Farm Journal

Posted 2/8/2010 7:27pm by Renee Savary.

Weekly Food Thoughts 02/04/2010

I got an email from someone looking for "ways" to produce organic chicken feed CHEAP!!!

Ok People we need to get out of Cheap Food LaLaLand, either we change the way food out there is getting subsidies or we accept the fact that real food comes at a price and we need to change the way we eat.

Here is how the system works now : MegaFarm is producing corn at $10 a bushel (please don't quote me on numbers or names this just for the purpose of the example) so their cost is $10, here comes UncleSam giving MegaFarm $10 subsidies to each bushel of corn. At this point the cost of producing corn is Zero (0), arrive HFCS inc., mega food manufacturer, willing to pay $5 for the same bushel of corn, of course MegaFarm is happy to sell and makes a $5 profit. I simplified it but this is the principle. Now let's remove UncleSam subsidies. MegaFarm is still producing at $10/bushel and still wants to make $5 in profit therefor they will sell to HFCS inc. at $15/bushel !! Right here the price of your food tripled !!! Of course I am not taking into consideration all the ugly scheme this corn will go through before hitting your plate. Now you wonder where the $10 in subsidies comes from ??? I have news from you ... WE are paying with our tax $$ and subsequent Health Royalties for ever and this is the "beauty" of it : WE pay before we even buy !!! ... There is no miracle or magic formula, Real Food cost to produce, at $6/dozen for my eggs I pay the feed for the chickens that's all !!!

I went to a workshop called "small scale poultry raising" or something like that. Given by UF, the first speaker, PhD in nutrition, spent 17 minutes bashing organic practices, stating that if you want problems, snags, headaches (his words) that was the way to go !! I was wondering what I have been doing for the last two years or so ?? of course the only way he was promoting was factory farms, it amazed me that someone at that level was not more knowledgeable or at least open to organic practices, it shows how brain wash most people are about food, pretending that the food system in this country is one of the safest in the world ... welcome to LaLaLand. Then, at the other end of the spectrum, I was part of a backyard chickens workshop full of people wanting to raise their own chickens and realizing how dysfunctional the food system is. I loved it and made me want to start having backyard poultry workshops here at the farm, I will give you full details next week ...
Back to reality I have a ton of feed (literally) to unload ... hahaha ... see you all tomorrow ...

PS: I watch a great documentary called : food beware: the french organic revolution (Netflix) about how a small village gets its school cafeteria to go all organic and the impact on the community from the parents to the local farmers, a perfect example of how when there is a political will "things" happend. Watch it you will love it ....

Happy Hour at the farm  ...

Happy hour at the farm

Posted 1/26/2010 9:14am by Renee Savary.

Weekly food thoughts 01/21/2010 (broth in can part 2)

First full disclosure, I never bought a can of soup, dont ask why but even before I "knew better" I always thought it was easier to make it ... anyway this explain that I am totally facinated by that ingredients list ... so I went back to the store, with my little pad and a pen and yes they look at me funny !!! 
The ingredients I forgot last time : chicken broth (water, chicken stock) !! They are selling chicken broth made with chicken broth !!!! hahahah ... I wonder if that chicken broth was also made with chicken broth ... you know dilution like in homeopatie ... the more you dilute the stronger ... lol ...
but then next to it was that cute plastic box containing cubes : beef stock.
Ingredients : salt, sugar, MSG, maltodextrin, garlic powder, onion powder, palm oil, wheat flavor, spices, citric acid, caramel, paprika, turmeric, corn starch.
You know how labelling works ?? the most comes first, here it is salt !!! I made sure I did not forget the beef or anything closely related to beef ... like beef bones for example. They sell beef stock that does not contain any beef !!! 
On my way home I was thinking it would be funny to reconstruct backward the food that is out there ... like my chickens: once it is in your plate, we could rewind and we would end up pretty much with a chicken, a little crooked but a chicken, now let's start to rewind a beef stock that does not contain beef to start with ... or the chicken of the chicken broth ... Imagine that one little chicken in a thousand gallons of water ... lol ...
The other day I was watching a re-run of Martha and Michael Polland was on, he said something that I liked very much: you can vote 3 times a day with your fork !!!
Another news this week Forbes Magazine named Monsanto company of the year 2009 !!! what are those people thinking ??? Time to vote I guess ...
Hereafter a great article about organic from you dont know where :
Another good reason to come to the market, we may not offer everything you need but at least you know where it comes from ....

