bad this week, I’m off to a novel spinal alignment therapist.

This is last week for special on ground beef at $5/lb.

Lots of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers in the greenhouse, and new crop of lettuce greens, carrots, collards, kale, beets.

Lots of eggs.

How would you like to read this and pass it on?

Eco-friendly Meat and Dairy: 10 reasons why

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/why-buy-organic-dairy-meat.html

Eating fewer animal products is a good choice for the environment. When and if you choose to eat animal products you can make a significant difference for your health and the environment by taking these steps, and here’s why:

Choosing to support farms that caretake the environment and the animals they raise in an ethical manner, is a very positive way to spend your food dollar. Animal agriculture produces surprisingly large amounts of air and water pollution, and causes 80 percent of the world’s annual deforestation. It also requires large amounts of water, and livestock worldwide consumes half the world’s total grain harvest.

By supporting local, sustainable and organic farms in your local community you also support the larger community of which we are all a part. By eating animal products raised on such farms you provide the healthiest choice for your family and support the farms that support healthy and ecological neighborhoods.

1. Free of antibiotics, added hormones, GMO feed and other drugs; no GMO animals

Animals raised organically are not allowed to be fed antibiotics, the bovine human growth hormone (rbGH), or other artificial drugs. Animals are also not allowed to eat genetically modified foods. Further, animal products certified as organic can not have their genes modified (for example, a scorpion gene cannot be spliced into a cow gene).

How: The animals are raised in a healthier environment, fed organic feed, and often eat a wider range of nutrients than those raised in factory farms (such as would be the case of free-range chickens and ranch cattle). The animals are not from a test tube.

Highlights: Organically raised animals have been shown to be significantly healthier than their factory-raised counterparts.

More: Visit the Organic Trade Association Web site for updates on the U.S. federal organic standards.

2. Mad cow safeguard: Animals aren’t forced to be cannibals
The practice of feeding cattle the ground up remains of their same species appears to cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy, a horrific disease that destroys the central nervous system and brain, can be given to humans who eat the cows. The disease in humans has a very long latency period, and is called Creutzfeld-Jakob disease.

How: Animals are fed 100 percent organic feed without ground up animal parts.

Highlights: By eating 100 percent organic meat you are protected by a label insuring the cow has only been fed 100 percent organic feed.

3. More humane, ethical treatment of animals
Factory farms treat animals like commodities, and they are kept in tightly confined pens and often never move more than a few feet their whole lives.

How: Buy meat and eggs raised from chickens raised outdoors free ranging and grazing.

Highlights: Animals are more likely to be raised without cruelty.

4. Animals free-range and graze
The words “free-range,” and “ranch raised” are clues that the animals were raised in a more humane way. Their diet tends to be more well-rounded; the animals are not confined and spend time outdoors in the fresh air.

How: Free range chickens eat more grubs and bugs than their industrially-raised counterparts; free range animals graze as they are inclined.

Highlights: Humane and ethical treatment of animals; more nutritious food.

5. Manure
Small farms use it, industrial farms pollute with it.

How: On small, diverse farms, manure is used to naturally fertilize soil. Industrial farms produce so much manure, on the other hand, that it is a human health risk. The overspill of manure can contaminate wells with E. coli and other pathogens. In one region of North Carolina, for example, hog farms produce 10 million metric tons of waste annually.

Highlights: Sustainable farms use their manure productively as organic fertilizer. The manure is “pure,” coming from animals fed organic diets.

6. Animals are integral to small farms
Using animal manure is considered recycling of nutrients. No farm can cope with all the animal offspring, so selling some makes economic sense. Sustainable farms tend to provide and sell a range of products, and organic eggs and animal products would be included.

How: Most organic farms have a few cows, chickens, etc.

Highlights: The animals—many of diverse gene pools—serve a purpose besides providing food.

7. Fewer chemicals used
Synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are not used on the food or land. Residues of persistent chemicals such as DDT, PCBs, dioxin, and many pesticides concentrate in animal fat. Eating organic animal fat reduces your exposure to these chemicals.
Farmers working on organic farms are exposed to fewer chemicals.

How: Organic agriculture works for a healthy balance of the soil, including using crop rotation and other techniques to improve soil fertility, instead of controlling the environment with chemicals. The animals are not fed food containing pesticides, and so the amount of persistent pesticides in their fat is reduced.

