Category Archives: Local Farming

Super Good Super Food for the Super Bowl* (*especially for your pets!)

 

Super Good!

Super Good!

Try this tantalizing treat for your cats and dogs – it’s easy and they’ll love you for it!

Cassie oversniffing the proceedings.

Cassie oversniffing the proceedings

 SUPER GOOD SUPER FOOD FOR THE SUPER BOWL*

*especially for your pets!

Gather:

1 can wild Alaskan salmon

1 organic egg (local, pastured?  Even better!)

1 TBSP organic mayo

bunch organic parsley

organic sweet bell pepper

raw almond slices (or pumpkin seeds)

Prep:

  • Drain canned salmon.  Keep “juice” in a glass jar – you can use a little at a time as a meal enhancer later.
  • Stir salmon, egg, and mayo together in a medium bowl.  Use yolk and egg white (forget all that noise about avidin and biotin – foxes, wolves, and the big cats aren’t separating theirs, right!?)

    Salmon, egg, mayo mix.

    Salmon, egg, mayo mix.

  • Place chopped parsley on dish.
  • Form salmon mixture into a football shape and place on “field” of parsley.
  • Cut part of bell pepper into thin strips and form into “seam” of football.
  • Finely chop almonds and throw on as “dirt”.
  • Serve as a snack or meal. (refrigerate what isn’t served)
  • The parsley will help with fish breath.

Copyright Pawgevity, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super Good!
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The Pooches Pick Peanuts, Potatoes, and Pumpkins. Chihuahuas on the Farm.

Glorious fall days call for hiking, pumpkin picking, apple cider drinking, and taking big gulps of fresh, cool air.  Searching for that perfect spot – close to metro D.C. – that you can bring your dog and enjoy a day outdoors?  We’ve found it for you.

Autumnal display at Hollin Farms

Welcome to Hollin Farms in Delaplane, Virginia.  We’ve enjoyed visiting the Davenports’ farm for many years now – each year brings new crops, the view is exceptional, and you know how we love our family farms!  This particular trip we were on a mission for the great pumpkin.  We decided to bring Junior and Mindy with us for some exercise and socialization.  The pumpkin patch is dog friendly, but please use good canine etiquette – keep on a short leash, avoid allowing your dog to pee or poop where people will be picking,  and clean up after they go in more appropriate spots.  “The Beast” and “BooBoo” surprised us with their perfect canine manners and even served as model adoption ambassadors when people asked about them.

We were thrilled to find out that not only was there an abundant crop of pumpkins but peanuts and potatoes were ripe for the digging.  That’s right, “dig your own”!  Families were enjoying teaching their little ones that peanuts grow underground and the little ones were enjoying getting dirty.

Unearthing peanuts

Mindy included.

Mindy learning to pick peanuts


Found ‘em!

Peanuts don’t come fresher than this!

Next, we were off to the potato patch.

Junior and Mindy leading the way

Look, ma, I caught one!

As if that weren’t enough, there are huge plots of all kinds of greens – bok choy, collards, kale, arugula – and daikon radishes and turnips and other yummy edibles. There are even some colorful zinnias for picking.

Field of greens

You’re encouraged to cut from above ground – leaving the roots intact allow the plants to continue to grow. After filling several bags, we were off to the pumpkin patch.

The ultimate pumpkin patch

By this time, Junior was exhausted. He tried to talk us into the first pumpkin he came upon.

Junior’s pumpkin

A fun day was had by all. And today we’re trying our hand at boiled peanuts! We’ll let you know how they turn out.

Also posted in Baby Steps - The Adventures of Junior and Mindy, Dog Destinations | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

It’s Not OK. A Rant About the Pet Food Industry.

It’s not OK.

I’m angry.
Hopping mad, really.

http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/CVMUpdates/ucm280586.htm

Note that these “warnings” began to be issued in 2007. AND they’re still continuing.

Do you remember 2007?

Thousands of cats and dogs died due to tainted pet food and treats. Apparently, the massive pet food recalls and deaths that year weren’t enough to quell the continued corporate greed of many manufacturers.

I remember attending my first major “pet food industry” conference as events were unfolding in 2007. A common refrain that I could not get out of my head was “we didn’t know what to test for”. All I could think was, as long as these manufacturers continue to source ingredients from around the globe as well as from industrial/factory farms, there will always be a threat to our pets’ food safety. It seemed that it was just a matter of time until this could, and would, happen again. And they’d be repeating that same chorus. I wasn’t willing to let them roll the dice.

It’s not OK.

It served to bolster the decision I’d already made that there would be no compromising our foods or treats. I already no longer felt comfortable or confident feeding or recommending the pet foods on the market. The status quo just wasn’t working. And still isn’t. Many of these same companies continue to claim that they “love” animals and that they feed their foods to their own pets. Shameful. What they’re really doing is sourcing the cheapest ingredients to gain the largest profit. And some even have the nerve to put “Made in the USA” on their packaging. Doesn’t matter where it’s made if even ONE ingredient comes from outside of the U.S. Or from factory farms. Period.

