Frequently Asked Questions – And Answers!

Some Frequently Asked Questions About Wingham Farms Products  – and Some Answers

General:

Q:  Why is everything so expensive?

A:  We are creating a nutritionally different product; we’re not competing with meat, milk and eggs raised in warehouses on concentrates.  Our farm products are artisanal – animals raised on a small scale in the way they are meant to live, with choices that are gentle on the environment, humane to the animals, respectful of the true cost of the work of the humans, and resulting in healthy and delicious meat, milk, and eggs.  All our animals eat what they are born to eat – the different meats don’t taste the same because what each animal gets to eat is different.  In short:  the process and product both are better quality.  Being open to customers and education-focused makes us more expensive also.  We take the time to inform our customers about our practices and their food, welcome them on the farm with their families, and educate children about where food comes from (such as through school group visits and a summer camp that comes to the farm).  You can’t get free-range quality, with personal connection, within 20 miles of Portland, with the same prices as cattle raised in feed-lots in Brazil or Australia.  You do get what you pay for!

https://wtop.com/food-restaurant/2018/01/you-are-what-you-eat-especially-if-youre-a-pig/slide/1/

 

Q: Yes, but this much more?!   At Costco I can get a rotisserie chicken for $4.99 and a pork tenderloin for 99 cents/lb on sale.

Answer #1:  Have you thought about all the hidden costs of that rotisserie chicken or tenderloin?  Costco’s advertising budget absorbs the “lost leader” expenses of those meats ($30-$40 million/year!) which are sold below the price of the raw chicken – advertising expenses that consumers pay back in the overpriced beer and potato chips and ice cream they also pick up in the store on their way through.  Your taxes pay the government agricultural subsidies for big farmers (that we don’t receive) and the costs of the environmental degradation of factory farming.  What are the costs to the animals and workers when they aren’t treated respectfully or paid appropriately?  What are the potential health consequences of eating food that may be dangerous (containing growth-manipulating hormones, antibiotics, additives, salmonella….)?  Antibiotic resistance is just one example that we are all paying for already.  Consumers need to choose what they want to pay for – recognizing that it isn’t choice between expensive v. cheap, but a choice between explicit and hidden costs.

http://money.com/money/3901655/costco-rotisserie-chickens-hot-dogs/

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190206-what-the-meat-paradox-reveals-about-moral-decision-making

https://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/industrial-agriculture/hidden-costs-of-industrial.html

Answer #2:  If price is an important driver for you, ask us about the cuts of meat that are good value for the money (ex:  cross-cut shank, pot roast, liver), and some recommended recipes to cook those cuts.  Ask if we have some “scruffy eggs” – which you’ll have to do a bit of scrubbing to get clean and so are $2/carton cheaper.  We can do milk herd shares as small as a quart/week, which costs only a $3.75/week agistment.  If you qualify for SNAP benefits, make sure you are taking advantage of the match provided at many farmer’s markets – including the ones we participate in – to make the bottom line better.  We are on a budget too – we get it!

https://oregonhunger.org/farmers-markets-snap/

Q:  Where is your farm?  Are you actually local? 

A: Yes – our farm is in the hamlet of Manning, just off Hwy 26 at milepost marker 47, so we are your neighbors, and we raise all our food on our 140 acres of land.  Without even asking our permission or coming on the property, you can see for yourself how our cows and goats live by walking along the Banks-Vernonia linear trail just NW of the Manning Trailhead (Manning to Buxton segment) – it goes right through the middle of our farm!

https://www.oregonhikers.org/field_guide/Banks-Vernonia_Traverse_Hike

 

Q:  Is your farm organic? 

A: No, but we choose to operate in many of the ways that organic farmers do:  we don’t use pesticides, herbicides, or dangerous chemicals.  We avoid GMO feed and antibiotics.  We work to support pollinators and to rotate the use of our pastures.  We are also collaborating with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Tualatin Valley Soil and Water Conservation District, renting them 30 acres of our farm creek beds for native tree and brush planting, endeavoring to reduce soil erosion and increase the shade over the creeks, lowering water temperatures and hopefully encouraging fish stocks.

https://greentumble.com/pros-and-cons-of-organic-farming/

https://www.swcd.net/

 

Q:  Why haven’t you become organic?

