Follow David on Google+
 
Picture
My breakfast consists of pasture raised chicken eggs cooked in lard or just four or five raw eggs.

Both of which have been touted as foods which will give you a heart attack and raise your cholesterol by many mainstream medical and nutritional experts.

The last time I had blood work done Doc told me my cholesterol was a tiny bit high.

When I asked if she was using the numbers that were pushed lower by statin drug companies just  a few weeks before as the "ideal numbers" she admitted she was using the latest numbers.

If we went by the old numbers my cholesterol was fine.

Rather than go through the entire history of how we have been tricked into believing that lard, butter, and other animal fats are going to kill you next week, I would rather point you in the right direction to see what I have learned over the years and then ask you to consider the factor I see missing from most research.

How was the animal raised and what was it fed?


I'll get to this in a few but first some links to different articles on lard. Obviously you can Google this on your own but I included a few I found informative or even entertaining.

If you are already convinced lard an other animal fats are good for you, scroll down below the video and resume reading!

Here we go:

Startled by news about the dangers of trans fats, writer Pete Wells happily contemplates the return of good old-fashioned lard.

Lard is a healthy substitution for imitation fats.

Lard & schmaltz. The prime example of fats we all thought were bad for us, lard and schmaltz (rendered chicken, pork, or goose fat) may have been wrongly demonized for years. The main fat in lard—oleic acid—is a monounsaturated fat linked to decreased risk of depression, says Drew Ramsey, MD, coauthor of The Happiness Diet (Rodale, 2010). Those same monounsaturated fats, which make up 45 percent of the fat in lard, are responsible for lowering LDL levels while leaving HDL ("good") cholesterol levels alone. Lard and schmaltz also tolerate high cooking temperatures—they're often recommended for frying—and have long shelf lives.

Dr Mercola - Why I believe over half your diet should be made up of this.




Is there Good and Bad Lard?

I think the answer is yes! One glaringly obvious missing piece of data in all the praise of lard and animal fats is how was the animal raised? What was it fed?

If you were able to find lard at your grocery store it is either polluted with preservatives or mixed with hydrogenated fats...neither of which you want in your lard.

If it passes the test of no additives or mixtures then we must ask the question: What was the animals diet?

There has been a good bit of research done on beef to show that cows fed a strictly grain diet have fats that are less healthy than 100% grass fed beef. [Source]

I can find no studies on pastured pork v.s. strictly grain fed but it stands to reason the same would be true. Our hogs are constantly consuming grass and legumes which should make for better fat.

Another thing to consider is has the pig been on sub therapeutic antibiotics? Ask your local grocer these questions and watch the glazed look come over their eyes.

If you think about it, many toxins accumulate in fat according to experts. If we purposely feed toxins to our swine where does some of it end up? Think antibiotics, chemical wormers, etc.

On the other hand, if we feed our hogs good things it should be present in the fat. Think grass, minerals, omega 3's. I'm only thinking aloud here as I'm no expert on this. Draw your own conclusions.

Maybe sometime soon I'll tell you how I make my own lard from the fat trimmings from our pigs.

Until next time...
Spring Hill Farms




 
 
Picture
Farmers markets are exploding on the scene across the United States. That means more vendors looking for ways to leverage the "eat local" movement even if their meats aren't local or even from a small farm.

A quick look at a listing of farmers markets in my state shows several meat processing plants listed as vendors. I'm not trying to infer that they shouldn't be allowed to participate in farmers markets. I am saying, as with any vendor you purchase from, you should engage in a conversation about where the animals are raised and how they are raised.

For instance the statement of "all our meats are locally raised" could simply mean somewhere in the state.

Some good questions to ask any meat vendor:

Do you raise the livestock yourself?

If not, do you know the farmer who did?

Do you purchase animals from sale barns to slaughter?

How confident are you that your meats are hormone and antibiotic free?

For beef - Is this 100% grass fed and finished or has it been fed grain?


These are the type of questions any farmer who raises livestock will be happy to answer. In fact most welcome these types of questions because it shows that you are looking for a certain style of animal husbandry and methods of production.

My point in all this is not to build a case about dishonest vendors.

My point is don't assume that because you are standing at farmers market every product there is locally raised by a small farmer. Ask questions.

The demand for locally farm raised beef, pork, and chicken as well as other meats such as lamb, goat, rabbits etc is on the rise. That means meat vendors of every stripe are looking for ways to gain access to farmers markets.

Some markets will allow them to sell their products and some won't.

Make sure you know what you're getting.


Until next time...
Spring Hill Farms












 
 
Picture
Farmers Markets are increasingly offering products that are not locally grown. I am seeing more and more produce that is the exact same stuff you can buy at your local grocery store.

I don't offer my products at farmers markets but I do make my rounds to them occasionally and talk to many farmers who sell at them.

The number one complaint I'm hearing is the amount of vendors who buy produce from wholesale houses or produce auctions and then sell it at the market.

In fairness, not all of them are saying it's local but many rely on the fact that people assume it is local or homegrown because they are buying at a farmers market.