That’s why we were compelled to launch Pawgevity. So that someone would offer foods and treats with ingredients you can trust. For Pawgevity, it’s critical that every ingredient comes from small local farms we know and is 100% traceable. Farms that take great pride in bringing you safe and wholesome, organically raised and grown animals and produce. It’s not easy and it’s not the “cheapest” way.

But anything less is simply not acceptable for our, and your, companions. We are all responsible for their health and well being.

Our animals don’t have a choice. They’re completely dependent on us.

We know you, as Pawgevity revolutionaries, already get it.

It’s frustrating how many more don’t.

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Living and Loving the Vida Local

“I got tired of drinking bad coffee” – Monty of Cabin Creek Roasters, Edinburg, VA.

Every local entrepreneur has a story – a reason for being, a call, a mission, a purpose. As Norm and I sat down to dinner (locally grown) at our campsite last night, we reflected on all of the inspiring localpreneurs we’ve hung out with just this week.

We’re so fortunate to have relationships with many of the best local farmers in the Commonwealth. This being the height of the produce season, I’m visiting with our fruit and veggie partners on a very regular basis. Everything’s super fresh and vibrant – one day I even waited while the crew cut Swiss chard for us, still warm from the morning sun. And though everyone’s busy, we always take a minute to catch up, discuss the weather (brutal but not unexpected) and families and the future. Farmers are some of the most optimistic people I know. And they all share one common thread. They want to nourish their communities with the healthiest food possible, no matter the sacrifices and hardships they face in their own lives. The best and prettiest produce always goes to the customers, while the blemished and misshapen inhabit their own tables.

And even though farming means longer, harder hours then most of us can imagine – they then bring all that goodness to us, making it convenient to eat well – through farmers markets, buyers clubs neighborhood deliveries and deliveries to our local stores. Our friends Molly and Mike Peterson of Mount Vernon Farm know this routine well and go out of their way just to accommodate everyone – including taking care of our furry friends by meeting us for Pawgevity pickups on off delivery weeks.

Our localpreneur experiences aren’t limited to just food but other forms of nourishment as well. Thursday evening we experienced locally produced art and wine courtesy of Barrel Oak Middleburg and the Byrne Gallery. Middleburg, VA has become quite the art and vino lovers’ destination with the opening of BOM – where you can sip tasty wine (with your dog, no less) as you peruse lovely art – followed by a short stroll down the street to view the current exhibition of Vienna, VA abstract artist Nia Tavlarides Stratos at the Byrne. If you don’t think you like abstract art, run don’t walk to Nia’s exhibition – this DC native artpreneur brings pure joy and beauty to every canvas she touches – a calling – in her words “I see art in everything, every moment, every day”. (Confession – Nia and I have been friends since kindergarten and I’ve watched her art evolve from elementary school to world class talent).

But back to foodpreneurs – obviously a favorite topic! Yesterday we hit two farmers markets – one very small, one quite large – both fun destinations with uniquely wonderful local goods. New Market, VA was our first stop where we picked up Cabin Creek Roasters coffee; corn relish and other goods from our Shenandoah Farms friends; baked yummies and even locally produced eco laundry and dish detergent. One of our favorite finds was this recycled, repurposed bag – we didn’t meet the woman who makes them but simple, pure, purposeful, entrepreneurial genius.

Then on to Harrisonburg – the farmers’ market was abuzz with activity. Between the two stops, we picked up our groceries for the week. Sprite melon (ever tried these cute little guys? – they’re wonderful), cantaloupe, elderberries, tomatoes, basil, arugula, baby purple potatoes, mini eggplant, garlic, rainbow radishes, Firefly Garlic Fire hot sauce (their tagline: “It will light your a.. up!”), A Bowl of Good stuffed bread, shitake mushrooms, bi-color corn. All grown and produced locally – some picked just that morning. We tried to purchase a little something from each of the stands as all had so much to offer. Focus is always on the unique, heirloom, unrecognizable – we encourage you to try something new from your farmers market every week – it encourages the farmers to diversify and grow things you’ll never find in the supermarket. Move over Monsanto!

Shopping wasn’t limited to healthy fantastic foods, however – I wasn’t able to resist Staunton artist Carmen Rose’s handcrafted art glass earrings, especially after meeting Carmen. The story behind the ingenious recycled puzzle piece earrings she had on display – “I woke up one morning with this great new idea to make earrings using puzzle pieces! Later I was looking on etsy and – it had already been done”. She tweaked her organic vision and made her own take on them. I’ll be picking up a pair of those on our next trip.

Want to support your locals? Let’s spread the word. Who are some of your favorites?

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Cancer Fighting Powerhouse

This post is written by Mike Peterson, Farm Manager at Mount Vernon Farm.