A:  Gaining the “organic” designation takes a lot of time and effort, and involves accepting certain complicated limitations that interfere with other values we have.  For example, we would have to use organic bedding for all of our animals, although the only reliable supplies would have to be shipped from far away – causing more pollution from trucking.  We prefer to buy local straw.  Another example:  organic farmers cannot use any chemical fertilizers (even ones that are merely the chemical version of something available in nature, like nitrate), but they CAN use “natural” materials like chicken feather meal, even though it is created from the feathers of chickens from conventional farms.  Organic farmers are allowed to use “natural’ pesticides, like pyrethrum (pyrethrin – a chrysanthemum plant extract), even though those pesticides can kill beneficial insects too, like honey bees, mason bees and braconid wasps – not a choice for us!  Since “organic” is a complicated label anyway, we prefer to stay free of excess regulation and maintain our own power of choice.  We welcome our customers visiting the farm, asking their questions, and learning for themselves what our practices are, to decide if they approve of them.

https://www.citylab.com/life/2014/08/for-many-small-farmers-being-certified-organic-isnt-worth-the-trouble/375968/

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/science-environment-47293667/insects-decline-what-do-insects-actually-do

http://www.ladybug.uconn.edu/FactSheets/insecticides–low-toxicity-options.php#

 

Q:  Are you Animal Welfare Approved (AWA)?

A:  We use an AWA-approved butcher, Mt. Angel Meats.  Our farm also used to be AWA certified, but we let our designation lapse a few years ago, because we discovered that the certification is designed for large-scale operations and doesn’t really take into account how small farms work.  For example, we weren’t allowed to buy cows or calves from an (organic) dairy operation and sell the meat or milk as AWA, because the farm of origin wasn’t AWA.  That was the rule even if we brought in a day-old calf and sold it after two years of being on our farm!  We were being required to provide the amount of space in our chicken houses that fully-indoor birds need, even though all our chickens do in their houses is sleep and lay eggs – they are free-roaming outside all day.  So because of the regulatory demands and limits like these, we gave up AWA.  But we value the broader goals of the organization and hope that someday it will develop standards that work better for farms like ours.  We learned a lot from going through the initial certification process and try to keep those understandings and principles in the forefront as we care for our animals.

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/1/30/18197688/organic-cage-free-wild-caught-certified-humane

https://agreenerworld.org/certifications/animal-welfare-approved/standards/

 

Q:  Are your products hormone and antibiotic free?

A:  Yes! We strongly oppose the routine use of hormones or antibiotics in animals just to raise the volume of meat production and allow farmers to continue with inhumane practices.  We rarely use antibiotics – only occasionally to treat a serious illness in a cow or goat – but in cases like that we do not sell the milk or the meat until after the date that the antibiotic is out of the animal’s system.

https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/07-11-2017-stop-using-antibiotics-in-healthy-animals-to-prevent-the-spread-of-antibiotic-resistance

https://www.nhs.uk/news/medication/antibiotic-use-in-farm-animals-threatens-human-health/

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/25/opinion/sunday/meat-antibiotics-organic-farming.html

https://upstream.mj.unc.edu/2015/10/do-hormones-in-meat-affect-human-health/

 

Q:  (Why) Are you promoting the Paleo/Keto diet?

A:  although we sell eggs and meat, we aren’t particularly interested in promoting the Paleo diet (at least as it is popularly treated), because it isn’t really a close parallel of what ancient people ate (and we’re not sure if ancient people were healthier!).  Most paleolithic humans actually didn’t eat much meat – bugs now, yes! – but typically gathered plant food.   Paleo people occasionally snagged a deer, but that meat was nothing like grocery store ground beef, because that deer ate everything on the forest floor it could find and its meat would have been rich in so many subtle nutrients.  Our goat meat may be about the closest thing we can offer that’s like the meat of the ancient world, because the goats also browse heavily, eating all kinds of plant foods.  But then if you want to be authentic in paleolithic eating, you need to commit to eating every part of the goat – all the organs, bones, fat….  We actually encourage people to get a vegetable share or two (like we get from our friends at Stoneboat Farms – although we recognize that prehistoric veggies were pretty different too), buy some nuts and seasonal fruits in the market, and cook plenty of legumes and whole grains too.  We would like our animal proteins to be supplements to a diverse diet, not its heart.

http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20190130-why-its-so-expensive-to-eat-with-a-food-allergy

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2115127-ancient-leftovers-show-the-real-paleo-diet-was-a-veggie-feast/

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/people-and-culture/food/the-plate/2014/04/22/prehistoric-dining-the-real-paleo-diet/

https://www.history.com/news/going-paleo-what-prehistoric-man-actually-ate

 

Q: Do people really play cricket on your farm?

