Farm Journal 12/5/21

NOTICE THAT DATES AND TIMES OF PICK UP HAVE CHANGED. (hopefully they coincide with the website.)

Where to find our stuff! (There’s still fresh veggies!!) Place your online order here. Give us a 24 hours heads up please!

The Farm – WEDNESDAY (11 – 7). We’ll set your order out, you come pick it up.

Northside- WEDNESDAY 12:30 – 1:00 at the parking lot on Union Place by Allegheny Commons. Ask about delivery options.

Squirrel Hill – WEDNESDAY at the Farmer’s Market Parking lot (Beacon/Bartlett) – 2:00 – 2:30. Ask about delivery options.

Noteworthy!

  1. If you’re planning for a delivery into the city – please bulk up your order to meet a minimum purchase of $30. Stock up! This ensures that it’s worth our time to drive in to the city.
  2. Good news! We’ve lifted the limit on the amount of eggs you can order AND the upped the limit on bacon. We only have so much bacon, so please don’t order more that 3 lbs at a time.

Farm News

There’s still plenty of crops growing in the fields and high tunnels. With this mild weather so far, we’re lucky to keep up the harvest. That said, we are bulking up the winter baskets a bit with some goodies from Clarion River Organics, up in Sligo. We’re bringing in their potatoes, butternut squash, onions, beets and carrots. We’ll supply the greens and let them excel at the roots. (We still have a lot of turnips and daikons out in the field too). Veggie package this week is $40.

We’ve had an on-going saga with one of our farm residents. Although fat and lovable with a personality like a 1960’s Volkswagon Bug (tough to start and grunts along with cranky commentary)… Herman, (the pot bellied pig) has taken to sun bathing in our first High Tunnel. First, he busted through the front double doors…. easy access and nary a challenge to a pig of his stature. After I upgraded the door closure from half a cinder block to rebar through the door handles, Herman wiggled the doors, ripped the handles off, and caught a few toasty warm Zzz’s.

Next farm hack was to put a pallet in front of the door, which he, with Superpig skills, tossed aside and ripped right through the plastic wall, inviting the hens in to party as well. Next, I used two sheets of plywood, a cinder block, a pallet, and a bag of leaves for good measure…. He moved down the line and ripped a new hole through the plastic side wall and through chicken wire! I rigged up (farmer style) cattle panel secured with baling twine and propped up with another pallet to keep him (and his posse of hens) coming through the side. He retreated and attacked from the rear… busting through the plastic on the double doors at the back of the high tunnel….. The time has come and now Herman has a new fence around his own “yard”. He’s back to being penned in (don’t worry, it’s spacious, with a warm and cozy den to sleep in) and hopefully he and his rascally hens will stay out of the high tunnel and away from my kale!

Greg’s Update

I wasn’t feeling well last week putting up the Christmas tree (we are early this year), and the next morning I tested positive for Covid after taking two different at-home tests. So, probably not a false positive. Jen and I were expecting the worst but, luckily, didn’t see it.

My worst days were full of aches and pains, and the fatigue that followed. I tried not to take any pain killers to ensure that any fever symptoms would present themselves, but none ever did. Coughing wasn’t present, and there was luckily no loss of taste. Very achy though, I felt like it was mid-summer all over again!

Because the lack of fever, I used our infrared dry sauna and Wim Hof breathing to bring the virus down the first couple days. Google said Covid dies at 132.5°F, so I cranked up the sauna. At 144°F, I was pushing myself to the limits, the sauna safety cooling fans kicked on and I dragged myself into the shower. That which does not kill us makes us stronger, right?

At best, the sauna killed the bulk of the viral load and weakened a good portion as well. With the IR simulating a fever, and my immune response already active, the story I tell myself is that the virus was brought under control. At that point, I think I had some kind of a Lyme disease flare up (aches), and for the most part, I’ve been down with Lyme symptoms, but still lacking fever.

