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Join Our CSA!

We are excited to announce that we have launched a CSA for our loyal customers! 

If you sign up by August 15th, you will receive 5% off of the total of your next order, and if you sign up by August 30th, you will be invited to our first fall event in late October/early November!

What is a CSA? CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It is a way to get connected to your local farmers and ranchers, purchase their foods and get to know the rest of the community that supports them as well. Our CSA will also help the farm to further the mission of healthier food production, sustainable farming practices and education of young people on the merits of a career in agriculture. 

How will the CSA work? You become a member and purchase the same meat and egg products you currently do directly through a defined sales process which keeps track of your purchases. Only members will be offered discounts on certain cuts, announced weekly and receive first access to unique and high demand items. Based on the amount you purchase from us annually, you will qualify for a certain status level which offers additional benefits. Each status level will have different benefits that come with them (defined below). When you sign up, you will indicate the level you intend to qualify for which will help us with inventory planning. Ultimately, your actual purchases will determine your membership status, allowing you to increase or decrease as you desire. 

How do I sign up for the CSA?  We have a new e-mail address specifically for members which is wholesomefarms@gmail.com. Email us at this address with the Email subject “CSA Sign Up”. We will need the following information to complete your sign-up: name, address, email, phone number, and desired membership status (from the list below).

 

How will I get my food? We will be providing delivery directly to your house or pick-up at specific locations. Deliveries will be on defined days, and the frequency of delivery will increase as the customer base grows. Delivery is free for all orders of $50.00 or more. The current pickup location is at the Plano farmers market at the Shops at Willow Bend every Saturday from 9-2 but we will also add more pick-up locations based on the number of customers in each location of the metroplex.

How will I order and pay?  All orders should be made through the website menu https://www.countryworkforce.com/meat-menu/ . You will be required to make a down payment at the time of the order which is equivalent to about half of the purchase. Be sure to enter the quantity based on the approximate weight you desire of that cut. Once we process your order and determine the total costs (calculated on the actual weight of the cut, minus discounts and any out of stock items) you will be invoiced via your e-mail address for the balance. You can either pay the invoice using your credit/debit card or pay with cash/check when you get your order. This allows you to pick-up or receive your delivery without the need to wait for processing of your transaction.

 

What if I am not home at the time of delivery? If you are not able to be home at the time of your delivery, you will be asked to place a cooler out on your doorstep. We will place your order in the cooler which will store it for about an hour or more depending on the outside temperature. We can also place a small amount of dry ice in the cooler for a charge of $5.00, which will keep your order frozen for several hours.

 

List of Farm Membership Status Levels and Benefits Offered

Farmstead Friend – $600/year (average $50/month in purchases); An invitation to the annual farm event, access to exclusive discounts on products.

 

Farmstead Partner – $1200/year (average $100/month in purchases); Invited to the annual farm event, access to exclusive discounts on products, access to on farm dairy and produce when available, 10% savings on special chef prepared meal events at the farm, one “Jr farmer” experience (children 12 and under accompanied by a parent)

 

Farmstead Leader – $2400/year (average $200/month in purchases); Invited to the annual farm event, access to exclusive discounts on products, access to on farm dairy and produce when available, invitation to a hamburger/sausage picnic event on the farm, 25% savings on special chef prepared meal events, & 1 “farmer for a day” experience (for those 13 yrs and older) or 2 “Jr. farmer” experiences.

 

Farmstead Ambassador – $6000/year (average $500/month in purchases); Invited to the annual farm event, access to exclusive discounts on products, access to on farm dairy and produce when available, 1 free special chef prepared meal event at the farm & 25% savings on any other meal event, & 1 exclusive “farmers for a day” experience for the whole family.

Definitions of Farm Terms:

 

Annual farm event: We will conduct one event lasting at least 4 hours which would include an educational tour of the farm, games, activities, competitions and a hay or tractor ride. Food and beverages will be available for purchase at a reasonable cost.

 

Farm Dairy: Wholesome Farms and Gardens is developing a herd of mini-dairy cows which when ready to be milked, will provide raw milk for sale on the farm. Our herd will not be A2 casein exclusive, but we are breeding to develop the herd to produce this healthier form of milk and hope to offer it in the future.

 

Farm produce: We grow some fruit, vegetables and herbs on the farm seasonally. Sometimes we have significant supply of certain items which we would offer to our CSA members to purchase. When we have an over-abundance of certain items we would offer these items free, starting with the higher tier members.

