Farm Journal

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"

Blueberry
Peach
Fig
Mandarin
Mango
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 :
http://www.twinoaksfarm.net/store/69

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
www.twinoaksfarm.net

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 : www.westonaprice.org

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 :
http://www.newleafmarket.coop/events/farm_tour/

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
www.twinoaksfarm.net
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 ....to 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,

Renee

Posted 7/13/2009 8:56am by Renee Savary.

The word 'locavore' is officially in the dictionary!

No more excuses ... I hope by now you are all enjoying the cornucopia offered by your local farmer's market, road stand, community supported agriculture and all the like ... If you still buy your produces from the supermarket shame on you !!

No more excuses ... start by eating locally grown once a week ... visit your farmer's market, it is fun to talk to the people that are actually growing the food you will be eating .. just adding taste to it ...

Taste .. ... start to educate your taste buds ... local food don't just taste better it taste different ...

Monday is a good day to start ...

:):)

Morning harvest

First figs of the season

Tags: localvore
Posted 4/27/2009 8:41pm by Renee Savary.

At two weeks old the ducklings started to jump out of the babypool ...

Looking a little anxious once it is done ... scarry world out there ...

outside the pool

so ... I decided it was time to move them out to their pasture hoops ... Weather is in the 80F during the day and I kept a heat lamp for the night ....

First taste of grass

..... and they went crazy for the grass .. it was incredible to watch ... they were running around munching on every bit of weeds ...

great salad bar

Great salad bar ....

looking around

Looking around ...

Group pix

Ducks are much more friendly with each other than chickens, I am amaze how mean the chickens are with each other .... the ducks dont fight or jump on each other for food ...

After a day or two I could not resist and I put a small bowl of water in their pen ... Let me tell you : ducks are aquatic birds ...!!!! ... they loved it ...

Testing the water ....

Testing the water

Getting ready to jump ....

Ready to jump

Zoupah .... so much fun ....

done it ...

They are so funny to watch ... once in the water they kind of shake their body under water and jump out to leave space for the next one ...

Drying up on the boardwalk ... ducks watching ...

on the boardwalk

more later ....

Posted 4/15/2009 11:06am by Renee Savary.

 

Free Range Eggs and More: What You Need to Know

An Easter Lesson in Five Parts

April 10, 2009

By Tabitha Alterman 

You may not think of eggs as a seasonal food, but eggs are in fact a biological product, and as such follows an animal’s life cycle. “But I can get eggs anytime I want,” you say? Well yes, of course you can. That’s thanks to our modern industrial food production and distribution system. We can all enjoy a seemingly unlimited supply of year-round eggs (and strawberries and tomatoes and apples and juicy steaks … you get the idea). But it wasn’t always so. And this year-round supply comes at a price. Lucky for you, there’s no better time than spring to learn about real eggs, because there’s no better time to enjoy them!

1. Eggs are Seasonal
2. Eggs are Colorful
3. Eggs are Healthy
4. Eggs are Legislated
5. Good Eggs Come From Good Farms

Lesson 1: Eggs are Seasonal

When young lady hens are about six months old, they start laying eggs, and continue to do so for about a year. They produce the most eggs during the first couple months of the cycle. You’re more productive in nice weather too, right?

Then, when daylight and temperature decrease in the fall, egg production declines, too. After all, it was the gorgeous sunshine that was stimulating the birds’ egg-laying hormones. Plus, in cold temperatures the ladies divert their egg-laying energy into keeping-warm energy. You stay in, throw on the sweats and curl up with a blanket in the winter, right?

Production continues to decline until most birds take a rest for several weeks in the winter. Now full of new vigor, they begin the cycle all over again.

So springtime is egg time. Maybe that’s why folks started dyeing eggs for Easter — what better way to celebrate an abundance of fresh eggs than with bright party colors?

In large egg factories, however, artificial light and heat stimulate off-season egg production. The birds don’t get their natural rest time, and instead keep on pumpin’ out eggs. You can decide whether you want to eat stressed-out eggs from stressed-out birds. I don’t.

Lesson 2: Eggs are Colorful

Speaking of Easter egg colors, why are some eggs brown and others blue? And what about those white eggs in the grocery store — is that natural?

Yes, it’s natural. The color of eggs is actually determined by the breed of the chicken. Stark white eggs are ubiquitous mainly because commercial chicken breeds make up most of the laying hen stock in the country, and their eggs are white (though some large producers may employ a process that further whitens the shells). Here’s a short list of natural egg colors by breed, and you can find more detailed info on this Handy-Dandy Chicken Chart.

