About Sylvia Burgos Toftness

A Latina from the tenements of the South Bronx, I now raise 100% grass-fed beef in west central Wisconsin with my husband Dave. We believe more people will choose to farm and eat healthful foods if they know the connections between what we eat and how it's grown. That's why we invite you to walk the fields with us; hear from experts on my Saturday morning show, Deep Roots Radio; share our adventures on my blog, From the Bronx to the Barn; and buy our sustainably grown beef. We farm with a tiny carbon hoofprint (R) so that you can enjoy great-tasting grass-fed beef that's high in nutrition while helping to restore our environment.

Artisan baking classes scheduled for Oct., Nov. and Dec. Get up to your elbows in flour and fun!

Beef, bread and brewed tea. What can I say, I really enjoy all three.

Dave and I raise 100% grass-fed beef using sustainable practices because of the wonderful results: great-tasting beef, happy cows, restored pastures, living soil.
I love baking bread for similar reasons: using healthful ingredients; employing the power of sourdough to raise the dough and to combat many of the anti-nutrients that make breads, seeds and beans difficult to digest; listening to the “yumm’s” when friends and family savor the loaves, pizzas or biscuits; and, sharing the baking experience with students. YOU CAN all bake artisan loaves in your home oven.
Oh, and the tea? Well, I just like milky, sweet tea – English style.

Please click here for the schedule of baking classes in Oct., Nov., and Dec. Classes will focus either on baking with sourdough or baking with poolish (the basis for focaccia, ciabatta and pizza). Classes are hands-on (minimum 4, maximum 6 students, unless otherwise arranged).
Register online, or send me an email and pay with a check.
I’ll soon post the January and February schedules. Email me if you’d like an alert to the schedule.
You can also arrange for private classes with family and friends. Just contact me to schedule, 651-238-8525, sylvia@bullbrookkeep.com

Bring an apron and prepare to eat well, to get your hands covered in flour, and to have fun!
Sylvia

Just what is a CSA farm? Is there one near you?

from CSA

CSAs, like farmers markets, have been increasing in number dramatically in the last 10 years. Here’s some basic information about CSAs and why they’re a good source of fresh, local produce.
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, each CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. Typically, members or “share-holders” of the farm or garden pledge in advance to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer’s salary. In return, they receive shares in the farm’s bounty throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land and participating directly in food production. Members also share in the risks of farming, including poor harvests due to unfavorable weather or pests.
By direct sales to community members, who have provided the farmer with working capital in advance, growers receive better prices for their crops, gain some financial security, and are relieved of much of the burden of marketing.

Find a CSA Farm Near You Search National farm databases by city, state, or zipcode

Local Harvest – http://www.localharvest.org/csa/
AgMap – http://agmap.psu.edu/
Search the Business category for the term Community Supported Agriculture or use the Advanced Search to find a local CSA.
Wilson College, Robyn Van En Center, CSA Farm Database – http://www2.wilson.edu/CsaSearch/
The Eat Well Guide – http://www.eatwellguide.org/

Local Food Directories. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service. Includes directories of farmers markets, on-farm markets, CSAs, and food hubs.
https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/local-regional/food-directories
Local Food Directories. ATTRA – The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service – http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/local_food/search.php

Jim Riddle on the new Organic Farmers Association – the certified organic farmers voice in Washington, D.C.

Although there are hundreds of environmental, agricultural and good-food nonprofits nationwide, Jim Riddle asserts that none represents the voice and influence of the 16,000 certified organic farmers in the US today. In this Deep Roots Radio interview, organic farming pioneer and policy analyst Jim Riddle describes how the Organic Farmers Association, a new member-driven organization, will represent certified organic farmers in the policy and regulation issues debated in Washington, D.C. Jim heads the 18-member steering committee developing the foundational documents and procedures for the Organic Farmers Association.
A certified organic grower, Jim is a former chair of the National Organic Standards Board, was the founding chair of the Organic Inspectors Association, and co-authored their manual. Jim was instrumental in the passage of Minnesota’s landmark organic certification cost-share program, which is now a Farm Bill program.
I hope you enjoy this interview.
Sylvia