If you are buying tomatoes or cantaloupe at a farmers market around these parts in mid May....it ain't local by any stretch of the imagination.

This is a classic case of markets need vendors and vendors need an outlet.

My message isn't these types of products should not be sold at a farmers market. That is up to the folks who run the market. I am all for a free enterprise system.

However, I think full disclosure is a good place to start.

But by far the best way to get what you pay for is still "Buyer beware"

Ask vendors if they grew the product themselves. Sometimes they buy from other farmers which in that case it may be local farm raised product.

But if it came from a wholesale house many times you can get the same conventionally grown stuff at your local supermarket.

Until next time...

 

 
 
Picture
The more distant your relationship with the person who produces your food, the more potential for corruption.

Dr Mercola and the Cornucopia Institute have been pointing out the mass corruption in the organic movement.

As with anything that becomes popular or trendy, the potential is recognized and seized by large corporations who are looking to profit from it.

I am including a video from Mark Kastel, co-director of the Cornucopia Institute that details some of the unbelievable antics taking place in the organized organic movement.

If you're short on time here are some of the high lights:

  1. Those charged with reviewing and approving additives and chemicals for use in organic foods have in large part been affiliated with the same corporate agribusinesses and/or food producers lobbying for their use.
  2. There are currently almost 300 non-organic and synthetic compounds approved for use in organic foods.
  3. "Independent" industry experts, who have been advising the USDA's National Organic Standards Board on scientific matters, also appear to have been largely supportive of synthetics in organics
  4. The Cornucopia Institute are now pursuing a pressure campaign aimed at the organic program at the USDA, and at the National Organics Standards Board, to persuade them to review the manipulation and misinformation provided at the November 2011 NOSB meeting, which led to the approval of synthetic, genetically mutated DHA and ARA oils—ingredients that have been "confidently linked" to health problems in infants.

What I want to point out here is my original statement of the more distant your relationship with the person who produces your food, the more potential for corruption.

While I applaud and support the Cornucopia Institute for their efforts to rally the American people to hold those accountable who oversee organic standards in the U.S., I also believe the best route to food transparency is to have a relationship with the folks who produce your food.

That's why I have an open door policy at my farm. Folks can come visit and judge for themselves if they want to do business with me.

Complete transparency to your customers is a safeguard against corruption.

How could I say for example 'we use no chemical herbicides on our farm' and at the same time be hosing down weeds with weed killer? If I know customers are coming and no door is locked, no cabinet out of reach it will deter me from such actions.

There is a myriad of temptations to cheat even on the small farm. Farmers need accountability. I need accountability. I need to know that my customers have the right to inspect what I'm doing and why I'm doing it.

I gave them that right.

If you're paying with your hard earned dollars you deserve that right.

No amount of regulations or regulators is ever going to replace a relationship between two people.

Here at Spring Hill Farms we think honesty, integrity, transparency, and accountability should be some of the foundational principles you build your farm on.

Until next time…




 
 
Picture
Hundreds of thousands of honey bees have been found dead in Delaware, Fairfield, Hardin, Miami, Pickaway and Ross counties in April. Jim North believes an insecticide called neonicotinoids is responsible for the huge amount of dead bees.

The Columbus Dispatch reported on this which you can read here.

The report states the bulk of the bees died over a four day period which is when a major amount of corn was planted in Ohio. The insecticide is used on seed corn.

Of course Bayer CropScience who produces much of the neonicotinoids believes it could be the weather. Hmm... let's see the weather which we can nothing about or a poison designed to kill insects. I'll leave the conclusion up to you but you probably have picked up on my opinion.

The poison has been linked to bee deaths in other states and banned in other countries but hey maybe Ohio is different?

Perhaps it's this Ohio weather that wipes out an already vulnerable bee population.

For me it looks like the begining of yet another round of propaganda by the major chemical companies to continue to not only endanger the bee population, but continue to endanger our lives as well by the indiscriminate use of poisons to prop up an already unsustainable system of agriculture.

Let's hope The Ohio Department of Agriculture does it job and puts an end to the needless poisoning of honey bees.

Until next time...



 
 
Picture
I have long been a proponent of voicing your opinion to government any chance you get. But for this issue there is a fast track to change.

Vote with your dollars.

According to a USA Today article, three plants producing pink slime have permanently shut down. While I feel sorry for the folks who lost their source of income, I rejoice that the demand for pink slime has fallen like a stone since it first went public a few weeks ago.

This is a prime example of what can be done to change the way food is grown, processed, labeled etc.

It's very simple: Companies don't produce what they can't sell.

I found it typical that the company producing pink slime has adopted the stance that they have got an unfair rap and people are misinformed about pink slime.

My opinion -Folks were informed of what is going on and said "no thanks" with their dollars.

This could happen to any company, good or bad.

The key to stopping it from happening- Transparency. Let people see behind the curtain and judge for themselves if they want to do business with you.

We saw behind the pink slime curtain and opted out.

You can bet other companies have been watching nervously as the pink slime story has unfolded wondering if they are next.

