Farm to Fork Wyoming explores the state to learn about this burgeoning "direct to market" economy. We meet eclectic thinkers and ingenious ranchers, growers and herders, learn from experts around Wyoming about food and agricultural trends, and meet local chefs and market places where this bounty is shared.
Annie Scott shrugged off the unseasonably hard and early snowfall that buried her garden in Lander in late September. Read more....
Annie Scott shrugged off the unseasonably hard and early snowfall that buried her garden in Lander in late September.
A veteran of many years of leading others through the wilderness by foot and paddle, she's obviously in tune with the fickleness of nature. Her backyard CSA crop was already double insulated against the fallout of 4 to 6 inches of heavy September snow.
I had just bought 40 lbs of canning tomatoes from Annie the week before. While things froze outside, I chose a more controlled indoor freezing method for preserving the harvest. I remembered my grandmother telling me she liked to freeze her tomatoes whole and make her sauces and stews with them as needed, straight from the freezer - the skins slip off easily. So I have done the same, it can't get simpler than that, barring freezer failure.
But back to Annie- with two little ones, not yet in school, urban farming is her stay-at-home job. I'm thinking this may be more than full time, having produced 1,000 lbs of tomatoes this year on top of supplying weekly produce for 15 shareholders, having a Thursday farmstand in her carport and being a regular at the Lander farmer's markets.
I had heard an income estimate for a market garden by a stay-at-home mom, was potentially around $7,000 for the summer, not to mention the quality food put on the family table. It's nothing short of impressive to see what Annie's overflow produce has added to the Lander farmer's market these past 3 or 4 years.
After the second snowfall hit, 6 inches deeper than the first and only a week later, Annie's Thursday carport market still had surplus offerings.
Diane Saenz and I shot a fermentation demonstration for the CSA episode after getting supplies from Annie and another local farmer, Fred Groenke.
The next episode of Farm To Fork Wyoming airs on Nov. 8, 2013 at 8 p.m.
We've just returned from our shoot at Painted Sage Farm and while Maggie may not have the largest CSA in Wyoming, correct me if I am wrong, but at over 7100 ft, she may be the highest. Read more...
We've just returned from our shoot at Painted Sage Farm and while Maggie may not have the largest CSA in Wyoming, correct me if I am wrong, but at over 7100 ft, she may be the highest. You can learn more at http://www.paintedsagefarm.com/ or find them on Facebook.
There in Daniel, they pull delicacies from a veritable moonscape, though anyone who sits in sagebrush soon learns that it is far from barren and actually teeming with life - that includes gophers... and those guys will happily add tender green things to their diet. Just ask Maggie, she knows very well what they like...
Gopher raids aside, it's a productive existence and getting better with each new layer of compost and barricade.
At the farm during our shoot we got fed, and truthfully, that's how I keep Matt coming on these shoots. The food was, as always, unique and adventurous. We lunched on steamed green bean filled tacos, garnished with garlic scape pesto. I was foolish enough to crown mine with the insanely hot pickled jalapeno sitting on the side.... Fortunately, relief was quickly delivered in the form of a tall glass of milk (raw milk?... Perhaps...) which I downed happily.
Matt discovered Amanda's fabulous Sriracha - home made the night before. He even licked the plate clean... As we left for the day, I heard arrangements being made for a mail order delivery for more. The meet free tacos were surprisingly satisfying.
Interviewing Maggie, it became apparent that vision and the pursuit of compelling ideas is the real engine here. She and her son Holden both readily see the possibilities for growing and evolving the local food supply, even in places as small as Pinedale or Bondurant. Knowing well the limits of their growing season at 7100 ft elevation, they manage to expand and hone their crop variety year by year, finding new and novel foods common to far away cuisines and offering them along side the tried and true. Offering these foods to their CSA customers as well as chefs, stores and Farmers Market customers seems to be broadening the local palate as well as expanding their market with each season. At the end of the day at Painted Sage Farm it all seems to come down to healthy nutritious food, and educating and exposing people to what that includes is part of the equation.