 

Special chef prepared meals: This would be an evening event for up to 10 adult couples. Utilizing our meat and as much of our home- grown herbs and vegetable as we can obtain, a trained chef will prepare a meal to be enjoyed outside, overlooking our beautiful view of the rolling hills and trees. Explanation of the health benefits of the dish and tips for how to prepare it will be provided. Estimated cost of the dinner is $100/plate.

 

Hamburger and Sausage picnic: This would be an afternoon scheduled event at the farm, specifically for the smaller group of “Farmstead Leaders” members. We would serve our farm raised ground beef, ground pork and sausage along with chips & salsa and a drink. Some activities and games will also be planned.  A small charge to cover labor expenses and supplies would be determined and collected at the time of the event but the meat would be provided for free.  

 

Jr farmer experience: This is a half-day opportunity for young children 12 and under to experience the farm along with their parent. Children would get an opportunity to “help” with some of the chores, touch an animal or two and get their hands dirty. Participants would be encouraged to bring a box lunch and enjoy a picnic on the farm.

 

Farmer for a day experience: Any person 12 or older would have the opportunity to work along side one of our staff while they do chores. Our goal is to make this an educational experience. Participants would be required to bring their own lunch and be immersed with the team member as he or she completes their work for the day.  

Farmers for the day family experience: Bring the whole family and get an in-depth education on what it is like caring for the animals and working on the farm. Have the opportunity to participate and get your hands dirty when desired. Lunch would be provided for free.

Contact us today at wholesomefarms@gmail.com if you are interested in becoming a member of the CSA!

How Do I Get My Kid to Eat That?

“Hold the rabbit food, please.” This became somewhat of my brother’s mantra at age 9. Anytime a salad was offered, vegetables were dinner’s side, or even if he was asked if he would like lettuce and tomatoes on his burger, he was sure to let it be known that this “rabbit food” was not welcome on his plate. I have observed time and again that my parents were by no means alone in dealing with this health-food-related stubbornness, and I’m sure that if you are a guardian of a child you have experienced a similar dilemma.

Most parents and guardians experience this same issue and most are still asking, “How do I get my kid to eat healthy foods?” An article published by the Journal Law, Medicine, & Ethics explores this question, and suggests several solutions to instilling healthy eating habits from a young age. Here is a summary of their findings:

  1. Introduce new foods several times. This study found that food needs to be “offered to preschool-aged children ten to sixteen times before acceptance occurs.” The more a child sees a new food, the less intimidating it will become.
  2. Force feeding doesn’t work in the long run. It was recorded in this article that children that were encouraged to taste food at introductions became more accepting of these foods later on, while children that were forced to eat certain foods grew stronger in their contempt for that food as they grew older.
  3. Set the example! This was referred to in the article as “parent modeling.” It showed a correlation between young children seeing their parents eat certain foods and the kids themselves consuming those foods.

So there is no ‘easy’ fix to the problem of getting kids to eat healthy, but it can all start with you! Introduce them to new foods often and you might be surprised with what they eat as they get older. A healthy lifestyle can be instilled at a young age, and the parents and guardians of the world can help start that flame. If you would like for your kids to get even closer to healthy foods, look at the sneak peek on this newsletter to see how you can join us at the farm to learn about how healthy food options are made.

REFERENCE: Savage, Jennifer S., Jennifer Orlet Fisher, & Leann L. Birch. Parental Influence on Eating Behavior: Conception to Adolescence. Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics. (2007) Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2531152/

All Traditions Start Somewhere!

A longstanding tradition in the Turczynski family is to create homemade polish sausage for Easter. For generations, the family would prepare a basket full of bread, butter, sausage, and vegetables to bring to the church to be blessed. Each item of food in the basket has a specific symbolism for the holiday, the sausage (called Kielbasa) being the symbol of God’s favor and generosity. On Easter morning, the family would enjoy the contents of the basket together in a time of feasting and fellowship.

The Turczynskis of Wholesome Farms and Garden still carry on this tradition, with an added tradition of their own of using the ground pork that comes directly from the farm to make the sausage with! It’s such a beautiful tradition for the family that they thought to share it with you, the friends of Wholesome Farms, so that you can create your own timeless traditions with your own families!

Here is their family recipe for Polish sausage, but you could also start your tradition by using a recipe of your own! Click the picture of the vintage sausage stuffer to find a link to a modern one you can buy. You can also find dried casings online or ask the butcher at your favorite grocery store or market and they might even be able to give you some fresh.