My other primary medication has been homemade tonic ciders (skullcap for Covid and knotweed for Lyme). I’ve been alternating brews to ensure I’m fully covered. Jen’s kept me stocked with bone broth, fire cider, and Nettle/Licorice tincture too.

Greg was prescribed sunshine, fresh air and farm dirt (administered by August)

Unfortunately, Jen’s been taking the brunt of keeping the farm going and child rearing. I’ve taken on the time consuming jobs of putting our personal space in order, toys and clothes, farm paperwork, which will hopefully help ease her stress in other ways. Luckily this is our down-time anyhow, so we’re making the best of me being stationary and resting up!

Pig-Wifery – By Greg

This will be a difficult blurb for most of us to stomach, while a cadre of cavalier keto nuts will call for it raw!

Organs are these magic enzyme, neurotransmitter, and hormone production centers. They handle critical bodily functions like blood pumping, nutrient storage, and food digestion.They do everything but move our bodies, and are so precious, they are mostly housed in a special protective bone chamber (ribs). Naturally, these organs are made of different stuff than lean muscle, because lean muscle only has one job: contract and relax.

The two major differences between lean muscle and organs (in terms of human food) are nutritional content and taste. With taste, I also include texture, because for some of us it can be off-putting to eat the very chewy tongue (what am I still chewing again?). Also with taste is flavor, and organs have a notoriously high flavor profile compared to lean meat, which is actually quite bland in comparison.

Despite the mostly negative taste experiences that most people associate with organs, they are vastly more nutritious than the lean cuts. They contain rarer nutrients like selenium, CoQ10, all the B-vitamins, tons of vitamin D and A, various forms of saturated and unsaturated fats, and a vast assortment of amino acids and other compounds (as mentioned earlier) that are ingredients in our bodies factories. Because these compounds are similar in all animals, it means they are also being made in our organs. So eating them is extremely beneficial. Predator animals eat livers and hearts first saving lean for last.

The Primal Mom absolutely LOVES organs and has more details about their overall health benefits here:
https://www.primaledgehealth.com/benefits-of-organ-meats/

When Jen was pregnant, we made sure to feed her an increased ration of organs, especially liver because of its high iron content. She needed theses materials to make enough blood to circulate in two bodies.

We eat most of the organs, and there are ways to overcome the taste barrier so that we can enjoy these nutritional superfoods. I jokingly call bacon a ‘vegan killer’ because no one can resist forever…. But seriously, if ever a vegan came back to eating meats, in selective doses, then it should be humanely, cleanly raised organ meat and not bacon.

The best way to mellow the flavor is to soak the organ in salted milk (2TB salt per 1C milk, scale as needed, rinse the organ before using and discard the milk brine). This will reduce the ‘gamey’ flavors that persist and mellow the flavor so it’s easier to mix into meals. Some say the milk also helps tenderize the organ. I’ve cooked liver this way, it still tasted like liver, but a lot less so. Kick the spice up a notch and Bam! The liver flavor disappears.

The easiest way we’ve ever used organs regularly on the farm is to chop, mince or finely grind them first. Cooking the whole organ means eating the whole organ, which is sometimes rough, especially for kids. We’ve done two things with the finely ground organs: 1. Dehydrate 2. Freeze.

Dehydrating is a simple enough process, so I won’t go into depth, other than to say you can keep it raw (under 106°F) this way, and it has great shelf life. Excellent ‘hard tack’ superfood snack, especially kidney and heart… Liver is still a little too gamey.

Packing the little bits into ice cube trays or 1oz dollops and frozen on a cookie sheet was less messy, and a bit faster than dehydrating. These organ cubes can then be added to any meal while cooking. Our favorite was pasta sauce, because the other strong flavors mellowed out the organs.

These claim to be a tasty collection that I’m excited to try!
https://thedrswolfson.com/5-tasty-organ-meat-recipes/

Jen made pate last year and roughly followed this recipe – using both chicken and pork livers and liberally adding a maple bourbon component too! It was in high demand and our kids ate it too!

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