See you Saturday .. even if you dont need anything, come by, grab a coffee, look around, chat with your farmers ... we love to chat ...

The ducks playing in the mud this morning ...

Ducks playing in the mud

Posted 1/21/2010 12:17pm by Renee Savary.

Weekly Food Thoughts 01/14/2010

Two days ago I was at a local grocery store, as I was passing the "can section" (you can not miss it : it is basically 2/3 of the store!) I looked at the label of Chicken Broth .... I went to the cashier and got a pen and paper, I would not miss any of the "ingredients" :
Hydrolized soy, Corn protein, Monosodium Glutamate, Chicken fat, Vegetable juice concentrate (humm ... my favorite so far) Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate etc etc etc ... oh let's not forget the Natural Flavor ....
I googled the first ingredient "Hydrolized soy" and here I just copied the first result :
Hydrolyzed Soy Protein -- The extraction process of hydrolysis involves boiling in a vat of acid (e.g., sulfuric acid) and then neutralizing the solution with a caustic soda. The resultant sludge is scraped off the top and allowed to dry. In addition to soy protein it contains free-form excitotoxic amino acids (e.g., MSG) and other potentially harmful chemicals including cancer-causing chemicals in many cases. A newer method of hydrolysis involves the use of bacteria by itself or in addition to the chemical processes described above. There is a possibility that genetically-manipulated bacteria may be used.
The food industry sometimes uses large amount of hydrolyzed proteins as a "taste enhancer" because it contains significant amounts of MSG (monosodium glutamate). This is what is known in the food industry as "Clean Labels" -- adding MSG to food, without having to list it as "MSG" on the label.
In almost all cases, hydrolyzed soy protein contains a significant amount of genetically-manipulated soy. The hydrolyzed protein products currently added to foods should be considered a detriment to one's health.
Recommended Reading: Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills by Neuroscientist Russell Blaylock, M.D.

It is late so I will let you google the other ingredients ...
see you on Saturday ...
Ps: I will go back to the store because on my list of ingredients that I carefully copied I dont chicken !!! I wonder if I missed it or not ...

Morning chat at the water cooler ...

Water Cooler talk

Posted 1/14/2010 9:27pm by Renee Savary.

Weekly Food Thought 01/07/2010

The New York Times run a great article "Safety of beef processing method questionned", you will find the link down the page if you have not read it yet.

Basically ground beef is injected with amonia in order to kill salmonella and co.
Nice ....
The USDA endorsed it and FDA signed off on the use of ammonia, concluding it was safe when used as a processing agent in foods <!!!>
and because it is a processing agent no need to disclose it on the label ...
School lunch official buy it because it shaved 3 cents, yes 3 cents, per lb ... Hi it's your kids, I dont have any still I find it disturbing <!!!>
 As usual the motiv is cheap cheap cheap ...
I am no doctor but honestly last time I was around amonia was when my Mom was doing her spring cleaning and she used it to clean ... the windows !!!
and it brings me to a story that I read some time ago, the largest or second largest cheese producer in France, I dont remember the exact details, announced they would make their signature camember with pasteurized milk instead of raw milk .... that started an uproar from the street to the food critics to people picketing the factory .... and it worked, the consumers succeeded and the factory backed out and kept making their camember with raw milk !!!!
My whole point is how much more amonia do you need to start to react ??? I mean a real reaction, one that will boycott all process food, one that will make certain you know where your food comes from ??? One that will make you start to grow a few "things", raise a couple of chickens ??? I know it is work and time consuming and money and changes but ultimately it is your health ...

Muscovy ducklings arrived this week, 2 days old snuggling in their box with a little heat pad to keep them warm during their overnight trip

Ducklings 2 days old

Ducklings 2 days old


Posted 12/25/2009 7:55am by Renee Savary.

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for 2010

Holidays 2009

Posted 12/15/2009 10:05pm by Renee Savary.

Need some stocking stuffers or want to create a holiday gift basket ??

Twin Oaks Farm preserves are the perfect choice
and we have created a new "winter collection" just for the occasion.