We left them their cat... It only seemed right... Somehow on the way out the door, the farm cat had attached himself to Matt, paws around Matt's neck. It wasn't until we were in the car and I put into gear, when to my right, there they were - Matt and the cat seat belted and ready to go! It wasn't easy, but I felt I had to suggest the cat might ought to stay....
We are not done shooting this episode, I plan to catch up with Diane Saenz - UW Extension educator, for a lesson in fermentation at the Lloyd Craft Farm in Worland. I was fortunate to already sit down with Diane, who in her lively, descriptive way, demystified for me what I had considered to be the art of rotting vegetables. It's far more appealing, controlled, and delicious than that! I can't wait to see what she comes up with for the ferment... Parsnips?.... Carrots?.... Kraut with a twist?.....
Tentatively, we have a November 8th air date for this episode.
In the course of piecing together the Farm To Fork Dairy Herd Shares episode (premiered Sept. 3 on Wyoming PBS), it came to my attention that Queso Fresco is a cheese often linked to food born illnesses Read more...
In the course of piecing together the Farm To Fork Dairy Herd Shares episode (premiered Sept. 3 on Wyoming PBS), it came to my attention that Queso Fresco is a cheese often linked to food born illnesses, primarily from either salmonella or listeria contamination. In Washington State, and more recently in Minnesota, small outbreaks have sent some folks to the hospital. Both times the causes were traced back to homemade Queso Fresco made with raw milk. The cheese makers were small cottage businesses, making ethnic foods for their emigrant communities.
In Washington State, Health officials realized that the cheese makers were often migrant family members seeking the traditional foods of home with no place to buy dietary staples such as Queso Fresco. Often times, as is traditional, Grandmas of the community were taking up cheese making for their families and also offering the cheese for sale within the community.
So health officials came up with a novel and very proactive approach to try to help. They came up with a safe recipe for making Queso Fresco with raw milk and launched what they called the Abuela Project, offering cheese making workshops for the community cheese makers, equipping and informing them of the problem. In exchange for the workshop and some free cheese making tools, they asked the attendees to, in turn, teach 15 others this method of making Queso Fresco. In the end they determined the project a success, illnesses linked to homemade Queso Fresco fell dramatically in the area.You can find their recipe here: http://www.foodsafety.wsu.edu/consumers/factsheet7.htm
The instructions include using pasteurized milk, thus saving a step, as well as instructions for raw milk preparation.
One distinct feature of the Abuela project’s Queso Fresco recipe is that it involves carefully maintaining the milk at 140 deg. F for 20 minutes, a rather low temperature, but due to the time factor, it effectively pasteurizes the milk without adversely effecting it’s flavor or ability of the milk to make a good curd.
While DeeAnne’s recipe, which we show in the dairy herd share episode is much simpler, and has worked for her and her family for some time now, it’s worth considering the more strict approach, especially if you are sharing your cheese with children, the elderly, pregnant women or those with compromised immunity. Conversely, some feel the whole point of making their own cheese from raw milk is to consume it in it’s least adulterated state. But as Michael Pollan’s book “Cooked” points out in an interview with master cheese maker and Microbiologist, Sister Noella Marcellino, traditional raw milk cheese making is steeped in ritual safeguards and tradition that the casual home cheese maker is not privy to. While being a raw milk cheese maker, Sister Noella points to the wisdom of working with pasteurized milk.
The debate continues over the issues of food safety vs. access to that which most nourishes us. It is fascinating to learn about wonderful and essential milk, in all its splendid forms, thanks to the marvelous evolution of traditional foods.
We catch up with herd share manager Frank Wallis, whose herd supplies milk more than Wyoming families. Read more...
We catch up with herd share manager Frank Wallis, whose herd supplies milk to 90+ Wyoming families spread from Buffalo to Sheridan and Gillette. At the Wallis family's EZ Rocking Ranch beauty and nature's logic abound. We'll see how Frank keeps it all going, and learn something about the gratification of being an "Owner Certified" dairy. Interviews with Frank and his sister Sue Wallis, reveal how this very limited, but controversial relaxation of Wyoming's raw milk ban is affecting some local food and farm economies.
