MAPLE VIEW MINUTE 3 Feb 2014
BONE BROTH – JUST DO IT
Every time we process a cow, pig or chicken, along with all the popular cuts of meat, we get loads of bones and offal. Here’s a way to put it into perspective: of the meat we just got back from one of our cows, weight-wise, almost 20% was bones. Compare that to 1.5% tenderloin steaks, or 6% short ribs and 3% liver. Did you get that? If you are eating nose to tail, you should be eating TWICE as much liver as beef tenderloin. Around here, we value every single part of each animal we raise, so we try to find a use for all of the bones and offal (the nutritious innards that are rarely eaten today, like liver, heart and kidneys). The good news is, the price of each cut usually reflects these proportions as well: Our tenderloin steaks are $17/lb, but we’re selling bones for just $1/lb. The frugal shopper will recognize the value in the bones!
Here at Maple View Farm, we make bone broth as often as we have bones sitting around. You’ll hear me preaching the benefits of bone broth: from improving gut health and boosting your immune system to boosting the body’s supply of nutrients that help you have great skin and hair. So it’s not surprising that lots of people ask for recipes. I’ll put a couple of recipes here to get you started, but the first direction is: just do it! The ingredients for broth are simply 1. (any kind of) bones and 2. Water.
Start with bones you know something about. Talk to you farmer, and ideally – meet your meat. How did the animal live? What did it eat? This all adds up to what kind of nutrients you get out of your bones. And what kind of farming practices you want to support. (Read my blog post about Sad Cows here.) Every time I make bone broth I do it differently. I love taking time to roast the bones in the oven, then transfer them to the stock pot, cover them with water and simmer all day. Making broth during the summer is great because I throw in the ends of veggies and herbs from the garden, increasing the nutrient value of the stock. But if I have neither the veggies nor the time, it doesn’t mean that I don’t make stock. I still can get all the goodness out of the bones, and use aromatics later when I use the broth for cooking. So head over to your local farmer, grab a bag of bones and get started. You’ve got everything to gain.
Here’s a fancy recipe from Emeril Lagasse that will yield a beef broth so delicious it will be a treat to just sip on its own.
7 pounds beef bones, sawed into 2-inch pieces
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cups claret wine
5 garlic cloves, peeled
5 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
1 1/2 gallons water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the bones on a roasting pan and roast for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and brush with the tomato paste. Lay the vegetables over the bones. Return to the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Place the pan on the stove and deglaze with the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan for browned particles. Put this mixture in a large stock pot. Add the peppercorns, garlic, and herbs. Season with salt. Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 4 hours. Remove from the heat and skim off any fat that has risen to the surface. Strain the liquid and discard the bones.
And here’s my recipe that even the novice cook can manage:
4 quarts of water
1.5- 2 lbs of beef knuckle bones or marrow bones
Cloves from 1 whole head of fresh garlic, peeled & smashed
Any veggies you have especially aromatics like carrots, onions, celery. But I’ve included older leafy greens like kale or collards that need to be used up out of the fridge. They just add to the nutrients
Add salt to taste if you like, or leave it out completely
Place all ingredients in a 6 quart crock pot and set the heat to HIGH. Bring the stock to a boil (or as hot as your crock pot gets), then reduce the heat setting to LOW. Let the stock to cook for a minimum of 8 hours and up to 24 hours. The longer it cooks, the better. Take the lid off the crock pot for the last hour or two to let the stock reduce. Turn off the crockpot and allow the stock to cool. Strain the stock through a fine mesh metal strainer and feed all that to your chickens. Freeze the cooled stock – some in 2 cup portions and some in ice cube portions. Double, triple, or quadruple this recipe depending on the amount of bones you have. Sometimes I’ll use my lobster pot instead of a stock or crock pot.
NOTE: When fully cooled, your bone broth will be thick and gelatinous. Don't worry! That's what makes it so good for you.
TO THE BOARD OF ED:
The Granby Board of Education won't answer questions asked during their public comment time. But you can surely respond. What do you think of my comments to the board?