Turczynzski Family Polish Sausage Recipe

19 lbs of course ground pork 
14 Tbsp salt 
5 Tbsp pepper 
6 tsp marjoram (strong) 
2 tsp garlic 
5-6 cups of water. 
Ingredients are added slowly while mixing. Water amount will vary depending on quality of meat. Pump through casing (natural if available), into long links. Do not smoke the sausage.

Can The USDA Grading System Apply to Grass-Fed Beef?

Who is in better shape: an Olympic gymnast or an Olympic runner? This is a question with no real answer because the two are incomparable. Both types of athletes condition themselves for completely different end-goals – the gymnast will be smaller and denser with muscle while the runner will be longer and leaner. The physical fitness of these two cannot be set side by side and directly compared.

Just the same – you cannot put the finished product of grain-fed cattle next to that of grass-fed cattle and expect to judge it the same. The end goal of grain-fed is more marbling of fat for a juicier cut while grass-fed looks for a leaner meat more rich with nutritional content.

For this reason, it makes little sense to grade these two types of meat on the same scale, particularly from the USDA’s grading system that was created specifically for grain-fed cattle. The top three quality grades (prime, choice and select) are all based on the amount of marbling, color, and maturity, but the main factor that makes the difference between a prime and a choice is higher marbling content.

How can we expect the lean meat of grass-fed cattle to stand up to the same standards of a meat with a completely different end-goal? The USDA standards never even mention any testing for specific nutritional value in their grading decisions, which is the whole purpose of raising grass fed and finished beef.

Just as we cannot compare apples to oranges or gymnasts to runners, neither can we compare the quality of grass-fed beef on the same grading scale as it’s grain-fed counterpart.

For more information on the specific nutritional benefits form grass-fed beef, visit our website and browse through our previous blog posts.

REFERENCE: (2014, June 3). Inspection and Grading of Meat and Poultry: What Are the Differences? Retrieved from https://www.fsis.usda.gov

Remain informed, question everything and buy from individuals taking personal responsibility

     I am about to present some information that may alarm some of you, others may already know this. My purpose is not to frighten but to inform. But first, I think it is important that I explain my bias, so you know where I am coming from. I am not an environmentalist or alarmist, but I believe there is a natural order. Things are good naturally, humans mess that up and Divine intervention can fix anything. I have an inherent mistrust of actions and decision making from government, large organizations and corporations because there are competing priorities and diluted responsibility. I am more trusting of people and small organizations where individual responsibility and virtue is apparent. I don’t believe government should legislate how we eat but I think improvements can and should be made through an informed public and their collective buying power. Our farming practices have become what they are today because farmers have been forced to mass produce as inexpensively as possible to make a living. They use the tools they have available to them, including a variety of chemicals, without which more people would go hungry.   

 

     As my wife and I got older and some of our family members experienced illness, we had a radical awakening to the possibility that a large part of human illness is related to how and what we are eating. It occurred to us that we have entrusted our lives to a system that has the capacity for error or apathy and may not always have our best interest prioritized.  

Therefore, Country Workforce’s and Wholesome Farms & Garden’s mission is to produce delicious clean food for us and our customers and we are devoted to informing ourselves and our readers of healthy food production and consumption practices.

Put simply, we set out to avoid potentially harmful methods or contamination and maximize production and preparation methods that promote healthy nutrition. 

One of the ways we do this is to not use any chemicals on the property. It would be impossible to block the air, wind and ground water but at least we are not increasing the chance of contamination by applying it to our own property. This makes things more difficult at times. We recently researched the FDA’s “Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program” and learned a few things we thought would be of interest to our readers.

  1. The program monitors herbicide and pesticide residue on foods directly consumed by humans and feedstuff consumed by animals which can then indirectly get into our food.
  2. The latest data available is for the year 2015. As of 2015, Glyphosate, the most widely applied chemical in the country was not being monitored. Preliminary testing for residue on soybeans, corn, milk and eggs began in 2016 and they report that none of the samples were in violation. No idea what that means. The data did not say what was considered a violation but did say the EPA has established what is considered “safe”. Expanded monitoring of glyphosate in other foods began in 2018 and reporting of the data is expected to occur in the future.
  3. There were 835 domestic human food samples analyzed with about half of them having some chemical residue on them. In 15 of the 835 foods tested, the FDA implemented corrective action with the producer.
  4. Imported food was also tested and 43% of the samples had some chemical residue detected but almost 10% of the samples were considered to be “violative”. No explanation what that means.   

