Friday, January 29, 2010

An Exciting Week for Mainstream Media

This has been one of those week's full of pinch yourself moments. I try to stay on top of major events--but since the beginning of the year I have been consumed in accounting work, farm meetings, and the process of ordering seeds--luckily others have clued to me into to some rather exciting developments regarding healthy eating. First off I totally missed Michael Pollan on the Oprah show--that is HUGE! In fact until midnight tonight Oprah has a special deal with amazon in which you can order Food Inc for just $9.99. (Thank you Yvonne)

Then during the State of the Union Address the President announces that Michelle Obama will be leading a campaign against obesity. Michelle has already done lots to promote the importance of eating local fruits and vegetables. Finally one of my favorite celebrity chefs--Jamie Oliver is launching a new Food Revolution Campaign, promoting health eating in America's school. This campaign includes a new show that will air on ABC in March. Click here to watch the trailer . A big thank you to Mary Bigham for cluing me into this new television show.

In honor of all this healthy eating and Jamie Oliver's campaign--I want to remind you that you Inverbrook Farm can be your source of healthy, humanely raised local meats (and vegetables when in season) and provide you with some appropriate recipes. This rather frigged weather is perfect for cooking up a pastured chicken or perhaps making some chilly with Dr. Elkins delicious bully beef. Both items along with eggs and angus burger are available in the distribution shed. You are welcome to contact me if you need directions or further instructions for purchasing these products.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Mighty Micro Green!

This next month or two represents one of the leanest times of year as far as local produce is concerned. The storage vegetables begin to dwindle, and it is still too early for fresh greens from the field. Enter the mighty microgreen--the perfect saviour for the winter produce doldrums. Full of taste, color and nutrients--these amazing little greens pack a powerful punch--click here to read about their nutrition value.

If you do not have impetus to grow these hard to find tiny greens yourself (or if you do click here to learn how to grow at home or check out this pdf from Johnny's Selected Seeds)--no worries, this is just one of the many wonderful products you can order through the Lancaster Farm Fresh buying club. You too can get your microgreens delivered to the farm every Tuesday-- in fact Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative farmer Sam Fisher has plans to grow microgreens year round.

Microgreens are fantastic on sandwiches, as a garnish on meats and fish, in tuna or salmon salads, and the list goes on. My new favorite winter weather remedy is a salad of microgreens, avocado, and an Inverbrook Farm hard boiled egg. Click here for a microgreen salad recipe Microgreens with Curry Vinaigrette .

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pastured Meats Sale-Tuesday, Jan. 26th

I have posted on the virtues of pastured meats serval times last year, so I was extremely excited to see the article on grass fed beef that appeared in Time Magazine last week. Along with all kinds of health benefits, eating grass fed beef can actually lower your carbon footprint.

Next Tuesday, January the 26th I will be making available frozen chickens, frozen turkeys, and eggs from Inverbrook, along with angusburger and bully beef from Buck Run Farm. The sale will run from 1-5PM down in the kitchen of the last stone house before you hit the barn (the former home of my grandmother who recently passed away). If you are coming by the farm to pick up your Lancaster Farm Fresh Buying Club order, I will also have the freezer portion of the refrigerator stocked with a few chickens and angusburger--if you would like turkey or bully beef, please e-mail me and I can also leave those items up in the shed for your.

For more information about Dr. Elkins' angus beef products read below:

Dr. Elkins’ Beef is made from Angus cattle that spend their entire lives grazing pastures at Buck Run Farm in East Fallowfield, PA. They are not fed grain and are handled as humanely as possible. We do not use artificialgrowth stimulants (hormones or antibiotics).

Angusburger: from fattened young steers or heifers. We include the muscle cuts that normally are used for steaks and roasts. We grind the beef in order to mix the various cuts and make uniform 1lb packages, but it’s NOT hamburger (a word that often is used for mixtures of cheap cuts and fatty trimmings that may be chemically treated with antiseptics like ammonia and/or spiked with artificial flavors).

Bullyburger: It’s Angusburger made from retired ,older bulls, It’s best used for meat sauces, pizza, chili, Stroganoff and recipes where a strong beef flavor is desired.

Custom BEEF (frozen) : Whole Filets (tenderloin), mixed cut quarters and sides are available only By special order from the farm. Price varies. Please visit and/or call Carolyn 610-384-6576
Our beef is served at these fine restaurants:
The Whip, 1383 N.Chatham rd.(rte 841), Coatesville. PA
Sovana Bistro, 696 n.Unionville rd. (rte 82), Kennett Square, PA
Talula’s Table, 102 w.State St. Kennett Square, PA
The Orchard, 503 Orchard Ave.,Kennett Square, PA

Beef from grass fed animals is a source of poly- unsaturated, long chain fatty acids fats such as omega-3 and conjugated linoleic, which may have health benefits, and which are generally missing from animals finished on grain . We confirmed presence of these good fats in our beef in an independent University lab. Because of the presence of these fats, we do not strive to produce ultra lean beef. Moderate fat content (8-14%) gives a nice juicy burger.