Highlights: Safeguards groundwater, farmers’ health, topsoil, habitats, and neighborhood health.

8. Diversity
Industrial farms rely on just a few species of cattle, chickens, pigs, etc., whereas small sustainable farms tend to raise a wider variety of livestock. Entire species of livestock can die out if they are not raised on farms.

How: Support our food supply by buying food representative of a wide gene pool. Every time you even buy a brown instead of a white egg you are helping to support diversity.

Highlights: Support diversity by supporting diversity on your local farms. Buy their milk, eggs, and meat.

9. Factory farms use huge amounts of resources
The factory farm industry is run with cheap, nonrenewable fossil fuel. Producing, transporting, processing, and marketing the food all depend heavily on it. Without cheap fuel, industrial agriculture would be impossible because it would be too expensive, notes organic farming expert Fred Kirschenmann. The heavy pesticide use on industrial farms contaminates groundwater and soil. Kirschenmann believes industrial farms are responsible for the loss of over half of U.S. topsoil.

How: Organic farms uses less energy with careful ecological management, and using natural ecological balances to solve pest problems. Buying animal products from local farms further reduces energy by reducing the amount of miles the food travels to your table.

Highlights: Organic farms use 70 percent less energy than industrial farms, and since they don’t use pesticides they help preserve ground water. The farming techniques of organic farms builds topsoil and doesn’t contribute to its erosion.

10. Your dollars support the farm you buy from
If you buy your meat from an organic farmstand at a farmer’s market you support that farm. On the other hand, if you buy non-organic meat that isn’t local, free-range, or ranch-raised from a supermarket chain, you most likely support a multinational food conglomerate.

How: You can contribute to the well-being of your community by supporting small, local, diverse organic farms.

Highlights: Buying organic animal products is better for your health, your local community, and the larger community as a whole.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/why-buy-organic-dairy-meat.html#ixzz3GnfYwhjK

Old 99 Farm Week of Oct 19 2014


A drizzly week, but above normal temperatures for this time of year. I’m progressing on the new barnyard cover project which will give much comfort to our cows and make better composted manure since it will keep the rain and snow off.

We have first baby lettuce greens this week. Lots of carrots in the ground, ready to harvest or store. The leeks are ready to harvest, a bumper crop, as are the beets. I have cilantro, great with boiled potatoes.
This year the carrots are more mature since we got them in sooner, meaning likely less ‘baby carrots’ but all still sweet and delicious as the cold weather causes them to convert starches to sugars.
I have grape jelly from a neighbour, grapes grown on their farm, two recipes one with honey.
Solanum potatoes are being dug for storage. These ones grew in the greenhouse all summer along with the squashes and tomatoes. Sweet potatoes are now cured and ready for sale.

Looking for lamb? I’d like to get your orders so I know how many to take to the butcher real soon. And remember I have baby beef, veal grown on pasture, nursed by the mothercow, now in the freezer. Ground beef special will end Thurs Oct 30th; check around it’s a good price for lean pasture raised ground beef.

Ready for another list of reasons to buy local and organic? http://www.care2.com/greenliving/why-buy-organic-dairy-meat.html. It’s a great list, that starts off saying we should all eat less meat…

Please hold off on the egg cartons till further notice, I have scads.

Healthy eating
Ian and Camelia
(and Michael from Hannover Germany, our guest for 6 weeks)

Why Buy Local Food?


Try doing a google search on the phrase ‘why buy local food’ and you’ll get dozens of lists. I’ll be posting a few.

Here’s one of the best, from U Vermont.

http://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/factsheets/buylocal.html

by Vern Grubinger
Vegetable and Berry Specialist
University of Vermont Extension
Adapted from ‘Growing For Market’ newsletter article.

Vermont has a wide variety of farms. While known for our dairy production, there also many farms that raise fruits and vegetables, flowers and herbs, and animal products of all kinds. Our farmers are dedicated to stewardship and committed to quality. And while they love what they do, they aren’t doing it for entertainment. They need to make a living. Consumers that value fresh food and a working landscape should support local farmers by buying their products. Here are ten reasons why.