A:   Yep!  We rent a pasture to a local cricket team, and other teams in the area come to play almost every weekend in the cricket season (April-October).  You can watch from the Banks-Vernonia Trail. Here’s a story and video about the team done by OPB – you’ll see some of our steers in the background in a few shots!

https://www.opb.org/artsandlife/article/cricket-oregon-league-farm-field-banks/

 

Dairy:

Q: Why can’t I just buy a bottle of your milk today?

A: Because the laws about raw milk in Oregon are very strict.  If we sold by the bottle, we’d only be able to have a handful of customers and everyone would have to come to the farm to pick up their milk themselves.  Our solution to serve more consumers has been to construct a herd-share system, where our customers own a share of the herd, contribute monthly to its upkeep, and get to have a portion of the milk the herd produces.  The price of our monthly agistment (the boarding fee for our care of your animal) is comparable with the price of buying raw milk over the counter in Washington or California.

https://realrawmilkfacts.com/raw-milk-regulations/state/oregon

https://www.oregonlive.com/health/2014/02/raw_milk_dairy_farmer_in_orego.html

http://www.winghamfarms.com/home/milk/

 

Q:  Does raw milk make good cheese? Yogurt?

A:  it makes excellent cheese of all lots of different kinds – mozzarella, cream cheese, cheddar, camembert, for example.  Ask us for our recommended recipes if you’ve never made raw milk cheese – it’s different in the details (and delicious!)  It can make lovely yogurt also, but the process is a bit tricky (especially to make it thick enough) because of all the beneficial bacteria that are already present, so make sure you consult some recipes before you start.  Kefir is also easy to make with our milk.

https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/yogurt/raw-milk-yogurt/

https://traditionalcookingschool.com/food-preparation/raw-milk-yogurt-instant-pot/

 

Q:  Is the cow’s milk A2 – I’ve heard that A2 milk is more healthy or digestible.

A:  The odds are likely that our herd is A2, because our cows are all pure-bread, old-line Jerseys, and the A2 beta casein protein predominates in Jerseys, especially old-line ones.  However, we can’t say for sure, because we’ve never had the herd tested.  Testing doesn’t seem worth our effort and money, since the there is no reliable scientific research supporting the theory of A2 milk’s benefits; the small-sample research that appears to show a link was sponsored by a New Zealand milk company that owns the patent for the genetic test, so it is not independent research.  Daniel has a PhD in chemistry and is happy to explain more about his concerns with the A2 fad if you are curious, but start with the links below:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A2_milk

http://cdrf.org/2017/02/09/a2-milk-facts

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/01/a-tale-of-two-milks/514397/

http://theconversation.com/science-or-snake-oil-is-a2-milk-better-for-you-than-regular-cows-milk-62486

https://www.medicaldaily.com/a2-milk-has-become-trendy-it-actually-better-420954

 

Q:  Is your cows’ milk 100% grass fed?  Is it healthier?

A:  Our cows are fully pastured, because is evidence that pastured cows give healthier milk.  Our cows go outdoors every day, 365 days/year. In contrast, organic milk standards only require 120 days on pasture, and even that can be waived in special circumstances, as it was in the California drought.  We don’t say 100% grass fed because our cows are given a small ration of rolled barley every day when they come in for milking (mostly to make them want to be in the stanchion – it’s their treat!)  Our cows are also pastured, rather than just “grass fed”, as they have access to a range of plants; they love to eat things like tree leaves, apples, and blackberry sprouts.  In the coldest part of the winter and the driest part of the summer they are fed alfalfa and orchard grass/timothy hay.  But we never feed them corn or soybeans.

https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/Dairy%20-%20Guidelines.pdf

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/california-organic-farming-variance_n_5009113

http://www.eatwild.com/articles/superhealthy.html

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-milk-grass-fed-cows/is-milk-from-grass-fed-cows-more-heart-healthy-idUSTRE64R5GY20100528

 

Q;  What about the goats’ milk – is it grass fed too?