Pear - Calamondin
we sliced Calamondins into our Kieffer's Pears to give it a kick,
add some star anise, fresh vanilla beans from our friend Susan in Madagascar and just enough organic sugar to make you want to eat more of it ....

3 "Agrumes"
to our own Satzuma Mandarins we added Meyer Lemons and Florida Oranges,
some cinnamon sticks and cardamon pods to make you forget it is tart ...

Mango - Orange
when taste of south Florida goes north to meet zesty oranges,
with chuncks of mangos and slices of candied oranges,
no need of spices for this one ...

Or you can pick some of our "Classic"

Mango chutney

All our preserves are made right here at the farm with fresh fruits that we grow or buy from local small farmers and USDA certified organic evaporated cane juice.
NO pectin, NO citric acid, NO ascorbic acid.

We offer free gift wrapping with your purchase of preserves.

To place an order go to our web site :

or you can visit us at the farmer's market :
in Seaside on
December 19 and December 26
or at the Lake Ella's Grower's Market in Tallahassee on
December 23.

Thank you for supporting a better way to produce healthy and wholesome food.

Twin Oaks Farm
USDA Certified Organic
Bonifay FL 32425

Please forward this email to your mailing list and help us spread the word about real food 


Posted 11/19/2009 9:02pm by Renee Savary.

Broth is Beautiful

by Sally Fallon

"Good broth will resurrect the dead," says a South American proverb. Said Escoffier: "Indeed, stock is everything in cooking. Without it, nothing can be done."

A cure-all in traditional households and the magic ingredient in classic gourmet cuisine, stock or broth made from bones of chicken, fish and beef builds strong bones, assuages sore throats, nurtures the sick, puts vigor in the step and sparkle in love life--so say grandmothers, midwives and healers. For chefs, stock is the magic elixir for making soul-warming soups and matchless sauces.

Meat and fish stocks play a role in all traditional cuisines-French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, African, South American, Middle Eastern and Russian. In America, stock went into gravy and soups and stews. That was when most animals were slaughtered locally and nothing went to waste. Bones, hooves, knuckles, carcasses and tough meat went into the stock pot and filled the house with the aroma of love. Today we buy individual filets and boneless chicken breasts, or grab fast food on the run, and stock has disappeared from the American tradition.

Grandmother Knew Best

Science validates what our grandmothers knew. Rich homemade chicken broths help cure colds. Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily-not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons--stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.

Fish stock, according to traditional lore, helps boys grow up into strong men, makes childbirth easy and cures fatigue. "Fish broth will cure anything," is another South American proverb. Broth and soup made with fishheads and carcasses provide iodine and thyroid-strengthening substances.

When broth is cooled, it congeals due to the presence of gelatin. The use of gelatin as a therapeutic agent goes back to the ancient Chinese. Gelatin was probably the first functional food, dating from the invention of the "digestor" by the Frenchman Papin in 1682. Papin's digestor consisted of an apparatus for cooking bones or meat with steam to extract the gelatin. Just as vitamins occupy the center of the stage in nutritional investigations today, so two hundred years ago gelatin held a position in the forefront of food research. Gelatin was universally acclaimed as a most nutritious foodstuff particularly by the French, who were seeking ways to feed their armies and vast numbers of homeless in Paris and other cities. Although gelatin is not a complete protein, containing only the amino acids arginine and glycine in large amounts, it acts as a protein sparer, helping the poor stretch a few morsels of meat into a complete meal. During the siege of Paris, when vegetables and meat were scarce, a doctor named Guerard put his patients on gelatin bouillon with some added fat and they survived in good health.

The French were the leaders in gelatin research, which continued up to the 1950s. Gelatin was found to be useful in the treatment of a long list of diseases including peptic ulcers, tuberculosis, diabetes, muscle diseases, infectious diseases, jaundice and cancer. Babies had fewer digestive problems when gelatin was added to their milk. The American researcher Francis Pottenger pointed out that as gelatin is a hydrophilic colloid, which means that it attracts and holds liquids, it facilitates digestion by attracting digestive juices to food in the gut. Even the epicures recognized that broth-based soup did more than please the taste buds. "Soup is a healthy, light, nourishing food" said Brillant-Savarin, "good for all of humanity; it pleases the stomach, stimulates the appetite and prepares the digestion."

