celebrated his six month birthday with about 300 other folks who came
out to say happy birthday and show their support to to Stephen and Nel
Colton was recently diagnosed with a rare brain
disease that Doctor's say could make this the only birthday we get to
celebrate with him so we wanted to make the most of it.
We first met Stephen and Janell a couple of years ago at a camp outing and immediately struck up a friendship.
Lots of Good Food
then they have purchased land and began building a house to fulfill a
dream of owning a small farm and raising farm fresh, healthy, foods to
be sold direct just as we do here at Spring Hill Farms.
The name of their farm is Harbridge Farms.
They will be raising Tamworth pigs and grass fed beef as well pastured
poultry and eggs. The plan is to help us supply customers as well. There
was a ton of good food brought in by all the guests and although it was
hot we all had a great time.
A Rare Look at the Master at Work
Stephen and I roasted a hog which took about 15 hours to cook but boy was it delicious!
you have never had a pig roasted over charcoal you are missing a real
treat. Then add my secret sauce that we baste the hog in and you'll join
the others who proclaim "the best hog roast we have ever attended."
Care for Colton Fund
and Janell are facing some expense to care for Colton, if you would
like, you can donate to help them by clicking the Paypal link below. Any
amount large or small will be appreciated.
Please keep them in your prayers as they go through this difficult time.
My breakfast consists of pasture raised chicken eggs cooked in lard or just four or five raw eggs.
of which have been touted as foods which will give you a heart attack
and raise your cholesterol by many mainstream medical and nutritional
The last time I had blood work done Doc told me my cholesterol was a tiny bit high.
I asked if she was using the numbers that were pushed lower by statin
drug companies just a few weeks before as the "ideal numbers" she
admitted she was using the latest numbers.
If we went by the old numbers my cholesterol was fine.
than go through the entire history of how we have been tricked into
believing that lard, butter, and other animal fats are going to kill you
next week, I would rather point you in the right direction to see what I
have learned over the years and then ask you to consider the factor I
see missing from most research.
How was the animal raised and what was it fed?
I'll get to this in a few but first some links to different articles on lard. Obviously you can Google this on your own but I included a few I found informative or even entertaining.
If you are already convinced lard an other animal fats are good for you, scroll down below the video and resume reading!
Here we go:
Startled by news about the dangers of trans fats, writer Pete Wells happily contemplates the return of good old-fashioned lard.
Lard & schmaltz.
The prime example of fats we all thought were bad for us, lard and
schmaltz (rendered chicken, pork, or goose fat) may have been wrongly
demonized for years. The main fat in lard—oleic acid—is a
monounsaturated fat linked to decreased risk of depression, says Drew Ramsey, MD, coauthor of The Happiness Diet
(Rodale, 2010). Those same monounsaturated fats, which make up 45
percent of the fat in lard, are responsible for lowering LDL levels
while leaving HDL ("good") cholesterol levels alone. Lard and schmaltz
also tolerate high cooking temperatures—they're often recommended for
frying—and have long shelf lives.
Dr Mercola - Why I believe over half your diet should be made up of this.
Is there Good and Bad Lard?
think the answer is yes! One glaringly obvious missing piece of data in
all the praise of lard and animal fats is how was the animal raised?
What was it fed?
If you were able to find lard at
your grocery store it is either polluted with preservatives or mixed
with hydrogenated fats...neither of which you want in your lard.
If it passes the test of no additives or mixtures then we must ask the question: What was the animals diet?
has been a good bit of research done on beef to show that cows fed a
strictly grain diet have fats that are less healthy than 100% grass fed
can find no studies on pastured pork v.s. strictly grain fed but it
stands to reason the same would be true. Our hogs are constantly
consuming grass and legumes which should make for better fat.
thing to consider is has the pig been on sub therapeutic antibiotics?
Ask your local grocer these questions and watch the glazed look come
over their eyes.
If you think about it, many toxins accumulate in fat according to experts. If we purposely feed toxins to our swine where does some of it end up? Think antibiotics, chemical wormers, etc.
the other hand, if we feed our hogs good things it should be present in
the fat. Think grass, minerals, omega 3's. I'm only thinking aloud here
as I'm no expert on this. Draw your own conclusions.
