Archive for April, 2010

The National Organic Standards Board is reviewing requirements for livestock living conditions. They are thinking about requiring organic livestock (including  beef cattle, dairy cattle and poultry) to be given access to pasture during the growing season.

Many consumers are not even aware that “organic” livestock are not already required to live outside on pasture in the summertime.

Many organic producers (especially poultry producers) are concerned that such a radical change in the standard will destroy the businesses they have struggled so many years to build.

The problem is that our labeling system is outdated. We have one catch-all standard, “organic,” that is pulled in different directions by different interest groups. The French are thirty years ahead of us in standards. They now have four major labeling programs that complement each other, reducing consumer confusion and allowing each producer to find its place on a spectrum of philosophies.

I think we should follow the French example. It is time we added a second label with teeth like the French “Label Rouge.” I’d love to hear what you think.

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This is a great time of year to be planting new grass. To give our livestock the best forage possible, we contacted Cliff Taylor, of Taylor Made Seeds and he suggested a great organic mix that will green up quickly and will be ready for grazing within six weeks. He was also kind enough to loan us his “no-till” seed drill. This enables us to plant the seed with minimum impact to the soil and the living organisms in the soil, which are responsible for breaking down old plant material and manure into soil organic matter and humus.

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Our friend and grass-fed beef fan, Chef John Mitzewich just posted a great recipe for homemade beef stock. For those of you who buy beef in bulk and wonder what to do with those bones, here is your answer! Don’t give them to the dog. Make stock first, then give them to the dog!

By the way, Chef John is on his way to fame and fortune. First, there was the cookbook publishing deal from Parragon Publishing. Now, he just got a Saveur Magazine’s 1st Annual Best Food Blog Award for Most Innovative Video Content.

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Spring Fever!

The weather has been incredible the past few days,¬† and we have been making hay while the sun shines, so to speak. Actually, we can’t make hay yet, but we have been building the corral, cleaning the well, and getting ready to plant pastures, bury a new water line, and build new fences that will improve our multi species rotation. It seems there are a million jobs to do at this time of year. Our first chicks will be arriving in a month, and we have yet to figure out the feed, the bedding, the poultry fence, the waterers. On top of all this, Steve told me today that he has ordered six piglets to start our pastured pork operation.

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