Good evening. I’m Kate Bogli. I have four boys: Owen is in 5th grade at Wells, Atticus is in 3rd grade at Wells, Jeb is in 2nd grade at Kearns, and Luke will start Kearns in 2017. This is to say I put a lot in your hands every school day.
About 3 weeks ago, I asked Harry Traver what the Administration’s direction to Sodexo (our food service contractor) was. He answered “We want the freshest and least processed food possible in front of the students”. “Great,” I thought. “We’re on the same page!”
I eat lunch with my kids from time to time throughout the year. I pop in, unannounced to see what is going on in the lunchroom – who my kids are hanging out with as well as what they are eating. The good news is – school lunch is getting better! Tastier, fresher to look at and to eat. The bad news is – we are still putting sugar-filled milk, ice cream and chips in front of our children. In a building where, I think we’d all agree, everything in it should be full of positive, nurturing, inspiring messages, we aren’t doing everything we can in the lunchroom.
I’m not asking for micromanagement, but we do need some oversight of Sodexo. Last year I was surprised to see Snapple juice showing up in the front of the lunch line. 100% juice is not required to be offered by the USDA school lunch program, but it is approved for ala carte sale. Water, on the other hand, didn’t get top billing, but was sold by hiding it in a cooler that kids had to ask for. It took an email to the Sodexo rep, a public comment to him at Open House, and another email to the principal to get water equal play to Snapple at Wells Road School. At the end of the lunch line, after the delicious fresh fruit and vegetable bar, kids are faced with a Frito Lay point-of-sale display that includes, among the other baked potato chips, Doritos. Chocolate chip cookies were for sale on the Friday I was there, and ice cream is offered on Thursdays. In a quick run through the high school lunch line after the last Superintendants Forum, I saw they are selling Pop Tarts and Rice Krispie Treats right next to the cash register. These are all “ala carte” items that Sodexo is not required to offer according to the USDA school lunch program. Mr. Traver, you seemed a little surprised when I mentioned those items in our meeting – did you know that before? Did anyone else?
So, by now I’m sure you can tell I’m no fan of Doritos. But don’t mistake me for a food Nazi – I love an ice cream treat, and we eat plenty of cookies in our house. I just prefer to share those treats with my kids at home, where I can control the ingredients and we can talk about good things that happened in their day. However, I don’t even want to make this case on my likes or dislikes. You do believe that nutrition is important to teach to our kids, because Jeb, my 2nd grader, came home early this year with lots of information about macronutrients and the food groups. This isn’t about what I or any other parent thinks is “healthy” or “not healthy”. The messages you send to our kids in the lunchroom need to line up with the curriculum you are teaching them in the classroom. We don’t put pornography in the library and let children make their own decisions about whether they should read it or not. Putting chocolate milk, chips, and ice cream in front of our kids day after day says to them “yes, this is a good thing for you to eat every day”.
So I’ll go back to Mr. Traver’s direction to Sodexo: “We want the freshest and least processed food possible in front of the students”. And I’ll ask you, Board of Ed, why are you selling these “extras” to our kids? Sodexo and Harry Traver couldn’t give me an answer – can you?
This is part of a reply to a Facebook post I made at the beginning of school. There was a lot of lamenting about the time our kids spend on the bus. Parents were feeling guilty that they didn’t go pick their kids up from school every day.
Just wondering…. since when is riding the bus not a fun thing to do? I see lots of kids getting picked up from school every day that I just have to wonder if kids and parents both aren’t missing out. I feel the need to make the case for the long bus ride, because I just see so many life lessons in it:
1. Especially in the beginning, bus rides are long and drivers get things wrong: they pass the stop, forget a kid, have to go back and start again. Isn't it nice to learn to be patient when someone is working something out for the first time? Wouldn't you want someone to do that for you?