Maybe sometime soon I'll tell you how I make my own lard from the fat trimmings from our pigs.
markets are exploding on the scene across the United States. That means
more vendors looking for ways to leverage the "eat local" movement even
if their meats aren't local or even from a small farm.
quick look at a listing of farmers markets in my state shows several
meat processing plants listed as vendors. I'm not trying to infer that
they shouldn't be allowed to participate in farmers markets. I am
saying, as with any vendor you purchase from, you should engage in a
conversation about where the animals are raised and how they are raised.
For instance the statement of "all our meats are locally raised" could simply mean somewhere in the state.
Some good questions to ask any meat vendor:
Do you raise the livestock yourself?
If not, do you know the farmer who did?
Do you purchase animals from sale barns to slaughter?
How confident are you that your meats are hormone and antibiotic free?
For beef - Is this 100% grass fed and finished or has it been fed grain?
are the type of questions any farmer who raises livestock will be happy
to answer. In fact most welcome these types of questions because it
shows that you are looking for a certain style of animal husbandry and
methods of production.
My point in all this is not to build a case about dishonest vendors.
point is don't assume that because you are standing at farmers market
every product there is locally raised by a small farmer. Ask questions.
demand for locally farm raised beef, pork, and chicken as well as other
meats such as lamb, goat, rabbits etc is on the rise. That means meat
vendors of every stripe are looking for ways to gain access to farmers
Some markets will allow them to sell their products and some won't.
As with anything that becomes popular or trendy, the potential is
recognized and seized by large corporations who are looking to profit
I am including a video from Mark Kastel, co-director
of the Cornucopia Institute that details some of the unbelievable
antics taking place in the organized organic movement.
If you're short on time here are some of the highlights:
Those charged with reviewing and approving additives and chemicals
for use in organic foods have in large part been affiliated with the
same corporate agribusinesses and/or food producers lobbying for their
There are currently almost 300 non-organic and synthetic compounds approved for use in organic foods.
"Independent" industry experts, who have been advising the USDA's
National Organic Standards Board on scientific matters, also appear to
have been largely supportive of synthetics in organics
Cornucopia Institute are now pursuing a pressure campaign aimed at the
organic program at the USDA, and at the National Organics Standards
Board, to persuade them to review the manipulation and misinformation
provided at the November 2011 NOSB meeting, which led to the approval of
synthetic, genetically mutated DHA and ARA oils—ingredients that have
been "confidently linked" to health problems in infants.
What I want to point out here is my original statement of the more
distant your relationship with the person who produces your food, the
more potential for corruption.
While I applaud and support
the Cornucopia Institute for their efforts to rally the American people
to hold those accountable who oversee organic standards in the U.S., I
also believe the best route to food transparency is to have a
relationship with the folks who produce your food.
That's why I have an open door policy at my farm. Folks can come visit and judge for themselves if they want to do business with me.
Complete transparency to your customers is a safeguard against corruption.
How could I say for example 'we use no chemical herbicides on our
farm' and at the same time be hosing down weeds with weed killer? If I
know customers are coming and no door is locked, no cabinet out of reach
it will deter me from such actions.
There is a myriad of
temptations to cheat even on the small farm. Farmers need
accountability. I need accountability. I need to know that my customers
have the right to inspect what I'm doing and why I'm doing it.
I gave them that right.
If you're paying with your hard earned dollars you deserve that right.
No amount of regulations or regulators is ever going to replace a relationship between two people.
Here at Spring Hill Farms
we think honesty, integrity, transparency, and accountability should be
some of the foundational principles you build your farm on.
of thousands of honey bees have been found dead in Delaware, Fairfield,
Hardin, Miami, Pickaway and Ross counties in April. Jim North believes an insecticide called neonicotinoids is responsible for the huge amount of dead bees.
The Columbus Dispatch reported on this which you can read here.
report states the bulk of the bees died over a four day period which is
when a major amount of corn was planted in Ohio. The insecticide is
used on seed corn.
Of course Bayer CropScience who produces much of the neonicotinoids
believes it could be the weather. Hmm... let's see the weather which we
can nothing about or a poison designed to kill insects. I'll leave the
conclusion up to you but you probably have picked up on my opinion.
The poison has been linked to bee deaths in other states and banned in other countries but hey maybe Ohio is different?
