Food for Thoughts

Weekly Food for Thoughts

Food for Thoughts
I watched a great documentary this week : Our Daily Bread (Netflix).
No narration, No interviews, just an unblinking camera watching how our food is produced and in case you would not have guessed : SCARRY. I think part of a Real Food Challenge would be watching this kind of movie like once a week and as you get off the "food like substence" then you can go to once every 2 weeks ... One thing that really bother me watching those movies is how the animals are treated, I have never been an animal advocate and most of the time find people border line silly with their pets ... but then how can you watch animals being mistreated so badly and not feeling bad about it ?? It is discusting ...

Then I read "Meat & Poultry", The business journal for meat and poultry processors (big Boys stuff), I don't really know where I should start my review : McStrategies or how McDonald's is striving to become a dining destination (told you scarry) or the review of the Thermix System from Armmo Inox who produces over 3,000 tons of product in a day !!! or (my favorite) Adding Value : Brines and Marinades infuse value and desirable attributes in protein products. !!!
Some good news : the manufacturers are paying close attention to eating and dining trends and more of them are making marinated products without phosphates and allergens !!! meaning it was done not that long ago ?? and the trends are toward shorter and cleaner labels without  chemical sounding additives !!! Then the part I did not really understood : Natural meat flavors containing collagen bind water but do not present an allergen issue as long as you use the same species [i.e., pork flavor in marinated pork] ???!! Am I hallucinating or what ???  So not only you are buying meat from an animal that has been raised in filthy conditions, eating a vaste array of antibiotics, hormones, steroids and the list go on, then slaughtered in stressfull inhumane ways now let's inject some really creepy stuff called natural flavors and sell it for more because it is "natural"!!!.
Yup this is what food manufacturers called following the trends !!!
I am so happy my farm is an old fashioned establishment.

Thank you and see you All bright and early on Saturday.  

Alright a few days of nice weather and spring is popping ...

First sign of Spring 2010


Food for Thoughts 3/4/2010
I found a great web site ; In February they launched a 28 days Real Food Challenge where participants (900 of them) learned how to feed themselves and their families with real food. I found the idea brilliant !!
The site gives new comers to Real Food a lots of tips and recipes .. you need to check it out : just brilliant !!!
I have been eating Real Food exclusively for 2 years now and on top for the last year I have been trying to eat only locally produced food like vegetables or fruits or meat, let tell you I am so looking for spring ... bad ... There is really little diversity of vegetables and fruits in the winter, ggggeee never thought  I would eat so much kales, chards, roots even cabbagges, that I don't like to start, at this point I need something red or yellow !!! .. but it is feasible and actually quite easy, I found out that a simple Indian vegatarian cook book can help make same vegetables taste new ...
Hopefully, and I have serious doubt about it, Spring is around the corner and soon the market will have a cornucopia of colors and this will be a good time to start your Real Food Challenge.
Another good reason to be serious about Real Food is the last FDA food recall of a common flavor enhancer that could be contaminated with salmonella bacteria. The product, is called hydrolyzed vegetable protein or HVP. This crap is in everything !!! Your Real Food Challenge is just coming easier because if you stop buying processed food containing HVP and HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) you will probably cut 80 % of the process food out there !!!
A few more "interesting" points : The FDA conducted an investigation at the facility after a customore reported finding Salmonella Tennessee in one production lot of HVP to the FDA in September 2009 ... and we are what ?? March ?? did I miss the news for a few months ???
FDA is advising industry that the recalled bulk HVP product should be destroyed or reconditioned according to FDA- approved procedures ... I would love to know what those are !!! and then many of the products with the flavor enhancer contain a "kill step" designed to destroy salmonella at this point I have to laugh, I mean come on  "kill step" ... whatever ...
In the meantime and to go with your Real Food Challenge if you need/want/feel like doing some great outdoor exercising I need help, come for the day (Sunday through Thursday) great workout and you will have a first taste of Real Food and you will help my farm and help me catch up.

I just need some image of Spring ...

Bradford pears in the spring

Weekly food thought 01/01/2001

In the 1920, some 60 breeds of chickens thrived on American farms, today ONE hybrid, the Cornish Cross, supply nearly every supermarket.
In the 1940, confinement-rearing became the dominant form of production for the poultry industry and Cornish Cross the bird of choice. Since then the conventional poultry industry has genetically modified them for rapid growth, efficient feed conversion, large breasts, limited feathering (for ease of plucking) and other traits considered desirable for rearing 15,000 birds in filthy conditions in a wharehouse.
Because of all those genetic modifications, they reach a market weight of 5lb in 6 weeks !!!!
Those poor birds grow so fast that their body can not follow : they die of sudden heart faillure, they are prone to joint and ligament problems, their bones are simply not strong enough to support their weight, their immune system is compromised leaving them susceptible to disease (therefor the use of large amount of antibiotics), they are also not good at foraging (they can not really stand on their legs !!), their meat has poor texture and the taste .. well you know : Inexistant.