2. Someone has to be the next-to-last one off the bus, why shouldn't it be you?
3. The bus is a great place to learn some independence. How do you behave when your friends are around and there is minimal adult supervision? As kids, we used to roam the neighborhood until the street lights came on. Kids these days don’t have as many of these opportunities for independence. The bus is a good place to practice being responsible behavior around their friends when parents aren’t standing over them.
4. There are so many great things you can get done while you're riding the bus: your homework, reading, some personal time alone or time with friends.
5. It's good decompression time between school and homework. One of my sons used to almost breakdown when I wanted him to do his homework right when he got off the bus (a short ride at the time) -- he just hadn't had enough down time between the two.
6. Kids learn that school is THEIR job (just like mom and dad have jobs) and the bus ride is their commute. That's their part of being part of the family.
So, I hope you don't feel guilty any more about wanting to get some extra work in instead of pick up the kids (whether it’s at the office or at home). I’m almost hoping I'll make you feel guilty for picking them up.
FOOD IS FUEL
It sounds strange to me now, but a couple of years ago (and for my entire life before that), I thought of food as something to satisfy hunger. Sometimes I thought of it as entertainment (think: a meal on an airplane, popcorn at the movie theater). One day, after listening to one of a health podcasts, or reading a book on healthy eating (I don’t remember exactly), it occurred to me: food is fuel for our bodies. All of a sudden I looked at everything with a new eye. What nutrients did those Wheat Thins have to offer? What ingredients were in my ice cream? (Gottcha – you thought it was just cream and sugar right? Take a look next time.) And I began looking at foods like kale and liver with new interest.
We’ve been given directives from the government and our doctors over the last thirty or forty years that are just not keeping up with changes in our food system as it gets bigger and bigger and bigger. “Eat more chicken,” they say. It will lower chances for heart disease. “Eat few eggs and you’ll lower your cholesterol.” But over time the quality of these foods has degraded. Cows and chickens started eating more and more grain and less and less forage (as is natural for them), and the Omega-6 fatty acids (the not-so-good-ones) climbed in comparison to Omega-3s (those are the good ones). Even the quality of soil of conventionally raised fruits and veggies has degraded over the past 30 years. Now, more than ever, it is important to figure out HOW your food was raised. In fact, the meat from our grass fed cows might just be as low in fat and higher in Omega-3 fatty acids than that conventionally raised chicken at the grocery store. So quality definitely matters when you are doing your food shopping.
But thinking about nutrients doesn’t stop at conventional vs. organic. Our kids are learning how to eat with every meal, every morsel they put in their mouths. They’re learning emotional relationships about food, and they’re learning habits that will stick with them for a lifetime (or they’ll likely spend a lifetime trying to change them). In the age of high fructose corn syrup, low quality ingredients are everywhere -- and nowhere more than in pre-packaged post-game athletic “snack”. But luckily, we just have to retrain our eyes because high quality ingredient snack food also abounds. Can I introduce you to a banana? How about a handful of nuts (or, my kids’ favorite, a mix of nuts, dried fruit and dark chocolate)? Is that post-game snack meant to be a reward? I think the reward after a baseball game is that you had a great time playing baseball! Let’s use that post-game snack to teach our kids about how to refuel their bodies after a workout. And maybe we’ll convince them at a much younger age than I learned that food is fuel.
I’M A COMPASSIONATE CARNIVORE, WOULDN’T YOU LIKE TO BE A COMPASSIONATE CARNIVORE TOO?
Since I’ve become a farmer, so many things about the food industry have come to light. It has drastically changed the way our family eats. It’s changed us so much that I have become passionate about spreading word about why we raise animals the way we do here at Maple View Farm, and I want to evangelize the world with the message about responsible meat eating. I’m sure there are millions of family farmers out there, raising small amounts of animals, who feel the same way. Lucky for us, Catherine Friend can be our voice. I don’t know why I only discovered this book now. I’ve read everything by Joel Salatin and Michael Pollan (and loved it all), but Friend speaks for me, as a farmer, in a way I haven’t yet heard. As I read her book The Compassionate Carnivore, it’s like she took words right out of my mouth (and added oodles and oodles of facts and research to back them up).