Perhaps it's this Ohio weather that wipes out an already vulnerable bee population.
me it looks like the begining of yet another round of propaganda by the
major chemical companies to continue to not only endanger the bee
population, but continue to endanger our lives as well by the
indiscriminate use of poisons to prop up an already unsustainable system
Let's hope The Ohio Department of Agriculture does it job and puts an end to the needless poisoning of honey bees.
have long been a proponent of voicing your opinion to government any
chance you get. But for this issue there is a fast track to change.
Vote with your dollars.
According to a USA Today article, three plants producing pink slime have permanently shut down. While I feel sorry
for the folks who lost their source of income, I rejoice that the
demand for pink slime has fallen like a stone since it first went public
a few weeks ago.
This is a prime example of what can be done to change the way food is grown, processed, labeled etc.
It's very simple: Companies don't produce what they can't sell.
I found it typical that the company producing pink slime has adopted the stance that they have got an unfair rap and people are misinformed about pink slime.
My opinion -Folks were informed of what is going on and said "no thanks" with their dollars.
This could happen to any company, good or bad.
The key to stopping it from happening- Transparency. Let people see behind the curtain and judge for themselves if they want to do business with you.
We saw behind the pink slime curtain and opted out.
You can bet other companies have been watching nervously as the pink slime story has unfolded wondering if they are next.
will see more dollars spent on public relations as big agriculture and
food companies work to convince the public they are on "our side."
Stop out and see your local farmers. Buy as much of your food from them as you can.
can believe it and although the study they referred to said it needed
more research to see just what was the cause I figure it's pretty easy
if you look at it simplistically.
Amish kids are
working on the farm at a young age. They are eating a lot of farm food
and not nearly as much processed foods. Which could mean they are not
eating as many GMO foods.
Many of them are drinking raw milk as soon they are weaned from mom.
that with a child in front of T.V. or game system with no where to go
but out in a yard with maybe a dog and it gets tough to test your immune
system as thoroughly as someone on a farm introduced to all the little
microbes (good and bad) that can be found there.
I kinda changed the old saying to...My kids are as healthy as hog!
your kids out and let them get dirty this summer. Take them to visit a
farm, go camping, hiking, something. It'll do your immune system some
good and your soul too!
when you thought that the gigantic meat packers were "walking the
straight and narrow" over the pink slime controversy, now we discover
your steak just might be glued together out of several different pieces
California senator Ted W. Lieu has
called for an investigation into the practice of using meat glue to
patch pieces of meat together to make one piece. Officially, it’s known as transglutaminase, an enzyme in powder form that brings protein closer together – permanently.
What will be next?
For me the take away from all these "new discoveries" is it seems the foundational belief of big meat packers and Big Ag is this:
How can we do this cheaper first and foremost then we'll look at safety, quality, and all the other parameters.
am all for reducing costs and making your business profitable. But let
me know the ways you accomplish that and let me make the decision as to
whether I want to do business with you.
No I'm not talking about supplying your customers with a business plan.
talking about good old fashioned honesty and hey here's an idea; How
about putting on the label what you've done to product.
I don't know about you but If I picked up a steak and said it contained transglutaminase you can bet I'd be Googling up what the heck it was and why is it in my steak!
You know it won't say on the label "we glued this piece of meat together."
Don't worry though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deems it to be safe – “generally.”
We don't glue anything together here at Spring Hill Farms.
Heck we use baler twine more than anything around here to make several
pieces of something into one. You would notice that on your steak...just
The Large Black and Tamworth pig crossing is still underway here at Spring Hill Farms.
We had our first litters in March and so far have been happy with the results.
They have been healthy and exhibited strong immunity which is the first test here on this farm.
weak pigs are usually a sign of something amiss on your farm but it can
also be the result of pigs catching anything that comes along. Which points to a weak immune system.
litters have been strong and growing from day one. They were quick to
get up and get moving after birth and have been strong eaters.
The one difference it seems to me over a purebred Tamworth thus far, is they take a bit longer to show an interest in mom's feed.
pigs didn't seem to get after the sow's feed when we fed her ground
feed as fast as Tam's do. Maybe a good sign I don't know.
Large Black cross pigs
The carcass is leaning more to the Large Black side but I'm thinking they will get some width as they get closer to finishing.
We will be monitoring these pigs very closely to see just how well they grow as compared to our Tamworth pigs on pasture.
In theory they should do as well or better due to the heterosis or hybrid vigor.