We'll also sit down with nutrition expert and educator Monica Corrado to gain insight into this most dynamic of foods - raw, whole milk - and learn why customers wish to consume this ancient food, un-pasteurized, against the warnings of the USDA. We finish the episode at Steve and DeeAnne Doyle's herd share farm in Riverton to make quick and simple queso fresco.
We are working way ahead on a "grass-fed beef" episode that isn't likely to air till the dead of winter - but I didn't want to miss the season of green pastures since I want to focus on the cultivation of a pasture's great green biomass. Read more...
We are working way ahead on a "grass-fed beef" episode that isn't likely to air till the dead of winter - but I didn't want to miss the season of green pastures since I want to focus on the cultivation of a pasture's great green biomass. I called who I thought were just a couple of brothers from Lost Wells Ranch outside of Riverton and...
Ok, let me back up and explain some confusion first. I've been hearing about, and running into, the Thomans for a couple years now, even carrying on the thread of a conversation through these encounters - always lively and thought provoking - but each time, asking myself, now was that Bobby? Brendan? Huh?
Turns out there are twelve Thoman siblings, seven of them boys! This is a family of accomplished ag producers and they seem to all be thinking and working through the possibilities for better grazing and cattle practices, in addition to their sizable alfalfa operation.
Bobby and Brendan (and maybe 3 or 4 others, I'm still not sure) have been perfecting the art of intensive grazing and soil building while economically producing what some term "beyond organic" grass fed beef. One place you'll find them is at the Riverton Farmers Market selling their beef.
If you get through Riverton, you might also try some of their beef at the taco stand at the Riverton Sale Barn this summer.
If you live in Fremont County, there's a great local food directory provided by Steve Doyle, another dairy herd-share operator who we'll feature in the late summer dairy episode. Here's Steve's very informative site - he updates this in his spare time, so it's not totally up to the minute, but pretty darn helpful and interesting: http://www.fremontlocalfoods.org/
UW Extension Agency also has a statewide "eating local" project and directory; you can learn more here: http://www.wyomingextension.org/eatwyoming/about.asp
Life is good in this world whether you're a farm hand found through the "wwoofer" program, or a filmmaker far from the nearest hotel. Read more...
Life is good in this world whether you're a farm hand found through the "wwoofer" program, or a filmmaker far from the nearest hotel.
The Wallis' graciously put us up. Matt got the tent, I got a bed buried in pillows. And they fed us morning, noon and night. It's no wonder Frank has no problem keeping help around the place... and the company here is as good as the food.
Wondering what a wwoofer is? Check out http://www.wwoofinternational.org/
Matt, our cameraman, even discovered some new likes and dis-likes... Read more...
Matt, our cameraman, even discovered some new likes and dis-likes...
No Bucha for Matt, that's for sure... He was adventurous enough to try, and honest enough to say NO.
Besides the wonderful kefirs, butter and multiple grades of cream, all prepared for a minimal service fee for the shareholders, Frank makes the best kombucha I have ever had - but if you are squeamish about the slimy little "bucha babies", strain with your teeth. Oh, and don't sniff before you sip. Matt may never drink kombucha again - but I will never pass it up! Sweet, fizzy, nourishing, magical stuff.
Kombucha? There's a pretty good article in the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/25/fashion/25Tea.html
For the farm part of the dairy episode, we found our way to the "Center of the Universe" - EZ Rocking Ranch. Read more...
For the farm part of the dairy episode, we found our way to the "Center of the Universe" - EZ Rocking Ranch. There, Frank Wallis is caught in an orbit of what his sister Sue terms "garbage in, garbage out".
But the product of this cycling, spinning world is anything but garbage. Frank is producing everything from heritage hogs to kombucha. At the heart of this planetary system is the dairy cow.
From that center great things flow, starting with the abundance of milk (which the cows happily produce), to the beautiful deep orange-yolked eggs provided by chickens foraging through a mountain of manure they've scattered far and wide in search of fly larvae and bugs.