Monday, December 10, 2007

Local Harvest: Finding Natural and Organic Food Near You

Local Harvest is an incredible concept and an excellent resource for locating natural foods nearby. It is similar to the website Eat Wild, but seems to have a more extensive listing of local farms and also features a Local Harvest blog, Local Harvest Newsletter, information on Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), a web forum and more.

The Local Harvest slogan is "real food, real farmers, real community," all three aspects of which are dear to my own heart. I want to feed my family real food, the way God intended it, not the way some Big Ag company decided to make the most money off of it. I want to support real farmers when I can't produce the food myself (currently, that's 100% of the time). And in supporting real farmers, I want to be better connected to my community.

I put in my zip code on Local Harvest and found two farm listings of people I already know, several farms I'd heard of or done business with, and plenty more I'd like to explore. The chickens at Beatrix Farm (photo on right) are happy and healthy in their grass pasture. What's available in your Local Harvest?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Staying Healthy with Raw Milk

It's almost December, and thankfully, none of the five of us -- two adults and three children under age 5 -- has even had a cold yet.

The secret is the raw, organic milk.

Kevin has a bit of a runny nose, but he gets that when he's teething. Otherwise, we are blessed with robust health that I do not take for granted.

We drink six gallons of raw milk each week. If money were no object, we'd consume eight or nine... maybe make yogurt out of some of it, but probably drink it before I would have the chance, if I know my family.

Megan likes to flex her little arms and say "I'm SOOOO strong! 'Cause I drink raw milk!" The funniest part is that she is naturally very petite, so to hear her say that she is getting "So HUGE!" from consuming the delicious superfood makes me smile. I don't disapoint her, however, as I reply that she is so big, she's going to be taller than Mama soon.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Raw Milk

By Maria September 21st, 2007
For the past 18 months, we have been exclusively drinking local organic raw milk. While my husband gew up milking his family cow and drank fresh raw milk daily as a young teenager, I had only ever had the plastic-jug-pasturized and homoginized stuff sold under the lable “Vitamin D Milk.”

Since making the switch to organic raw milk, it has been incredible to see the health benefits firsthand. My husband and I both feel healthier than before, without sugar cravings and the like. We have not been sick with the flu since we started drinking raw milk; previously, we came down with it every Christmas. My two preschoolers, who were toddlers when we began our raw milk adventure as a family, stopped getting colds and the sniffles, and runny noses ceased. Both began to put on a little healthy chubbiness that had always eluded them. My youngest son, conceived after I started drinking at least a quart of raw milk a day, weighed 9 lbs. 2 oz at his full-term birth. Now 6 months old, he is in the 75th percentile for weight. He weighs more than my daughter did at a 12 months–quite healthy and happy.

Those who drink raw milk or have learned about the benefits of raw milk through Sally Fallon or the Real Milk campaign will be especially frustrated to hear about places where real milk sales are not only illegal, but are compared to selling drugs. The following article Raw Milk: Illegal in North Carolina, USA notes: “And why is it legal to sell uncooked meat, raw seafood, alcohol, tobacco and firearms—but unprocessed milk is more difficult to obtain than marijuana?”

Very interesting question, indeed.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Minimally Processed Meals? Local Food Sources? What a Concept!

By Maria August 2nd, 2007
I noticed this online article while checking my email the other day:Faux Food: Is It Still Cheese? A decent article in the mainstream media … people are catching on. While it lacks depth, it does present a springboard for the average consumer. I doubt it would in any way enlighten Nourished magazine’s readers, but it could be a good link to share with those who still eat processed grocery store foods. Unfortunately, the article still considers juice an OK beverage, even though it is empty calories–basically zil nutrition.
On the positive side, they give some very basic, good advice:~ Look for foods around the perimeter of the supermarket: fresh and frozen produce, fish, meats, dairy products.~ Avoid foods with “partially hydrogenated oil”
Linked from this article was one on Sources for Local Food — buying directly from farmers — how exciting to see this concept making inroads in the general population! The article suggests visiting local farms and farmer’s market, a concept that may be new to many mainstream readers.
Later today, I will be taking the children down to the orchard a few miles outside our town for an afternoon of peach-picking. This tradition is always part of our summer and they look forward to the ripe, juicy fruit. It’s wonderful for them to see the fruit come from its natural enticing environment and not the austere grocery shelves. We will talk with the family that has run the farm for the last 100 years and connect with our food producers directly. If only all of our food came to us this way.

Cod Liver Oil: Start Young!

By Maria June 26th, 2007
Family and friends over for a visit are amazed by the ease in which our young children take their cod liver oil– they are shocked to hear the children come up to us after the evening meal and remind their father excitedly, “Oil time! Oil time!” Their exuberance matches that of children asking for a popsicle, and our guests are surprised to see the appearance of the supplement and not some processed sugar product.
Jack (4) and Megan (2) have been taking liquid high-vitamin cod liver oil daily for the past eight months. We began by letting them watch my husband and I take a spoonful, and we spoke highly about the benefits of the supplement, explaining why we thought it was important. We offered them each a taste, so they could get used to the oil before being given a whole teaspoon. For a few days, they got used to the taste and texture by just having a drop of the oil, followed by a chewable vitamin C. Soon enouh, the oil was being licked from the spoon in whole doses.
Many of our grown friends and relatives have a very hard time taking cod liver oil; however, those who received it as children can take it easily now, even if decades of their lives in between were deprived of the supplement. It is encouraging to know that not only are we building our children’s health with the food we give them, but we are shaping their knowledge and their ability to recognize and appreciate that which will nourish their bodies.
Excellent article from the Weston A. Price Foundation, by Krispin Sullivan, CN: Cod Liver Oil: The Number One Superfood


By Maria
June 17th, 2007
Hello! I am an at-home mother of three beautiful children. My husband and I were both raised on farms for a portion of our childhoods, but our own journey to a more natural way of life began when we had our first child at a birthing center and in ernest about a year ago when we read Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions and began drinking raw milk.
We are currently reading “Deep Economy” “Little House on a Small Planet” and several other books that continue to challenge our philosophies and inspire our way of life.We are renovating a cabin in the Shenandoah Valley area, which is smaller than our current home, and hope to move in the Spring. We look forward to embarking on a more simple lifestyle and eventually, owning a farm and growing our own food.
(Note: I am moving my first few posts over from my old blog site, thus the different dates.)