If you're not familiar with the Large Black here's an excerpt from the okistate website: "In
the early part of this century the Large Black were used for the
production of pork in outdoor operations. Its coat color makes it
tolerant of many sun born illnesses and its hardiness and grazing
ability make it an efficient meat producer. Large Blacks are also
known for their mothering ability, milk capacity and prolificacy."
These pigs are listed as critically endangered on ALBC website.
will be offering F-1 cross gilts in the Spring of 2013. These will be
excellent pigs to inject some heritage breed traits as well as strong
grazing genetics Spring Hill is known for into your pigs.
Another story showing how oppressive local government is becoming to small farms.
The worst time to buy insurance is after you need it. It's like closing the gate after the hogs are out. I taught personal finance for 15 plus years and my counsel was always weigh the risks for insurance, most people are betting they will need insurance and the insurance company is betting you won't.
The threat to small local farmers is mounting on a daily basis. Your chance of having an issue is greater today than ever before. The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund is a great resource fighting to help small farms.
Don't wait until you need them to become a member. I receive nothing in any way from promoting them other than the peace of mind knowing other farmers and consumers are helping fund the resistance to over regulating small farms and your right to food of your choice.
I recently read the story of the youngest farmer to receive the Animal Welfare Approved certification.
Meet 12 year old Shelby Grebenc of Broomfield Co.
According to the article in the Animal Welfare Approved newsletter,
she has 130 laying hens. She has named her farm Shelby's Happy Chapped
Butt Chicken Farm because she says since folks can see her farm from the
road people sometimes drop off chickens. She found a an empty box one
day with chickens running around. They had no tail feathers and looked
pretty sore so it seemed fitting.
Shelby started her farm
when she was 10 years old by approaching her grandmother for a $1,000
loan to start a pasture raised egg business.
stemmed from the situation at hand, her mother Nancy who has multiple
Sclerosis was in a nursing home and Shelby wanted to expand the family's
Shelby, my hat is off to you and I wish you well in everything you endeavor to do at your farm.
is pushing a new act to allow the government to decide by simply
looking at your stock and decide if it is a prohibited species.
know that sounds crazy but small farmers are being told they need to be
sure they are compliant before the law is passed. When asked how to
know if their pigs are prohibited they are being told to send in a
The Invasive Species Act gives
DNR the discretion to add or delete from a list of species whose
possession is prohibited. In addition, if either DNR or the Michigan
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDA) determines that
certain requirements are met for a particular species, then it is
mandatory that an ISO be issued prohibiting that species. DNR has not
made it clear whether the ISO for swine was discretionary or
In my opinion, this another move to use gestapo like tactics all in the name of protecting Big Ag. The Farm to Consumer Legal Fund (FTCLDF) has reported recently on what is going on in Michigan. If you are not a member of the FTCLDF
you should consider it. They are the organization that is out front in
the battle to save small farm's rights to produce and market wholesome
foods and milk.
While this issue deals with swine, it's
possibly the seeds of regulating small farms out of business. What if
some type of government official could come to your farm and tell you
your produce doesn't look good enough to sell. Or impose mandatory
testing for e coli or other contamination.
You may think it sounds crazy but who would have thought fifty years ago you could go to jail for selling raw milk.
To read the full story as told by the Farm to Consumer Legal defense Fund click here.
The mantra of the big food and agriculture companies is how can we produce more for less?
The bottom line with pink slime in ground beef is dollars.
Not quality, not health, dollars.
This is a prime example of where we are at in the world of mass produced food.
What used to be relegated to pet food is now good enough for human consumption. Not that I'm thrilled with Fido getting a dose of pink slime either, but hey better him than me!
have preached the "know where your food comes from and know what's in
it" for a long time so it thrills me when main stream news media busts out a story like pink slime in ground beef. Only because so many more people are exposed again
to the fact that agencies like the USDA, FDa and some others aren't
really looking out for you like you hoped they were. You will have to
take the responsibility into your own hands and find clean food for
McDonalds, Burger King and Taco Bell have all
announced they don't use it anymore...GREAT. To me that's like saying we
used to think it was OK to feed you pink slime but since you found out
about it we'll stop.
Ground beef with
pink slime added as a filler has a greater chance of e coli and so it is
washed with ammonia. No thanks I'll pass.
Here at Spring Hill Farms
we don't add anything to our ground beef. Not pink slime, not meat glue
(heard about that one?) or anything else that you wouldn't want in your
Our mantra is clean, quality, healthy food first. Then and only then, we'll see what it costs to produce it.