A:  It doesn’t really make sense to describe goats’ milk as “grass fed” because goats are browsers and like to eat lots of things they can reach above the ground level – tree leaves, flower heads, thistle tops, blackberry leaves, the tops of grass stems, seed pods…. Our goats are pastured and eat whatever they want in their pasture J  They are fed hay in the seasons when the pastures aren’t growing, and receive a small serving of a legume/grain mix as a reward and supplement when they come in for milking. They are not fed corn or soybeans.

https://littleseedfarm.com/blogs/news/will-goats-eat-anything

Q:  Is raw milk healthier?  Will it cure X condition/illness?  Can I drink it even if I’m allergic to grocery-story milk?

A:  The evidence for the health benefits of raw milk are inconclusive – scientists need to do more research!  We aren’t doctors and we can’t suggest what is healthy for you.  Our customers have a wide range of interesting experiences and stories about why they choose raw milk and how they feel as consumers of it, but again – people differ.  This is a decision you have to make for yourself and your family, based on your own research and medical consultations.  But we will say that it is important to assess the cleanliness of a raw-milk dairy farm’s practices.  We welcome potential herd-share customers asking us about how we handle our milking, milk storage, testing and the health of our cows; we recommend that you come for a farm tour before you decide to become a herd-share partner.

Here are examples of the range of perspectives on raw milk:

https://www.cdc.gov/features/rawmilk/index.html

https://www.realmilk.com/

https://chriskresser.com/raw-milk-reality-is-raw-milk-dangerous/

https://chriskresser.com/raw-milk-reality-benefits-of-raw-milk/

https://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/Fulltext/2015/07000/Raw_Milk_Consumption__Risks_and_Benefits.10.aspx

https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/09/is-raw-milk-safe-e-coli/

 

Q:  Is raw milk full of probiotics?

A:  Undoubtedly, because it is raw.  But research hasn’t clarified if our bodies benefit from eating probiotic-rich food.  Health-conscious people definitely should keep reading the evolving research on probiotics. The more we learn about our gut health, the more we learn that we need beneficial bacteria, lots of fiber (including the fiber in milk, interestingly!), and challenges to our immune system – by NOT being so clean!  Some studies suggest that children who live on farms have fewer allergies. We joke that some of our customers become herd-share partners just so that they can bring their kids to the farm to pet and kiss the animals every now and then!

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-probiotics-really-work/

https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2017/05/keeping-your-gut-check

https://academic.oup.com/femsre/article/37/5/664/541439

https://gizmodo.com/kids-raised-on-farms-are-healthier-in-two-important-way-1825655317

https://www.pnas.org/content/115/20/5259

 

Q:  What does goat milk taste like?

A:  It tastes sweet and rich, with a lighter mouth feel than cow milk, because the fat is finer than in cow’s milk, and naturally homogenized.  It should not smell or taste distinctly “goaty” – that happens only with poor handling of the milk.  The goat milk from the grocery store won’t give you any sense of what our goat milk tastes like.  Goats’ milk also looks different than Jersey cow milk, because goats can process beta-carotene, unlike Jerseys, so their milk (and cheese) is white, not cream colored.

https://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/general/differences-cow-milk-goat-milk/

 

Q:  Isn’t all that cream bad for my arteries and cholesterol?

A:  We only milk once a day, so the fat content of the milk is higher than grocery story milk – as much as twice the fat (we estimate 6-8%) vs. “whole” milk sold in a grocery story (which has been centrifuged and reconstituted to be precisely 3.5% fat). Is dairy fat bad for you?  Should you feel guilty?  Probably not – the studies that historically led to negative interpretations of dairy fat are recently under challenge.  New studies suggest that dairy fat isn’t dangerous and may even have benefits.  For example, bit of fat in our diets also helps us to feel full and resist empty calories like sugar.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/10/03/whole-milk-is-actually-3-5-milk-whats-up-with-that/?utm_term=.bcd9376fec2e

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/full-fat-dairy-might-not-be-as-unhealthy-as-feared-but-dont-load-up-on-cheese-yet/2018/09/04/882fcf6a-ac59-11e8-a8d7-0f63ab8b1370_story.html?utm_term=.929752bd18ee

https://health.usnews.com/wellness/food/articles/2016-10-28/5-reasons-to-start-eating-full-fat-dairy-according-to-science

 

Q:  Can we get both goat and cow milk?

A:  Yes!  You will have to complete two dairy contracts but that’s the only hassle.