 An abbreviated list of the most common chemicals found are reported in the chart below with the number of samples that tested positive for the chemical in parentheses.

Pesticides  
Imidacloprid (362) Thiophanate-methyl (352) Boscalid (319)
Chlorpyrifos (310) Acetamiprid (240) Azoxystrobin (231)
Tebuconazole (190) Cypermethrin (176) Fludioxonil (160)
Pyraclostrobin (158) Metalaxyl (154) Bifenthrin (142)
Thiamethoxam (138) Pyrimethanil (136) Chlorantraniliprole (135)
Iprodione (126) Difenoconazole (119) Myclobutanil (116)
Cyprodinil (114) Permethrin (109) Lambda-cyhalothrin (105)
Malathion (99) Thiabendazole (96) Piperonyl butoxide (94)
Dimethoate (93) Propiconazole (93) Clothianidin (92)
Fenhexamid (81) Propamocarb (73) Spinosad (73)
Methoxyfenozide (69) Methamidophos (66) Thiacloprid (66)
Captan (65) Methomyl (64) Buprofezin (61)
Flonicamid (58) Trifloxystrobin (58) Linuron (56)
Dimethomorph (51) Tricyclazole (51) Fenpropathrin (46)
Pyriproxyfen (46) Chlorothalonil (43) Flubendiamide (43)
Acephate (42) Acibenzolar-S-methyl (41) Fenbuconazole (41)
Oxamyl (41) Carbaryl (40) Bifenazate (37)

 

     The most frequent samples to contain residue were fruits/fruit juice and vegetables. In fact, very few fruit samples were found not to have some chemical residue. No results were reported for meat and it appears that meat has not been tested. It is much less likely that chemicals fed to animals will remain in the products from the animal, but it is never-the-less possible.  A small number of the dairy samples in-fact were found to have residue. None of the egg samples tested had measurable levels of chemicals detected, however. The effect of chemicals fed to animals is probably more likely to alter their health and therefore affect the nutritional content of the meat then to be contaminated with residue. Previously we mentioned how feeding beef cows can alter the nutritional content of beef. We also mentioned how cattle have a microbial fermenting gut that is important to how they process the feedstuff. Chemical contamination of the grass and feed they consume has the potential to alter the way their gut functions and therefore subsequently alter the nutritional content of the meat. I have yet to find proof of this in the literature, but this could be the topic of a future newsletter.  

 

 

Questions not answered by the data.

     As I read the data, many questions come to mind. Why are some samples considered violative when there are not clearly defined tolerances being exceeded? What is the standard and who is making the decisions? If close to 50% of all the tested food has measurable amounts of chemical residue and as much as 10% of them were considered violative, how do these contaminated foods affect our health if consumed? Why are some obvious data like the chemical Glyphosate and sampling of domestic oranges not included?  More data is coming out about the potential safety concerns of Glyphosate (click here to learn more). Since our family consumes oranges and orange juice more than any other fruit juice, I did a little more research into that. Like many other crops, oranges are sprayed with chemicals while they are growing and after they are harvested. Chemical residue has been found in oranges and it appears that most of the chemicals can be washed off (Kruve et. al., 2007). Some chemicals, however, were found to penetrate the outer skin and diffuse into the pulp. Therefore, there is no way to wash all chemicals off and we have likely been consuming some of it for years without knowing the consequences.

 

Conclusions and Recommendations.

  1. Despite having a government agency telling us that most of the samples measured are “safe”, I am not fond of the idea of eating any pesticide residue and I prefer not to do that. Since some samples were considered violative, it is kind of like Russian roulette. Therefore, the best practice is to “know where your food is coming from”. Buy where you can ask questions and determine the individuals taking responsibility for the product. We take the same approach with the vendors we use for our animal feed.
  2. Always wash your fruits and vegetables prior to eating them. Recommendations include using clean cool water and a small brush on fruits and vegies with thick skin and soaking vegetables that are more delicate. You can use a 10% solution of white vinegar to soak them and then rinse in pure water. Another source indicated that a 10mg/ml (about 5 tsp/gallon) baking soda soak is also effective. Be careful not to soak berries for too long or they will turn into mush.
  3. Buy your fruits and vegetables locally direct from the farmer and grow your own whenever possible. When you buy locally, ask the farmer where the produce is coming from because some farmers supplement what they grow with other sources. Buy organic when you can, especially fruit juice that can’t be washed! The certified organic program allows the use of some pesticides such as pyrethrin however so knowing the methods used to make your food is most important. If you are accustomed to perfectly symmetrical looking produce with no bug bites or holes, change your thinking. They only way to get that is with chemicals.
  4. There is no way to eliminate all chemical contamination. Most likely, low levels are not harmful, but if there is a juice that you consume a lot of, I would be certain of the source. Alternatively, more diversity is probably better than consuming a lot of one type of juice or brand. Freshly squeezed fruit juices made from organic fruit that have been washed appropriately is probably the safest juice to consume.