A recession is a transference of wealth from the meek to the bold - Dan Kennedy
I love Dan’s definition of a recession. While it seems hard to nail down the figure, the Fed says $878 billion dollars will circulate through the United States economy in
The question we have to asked ourselves is “how much of that will I capture for my business
Here’s some tips:
Check up on your attitude - W. Clement Stone said in the midst of the depression
“I did know the opportunities were unlimited. For sales are contingent
upon the attitude of the salesman—not the attitude of the prospect.”
It’s very common to have customers remark on fuel cost going up or
food prices increasing or a million other topics that only accentuate
the negative. Resist getting into these conversations.
Work on being a place that is positive and upbeat. Customers buy more from those types of business.
Tap Into Consumer Mentality. Match It – Customers
have money. They are just more reluctant to let go of it in a down
economy. Their mentality has changed. They are holding on to their
money and less likely to spend it frivolously. That doesn’t mean they
won’t spend it or they only want cheap food. Actually quite the
contrary. Many people are looking for a way to make themselves feel
better in less expensive ways.
Talk to your customers about less expensive ways to
have fun, feel good, etc. An example would be offering “special
breakfast package” or a farm visit they can bring the kids to see your
new baby goats etc.
Coach Your Employees or Helpers about How to Talk to Customers – Part
of their job is to sell and influence buying decisions not talk about
their life is or how rotten the state of the economy with customers.
Customers don’t contact you or come to your farm to
hear bad news. They can turn on the radio or read the newspaper if they
want that. They come to you to find something they want and have a
positive buying experience.
Farmers take heed: There’s enough bad news in the
air, without adding fuel to the fire. When customers come to do business
with you, they want to feel good. They want to feel good about buying.
Action Tip: Spend the next few weeks thinking about
positive ways to present your products as well as checking up on
everyone’s attitude at your farm.
Dr. Mercola has once again brought to light another controversial look at what is driving the "Gentically Modified Foods Can Save the World" agenda.
My opinion is much like his in that the research I have looked at isn't based on sound science. Just the fact that there is major resistance from pro GMO companies to label foods containing Genetically modified organisms makes it clear they know the general public would opt out of eating them if they knew they were in so many foods in the grocery store.
It's a clear case of if we don't know what we are eating everything is fine. It's sort of like saying as long as food kills you slowly over time what's the big deal?
The cost of food continues to rise. If you didn't realize it, you
either don't do the grocery shopping, or you haven't ask the person who
You can do a search on the 'net
and find all kinds of numbers indicating how much food products have gone up and what others believe they will do in the future.
The viewpoint I liked was from Lynn Carpenter she believes "We have been enjoying a 60-year trend of low food prices that is crashing to an abrupt end this very year."
Lynn says (and I agree) the government numbers released, and what I see
at the grocery store never seem to match up. She recommends figuring
out how many hours you must work each week to pay for food.
She did some serious research and came up with some very interesting numbers! You can read it all here.
But all that aside if you go to the store a few times you get an idea
of what it costs to eat and you suddenly feel a bit of gnawing worry.
Now the mistake you might make is to leave the grocery store, get the
groceries put away, and dismiss the gnawing worry telling yourself
"it'll all work out somehow."
Don't fall into that mindset!
Nothing just "works itself out" and if it does, it is seldom in your favor.
Planting a garden is a proactive way to cut your food bill and improve your overall health.
Feeling overwhelmed when you think ofgardening?
of the best ways to get started growing your own food is to start
small. Plant a few tomato plants and some bell peppers along the house.Make a garden four feet by eight feet. Make raised beds etc.
I love High Density Gardening
by Ric Wiley. Gardening is work no matter how you cut it but you can
reduce the workload and space needed by using Ric's methods.
He covers everything from A to Z in this ebook.
How to plan your High Density Garden in order that you can maximize the quantity of crops you can grow
How to build a High Density Gardening bed
How to propagate seeds
Home made compost. How to make it quickly.
I'm a lover of ebooks because you can be reading them five minutes
after you decide to purchase them! Which might be why I spend so much at
Amazon on my Kindle.
Imagine your very own lush, green, vibrant garden this spring. Can't
you taste the garden fresh tomato's, beans, onions, peppers, cucumbers,
water melons, peas, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet corn, cabbage,
you get the point……