 

Beef:

Q:  Why do you call your beef “pastured”?  Is it “grass fed”?  “grass finished”?

A:  Yes, our beef is all of the above.  We struggle with terminology because food labels are so abused these days; we want our customers to understand that our Jersey beef cattle live outside on pasture 365 days/year for about 2 years before they are butchered.  They are fed supplemental local hay in the coldest part of winter and the driest part of summer, but NO corn, soy, or other grains.  They are taken straight to the butcher from the pasture right at the end of the peak grass season in fall and spring, so they are fully finished on grass.  “Grass fed” labeling in the grocery store does not mean “Grass finished”, and six weeks in a conventional feedlot before butchering will destroy all the benefits of being previously on grass.  “Grass-fed” grocery store labels also may not mean that a cow has even seen a pasture, as cows that live in a feedlot overseas and get fed cut grass that is shipped to them (or hay, or silage) year round can be labeled grass-fed, while the meat can even be labeled “Product of USA” through various loopholes.  Read your labels and learn about the conditions in the region where the meat was raised.  For example, a steer raised in the drought in Argentina in 2018 wasn’t getting much “grass”, even if it was out on the range.  Obviously that’s quite a different living situation than our cows experience!

https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicolerasul/2018/08/29/why-your-product-of-u-s-a-steak-may-not-actually-be-from-a-cow-raised-on-american-soil/#3ca30391bdd2

https://www.drovers.com/article/argentinas-herd-decline-1-million-cattle-due-drought

 

Q:  Is grass-fed beef healthier? 

A:  There’s decent evidence that grass-fed beef is healthier for both the animal and the humans, but also some challenges to that evidence.  One problem with the research is labeling (see the question above) – the results depend on what kind of beef is actually being tested.  The beef that seems healthiest matches our animals’ profile – actually grass finished, fully on pasture, at little risk of e-coli infection because the cows are never in a concentrated feed-lot (CAFO).

https://www.americangrassfedbeef.com/grass-fed-natural-beef.asp

https://academic.oup.com/jas/article-abstract/86/7/1678/4789231?redirectedFrom=fulltext

https://www.health.com/nutrition/grass-fed-beef-tips

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0309174013004944

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/meat/

 

Q:  Don’t you feel guilty selling beef, which releases methane into the environment and is wasteful of farm resources?

A:  We all should eat meat more sparingly and eat more vegetables, legumes, and grains directly.  But there’s a big difference between the environmental consequences of cows raised in concentrated feeding (CAFO) facilities, with their large slurry pits, and those of a cow raised in a small herd on pasture.   On abundant pasture the cow manure and methane don’t accumulate like they do in a feedlot.  Our land is largely low, clay-soil creek valley that isn’t suitable for cereal crop growing anyway, so the cows, goats, pigs and poultry together fill a niche on the grassland.  We recognize that beef isn’t an especially efficient food crop, and encourage our customers to eat smaller amounts of beef less frequently, and choose the most environmental and healthy beef they can find.  We also strongly encourage customers to eat all parts of the animal, not just the well-known cuts, reducing the environmental footprint.  We can offer recipes for eating anything we sell!

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/meat/interviews/pollan.html

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/meat/industrial/consolidation.html

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/10/grass-fed-cows-won-t-save-climate-report-finds

https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehs/docs/understanding_cafos_nalboh.pdf

 

Q:  I tried grass-fed beef once and it was tough – is your beef going to be tough?

A:  Grass-fed beef can more easily be improperly cooked because it is quite lean.  Most of us have more experience cooking feed-lot beef that was raised on corn and soy (and didn’t move around much) – beef that has more fat marbling and a mushy (not really tender) texture – it’s more tolerant of abuse, but also less flavorful.  It’s important to find the right recipes for cooking with grass-fed meat, so you don’t overcook steaks or undercook tougher cuts.  Search “grassfed” and the name of your cut online, and you’ll be abundantly rewarded with many recipes and good advice.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/got-grass-fed-beef-if-youre-not-tender-itll-be-tough/2016/10/19/cf5b134e-95b9-11e6-bb29-bf2701dbe0a3_story.html?utm_term=.0b3cc345ef6e