1) Locally grown food tastes and looks better. The crops are picked at their peak, and farmstead products like cheeses and are hand-crafted for best flavor. Livestock products are processed in nearby facilities and typically the farmer has direct relationship with processors, oversijng quality – unlike animals processed in large industrial facilities.

2) Local food is better for you. The shorter the time between the farm and your table, the less likely it is that nutrients will be lost from fresh food. Food imported from far away is older and has traveled on trucks or planes, and sat in warehouses before it gets to you.

3) Local food preserves genetic diversity. In the modern agricultural system, plant varieties are chosen for their ability to ripen uniformly, withstand harvesting, survive packing and last a long time on the shelf, so there is limited genetic diversity in large-scale production. Smaller local farms, in contrast, often grow many different varieties of crops to provide a long harvest season, an array of colors, and the best flavors. Livestock diversity is also higher where there are many small farms rather than few large farms.

4) Local food is safe. There’s a unique kind of assurance that comes from looking a farmer in the eye at farmers’ market or driving by the fields where your food comes from. Local farmers aren’t anonymous and they take their responsibility to the consumer seriously.

5) Local food supports local families. The wholesale prices that farmers get for their products are low, often near the cost of production. Local farmers who sell direct to consumers cut out the middleman and get full retail price for their food – which helps farm families stay on the land.

6) Local food builds community. When you buy direct from a farmer, you’re engaging in a time-honored connection between eater and grower. Knowing farmers gives you insight into the seasons, the land, and your food. In many cases, it gives you access to a place where your children and grandchildren can go to learn about nature and agriculture.

7) Local food preserves open space. When farmers get paid more for their products by marketing locally, they’re less likely to sell farmland for development. When you buy locally grown food, you’re doing something proactive to preserve our working landscape. That landscape is an essential ingredient to other economic activity in the state, such as tourism and recreation.

8) Local food keeps taxes down. According to several studies by the American Farmland Trust, farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas most development contributes less in taxes than the cost of required services. Cows don’t go to school, tomatoes don’t dial 911.

9) Local food benefits the environment and wildlife. Well-managed farms provide ecosystem services: they conserve fertile soil, protect water sources, and sequester carbon from the atmosphere. The farm environment is a patchwork of fields, meadows, woods, ponds and buildings that provide habitat for wildlife in our communities.

10) Local food is an investment in the future. By supporting local farmers today, you are helping to ensure that there will be farms in your community tomorrow. That is a matter of importance for food security, especially in light of an uncertain energy future and our current reliance on fossil fuels to produce, package, distribute and store food.
Published: April 2010

OLd 99 Farm, week of Oct 12 2014


Did any of you make it to the Rockton World’s Fair last weekend? Glorious weather, lots of events and agricultural exhibits to take in.

Tomorrow’s market day, no one has placed an order as of now, which is a great pity. We have so much organic produce in the ground, ready to be harvested. Carrots, tomatoes, greens, beets, celeriac, leeks, squashes, sweet potatoes, solanum potatoes (the usual kind), chard, kale, collards, onions, etc.

This month I’m offering ground beef at $3.30 off the kilo price of $14.30 (that’s $1.50 off $6.50 a pound). Lean ground beef, born and raised here on grass.

Eggs are in short supply.

Hope to see you,

Healthy eating,
Ian and Camelia

Old 99 Farm, Week of Oct 5 2014


The week before Thanksgiving will likely have you thinking about what your family dinner will look like. Well, I have no turkey but what about the vegetables? Many varieties of squash, root veggies, and greens, all waiting here for you!

I’m reading up on the connection between ruminant livestock and global warming, desertification, and carbon sequestration. See this link for many papers, youtubes and research summaries:
http://bio4climate.org/resources/, in particular: Allan Savory’s milestone 2013 TED Talk, How to fight desertification and reverse climate change.

Healthy Eating
Ian and Camelia

Old 99 Farm, week of Sept 28 2014


As of Sept 28th, we can offer 60+ items including the following crops: chives, lovage, parsley, mint, beet tops, spinach, beet root (new crop), tomatoes (4 varieties), chard, rhubarb, celeriac, eggplant, carrots, collards, peppers (2), cucumbers, squashes (hubbard, butternut, Sibley, buttercup) summer squashes (spaghetti and delicata) and kale. The raspberries are ripe, and showing a bountiful crop.