Mike Peterson of Mount Vernon Farm


Lamb seems to be one of the most misunderstood and under-appreciated meats that I have worked with in my career in kitchens as well as raising them at Mount Vernon. We often get customers into the farm store who say they strongly dislike conventional lamb – the taste, smell, and texture. The common response I give is “Have you tried our lamb?” or “What was the lamb fed and how was it raised? Faces go blank and the “I don’t know, does it matter?” question is the answer. Grain fed lamb has an oily and mealy texture and the taste can often times be off-putting. When grain is introduced as a feed to a lamb or sheep, much like it will to a cow, it disrupts the delicate balance of the rumen. The rumen is the 4 compartment stomach of the lamb designed to eat and digest grass. Not only will over-indulgence on this sweet ‘candy’ make the animal sick, but it also imparts negative health factors into the meat that we and our four legged friends consume. When the rumen becomes upset, antibiotics are introduced into animal feed to keep the animals alive long enough to go to market.

Corn, soybean meal, and cottonseed meal (all common ingredients in conventional livestock feed) are very high in omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids are considered essential fats for the body and we all need them from external sources because our bodies cannot manufacture them. High levels of omega 6 fatty acids are known contributors of coronary disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. Coincidentally nature has provided us with a resource to combat these lethal doses of omega 6 fatty acids. The Omega 3 fatty acid comes through our systems and balances issues that the omega 6 has blocked in our systems; they are known to prevent and treat coronary disease, hypertension, hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and other autoimmune disorders, too. Imagine all of this and you don’t need to take a single pill!

Photo of Mount Vernon Farm courtesy of MjM Photography http://www.mjmphotography.biz/

Grain fed animals are known to have omega 6:omega3 ratios in the neighborhood of 20:1. Grass fed and grass finished animals on the other hand are as low as 2:1. Omega 3 levels of grass fed/finished beef and lamb are comparable to that of wild salmon, which has been tagged as a super food because of the amazing health benefits. The animal produces these high levels of Omega 3′s because they are consuming a traditional diet of green leaves and algae. Not only Omega 3′s but increased levels of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) are another bonus that nature gives all of us. Grass fed lamb has as much as 2-5 times the amount of CLA as grain fed. Increased levels of CLA in our diet have been proven time and time again to reduce the risk of cancer not only in humans, but animals as well. Beta Carotene, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, the list goes on as to the added nutrients of grass fed lamb.

I think back to conventional dried kibble for pets and looking at the ingredients list attempting to cram every possible grain filler into their diet that’s possible. Starting with the ‘meat by-product’. This animal, whether it be lamb or beef, was raised in a large feedlot, and fed a diet high on grain and chemicals. Then more grain goes directly into the food in the form of fillers. Corn gluten and corn by products will most likely round out the ingredient list. Makes you think as to why there are so many pets that develop tumors, cancer, hyperactivity, arthritis, immune system disorders, etc.

The benefits of consuming meat from a local producer who cares for the animals they raise and provides them with a diet that they were designed to eat are astronomical for humans. Why would that be any different for our pets? Consuming meat from grass fed lamb has health benefits far outweighing meat from grain fed lamb. The facts are there.

Mike Peterson is a chef turned farmer currently managing Mount Vernon Farm in Sperryville, VA, where he raises 100% Grass Fed, Grass Finished Beef & Lamb, as well as pastured pork from heritage breed Tamworth pigs. Mike spent 7 years working in 5 star kitchens across the country and came to Mount Vernon to become closer to the food that nourishes the community. Mike can be reached at the farm at 540.987.9559 or mtvfarm(@)gmail.com

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“Flooding, Farmers and Appreciation”

Mother Nature at work – first the blizzards.  And now raging waters.  Our already hardworking family farmers are on triple time.

Friday I was picking up produce at the Farm at Sunnyside in (little) Washington, VA,  for our next production run.  The country lane leading to the farm crosses a picturesque stream.  The rain was steady and the lane was already barely passable.  Our farmer friends at Sunnyside already had their contingency plan in action – packing their cooler truck for the Sunday Dupont Circle Farmers Market.  After an already long and physically exhausting day, they were getting ready to head out – two days early – to drive over an hour to DC before the road would be too dangerous to navigate.

All to get their beautiful local produce to us – their hungry customers.  That’s dedication!

And that’s just one story of many.  Kudos to all of our family farmers out there that are going the extra mile – moving their livestock to higher ground, shoring up barns for safety, monitoring their animals around the clock during the busy spring birthing season, and on.

We salute you – more than a profession, farming is a noble life.

March 14-20 is Virginia Agriculture Week.  Please take a minute to thank a farmer for all they do for us or if you’d like to send a comment here we’ll make sure our farmer friends see it.  Small family farms provide not only safe, nutritious food for the table (and our pets’ bowls), but textiles for our backs, firewood and building materials to keep us warm and sheltered, plants to beautify and enhance our landscapes, and so much more.

And thank all of you out there for your support – without you, our partner farms cannot survive and they appreciate your business.

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