Answer #2:  We really want to challenge our customers to change their perspective – not trying to fit our meat into their familiar recipes for commercial meat, but learning new and healthier recipes to connect with the different profile of this meat.  We want to respect the earth and the animal by eating all parts possible, while discovering the health advantages of eating elements like collagens, for example.  To take proper advantage of all our meat’s qualities, you will need to learn slow cooking of cuts with more texture, with connective tissue and bone.  Get out the slow cooker and the instant pot, try out a sous vide!  Turn down your oven and your grill; learn how to braise.  Try all the different cuts, not just the familiar ones.  Ask us for some recipe suggestions, look up “grass fed” recipes for each cut, but most of all – expect that this meat will be different in its distinct texture and taste.  Let that be something to embrace and enjoy, not to reject because it isn’t what you are used to.  Slow down and have fun learning new, healthier ways to cook!

https://www.healthline.com/health/collagen-powder-benefits#the-verdict-on-collagen

https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/slow-food-learn-to-love-leisurely-dining#1

https://www.theorganickitchen.org/slow-cooker-pot-roast-with-shallots-and-carrots/

 

Q:  Don’t beef cattle need to be finished on grain so they will have a proper fat structure?  Isn’t that more natural because the ancient cows would eat the ripened grain in the fall before people hunted them?. Will a grass-fed cow be lacking nutrients?  Will I be lacking nutrients because I eat grass-fed beef?

A:  Cows are ruminants.  They eat whatever grows naturally in pastures, and sometimes that isn’t just grass – occasionally there are leaves, or grass seed, or ripening wild legumes and grains, or flowers – but only ever in small quantities.  Our cows have access to that range of forage, but they mostly eat grass.  Cows don’t need grain to be healthy and eating too much of it is actually bad for their bodies.  If you want the nutrients in corn, soy, and grains, you can eat those directly. But you can’t eat grass, so that’s a gift cows give you: converting the energy of grass to food, with the help of lots of gut bacteria!

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/meat/interviews/pollan.html

https://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/resourcesforyou/animalhealthliteracy/ucm255500.htm

 

Q:  Isn’t fat in grain-fed beef essential for flavor?

A:  Not really. Fat-marbled, grain-fed beef actually doesn’t tend to win taste tests; the fat mostly helps the meat not dry out.  The fat you add yourself to a meat recipe – butter, olive oil, bacon fat…. is going to produce the most flavor, while protecting the meat.  There’s also an inverse relationship between tenderness and flavor – so tenderloins and other cuts that come from the parts of the animal that don’t move much will be tender, but actually less flavorful than the active (and more chewy) muscle.  Meat from older cows is more flavorful, but also less tender. If you really want flavor, you may want to let go of eating steak (so much), and turn to slow cooking of active muscle like chuck or cheek.

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2010/06/why-fat-doesnt-make-for-flavorful-steak/58863/

https://www.reluctantgourmet.com/finding-the-perfect-steak/

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00288233.1998.9513346

 

Q:  Which of your steaks is the best for grilling?

A:  You can grill our NY Strip, Bone-in Rib steaks, and Tenderloins.  But please remember that fully pastured beef  – from grass-fed/grass-finished/cows that walk and run around outside all the time – is quite lean and has more texture than grain-fed, feedlot beef.  Our steaks are just going have a different taste and texture, and you likely will need to change your grilling style to avoid turning the meat into shoe leather – including marinating more carefully and aiming at a lower internal temperature.  There are lots of helpful on-line resources if you search for “grassfed beef” – these are just a few examples:

https://www.americangrassfedbeef.com/tips-for-cooking-grass-fed.asp

https://www.chelseagreen.com/2018/how-to-cook-the-perfect-tender-grassfed-steak/

http://theradicalhomemaker.net/grassfed-cooking-recipes-and-tips/top-5-grassfed-steak-misteaks/

 

Q: Do you have anything thawed, that we could grill for dinner?

A:  No, but some will thaw quickly enough.  A tenderloin is small and will thaw in time; it is also our most expensive cut.  The ground beef – our most economical cut – also thaws quickly enough in water that you could make some burgers later today.  But because we are a small-scale farm, our meat is sold frozen, which we recognize doesn’t allow for impulsive dinner purchases.  We hope you’ll buy some meat anyway, and plan to use it next weekend!  Frozen meat has been the victim of prejudice – it isn’t actually inferior in quality if rapidly-frozen in a deep freezer, especially if dry-aged first and vacuum packed, as our meat is by our USDA butcher. Freezing also has the advantage of preserving the meat at its nutritional peak, butchered right off grass.  On another note:  if your goal happens to be to become a more healthy eater, you’ll find that breaking away from impulsive shopping to plan your meals (around slower cooking, around nutritious and in-season ingredients) will serve you well anyway – let us be part of that good habit!

https://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/Books/How-to-Direct-Market-Your-Beef/Text-Version/Starting-Out/Frozen-vs.-Fresh

https://steakschool.com/learn/should-you-freeze-beef/

https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/slow-food-learn-to-love-leisurely-dining#1

https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1130&context=honors

 

Eggs:

Q:  Why are your eggs sitting out on the counter and not in a cooler?  Why are they dirty?  Do I need to refrigerate them?!