My favorite part so far is her discussion about how much meat is wasted. It was actually a hard chapter to read for someone who takes care of animals every single day of the year. To think that anything would be wasted makes me want to cry. Here amazing statistics will hopefully open eyes and make people more aware of the affect they have on our food system and all of these beautiful animals that are a part of it. The great news, as always – you have complete control to choose what you buy and therefore choose the kind of life you want the animals you eat to live. For your health and for theirs.
I’ve written about raising animals on a pasture-based system before, but Friends book makes the case black and white. Although, it should come with a warning (or a challenge maybe?): Seek out a farmer near you growing animals with sunshine, fresh air, and grass, and look those animals in the eyes and smile. Then head over to their Farm Store and buy some meat for dinner. Those animals will thank you for it.
“I’m just an animal lover so I could never do that,” the lady at the library told me. In fact, she’s not the only one who has said this to me when the conversation about my line of work inevitably turns to the death of animals. I grit my teeth because I know they don’t know how what they just said cuts me like a knife. They’re implying that because, once a quarter, I can load up a couple of cows and several pigs and bring them to the processor or even dispense with a chicken myself, that I am made of stone. That I can just toss animals aside and don’t give their death a second though. In fact, I probably give more thought to their LIFE as well as their death than anyone I’ve ever had this conversation with.
Death is definitely the hardest part of life on a farm. It beats out shoveling manure, heavy lifting and hours and hours of fence work. I’ve never spent a sleepless night worrying about how I’m going to lift those 50 lb bags of grain the next day, but I have spent many worrying about a horse recovering from colic, a pig with scours, an anemic goat. I’ve sacrificed my own night’s sleep nursing these animals back to good health, or sadly, sometimes keeping them company and making sure they are warm in their final hours. I don’t, however, mourn or worry about animals we send to the processor. I celebrate them. I give them a final pet on the neck and thank them for providing us with entertainment in life and nourishment in death. Each time our family eats meat, we are thankful for the lives of the animals that provided that meat to us. Because we are so acutely aware that meat=animals, we are careful to eat less of it and make the most out of each pound. If you love animals more than I do, I’d encourage you to do the same.
PLEASE DON’T FEED MY MONKEYS
I spend a lot of time thinking about what our family eats. We raise our own meat, we have a veggie share from a local farm during the local growing season and I preserve whatever we don’t eat. We even grow a tomato garden and can our own tomatoes for winter. I read the back of almost every package we buy in the grocery store (though we try to avoid packages if at all possible). I put a lot of effort in to this and my children understand why. It’s conversation for us in the grocery store and at the dinner table. We value putting high quality ingredients into our body. So this is why I have such a hard time when other (well intentioned) people give my beautiful boys candy. It’s a treat for helping around the farm, a treat for getting together at a cub scout event, from friends for their birthday, from their teacher because they did well in school (!?), from their friends on Valentine’s Day and Halloween. “Treats,” people say. “It’s only one day,” people say. Here’s my perspective: These “treats” contain sugar, artificial colors and artificial flavors that I believe (from the research I’ve done) are VERY BAD for my kids’ bodies. So I actually don’t consider most candy “treats” and I don’t call them that in our house. But I don’t like to say no to my kids. It’s hard to take candy out of their mouths. Please don’t make me have to do this. Please value my kids as much as I do and don’t feed them junk food with poison in it. And I promise not to feed yours these low quality ingredients. I’ll show my love and appreciation for kids with hugs and kind words than toxic chemicals any day. I mean, look at these guys. I only want the best for them.
WINTER FARM FUN
The short days of winter mean less time for work. Feeding, cleaning and maintenance chores are pared down to the essentials. Many times winter means fewer animals: no meat chickens, fewer layers, most cows and pigs have been processed for the season. It's time to work on paperwork, planning, goal setting, and maybe catching up on some tv time.
A blog about farming and food. Kate Bogli owns and operates Maple View Farm, raising livestock and growing veggies, with her husband Jason. The farm has been in his family for 65 years.