Attention to Detail

Stock or broth begins with bones, some pieces of meat and fat, vegetables and good water. Then all goes in the pot--meat, bones, vegetables and water. The water should be cold, because slow heating helps bring out flavors. Add vinegar to the broth to help extract calcium--remember those egg shells you soaked in vinegar until they turned rubbery.

Heat the broth slowly and once the boil begins, reduce heat to its lowest point, so the broth just barely simmers. Scum will rise to the surface. This is a different kind of colloid, one in which larger molecules--impurities, alkaloids, large proteins called lectins--are distributed through a liquid. One of the basic principles of the culinary art is that this effluvium should be carefully removed with a spoon. Otherwise the broth will be ruined by strange flavors. Besides, the stuff looks terrible. "Always Skim" is the first commandment of good cooks.

Two hours simmering is enough to extract flavors and gelatin from fish broth. Larger animals take longer--all day for broth made from chicken, turkey or duck and overnight for beef broth.

Broth should then be strained. The leavings, picked over, can be used for terrines or tacos or casseroles. Perfectionists will want to chill the broth to remove the fat. Stock will keep several days in the refrigerator or may be frozen in plastic containers. Boiled down it concentrates and becomes a jellylike fumée or demi-glaze that can be reconstituted into a sauce by adding water.

Cutting Corners

Research on gelatin came to an end in the 1950s because the food companies discovered how to induce Maillard reactions and produce meat-like flavors in the laboratory. In a General Foods Company report issued in 1947, chemists predicted that almost all natural flavors would soon be chemically synthesized. And following the Second World War, food companies also discovered monosodium glutamate (MSG), a food ingredient the Japanese had invented in 1908 to enhance food flavors, including meat-like flavors. Humans actually have receptors on the tongue for glutamate. It is the protein in food that the human body recognizes as meat.

Any protein can be hydrolyzed to produce a base containing free glutamic acid or MSG. When the industry learned how to make the flavor of meat in the laboratory, using inexpensive proteins from grains and legumes, the door was opened to a flood of new products including bouillon cubes, dehydrated soup mixes, sauce mixes, TV dinners and condiments with a meaty taste. "Homemade" soup in most restaurants begins with a powdered soup base that comes in a package or can and almost all canned soups and stews contain MSG, often found in ingredients called hydrolyzed porteins. The fast food industry could not exist without MSG and artificial meat flavors to make "secret" sauces and spice mixes that beguile the consumer into eating bland and tasteless food.

Short cuts mean big profits for producers but the consumer is short changed. When homemade stocks were pushed out by cheap substitutes, an important source of minerals disappeared from the American diet. The thickening effects of gelatin could be mimicked with emulsifiers but the health benefits were lost.

Most serious, however, were the problems posed by MSG, problems the industry has worked very hard to conceal from the public. In 1957, scientists found that mice became blind and obese when MSG was administered by feeding tube. In 1969, MSG-induced lesions were found in the hypothalamus region of the brain. Other studies all point in the same direction--MSG is a neurotoxic substance that causes a wide range of reactions, from temporary headaches to permanent brain damage.

Why do consumers react to factory-produced MSG and not to naturally occurring glutamic acid found in food? One theory is that the glutamic acid produced by hydrolysis in factories contains many isomers in the right-handed form, whereas natural glutamic acid in meat and meat broths contains only the left-handed form. L-glutamic acid is a precursor to neurotransmitters, but the synthetic form, d-glutamic acid, may stimulate the nervous system in pathological ways.

A "Brothal" in Every Town

Peasant societies still make broth. It is a necessity in cultures that do not use milk because only stock made from bones and dairy products provides calcium in a form that the body can easily assimilate. It is also a necessity when meat is a luxury item, because gelatin in properly made broth helps the body use protein in an efficient way.

Thus, broth is a vital element in Asian cuisines--from the soothing long-simmered beef broth in Korean soups to the foxy fish broth with which the Japanese begin their day. Genuine Chinese food cannot exist without the stockpot that bubbles perpetually. Bones and scraps are thrown in and mineral-rich stock is removed to moisten stir-frys. Broth-based soups are snack foods from Thailand to Manchuria.

Asian restaurants in the US are likely to take shortcuts and use a powdered base for sweet and sour soup or kung pau chicken but in Japan and China and Korea and Thailand, mom-and-pop businesses make broth in steamy back rooms and sell it as soup in store fronts and on street corners.

