Archive for the ‘Articulture & Sustainability’ Category

And I think my work week is busy.

11 Feb
Here Piggy, Piggy, Piggy.......

Here piggy, piggy, piggy.......

This is one of the reasons I work with farmers.  No matter how much time I put in at the restaurant, I do think of the farmers getting up earlier than I do.  Working out in the fields in all kinds of weather.  Doing what they do, because they love it.   This was a recent article that was in the Rochester Post Bulletin.

For the Kleins, that next level means increasing direct sales to consumers while finding more time to spend with their family.

Ultimately, Lisa said, the goal is “to get this good food in everyday people’s hands.”

While they want to grow their business, they continue to practice and promote sustainable farming. They remain active in Farm Beginnings, an initiative of the Land Stewardship Project that educates farmers about low-cost, sustainable farming methods. The Kleins attended the program early on and are still involved as mentors for participating farmers.

Hidden Stream Farm is by no means the only small farm trying to fill a niche in the market today, but that doesn’t worry Lisa Klein.

“The competition is there because everybody is trying to make a living doing what we’re doing,” she said. The Kleins want those competitors to thrive, not fail.

“We’d like to see more small farms succeed,” Lisa said.

Here is the full article.

Here is their website as well.

Clanceys in Linden Hills carries their pork for retail.  Call them @ 612-926-0222.

Frost! Now what do we do?

01 Dec

So, frost has come, what do we do now with buying food locally?   Hopefully we all have been canning and freezing some vegetables this year.  If not, there are some things.

1. Go to Clancy’s meat market.  (If you eat meat, and subscribe to the idea.)  Then this should be a visit that you make every saturday, or at least once a week.  They have all things local when it comes to meat.  There are a few people there that make what we do so much more enjoyable.

2. Support your local co-ops.  Mississippi Market in St. Paul, The Wedge, Linden Hills, Seward, and Eastside Markets in Minneapolis each have a huge variety of local cheeses, breads, meats, and dairy.  Many of them even have local winter vegetables, greens and other local products like soap.

3. Eat at restaurants that support local farms.  I know, this is a bit self-serving.  But supporting restaurants that support local farms enables those farms to try new things like extending their growing seasons or building greenhouses to try to grow year round.  What works in our market, may trickle down to your market.

4. Visit the Winter Foods Market at Local D’Lish. Meet the vendors of your favorite local foods at the Warehouse District’s all local, family owned grocery.

5. Harrass your local grocer.  Don’t see any local foods represented at your grocery store?  Ask for them.  Public demand is the only way they’ll get in the stores.

Any more tips?  Please, let us know!

I know this time of year is difficult.

29 Nov

But when things like this happen,  We all need to chip in and do what we can.  Just want to make everyone aware of this.

A message from Josh Viertel, the president of Slow Food USA about a farm fire in South Dakota: I just got off the phone with Arie McFarlen who is a member of our Ark of Taste committee.

Arie owns Maveric Heritage Ranch in South Dakota, where she has single-handedly saved several rare breeds of pigs, bringing them back from the brink of extinction.  Tragically, last week, Arie’s barn burned to the ground killing over 40 of her rare breed hogs, sows with babies and her treasured horse.  She lost everything – the feed she’d put away for the winter, the feeding troughs – she doesn’t even have a pitch-fork.  Yet she still has other animals to care for. Since it was an electrical fire and electricity powers her water pump there was no water on the farm to put out the fire.

Arie is devastated, but full of hope. Fortunately she kept duplicate breeding pairs of her rare breeds in multiple locations on the farm, so no breed was lost.  Those remaining animals are keeping her going.  Her neighbors are helping her out as well.  She told me about neighbors using tractors to bring water for her animals until the pump could be restored with temporary power.  She said, “One thing about living in a rural community is that everyone pitches in when something goes wrong.”  To continue her work though she is going to need more help than her neighbors can give. Our shared work makes us all a part of her community and we should pitch in too.

Unfortunately there isn’t a chapter in South Dakota yet, so we’re reaching out to the larger Slow Food community.  A special fund has been set up to help, and you can find more information in the linked press release.  It is important that we take care of each other in times like these.  I encourage you to share this information with your members, and if you can, to give your support.

Donations can be made online at or sent to the “Endangered Hog Foundation” in care of


Maveric Heritage Ranch Co. at:
Endangered Hog Foundation
Maveric Heritage Ranch Co.
47869-242nd St.
Dell Rapids, South Dakota 57022

You can read a letter from Arie below.  We’ve posted her letter on the Slow Food USA blog at

Josh Viertel


Dear Friends of Maveric:

It is with the deepest and most profound grief that I write this message. At 5:30am November 19th, 2008, we awoke to our beautiful 100 year old gambrel barn engulfed in flames. Trapped within the barn was my beloved stallion, several rare Mulefoot hog sows with their litters of piglets, an extremely rare Wessex saddleback boar, a favorite guinea hog boar and all of my dearly loved cats. Although we made attempts to rescue our animals, we were unable to save any from the barn.