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

Three Wisconsin women farmers battle to legalize sale of home-baked goods

In this Deep Roots Radio interview, Lisa Kivirist describes the multi-year battle to legalize the sale of home-baked goods in the state Wisconsin. The Badger state has been one of only two in the entire country that has not permitted the sale of home-baked muffins, cookies and breads.
Lisa is one of three women farmers who sued the state in this effort, and recently won a state Judge’s declaration that the ban against the sale of home-baked goods is unconstitutional.Her sister champions in this effort are Dela Ends (Scotch Hill Farm) and Kriss Marion (Circle M Farm and Bed & Breakfast).
Lisa is an assertive champion of women farmers and their ability to build their farm-based businesses. The author of several books on eco-entrepreneurship, she and her husband run the award-winning Inn Serendipity Farm and Bread and Breakfast in southern Wisconsin.
I hope you enjoy this lively interview.
Sylvia

French sourdough boules

Peace Coffee: serving up great taste, social justice, environmental stewardship cup after cup

Drink coffee? One, two, three cups a day? Now multiply that simple act by several hundred million people every day. It’s hard to imagine the mountain of coffee beans needed to satisfy that thirst. Now, consider that those beans could work not only to create delicious brews, but also to produce a fair wage for farmers half way around the world.

This is the reality for at least a small percentage of coffee harvested for the American market because of Peace Coffee, a firm headquartered in a city you might now automatically associate with the tropical coffee bean – Minneapolis, Minnesota. In this Deep Roots Radio interview, Peace Coffee CEO (and Queen Bean) Lee Wallace describes the business’s unorthodox beginnings in 1996 and its steady growth since then.

Yes, every cup of coffee you buy could help farmers move from poverty to a living wage.

I hope you enjoy the interview.

Sylvia

One of the varieties of Peace Coffee

Audio

The benefits of sourdough breads of ancient grains w Therese Asmus

I hope you enjoy this Deep Roots Radio interview with Therese Asmus, of Artistta Homestead, is a long-time baker and teacher dedicated to the nutritional and flavorful benefits of sourdough breads made with ancient grains. She shares research and insights into the nutritional differences among ancient grains and contrasts their digestibility with commercially varieties.

Loaves made with ancient grains


She says many customers who can’t tolerate goods baked with conventional varieties can now enjoy bread again.
Sylvia

Video

New calf, sights and sounds from Bull Brook Keep

Spring has arrived on Bull Brook Keep. We greeted our first calf, a little bull, yesterday morning. He’s now tagged #82, and he the cow are doing fine.
I’ll be at the CSA Fair at the Farm Table Restaurant in Amery, WI tomorrow afternoon, March 25, 12noon-4:00.
I thought you might enjoy some pics and videos, old and new, from the farm. This brief slide show includes a short video clip of the new calf.
I hope to see you at the Fair.

Sylvia

3/18/17, 9-9:30AM CT Deep Roots Radio – live w Iowa City Millet Seed urban farm -small scale cover cropping

What: Deep Roots Radio interview with Jon Yagla, co-owner/operator of The Millet Seed urban farm, Iowa City
When: Saturday, March 18, 2017 9:00-9:30AM Central Time
Where: Broadcast on WPCA Radio 93.1 FM and streamed live at www.wpcaradio.org
Why: Operating a small-scale urban farm complete with seasonal plantings and cover-cropping and no tractor!

I hope you’ll tune in!

Sylvia

Image

Morning mist rising above snowy Bull Brook Keep

BueLingo cattle relax as the sun and mist rise

Our BueLingo cattle thrive not only in the warmth of summer, but in every season. They walk the pastures, and get fresh air and water every day of the year. This helps them stay healthy and contented, and helps produce great-tasting beef with high nutritional content.

Dave and I manage our herd and farm in harmony with nature – farming with a tiny carbon hoofprint (R).

We hope you’ll come visit us at Bull Brook Keep, home of 100% grass-fed beef. We’re a beautiful ride from the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area.

Sylvia

Audio

David S. Cargo: community ovens and classes to build portable wood-fired ovens

Always dreamed of pulling crisp, bubbling pizzas from your own wood-fired oven? Whether you live on a city lot or out in the country, David S. Cargo can show you how to build a portable oven in just a couple of hours. No special tools required. You’ll leave the class with know-how, new friends, and having enjoyed some freshly made pizza, pita and naan. Ya can’t beat just-baked artisan breads.

I hope you enjoy this Deep Roots Radio interview with David S. Cargo, professional baker, community oven enthusiast, and popular instructor. He’ll be holding his hands-on classes in five states this year, including Minnesota and Wisconsin. You can find his class schedule on his website, here.

Sylvia

A couple of newly constructed ovens