You will see more dollars spent on public relations as big agriculture and food companies work to convince the public they are on "our side."

Stop out and see your local farmers. Buy as much of your food from them as you can. 

Until next time....

Spring Hill Farms

PS - Help force the issue on labeling genetically modified organisms in our foods. How? Go to the Institute for Responsible Technology and learn how you can vote with your dollars.



 






 
 
Picture
My children are almost never sick. They usually end up at the Doctor's office because they hurt themselves doing something they probably shouldn't have been doing.

My wife and I have taught them the value of cleanliness and good personal hygiene but we don't rush them to the house every time they get their hands dirty on the farm.

I have embraced the same philosophy on immunity with my family as I do the stock on the farm.

Work to keep your immune system strong and when it encounters something foreign it can "learn from it" and recognize it in the future.

Keeping your immune system healthy is a subject all in itself but here's my top three ways to accomplish such a lofty goal.

1) Reduce your sugar/fructose intake to less than 25 grams per day.

2) Eat off the farm - unprocessed pure foods - good bacteria.

3) Get enough sleep and manage stress levels.

If you work on these three alone you'll be surprised at how much better you feel and how much sickness you can avoid.

I read an article that talked about Amish kids being less likely to have allergies than mainstream kids. See the article here:

Amish farm kids remarkably immune to allergies: study

I can believe it and although the study they referred to said it needed more research to see just what was the cause I figure it's pretty easy if you look at it simplistically.

Amish kids are working on the farm at a young age. They are eating a lot of farm food and not nearly as much processed foods. Which could mean they are not eating as many GMO foods.  

Many of them are drinking raw milk as soon they are weaned from mom.

Contrast that with a child in front of T.V. or game system with no where to go but out in a yard with maybe a dog and it gets tough to test your immune system as thoroughly as someone on a farm introduced to all the little microbes (good and bad) that can be found there.

I kinda changed the old saying to...My kids are as healthy as hog!

Get your kids out and let them get dirty this summer. Take them to visit a farm, go camping, hiking, something. It'll do your immune system some good and your soul too!

Until next time....



 



 
 
Picture
Glue Your Steak Together!
Just when you thought that the gigantic meat packers were "walking the straight and narrow" over the pink slime controversy, now we discover your steak just might be glued together out of several different pieces of meat.

California senator Ted W. Lieu has called for an investigation into the practice of using meat glue to patch pieces of meat together to make one piece. Officially, it’s known as transglutaminase, an enzyme in powder form that brings protein closer together – permanently.

What will be next?

For me the take away from all these "new discoveries" is it seems the foundational belief of big meat packers and Big Ag is this:

How can we do this cheaper first and foremost then we'll look at safety, quality, and all the other parameters.

I am all for reducing costs and making your business profitable. But let me know the ways you accomplish that and let me make the decision as to whether I want to do business with you.

No I'm not talking about supplying your customers with a business plan.

I'm talking about good old fashioned honesty and hey here's an idea; How about putting on the label what you've done to product.

I don't know about you but If I picked up a steak and said it contained transglutaminase you can bet I'd be Googling up what the heck it was and why is it in my steak!

You know it won't say on the label "we glued this piece of meat together."

Don't worry though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deems it to be safe – “generally.”

We don't glue anything together here at Spring Hill Farms. Heck we use baler twine more than anything around here to make several pieces of something into one. You would notice that on your steak...just sayin'

Until next time....









 
 
Picture
The Large Black and Tamworth pig crossing is still underway here at Spring Hill Farms.

We had our first litters in March and so far have been happy with the results.

They have been healthy and exhibited strong immunity which is the first test here on this farm.

Sick weak pigs are usually a sign of something amiss on your farm but it can also be the result of pigs catching anything that comes along. Which points to a weak immune system.

These litters have been strong and growing from day one. They were quick to get up and get moving after birth and have been strong eaters.

The one difference it seems to me over a purebred Tamworth thus far, is they take a bit longer to show an interest in mom's feed. 

These pigs didn't seem to get after the sow's feed when we fed her ground feed as fast as Tam's do. Maybe a good sign I don't know.

Picture
Large Black cross pigs
The carcass is leaning more to the Large Black side but I'm thinking they will get some width as they get closer to finishing.

We will be monitoring these pigs very closely to see just how well they grow as compared to our Tamworth pigs on pasture.

In theory they should do as well or better due to the heterosis or hybrid vigor.

If you're not familiar with the Large Black here's an excerpt from the okistate website: "In the early part of this century the Large Black were used for the production of pork in outdoor operations. Its coat color makes it tolerant of many sun born illnesses and its hardiness and grazing ability make it an efficient meat producer. Large Blacks are also known for their mothering ability, milk capacity and prolificacy."

These pigs are listed as critically endangered on ALBC website.

We will be offering F-1 cross gilts in the Spring of 2013. These will be excellent pigs to inject some heritage breed traits as well as strong grazing genetics Spring Hill is known for into your pigs.

Stay tuned!