Camelia is cooking prepared foods from our produce: garlic pesto, cucumber relish, quiches (on order). Dill pickles are next, but you can make your own too!

Meats, Special on Pasture raised, fed and finished, Ground Beef
Beef cuts are now available, a total of about 500 lbs of pastured meats. I will have a special on ground beef in the week of Oct 14th. Place order now for ground beef at $5/lb ($1.50 off regular). There are several geese and roasting chickens in the freezer. There are two lambs left plus individual cuts but I will have about 10 more in a month.

Did I send out the notice that farmer/food activist/author extraordinaire, Joel Salatin is coming to Guelph on Oct 4th, guest of the Practical Farmers of Ontario? See their website for particulars, cost is $65 for day seminar with three sessions.
Here’s some current Salatin thinking on HOME COOKED MEALS. Read the whole thing at http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/slate-family-dinner-zb0z1409zsie.aspx#axzz3Dx4eQok6

The [Slate magazine] piece concluded more often than not family members (especially the male ones) were ingrates and, generally, home-cooked meals were too stressful, expensive, time-consuming, and utensil-dependent to be worthy of the trouble.

In the circles I (Salatin and me) run in and market to, the home-cooked meal is revered as the ultimate expression of food integrity. The home-cooked meal indicates a reverence for our bodies’ fuel, a respect for biology, and a committed remedial spirit toward all the shenanigans in our industrial, pathogen-laden, nutrient-deficient food-and-farming system.

Here’s the question I would like to ask these families: “Are you spending time or money on anything unnecessary?” Cigarettes, alcohol, coffee, soft drinks, lottery tickets, People Magazine, TV, cell phone, soccer games, potato chips . . . ? Show me the household devoid of any of these luxuries, then let’s talk. Otherwise, you’re just unwilling to do what’s more important, which is provide for the health of your family and your environment. That’s a personal choice, and one that’s entirely within your control.

Healthy eating,
Ian and Camelia

Old 99 Farm, week of Sept 21, fall solstice


We’re having seaonally warm weather still, and crops are doing fine. Greenhouse tomatoes, grown in the ground, are avoiding the blight that has killed off most outside tomato crops. We have some lovely huge beefsteak types as well as the delicate orange and yellow plume types and cherry clusters too.

Peppers are doing well as are the eggplant. Soon you’ll be buying them from California or Florida again!

Lamb and beef/veal and chicken are still in stock. In a couple weeks will have a large supply of ground beef and beef bones. George the bull is meeting with the butcher tomorrow. I confess to feeling sentimental, Geo was born here, has been the herd patriarch for 5 years. But it is time for a change, for the good of the herd.

Did you see the news about the People’s Climate March in NYC? 310 000 people, including some I know from here. Click to http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/09/21/3570150/peoples-climate-march/ I sure hope the global leaders get the message. A new study on population trends has us on trajectory to peak at 11B, not 9B as per the scientific consensus in recent years. That is terrible, climate/eco collapse + population peak = bad news.

On a saner note, do you remember Jane Jacobs, the noted author, urbanologist, thinker, iconoclast? I met an old acquaintance this weekend, who knew her personally and did several interviews with her. Her is a quote from the transcript of one session. You can read it all at http://donalexander.ca/2014/03/25/jane-jacobs-urban-wisdom/#more-150

Another thing that I think is interesting is; look, I started with just the streets and neighborhoods. The smallest, most immediate things– and the parks– that you could in a city. That opened up to me puzzles that I had to pursue about the economy of cities as a whole.
That opened up puzzles to me that I had to pursue about how this behavior of cities affected the world outside it– outside cities– and how cities affected each other– with their replacements of imports, and with their new kinds of exports, and with their demands for imports, and so on. And the result of that was Cities and the Wealth of Nations. And that was taking in the world of cities and non-cities. It was bigger still.
The Nature of Economies is about the whole universe. But it all started with the streets and the parks.

Healthy eating,
(stay healthy so you can stay out of hospitals where superbugs hang out!)

Ian and Camelia

Old 99 FArmweek of Sept 12


Lots of yellow plume tomatoes, cherry tomoates and beefsteak tomatoes.
NOt so many eggs.
please see the list.
thanks,
Ian

Old 99 Farm, week of Sept 7 2014


Market day is here already tomorrow, so please order by noon thursday latest. I expect to have fresh lamb from our pastures via the butcher.

