June 27, 9-9:30AM CT, live w Wedge & Wheel cheese shop. Why a public radio guy now promotes local, artisan, farmstead cheese.

What: Deep Roots Radio interview with Chris Cahtz, owner/proprietor of Stillwater, Minnesota’s Wedge & Wheel cheese shop and bistro. Nineteen months into this venture, the assortment and menu is growing with demand.
When: Saturday, June 27, 2015, 9:00-9:30AM Central Time
Where: Broadcast and streamed live from the studios of WPCA Radio, 93.1FM, and www.wpcaradio.org
Why: Why would a public radio exec move from broadcast to cheese mongering? And why in Stillwater, Minnesota? Tune in and meet Chris Cahtz: hear his story and why he’s fostering the growth of local, farmstead cheeses. I think you’ll discover that it makes all the sense in the world to make tracks for the Wedge & Wheel.
I hope you’ll tune in.

Connecting the dots between what we eat and how it's grown

Connecting the dots between what we eat and how it’s grown

Cody Holmes – growing from grass-fed ranch to regional food hub.

Cody Holmes began beef ranching conventionally – with all the hormones, additives and labor demanded by the conventional system. Once he’d decided he’d had enough, he adopted and adapted his operation into one of the model multi-species grazing farms in the USA.
Author of “Ranching Full Time on Three Hours a Day,” Cody and his wife and partner Dawnnell and their daughter Taylor, operate Real Farm Foods on their 1,100-acre farm, Rockin H Ranch, in Norwood, Missouri (east of Springfield). But they are not standing pat in their business. Cody is extending his enterprise to include many other farms and farmers in a regional food hub providing grass-fed meats, vegetables, eggs and dairy, and a growing variety of value-added products.
In this Deep Roots Radio interview, Cody describes the vision and challenges of developing a local food hub to meet his area’s growing demand for delicious, high-quality, clean, and healthful foods. Enjoy.

Connecting the dots between what we eat and how it's grown

Connecting the dots between what we eat and how it’s grown


Investing slow $$$ to build a better food system, faster. Chat with Renewing the Countryside’s Brett Olson.

One way to move America’s food system to great taste, high nutrition, environmental stewardship, humane animal welfare, and fair wages is through thoughtful investment – slow money. What is slow money? How does it work and what does it mean to you and me? How can you and I make a difference? Find out in this Deep Roots Radio interview with Brett Olson, co-founder and creative director of Renewing the Countryside. Minnesota’s first Slow Monday event is June 17, 2015, 5:00-8:00PM at Como Park, St. Paul, Minn. For information on this event, click here.

The real dirt on soil-Why it matters to human/earth health. Live w A&L Great Lakes Lab soil guru

BueLingo beef cattle graze

Our beef cattle graze all growing season

I did some weeding in the herb garden while the morning was still cool. It had rained yesterday, so the soil was loose and earthworms were everywhere. I shook all kinds of bugs from the weeds’ roots. For the 300th time, I wondered why weeds grow so aggressively while basil takes forever to sprout.
After half an hour, I got up off my knees and stretched my back. As I brushed my jeans, I saw that my nails were – once again – packed with dirt. I bent down and grabbed a handful of garden soil. It was rich, black and crumbly. It smelled clean and warm and, well, earthy.
Dave and I work hard to keep our soil alive with earthworms, insects, bacteria and fungi. Why? Because it makes a huge difference to the nutrition in the grass our cows eat and to the vegetables we grow in the garden. How does it make a difference? Ahh, that’s the topic for tomorrow’s Deep Roots Radio show!
What: Deep Roots Radio live with Jamie Bultemeier, agronomist and certified crop advisor with A&L Great Lakes Laboratories, Inc., Fort Wayne, IN
When: June 13, 2015, 9:00-9:30 AM Central Time
Where: Broadcast and streamed live from the studios of WPCA Radio, 93.1FM (in and around Amery, WI), and worldwide on the web at wpcaradio.org
I hope you’ll join us.
Sylvia Burgos Toftness
Deep Roots Radio, 91.3FM and www.wpcaradio.org

Deep Roots Radio, 91.3FM and www.wpcaradio.org


Video: moving cows to fresh pasture. Great beef starts with the soil and grass.

My husband Dave and I are committed to a handful of values: living in thanksgiving to God, nurturing our marriage and family, producing delicious and nutritious beef, using agricultural practices that regenerate soil and pastures, improving our financial sustainability, and contributing to a thriving local community.
These core principles matter to us, to our neighbors and to our customers.
Moving our cattle from paddock (small field) to paddock is one of the things we do to regenerate soil, reinvigorate our grasses, and promote the health and growth of our BueLingo beef cattle. This practice, called rotational grazing, accomplishes several things at the same time: it puts fresh, sweet grass under the noses of the cattle; their hoof action churns up the soil and exposes dormant seeds to sun and rain, thereby increasing the diversity of plants in the field; the herd deposits fertilizer as the move; and it avoid spending money and fuel to move feed to the cattle and to remove waste from a barn. At the same time, the cows move as a herd across open fields. This is important because cows are social creatures – they are most calm and healthiest when they are with their herd. Because they are on pasture, the herd is also in open sunshine and moving on springy grass and soil. This promotes strong bodies.
I hope you enjoy this very short video of moving the herd from one paddock to the next. Although it takes time and effort for me to set up the electric fences for the temporary paddocks, moving the herd is easy because they’re always eager for fresh grass.