What America needs is healthy fast food and the only way to provide this is to put brothals in every town, independently owned brothals that provide the basic ingredient for soups and sauces and stews. And brothals will come when Americans recognize that the food industry has prostituted itself to short cuts and huge profits, shortcuts that cheat consumers of the nutrients they should get in their food and profits that skew the economy towards industrialization in farming and food processing.

Until our diners and carryouts become places that produce real food, Americans can make broth in their own kitchens. It's the easy way to produce meals that are both nutritious and delicious-and to acquire the reputation of an excellent cook.

source :

Posted 10/19/2009 3:03pm by Renee Savary.

Sunday October 25, 2009 from 10 am to 4 pm,
with the help of friends and volunteers,
 we are taking part of the New Leaf Market 2nd Annual Farm Tour of North Florida and South Georgia.

Don't miss the chance to experience the most exciting farm tour in our area. Thirty-three farms are opening their doors and inviting you to come see local farms in action. Families can enjoy tours that include barnyard animals, fresh-baked goods and refreshments and of course, purchase amazingly fresh goods directly from the farm.

I will give a tour of the farm every 2h starting at 10am.

Peter and Susan Horn from Artisan Builders will create a spiral herb garden using recycled materials, compost at different stages and organic herbs.

Jenifer Kuntz from Raw and Juicy will demonstrate a quick and easy raw vegan dessert made with real ingredients like dates, avocado, and cacao. No fillers, ever. You can have your cake and eat it too !!

Arix Zalace will demonstrate how to turn your table scraps and paper waste into valuable fertilizer through worm composting.

Our shop will be open and we will have all our products for purchase.
Make sure to bring a cooler if you want to buy eggs and/or chickens.

We will have lunch available for sale, take some time to enjoy it under the big oak tree.

As you are in the area, our friends at Dragonfly Fields in Defuniak Springs are part of the tour and they will be open Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm.
Their address is 1600 County Hwy 192.

Here is a link to the complete list of farms and directions :

The farm tour is an opportunity for you to learn about local food production, where it comes from, and the farmers who produce it. Eating is one of the most important things we do every day. It has life long implications for our health, our children's health and the health of the planet. Getting to know the people who grow your food is a powerful way to reconnect with food. When you support your local farms, you get the freshest food, build local economy while protecting our precious environmental resources, and keep farms as part of our landscape.

Thank you for forwarding this email to your mailing list and help us spread the word about real food.
The ducks taking a tour of the farm
The ducks taking a guided tour of the farm

Twin Oaks Farm
USDA Certified Organic
Bonifay FL 32425
Thank you for supporting a better way to produce healthy and wholesome food.

Posted 9/17/2009 9:57pm by Renee Savary.

For the last 2 weeks the ducks have decided that it was much more fun to spend the day hanging around my house instead of theirs. Which on one side drive me crazy because ducks are really sloppy but on the other side they are so totally cute and funny ...

Yesterday morning I suddenly heard that really loud cacophony of couacks it made me rush outside find out that the ducks had found the pool (abandonned by me I have to say) ...

Those were happy happy ducks, it was hillarious ... and they knew how to get in and out using the stairs .... 

This morning as soon as I opened their coop they rushed toward the pool for some more fun ....

ducks at the pool 2

ducks at the pool 3

ducks at the pool 

Posted 7/13/2009 9:25pm by Renee Savary.

Twin Oaks Farm
USDA Organic Seal
by Quality Certification Services (QCS)

I am very proud to announce that the farm is now USDA certified organic. Hard work, commitment and the profound belief that this is the only way to farm led us to the certification.

 What does it means? Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones.  Organic food is produced without using conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering (GMO); or ionizing radiation.  Before a product can be labeled ‘organic,’ a Government-approved certifier, in our case Quality Certification Services (QCS), inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. 

This last year has been an incredible adventure and a great learning experience. Raising chickens and ducks has been fun but being able to produce real food, knowing that no corners were cut and tasting the difference has been the most rewarding.

I worked very hard but without the help from the volunteers that came here to work for a day or for a month and to all of you that are buying my products from the eggs to the preserves I would like to say thank you.

 You, and only you, can change the way your food is produced and you are doing so by supporting small farmers like me. 

Thank you very much,