Here’s how our beef is made:
Our herd of Black Angus has grazed our pastures for over 25 years converting grass, that humans can’t eat, into meat that is delicious and nutritious. The energy that drives this comes from the sunlight that enables photosynthesis of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the grass, which the cattle then use to make meat for you. Our cattle are bred and selected to accomplish this task on their grass-based diet without grain. Not all can.

Minerals and decaying organic matter in the soil are taken up by microbes and earthworms that digest and transmit these nutrients to the roots of the pasture grasses. This hard-working subterranean kitchen staff is fed in turn with droppings from the cattle munching above. It’s one big recycling operation. No synthetic fertilizer, no pesticides, no hormones, no antibiotics are needed, so we don’t buy them. The sun and rain are free, and oh yes, most of the labor to harvest the grass is done by the cattle, and they don’t use petroleum for this. But lunch is never free. We do buy extra minerals that the cattle need , and some tiny wasps that feed on embryo flies that pester our cattle in summer, and the tax man. Thanks for your patronage, which helps us manage our pastures and cattle for the benefit of the environment and all of us.

Buck Run Farm 3575 Doe Run Church rd.,E.Fallowfield, PA
Bill and Helen Elkins -610-486-0789
Chris Grover-farm mgr.- 484-354-6943
Carolyn Stoltzfus -beef sales- 610-384-6576
Visitors welcome, but please call ahead

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hope and Inspiration for a Successful 2010 Season

2009 was a rough year in general, it seemed to be full of struggle and loss for many. It was an incredibly tough growing season--the cool wet weather brought an endless supply of weeds and disease. It was particularly devastating for tomatoes and tomato growers. For the first time in my ten year farming history, the infamous Late Blight (the same source of the historic Irish potato famine) came to Pennsylvania early enough to really effect the production of the summer staple that is the tomato. You can read and watch the thoughts of two of Pennsylvania's reknowed tomato growers--the Tomato Tim's--Tim Stark of Eckerton Hill Farm and Tim Mountz of Happy Cat--by clicking the links.

The great thing about farming, is that with every new growing season you can start again-- a clean slate so to speak--renewal, rebirth, and the constant hope that the forces of nature will be on your side. My wish for 2010 is to have a slightly warmer, less rain-filled growing season, I acknowledge the fact that my success each year is due largely to factors I cannot control. To refill the wells of inspiration, commitment and enthusiasm necessary to face whatever challenges the growing season may bring, many the of sustainable farmers of Pennsylvania make an annual pilgrimage to State College, PA in early February for the PASA Farming for the Future Conference. For more information about this amazing conference click here. If you or anyone you know has any interest in farming or some part of the sustainable food system, I strongly recommend attending this amazing and life changing conference. To help defray costs the Chester County Economic Development Council is offering a 75% cost share for conference registration fee. Click here for more details. The conference is made up of amazing speakers, workshops, and meals, including key note speaker and journalist Lisa Hamilton, whose photos appear in this posting. The other conference keynote is visionary architect Michael Reynolds. Download PASA conference PDF for all the complete workshop and speaker schedule.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Passing of our Matriarch

My grandmother, Ida Kerr Lofting, more commonly known as Nana, passed away peacefully on December 31st--the blue moon--a fitting earthly departure for such an amazing women. She was active and lucid right up until the end, no small feat for a woman of 94 years of age. To read about her memorial service, including pictures and words from her family click here.

Nana was extremely supportive of the farming operation-- besides allowing me to farm her property, she was my first (volunteer) worker--picking beans like no one else could. When bending down to harvest became a little too much for her (this happened around age 90), she continued her support with egg boxing, chicken delivery, and allowing poultry sales in her kitchen. She was a fan of the Kennett Farmers Market, sticky buns and sweet corn were some of her favorite Market items.

From her I inherit my love of acidic tomatoes, roma beans, and swiss chard. I learned how to french beans and score corn for freezing, how to prepare rhubarb so it tastes just right on warm buttered toast, and how there is nothing better than her strawberry freezer jam. Her simple but delicious cooking gave me an early and concrete taste for the virtues of farm fresh ingredients. I will miss her greatly, but know that her spirit lives on at Inverbrook. She will be with me forever, strolling around the garden with the dogs. I can here her voice in this poem from Wendell Berry's latest book of poetry Leavings.


I tremble with gratitude
for my children and their children
who take pleasure in one another.

In our dinners together, the dead
enter and pass among us
in living love and in memory.

And so the young are taught.