  • Rich dark brown: Barnevelder, Marans, Rhode Island, Welsumer
  • Light brown: Buckeye, Chantecler, Plymouth Rock, Wyandotte
  • Cream: Ancona, Andalusian, Dorking, Dutch
  • White: Appenzeller, Buttercup, Hamburg
  • Blue or blue-green: Ameraucanas, Araucanas

Lesson 3: Eggs are Healthy

Since the late 1950s, eggs have had a bad rap for their potential to cause heart disease. But many new studies are now turning the conventional advice to avoid animal fats and cholesterol on its head. It would seem that dietary fat and cholesterol do not cause heart disease.

Not only are eggs not bad for you, but they are great for you. Eggs are a nutrient-dense food, providing a complex array of both macro- and micro-nutrients. And new research into the differences between eggs from hens raised naturally on pastures rather than in factory farmed cage operations has revealed a host of other nutritional plusses. Pastured eggs are higher in lutein and zeaxanthin; folic acid; vitamins A, B12, D and E; beta carotene; and omega-3 fatty acids. Learn more about the health benefits of eggs in Meet the Real Free-Range Eggs and at Eat Wild.

Lesson 4: Eggs are Legislated

The differences between true pastured operations and factory farms cannot be overstated. Real “free range” or “grass fed” eggs come from birds that run around outside, in sunshine and on fresh grass; have room to move around, flap their wings and get exercise; eat a diverse diet of grasses, weeds, bugs, seeds, etc.; and behave, well, naturally. Some egg producers say their eggs are free range, because labeling regulations simply require that they provide a little door at the end of the facility to give the birds access to the outside, which may or may not feature any grass at all, or enough room for all the birds to wander freely. You can learn more about the differences between industrially produced and naturally produced eggs in the following articles:

Good Eggs Come From Good Farms

Simply knowing that you want eggs from happy hens with plenty of pasture under their feet may not be enough to help you find them in the grocery store, given the complexity of claims on egg cartons these days. (See How to Decode Egg Cartons.) But the best way to be sure you’re getting eggxactly what you want is to talk to the people who produce the eggs. And of course the best way to do that is to buy directly from farmers!

Visit farmers markets or purchase eggs through community supported agriculture (CSA) operations. To locate markets and CSAs near you, check out the food-finding databases featured in How to Find Local Food and Farmers. Not only will you be able to find better tasting, more healthful and more environmentally preferable food this way, but you’ll also connect with your community, circulate food dollars in your local economy and provide farmers with a much more sustainable income than they can get by participating in the industrial food complex.

According to Joel Salatin, who produces real pastured eggs, “When it happens, this synergism between season, farmer and patron is a dance that honors the natural ebb and flow of production. Cyclical menus stimulate an awe and respect for local food connections. And such conscious planning is good for pocketbooks — of both farmer and patron.” Read more about how you can support passionate farmers raising healthy, natural food in Eat in Sync with the Seasons.

And finally, for all your chicken and egg knowledge needs, visit our Chicken and Egg Page.

Did you know that cooks once used eggs differently at different times of the year? For example, when fresh spring grass is abundant and the yolks are plump and bright orange as a result, you might serve up gorgeous frittatas or homemade egg noodles. Then later in the season, you'd concentrate on recipes that benefit from high quality egg whites, such as a lovely meringue pies. Do you have any ideas for making the best use of fresh spring eggs? Post your comments below.

Posted 4/14/2009 9:31pm by Renee Savary.

We got a new addition to our farm ... baby ducks ...

ducks 3 days old

We got them through the mail, like for the baby chicks, but if the baby chicks were cute .. those are cute of cute !!!

They are Khaki Campbell and we are going to raise them for eggs production ...

Ducks 3 days old

They were very clumsy at first and dropped into their waterer when triing to drink ... we ended up with a bunch of wet ducks  ... But quickly they got where the food was and snacking became their favorite with drink or should I say splashing around ...lol ....

When they eat they shake their body like to make the food goes down, it is very funny ...

here they are one week old already ... they got over the dropping into the waterers and are starting to be quite noisy.

Ducks one week old

Watercooler rush ... fresh water is always a hit ....

Ducks one week watercooler

Happy hour ...

ducks one week happy hour

Like for the baby chicks, we keep them in a kidpool for the moment and we are working a lot to keep them somehow dry. With all the splasing it is not easy. Within 2 or 3 weeks we will start to pasture them.

They are getting the same USDA certified organic feed the baby chicks got and they seem to do great. Of course no medication or other scarry stuff ...

To be continued ....

 

Posted 4/9/2009 9:06pm by Renee Savary.

.... from all of us at the farm ....

 

Easter egg