Slow $$ to build a better food system. May 30, 2015, 9:00-9:30AM CT live w Brett Olson

What: Deep Roots Radio with Renewing the Countryside’s Brett Olson. When: Saturday, May 30, 2015, 9:00-9:30AM Central Time Where: Broadcast and streamed live from the studios of WPCA Radio 93.1FM, and www.wpcaradio.org Why: One way to move America’s food system to great taste, high nutrition, environmental stewardship, humane animal welfare, … Continue reading


Dirty, dusty, messy little Siggy

*An ongoing adventure story for children of all ages*
It’s time, thought Sylvia.
She looked down at her little dog and noticed his smudged nose, dirty paws and matted fur. Hmmmm.
Siggy is 10 weeks old and loves his home, Bull Brook Keep. Sylvia and her husband Dave raise beef cows on the farm. The cows eat grass, and only grass, their entire lives. This makes them big and strong and very healthy.
Siggy likes to watch the cows and the new little calves running in the fields.
Siggy also runs and plays every day. He rolls in the wet grass, splashes through muddy puddles, runs on dusty roads, and digs in the dirt. Sylvia looked at Siggy and saw that his fur was covered with dried mud, loose dirt, wood chips, and who-knows-what! Phew!
Sylvia leaned down and petted his little head. “Siggy,” she said, “it’s time to clean up.”
Siggy didn’t know what she meant, but sat and listened as the laundry tub filled with water. When it was about five inches deep, Sylvia gently lifted the young puppy and placed him in the warm water.
Siggy whined. He didn’t know if he liked this at all.
Sylvia gently spoke to Siggy as she bathed him with a very gentle soap and then rinsed him off. Siggy was glad the bath was over. As soon as he was out of the tub, he shook and shook and shook the water from his fur. Sylvia laughed as water drops flew everywhere.

Soon Siggy was dry and comfortable again. He was clean and ready for his next adventure.
Clean and ready to go

Clean and ready to go

For more stories about Siggy, click here.


Oh, my! Where’s Siggy?!

There’s lots of grass on Bull Brook Keep because our BueLingo cattle eat grass – and only grass – their entire lives.

Where's Siggy?

Where’s Siggy?

Knee-high grass is a challenge when your legs are only four inches long!


Siggy – the stubborn puppy

An ongoing adventure story for children of all ages

Siggy is making progress

Siggy is making progress

Siggy is now nine weeks old. He loves running around with the big boys – Chevy, a nine-year old German Shorthair Pointer, and Parker, the five-year old English Setter. Siggy runs and jumps on them and wants to play with them all the time. Sylvia, Siggy’s master, knows playtime is important for little puppies. She also knows that Siggy must learn some basic lessons so that he will grow to be a useful, obedient and safe worker on the farm.

Chevy and Parker are also working dogs – they help David hunt for pheasants, grouse, and woodcock. David spent many, many months training Chevy and Parking to do their jobs well. Both dogs come to David when he says “here,” and they stop moving when they hear the word “whoa.” When David says “heel,” both dogs will walk close to David’s left leg. They do not run ahead of David, nor do they trail behind him. This is important because it means David can prevent the dogs from running into traffic, or from being distracted from their job – hunting.
Right now, because he is very young, Siggy has not learned to obey Sylvia’s commands. In fact, Sylvia knows Siggy is very independent and can be a very stubborn little dog! He will not always come to her when Sylvia says “here.” This is a problem because Sylvia wants to keep Siggy safe from traffic and from large animals that can hurt little dogs. He must also learn the very basic commands before he can begin to learn to be a herding dog that will work with the free-range chickens, and perhaps, the grass-fed BueLingo cows as well.
Sylvia wondered, “What can I do to train Siggy better?” She asked her friend Claire for some advise.
Claire knows all about training puppies. She told Sylvia, “Don’t put Siggy’s food in a bowl any more. Instead, feed Siggy from your hand, and only give him some food after he obeys your commands.”
Sylvia thanked Claire and began to do this several times every day. For example, early in the morning, Sylvia brings Siggy to a quiet spot and gives him a command. She says “sit,” “here,” or “stay.” When Siggy obeys her command, Sylvia feeds him some of his puppy food directly from her hand. Siggy is learning to obey!!
Sylvia knows that there are many, many months of training ahead, but now Siggy is making progress.

For all story installments, click here.