A:  Our eggs are unwashed, which is actually the way eggs are sold in most of the world.  Chickens put a protective coating on eggs as they lay them (to preserve them for nesting), and eggs keep fine unrefrigerated – Americans just don’t know that because commercial eggs have to be washed, by law, and washed eggs have lost that coating and so need refrigerating.  Our Wingham Farms chicken and duck eggs do not need to be refrigerated as long as they remain unwashed, but should be kept in a cool, dark place (below 75 degrees F, preferably; some sources say below 70 degrees F).  If you prefer to refrigerate your eggs, that is fine, but don’t leave them out of the refrigerator once you’ve begun refrigerating them – the moisture they encounter in the fridge starts to degrade the protective coating.

https://articles.extension.org/pages/71048/safe-handling-of-eggs-from-small-and-backyard-flocks

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/09/11/336330502/why-the-u-s-chills-its-eggs-and-most-of-the-world-doesnt

 

Q:  Why are some eggs blue and green?  Is that a different kind of chicken? Is that a duck egg?  What’s that huge egg?!

A: Yep!  We raise approximately 10 different types of chickens, and the Ameraucanas and “Easter Eggers” lay blue and green eggs.  Our Copper Marans lay deep brown eggs and some of our Australorps lay pinkish-colored ones. The eggs aren’t different in quality except for the shell color.  We don’t have any ducks that lay green eggs, but we do sell large, white Muscovy duck eggs during their laying season.  And for a very short season we even have some goose eggs!

https://www.fresheggsdaily.com/2012/02/rainbow-of-egg-colors.html

 

Q:  Why are your eggs so expensive?

Answer #1:  Our price is actually comparable with the closest equivalent product – which is fully pastured, regionally raised eggs – where chickens roam outdoors on extensive pasture, eat a varied diet including grass and bugs, and are never given hormones or antibiotics; because the farm is in the region, those eggs arrive faster to the market.  Studies suggest that local and pastured eggs are more nutritious than factory-farmed eggs. They definitely taste better!!  We usually sell out of eggs in the summer market, so our eggs are rarely more than a week old; grocery store eggs likely are several weeks old when you get them – and as much as two months old by their “expiration” date.  By buying our local eggs you are also supporting your neighbors in their livelihood.

https://news.psu.edu/story/166143/2010/07/20/research-shows-eggs-pastured-chickens-may-be-more-nutritious

https://www.farmersalmanac.com/how-fresh-are-supermarket-eggs-25832

Answer #2:  The question you really should be asking is:  “Why are grocery store eggs so cheap?”  Someone or something has to pay for the cost of raising chickens, gathering their highly fragile and perishable eggs, and getting them into your hands.  If you aren’t paying a lot in dollars, there’s still a price to be paid:  the chickens probably don’t get to move around much or ever get outdoors and act like chickens; they may be suffering from ill health, the feed is likely to be monotonous, the environment may be polluted by the waste, the farm may use hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and insecticides; the people working with the chickens may not be treated well or paid a living wage.  Learn about factory-farmed eggs and see if you still want to make your consumer decisions only on price!

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/21/business/video-reveals-how-cage-free-hens-live-animal-advocates-say.html?action=click&module=RelatedCoverage&pgtype=Article&region=Footer

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/the-human-victims-of-factory-farming/

Answer #3:  Sometimes a customer of ours is lucky and has a friend or neighbor raising chickens humanely and selling eggs well below actual expenses.  If you have such a friend, consider yourself lucky; enjoy those fantastic bargain eggs and appreciate the owners and the chickens as much as you can – they are spoiling you!  Want some sausage to go with those lovely eggs?

 

Pork:

Q: Do you sell nitrate-free bacon and ham?