Big news this week, certified organic raw milk dairyman Mark McAfee is visiting Ontario and will speak at the Copetown Community Centre on Monday Sept 16, 7:30. His topic: The New Science of Farm-Fresh, Unprocessed Milk: Still a Health Hazard?
Mark, founder and spokesperson for the Raw Milk Institute (RAWMI) in California, proposes an alternative point of view on raw milk safety, a proposal for legalization in Ontario, the role of herdshares in community-based agriculture, and the role that RAWMI training can play in a thriving and self-regulating agricultural sector.
This talk is hosted by the Hamilton chapter of the Weston A Price Foundation. Potluck at 6:30, talk at 7:30 at the Copetown Community Centre on Governors Rd.
Bring your hubby or wifey and kids for the potluck, or just come for the talk; learn what’s good about raw dairy products for your health.

Now Old 99 produce: we have lots of veggies, in case you wondered?! As of Sept 7th, we can offer over 60 items including the following crops: dill, chives, lovage, mint, basil, beet tops, beet root, tomatoes, chard, rhubarb, celeriac, eggplant, carrots, bush beans (slender purples and greens), snap peas, peppers, cucumbers, summer squashes and kale. The raspberries are ripe, and showing a bountiful crop. Camelia has prepared dill pickles in whole and spears. The raspberries are ripe, doing u-pic this week. The last puppy was sold yesterday and I admit to feeling the loss; she was a lovable puppy.

Here’s your energy/climate thought for the week. Cooking. Did you know that while modern cooking stoves are convenient, when it comes to energy use they leave a lot to be desired. As described on http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2014/07/cooking-pot-insulation-key-to-sustainable-cooking.html, the thermal efficiency of an electric stove does not exceed that of a conventional open fire. In both cases almost 90% of the primary energy is lost during the cooking process.

Cooking food could be achieved in a far more energy efficient way, especially if the cooking pot itself is insulated. This is the principle behind the fireless cooker, a well-insulated box that keeps food simmering with only the heat of the cooking pot itself. A fireless cooker doubles the efficiency of any type of cooking device because it shortens the time on the fire and limits heat transfer losses.

In the early twentieth century, fireless cookers were common additions to western kitchens, similar to the refrigerator or cooking stove. Some models even integrated fireless cookers with gas or electric stoves. These functioned by lowering an insulated hood over the cooking pot once the heat had been switched off.

So if you want to do your part, read up at the link provided, then try some of the methods for reducing waste heat in your kitchen.

Healthy eating,
Ian and Camelia

In step or Out of Step?


When have you ever felt your values or worldview or ethics were out of step with the world (room, neighbourhood, dining table, etc.) around you? I post these thoughts from Albert Bates, posted today at http://www.peaksurfer.blogspot.ca/2014/09/stranded-ethics.html

…Robert Jay Lifton, author of Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima, wrote an op-ed for The Sunday New York Times (Aug 23, 2014) called The Climate Swerve, pointing out the sudden shift in awareness towards the existential threat we face from our careless destruction of the atmospheric commons.

…To truly inhabit the 21st century we will all share a common epiphany: that we have reached the Age of Limits and the Era of Consequences. We are at or soon approaching that inflection point. Here, now. From that shift it will follow as inexorably as night follows day that the ethics of the past are not just passé, but counterproductive. Anyone clinging to them will be regarded as a fool, a fossil and a social pariah. ([ig: out of step]

…The late Zenmaster, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, in Zen Mind Beginners Mind said it is important to understand that Zen is nothing special. Any roshi will say the same. There is no attainment. Just sit. Nothing special.

…As the ethics of the 20th century become stranded, the ethics of permaculture will become invisible. Permaculture will become the new normal. It will simply be taken for granted.

… So too, Permaculture is nothing special. Acting ethically towards future generations is nothing special. Living today as if there really is going to be a tomorrow is not a fringe activity. Just do it. Already, everyone else is starting to, too.

Say I, on the matter of climate, it is beginning to be impossible, just barely, to ignore it, or deny it.

I hope you will go to www.WatchDisruption.com. This documentary from www.350.org with make you check your bearings, your ‘out-of-stepness’. Even the trailer is compelling.