The result is a Frankenchick, I have seen them and it is not pretty and you dont want to know what they are fed with !!!!
But those are the chickens you find at the grocery store even under the organic label ... and it is cheap  .....

Our broilers are derived from an american and european old heritage breed that was developped in the 60's to meet the high standard of the french "label rouge". We raise them in 12 weeks on pasture.

When I was growing up in Switzerland, chickens was the Sunday roast, my Mom had to order it from the butcher, in advance, that in turn was working with a local farmer that would process what was "ordered". It was not squared in shape, we did not pick it up from a window and it was not cheap BUT I still remember them !!! and the crunchy skin and the legs are still my favorite parts.
The chicken was not processed in an "inspected facility", it was not washed with chlorine, it was not irradiated, it was not added "natural preservative", salmonella sounded like a fancy italian ice cream and you know what ???
 I survived !!!!!!!!!!!

Happy New Year and thank you for coming along.

Weekly food thoughts 12/17/2009

I read label of everything I buy !!! and I am still amazed each time I do it ... At this point I dont buy anything that has more than one line in the ingredients whick makes my life easier : no more processed food !!!

Aspartame, monosodium glutamate and others (see below). These neurotoxic chemical additives directly harm nerve cells, over-exciting them to the point of cell death, according to Dr. Russell Blaylock. They're found in diet soda, canned soup, salad dressing, breakfast sausage and even many manufactured vegetarian foods. They're used to add flavor to over-processed, boring foods that have had the life cooked out of them.
Food companies now "hide" MSG in safe-sounding ingredients like yeast extract or torula yeast. Many so-called "healthy" or vegetarian foods also contain the very same "scarry" ingredients as conventional groceries ... once again read the label !!!! "Natural" in big letters in front of the package does not mean much ...
While MSG is sometimes listed directly on the label, it is more frequently hidden in other ingredients, such as yeast extract, autolyzed vegetable protein, or hydrolyzed vegetable protein. All three of these ingredients contain monosodium glutamate, and yet they are designed to mislead consumers by avoiding mentioning MSG directly on the label ...
A great movie to watch for those using aspartame is "Sweet misery" (instant download at Netflix) and for those of you that do not use aspartame : watch it ... just to make sure you will never use it !!!

Now on chickens and arsenic ...
Most people don't know that the chicken they eat is laced with arsenic. Why do your chicken contain arsenic ?? because in the United States, most major poultry producers add an arsenic compound known as roxarsone to their chicken feed. Inorganic arsenic is a Class A carcinogen that has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and declines in brain function. Recent scientific findings show that most Americans are routinely exposed to between three and 11 times the Environmental Protection Agency's recommended safety limit. The poultry industry has been using the feed additive roxarsone -- purportedly to fight parasites and increase growth in chickens -- since the FDA approved it in 1944. Turns out that the arsenic additive promotes the growth of blood vessels in chicken, which makes the meat appear pinker and more attractive in its plastic wrap at the grocery store, but does little else !!!

This is discusting ... next week I will tell you all about cornish X ... or what I call the epithomie of Frankenfood ...

ok it is Friday and I am awfully late and it is pourring rain again ... going to tell the girls if they dont start to lay substential eggs I am going to add some arsenic to their feed ... see if fear works ...

see you tomorrow at the market ...

The 3 Agrumes we are using in our preserve, from top to bottom :
Satzuma Mandarines, Meyer Lemon and Oranges ...
3 Agrume, top to bottom : Satzuma Mandarines, Meyer Lemon, Oranges


Weekly food thoughts 12/12/09

Eating local is easy as long as you are willing to give it a try and the challenge is not finding the produces but what to do with them !!!!
When you buy your produces at the farmer's market or at a farm stand or directly at the farm you first realise that tomatoes or zucchini do not grow all year around !!! even in our beautifull Florida !!! and I found out that a lot of green "stuff" is growing, it started last year with collard green : never heard or tasted them before and got really suspicious when each time I asked how to cook them it involved some form of lard!! After some trial and error I found a way to stew them in a curry sauce ... totally delicious ...
Last Saturday, at the market, I got 2 different greens from Drangonfly Fields, same thing I would have never thought of buying them if it was not that they grow locally and were freshly picked.
At first I thought eating local was limiting my choice as I was use to the grocery store spread then I found out that the offering is changing all the time, the grocery store hasd the same whole lot all year around ...
and you never know going to the market what you will be bringing home.
Now you are making all that effort to buy local, one last point : make sure it is local, know your farmer, know what is growing in your area and when and if you really dont find it locally and really need it make sure it is grown in this country. 
Great story from Lori at about eating local