A:  Our bacon and ham and sausage all contain nitrates.  “Nitrate-free” is an illusion.  We actually produce nitrates in our bodies all the time as we break down protein, and it occurs naturally in some kinds of plant foods – it’s not an alien, exotic substance you can keep from your body with a few simple choices.  People cure pork with nitrates because the botulism that grows in pork is very dangerous, so cured meats need a preservative that really works to prevent its growth.  There isn’t actually such a thing as nitrate-free bacon and ham; there are only cured meat done with celery or beet concentrates, which are naturally occurring source of high quantities of nitrates.  That may sound better than chemical nitrates, but the difficulty is that while added nitrates can be measured precisely, the quantity found in celery varies tremendously and isn’t measured by the processors.  So “natural” hotdogs and bacon may have much more – in one study up to 10 times as much nitrate as the standard commercial recipe .  Salt and cooking methods also contribute to negative health consequences of processed foods, not just the nitrates.  An excess of nitrates or salt is not a good thing for people, we agree – but celery-cured meats are not a rescue from the issue.  A better solution is to eat cured meats in moderation.  Or learn to eat uncured pork and just season it interestingly to give yourself something of the umami of cured meats.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/food/the-uncured-bacon-illusion-its-actually-cured-and-its-not-better-for-you/2019/04/19/0c89630c-608c-11e9-9ff2-abc984dc9eec_story.html?utm_term=.6126173dcff0

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/14/well/eat/is-eating-deli-meats-really-that-bad-for-you.html

https://www.nutritionletter.tufts.edu/issues/15_1/current-articles/Processed-Meats-and-Cancer-Its-Not-Just-Nitrates_2517-1.html

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190311-what-are-nitrates-in-food-side-effects

 

Goat:

Q: Do you sell fresh goat meat?

A: Not unless you want to buy the whole goat, where we’re happy to help you to a fresh, whole, butchered goat.  Otherwise our meat is frozen.  We don’t have a big enough market to keep a regular supply of fresh goat (or any) meat, and our butcher does all the freezing for us in his walk-in freezers, which is safer.  “Fresh” meat also isn’t necessarily nutritionally better or better tasting – there are so many variables, including aging, travel distance, nutrition, meat texture, environmental aspects.  If you can’t get fresh, environmentally and ethically sound fresh meat, frozen is a great alternative.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/fresh-vs-frozen-eat-enough-of-the-goodstuffand-it-doesnt-really-matter/2013/01/14/f19dca24-488c-11e2-b6f0-e851e741d196_story.html?utm_term=.ed9021e04457

Q: Why is your goat so expensive?  I can buy goat for $6/lb. Do you give discounts?

A: That’s cheap – dubiously so, unless it’s your friend or relative selling you meat below cost. You should be asking yourself what that $6/lb goat was eating, and how it was treated.  By the time we pay the butcher fees and factor in our expenses, we don’t actually make any money on goat meat – even at the price we are selling it (roughly double that price/lb – depending on the cut).  But there’s not much else to do with boy goats, and they are tasty!  So sorry, we do stick to our prices, because we are selling at cost.  But we are happy to show you how our goats live and feed.  Visit the farm and you’ll see that our goats enjoy healthy, humane lives out on pasture; we hope you’ll appreciate that certainty about quality is worth the price tag.  Next time you see $6/lb goat, insist on gaining evidence of how it lives and what it eats before you buy it.  Because in our experience that’s not a sustainable price point  – either the sellers are cheating themselves of a profit or the goat is not being humanely treated.

Answer 2:  If you want a whole goat (to cut up yourself or to roast for a party), we may have a better price point for you – contact us!

Poultry:

Q: Do you sell fresh chicken? In quarters or pieces. Why not?!  I really want your chicken, but I never use frozen meat.

A: We don’t sell fresh chicken anymore.  It takes too long to butcher just one or a few chickens (set up, take down, clean up), especially cut up in pieces, for us to want to do them on demand (particularly as the demand tends to hit around market days when we are short on time).  We sell frozen whole roasting and stewing birds that we hire a local small-scale poultry processor to butcher for us several times a year.  They are popular and we sell out, so we have little temptation to make an exception – sorry.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/fresh-vs-frozen-eat-enough-of-the-goodstuffand-it-doesnt-really-matter/2013/01/14/f19dca24-488c-11e2-b6f0-e851e741d196_story.html?utm_term=.ed9021e04457

 

 

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