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 Nov 23, 2014

As of Nov 23th, we can offer 60+ items including the following crops: mint, beet tops, spinach, beet root (two varieties, Detroit Red and regular), yellow plum tomatoes, chard, celeriac, eggplant, carrots, collards, squashes (hubbard, butternut, Sibley, buttercup) summer squashes (spaghetti and delicata) and kale.

Camelia is cooking prepared foods from our produce: garlic pesto, cucumber relish, quiches (on order). Arugula Pesto is her latest and it’s a delight, but you can make your own too! We have homemade grape jelly too from the Mazzonis next door.

Beef cuts are now available, a total of about 500 lbs of pastured meats. There are several geese in the freezer. I have 6 lambs in the freezer, still have about 10 chickens as well as veal.
I have listed pork now so that you can order specific cuts and I’ll know how to instruct the butcher: pork coming in December.

My current price is $6/XL doz. I sell mixed size dozens that weigh at least 588 gm (medium), 672 grams, the ‘large’ size dozen, and Extra Large, 770gm plus carton. Please bring in recycled cartons.

Raw Honey
The first crop is sold out, I have several boxes ready to extract from the summer crop. You bring your jar and fill it here, or buy in prefilled mason jars.

Thank you to all bringing in recycled egg cartons, hold off now, I have several months supply.

Celeriac is a celery that is grown for the root, to be eaten like other root crops: mashed, in stews, steamed, etc. I like it in bone broths and soups. We have a good crop in storage now. See this site for recipes:

Well, I must echo and quote JM Greer in the essay I just gave a link to. There is much to despair about and its so easy to give up, to live for the moment and let the devil take the hindmost. But that is a tough way to live out the rest of our years and a stern sentence for our children. So please consider reading these two essays, with the conclusion in mind:

“As for me—well, all things considered, I find that being alive beats the stuffing out of the alternative, and that’s true even though I live in a troubled age in which scientific and technological progress show every sign of grinding to a halt in the near future, and in which warfare, injustice, famine, pestilence, and the collapse of widely held beliefs are matters of common experience. The notion that life has to justify itself to me seems, if I may be frank, faintly silly, and so does the comparable claim that I have to justify my existence to it, or to anyone else. Here I am; I did not make the world; quite the contrary, the world made me, and put me in the irreducibly personal situation in which I find myself. Given that I’m here, where and when I happen to be, there are any number of things that I can choose to do, or not do; and it so happens that one of the things I choose to do is to prepare, and help others prepare, for the long decline of industrial civilization and the coming of the dark age that will follow it.”

Healthy Eating
Ian and Camelia

Old 99 Farm, week of Nov 15 2014

We’re heading into the first cold snap of the winter this week, with steady -5 and lower, which indeed is below normal for this time of year. Small consolation!

Veggie greens are doing fine in the greenhouse and root crops and squashes are in storage. All good. Meat freezers are well stocked, my pigs are now 200lb and will be going to the butcher in early December. One is spoken for already, but I will make sides available.

The Permaculture Teacher Training course last week was an uplifting experience, hanging out with 20 students of all ages, 24 to 64. We were hosted in a 16 yr old co-housing community in Ann Arbor MI. All of us are inspired to do what we can to rectify, mitigate, restore the ecological damage being done to the earth, life support system for all of us. Permaculture is a philosophy, movement and design system for living well within the earth’s means, as tho we intended to stay. See for lots of links and info.

Recently viewed some intriguing streaming video on food and health, 12 segments available on dvd for $20. They hit all the biggies, like gmo, soy, raw milk, cholesterol. See for previews of each.

And there is this article my friend Nicole Foss reposted on FB: The Real Reason Wheat is Toxic (it’s not the gluten)
To which my local organic small grains farmer friend (who supplies all the grain for my chickens and pigs), replied about wheat: “But we need to add to this the fact that nearly every acre in Ontario has 1 to 2 applications of a fungicide as well (mainly Folicur). One app before heading and one application after heading. Western Canada I am told sprays their wheat on average 6 times per crop. (Round-up pre-plant burnoff, several insecticide passes for grasshoppers, several fungicide passes and then as this article states desiccant.” Makes me really not want to eat wheat anything. At least I can buy organic flour or grain and mill my own.

Yea, healthy eating and aging,
Ian, Camelia and Michael from Hannover BRD

OLd 99 Farm, WEek of Nov 9th 2014

I have 5 lambs in the freezer now, from 20 to 30 lb of meat each. And still lots of ground beef, chicken, and veal.

Check listings for vegetables, leafy greens, root veg and herbs. Still have tomatoes on the vine believe it or not.

Mike Langhens and Camelia will be minding the farm this week; I’m off on a permaculture teachers course in Michigan. Back on Saturday.

Being a local relational eater in a consumerist world takes courage and commitment. A lot of it. We swim against the tide, and the current is strong. The three sirens of consumerism – comfort, control and convenience – are at play in what and how we eat.


Healthy eating
Ian and Camelia (and Mike from Germany)

Old 99 Farm, week of Nov2 2014

A very busy week here at Old99 this week, so not much time for finding juicy food news on the web.

The bad news is that our last cow to calf, Princess Scruffy, freshened on Friday with a stillborn calf. That’s my first experience and thankfully the vet was able to get here quickly. Scruffy is still running a fever so it’s not over yet.

The good news is there are lots of veggies and eggs, beef, lamb and chicken in the freezer.

We still have tomatoes, eggplants, peppers as well as the root crops like carrots and celeriac.

Hope to see you thurs.

Healthy eating,
Ian and Camelia

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

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:

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? 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.

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:, 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

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