Weekly food thoughts 12/05/09

One of my good friend spent the long Thanksgiving week end at the farm. It was her 3rd Thanksgiving at the farm and the first one where all the food was local/organic. At b'feast I was bragging about the real butter I was finally able to buy, at the market, from a local diary (Ocheesee Creamery), butter from happy cow that actually eat grass and enjoy the sunshine and she kept on complaining how hard it was to spread and how much easier and convenient the "butter" she buys is !!!
Yes I put "butter" in bracket because for me anything one molecule away from plastic deserves brackets.
It occurs to me that she did not realize that easy spreadable butter is not a natural occuring, in order to get that-always-ongoing-what-ever-temp-is-your-fridge-soft "butter" manufacturers put the oil through a process called partial hydrogenation. To make margarine (and the likes), first the oil is extracted under high temperature and pressure, and the remaining fraction of oil is removed with hexane solvents (yummy so far??). Then it goes through a whole process that removes all the goods and leaves all the bads, a process that include steam cleaning ! emulsifiers ! bleach ! artificial flavors ! synthetic vitamins and as they are not allowed to add synthetic colors (at this point God knows why ??), they add some other natural coloring and advertising promotes this garbage food as healthy ...
then we talked about price, $7 for 1 lb. I can only relate to the pseudo european butter that I was buying before  for $3something for 8oz. Hopefully that butter was between the horror story above and the Ocheesee'one so price wise not that far from each other.
The jar lasted one month, used every morning by 2 people on 4 to 6 pieces of bread with preserves or 15c per person to start your day healthy ...
Little note ... it is hard to spread so you dont use much of it !!!
I will figure out the price of the slice of bread, made at the farm, and the spoon of preserve by next week ...
in the meantime let's get real about the real price of cheap unhealthy food ....

Our Bradford pears in their best autumn colors
Bradford pears autumn

Weekly food thoughts 11/28/2009

One of my client at the market told me that if you are "allergic" to chicken eggs proteins duck eggs are a good alternative as their proteins are not the same ... just when I was starting to think that an egg was an egg !!! So I did some research and I could not find confirmation of it but I found a study about the nutrition of a duck eggs versus a chicken eggs ... look at it : pretty amazing !!!

Nutritional Comparaison of eggs

















































































"Properties and Food Uses of Ducks Eggs

Rhodes, Adams, Bennett, Feeney


Chicken broth is a cure all :
Help cure colds, builds strong bones, assuages sore throats ... Stock countains 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 glocosamine, 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 universally acclaimed as a most nutritious foodstuff,
that was before the food industrie started to cut corner, in a General Foods Co report issued in 1947 !!chemists perdicted that almost all natural flavors would  soon be chemically synthesized ... that bring me to an excellent article in this week NewYorker about "The secret world of the flavor factory" and hereafter I am quoting a small part of the article :
"At first, most flavors were natural. ... chemists began to find ways to create these molecules entirely in the laboratory. .... Today, vanilla is the world's most popular flavor, and thousands of tons of vanillin are synthesized from industrial petrochemicals and waste from the production of wood pulp. There is no molecular distinction between synthesized vanillin or vanillin extracted from vanilla beans, but the way the molecule is made determines whether it will be advertised as "natural or artificial". .... The flavor industry has long resisted the public disclosure of its formulas, and so monitoring the safety of the chemiclas in them is complex, After extended negotiations, the FDA and the industry agreed to maintain a list of compounds "generally recognized as safe", the use of which companies are not obligated to reveal. "

and the story goes on and the consumer once again has no clue what is in the food because somewhere somehow the food industry does not have to disclose it !!! pretty amazing ...
for the full article : The Taste makers by Raffi Khatchadourian, NewYorker 11/23/2009.

for the full article on the chicken broth:

This week I watched "The Botany of Desire" really nice and interesting, available on PBS or Netflix.

Remember unless to know the farmer who raise/grow the food you are eating, you have no idea how it was raised/grown.

First frost of the season this morning .... pretty but bbrrrr ... First frost 2009

Weekly food thoughts 11/19/2009

The "vegetarian diet only" on a carton of eggs (or a chicken) only means that the hens were not fed crushed bones from a dead animal. Let me tell you there is nothing less of a vegetarian than a chicken !!!! My hens spend their entire day scratching for bugs and yes bugs are meat and they eat a lot of it !!!! it also means that this chicken has never been outside ... scratching the concrete floor of their warehouse definitively makes your chicken a vegetarian.

Free range only means that they were raised on the floor (instead of cages) does not mean they were ever outside. The USDA definition of free range only request that somewhere along the wall of the "building" there is a door !!!!

I just posted on our web site a great article about chicken broth. If you buy our chicken make sure to make some with the carcasse.

If you have not watch Food Inc. yet, it is now available on Netflix.

Remember unless to know the farmer who raise/grow the food you are eating, you have no idea how it was raised/grown.

We have started to pick our mandarines, one of my favorite fruit to pick, it just smell so good ....

Satzuma mandarines