We were able to run pigs from their pens near the barn to the pastures and get them away from the heat & flames. Many animals in these pens were burned and have suffered smoke inhalation. Though it is several days after the fire, we are still losing animals we have been nursing and trying to save.

The fire burned with such intensity that it caught a large tree and our new barn on fire as well. The firemen were able to save our new barn, but our gambrel was a complete loss. The fire marshal reported that the fire was burning in excess of 2000 degrees due to the way the metal items in the barn melted and puddled. The fire was apparently caused by a failure in the main power breaker. When the power transformer began to melt, we lost power to the whole farm. This also left us without water, as our well is pumped by electricity.

All of our feed (approximately 1000 bales of alfalfa), our tools, watering troughs & feeders, buckets, piglet pens, fencing supplies, power cords, winter heaters, saddles & horse gear, construction materials for our new barn and so much more were completely destroyed.

We cannot replace our rare breed pigs. They simply do not exist. Our work for nearly ten years has been to preserve and save these breeds of pigs. We cannot begin to express our sense of loss over these animals, not just from our lives, but from all future generations.

This tragedy has made it even more clear to us that these rare breeds are in a very precarious situation. At any moment, a disaster, accident or disease could take yet another species from this planet.

Our friends have already begun to rally around us and offer support. We have received many calls and emails from the folks at Slow Food USA, Animal Welfare Institute, American Livestock Breeds Conservancy and Dakota Rural Action. Because of this outpouring of encouragement, we feel compelled to persevere and insure that future generations are able to raise and enjoy these breeds, and that biodiversity amongst pigs is preserved.

The Endangered Hog Foundation has been established to help us rebuild and to help continue work with endangered pig breeds. We fully intend to carry on with our DNA research, breeding program, establishing new breeders and promotion of endangered pigs. We have already begun the process of cleaning up the debris and will begin construction of a facility to continue working with our pigs as soon as spring arrives in South Dakota. Temporary measures to provide for the pigs during the upcoming winter are underway.

We need your help. Our immediate needs are for physical labor to help with clean up and building temporary shelter to winter the pigs. Additionally, we need to find a source for alfalfa hay square bales, to obtain portable shelters for the pigs due to farrow in early 2009, hog equipment and hand tools.

Donations can be sent to the “Endangered Hog Foundation” in care of Maveric Heritage Ranch Co. at the address below or through the link on our web page at

Thank you to everyone who has offered support. I cannot describe how it feels to stand in a place of profound grief and intense gratitude at the same time. We will carry on through the love and support of our friends.

Endangered Hog Foundation
Maveric Heritage Ranch Co.
47869-242nd St.
Dell Rapids, South Dakota 57022

Arie McFarlen, PhD
Maveric Heritage Ranch Co.
(605) 428-5994

Drive way moments

29 Oct

You know who you are, you are those people that listen to the radio and wait and wonder how the story will end.  This to me is part of the weekend.  All the stories and things going on.  I was driving to work last Saturday, and heard the show Weekend America on NPR.

Ok, my name is Scott, I listen to NPR.  (“Hi, Scott, says the group of people that listen as well, feeling like we are part of a support group for others.)

I heard this story and this next paragraph just made me stop in my tracks.  Just listen and think.  We are in a time when decisions are being made for the next 2-4-8 years.  It really does surprise me that no one on a national level is talking food cost in this country.  No one is talking food distribution and safety on a national level.   Here is the quote that made me think.

“You know, I’m not your conventional Iowa farmer, in that I don’t have a combine, and we don’t have 800 acres of corn and soybeans. We are raising food the way your grandparents raised food. And so we don’t feed any hormones or antibiotics. We just let pigs be pigs and cows be cows. We’ll take our hogs one at a time to the locker and to the processor, and then our customer will come and pick it up. Regulations for the small-town processors are becoming more and more difficult, because it’s all geared towards bigger. So that leaves the smaller things behind, whether it’s main street stores, or small family farms.”

Here is the link for the rest of the story.

Remember the Farm bill that we heard about sporatically last year?  What happened?  How is it being applied?  Some people say that it does not affect me.  I think you should reconsider your statement.  Food in this country in every way affects everyone.  Simple as that.  Here is a link to a group that gives us some more information on where and how things are evolving witht he farm bill.

So, again, I know a pretty heavy thing to think about right now, we do have other things to address, but we have to plan ahead people.

Question:  Does the Farm bill affect you and how?

Road trip and some thoughts.

22 Oct
County road 60 just outside of wabasha
County road 60 just outside of Wabasha

This is what it looks like where I come from in south eastern Minnesota.  This is what a working farm looks like.  Now, yes, there are a lot of “working farms,” but what is your definition of working farm?  Dixie and Ralph, the owners of this farm, got to a point that they almost had to let it go, but as a family they decided they wanted to keep it.  So, their kids (all adults now with their own farms near by) all chip in and help so they can keep the farm up and running.   That is a working family farm to me.

But this is not the where most of our food comes from.  Most “working farms” are large scale productions where volume is prized over everything else.

So, what do you think?

  • What is your definition of a farm?
  • Is this what certain companies with very large ad campaigns mean when they say local?
  • How do you deifne local family farm?