 

References.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3297498/

http://www.fda.gov/food/foodborneillnesscontaminants/pesticides/default.htm

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/may/08/weedkiller-tests-monsanto-health-dangers-active-ingredient

http://kirj.ee/public/Chem/2007/issue_3/chem-2007-3-3.pdf

 

The Battle of Grass-finished vs Grain-finished Beef.

I can still here my father tell me “Its time to pen up that steer and start feeding it corn”. It was a technique we learned from our neighboring farmer in Iowa. Corn was in plentiful supply, allowing us to pack on pounds economically. The method created a delicious and juicy steak which is what you will find at any well known, high end steak house in Dallas. Americans crave it because we grew up on it. But why then are more and more people seeking grass-finished beef, direct from the farmer?
An article published in the Nutrition Journal by Daley et al, 2010 did a comprehensive scientific review. I thought I would summarize it here.

1. Grass finished beef has Saturated FA but it has a more desirable proportion of neutral (non-cholesterol raising) FA such as stearic acid. There is also less overall intra-muscular fat, important to those trying to reduce fat intake.
2. Grass-finished beef has higher concentrations of trans vaccenic acid, conjugated linoleic acid and omega 3 FA which provides anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-depression and anti-memory loss properties.
3. Grass-finished beef is higher in Beta-carotene, a precursor to Vit A beneficial to eye, skin, respiratory, urinary, intestinal and immune function. Beta-carotene gives the beef fat a more yellow color.
4. Grass-finished beef is 3x higher in alpha-tocopherol, a form of Vit E. It functions as an anti-oxidant for us but it also helps to protect the meat from oxidation. This is what gives grass-finished beef a brighter red color.
5. Grass-finished beef is higher in Glutathione and superoxide dismutase, both functioning as potent anti-oxidants. They quench free radicals and protect against cellular damage.
6. Finally the paper mentioned that taste panel experiments illustrated how people prefer foods they grow up on. By exposing your children and grand-children to grass-finished beef early, they are more likely to consume grass and pasture finished meats when they are older, contributing to better overall health.

REFERENCE: Daley et al., **A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef.** Nutrition Journal 2010

This is an Offal recipe

Pronounced “awful” the word Offal describes organ meat. There are many nutritional benefits to eating organ meat. It is nutrient dense in Beta-Carotene (Vit A), B-2, B-3, B-6, B-12, CoQ10, iron, copper, phosphorous and selenium. This week we will be completely stocked up on organ meat and will be offering reduced pricing on some cuts. The recipe below looked and sounded so good, I am keeping some tongue just for myself!

The following recipe was adapted from two websites. Visit the website by clicking on the titles below and find other delicious and healthy meal ideas.

[Omnivores Cookbook](https://omnivorescookbook.com/beef-tongue-recipes)

[Allrecipes](https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/236880/slow-cooker-lengua-beef-tongue/)
________________________________________
INGREDIENTS
• 1 beef tongue
• 1/2 big onion, sliced (White or Yellow)
• 5 to 8 cloves of garlic
• 1-2 bay leaves
• Sea salt to taste
________________________________________
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Put beef tongue, onion, garlic and bay leaves in a slow cooker and add enough water to cover the contents. Cook overnight or 8 hours on low. You can also gently boil it on the stovetop for 2 – 3 hours, until the beef tongue turns very tender.
2. When the tongue is cool enough to handle, peel off and discard the rough skin.
3. Cut the tongue in 1/2-inch slices across grain then into 1/2-inch cubes. or shred it with two forks.
4. When ready to serve, heat oil in a large nonstick or cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add tongue pieces and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is browned on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes total. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with fresh chopped cilantro and your favorite hot sauce over corn or flour tortillas. Tortilla’s should be pre-warmed individually in a dry frying pan over medium heat, turning once.