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.

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

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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

Audio

Rancher Gabe Brown on regenerative, holistic farming on any scale, and profitability even in transition

I hope you enjoy this Deep Roots Radio interview with North Dakota rancher Gabe Brown on the principles of regenerative farming that will yield health and profitability even as you transition your operation – large or small.

Gabe will be in Amery, Wisconsin February 9th for a full day workshop in which he will describe how he, wife and son have worked to transform their 2,000-acre, diversified farm to a healthy, profitable business while improving soil and regenerating the landscape. In addition to raising and direct-marketing grass-fed beef and other livestock, Gabe grows and sells cash crops from his sustainable farm.

Go to hungryturtle.net to register for the workshop. I hope to see you there!

Sylvia

Audio

Andrew French-about breeding/raising happy heritage cross pigs on pasture w/o hormones, antibiotics

I hope you’ll enjoy this Deep Roots Radio interview with Andrew French about breeding and raising heritage-cross pigs in the frigid Wisconsin climate. Andrew is owner/farmer of Full Boar Farm13567341_1045922135462087_1991272975066190573_n-2 in Boyceville, Wisconsin, and a frequent contributor about sustainable farming to magazines such as ACRES USA.
His objectives? Happy, healthy pigs; restoring the land; and, producing great-tasting pork.

Sylvia

Audio

American Public Media on Bull Brook Keep – about un-retiring to the farm

As Dave and I look forward to 2017, and look back on the several few years, I again appreciate an interview I did with American Public Media’s Chris Farrell last year.
Chris’ program is about unretirement – what people are planning and doing as they retire from one career and move into the next part of their lives.
SummerIconThanks again, Chris, for visiting Bull Brook Keep and for considering the values David and I strive to live as we’ve made that shift from our city-based careers to our farm-anchored lives.
I hope you enjoy this interview. Bonus: the episode ends with Dessa’s “Beekeeper.”
You can find out lots more about Chris’s program, resources and other interviews at Facebook.com/unretirement.
And, I trust you will have an absolutely wonderful New Year!
Sylvia

Dec. 3, 9-9:30AM CT. Live, why bees matter

We’ve heard about it again and again: the bees are dying off, whole hives collapsing or just disappearing. Recent news stories told us the transplants we buy at local greenhouses contain pesticides that’ll kill bees. And we know that without bees and other pollinators some of our favorite foods will simply not grow. At all!

Join me and co-host Dave Corbett as we chat with Erin Rupp, executive director and founder of Pollinate Minnesota. What do bees do in winter? And how do they communicate with one another? And just what do they mean to the veggies and fruits eat?

What: Deep Roots Radio interview with Erin Rupp, Pollinate Minnesota ED/founder
When: Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, 9:00-9:30AM Central Time
Where: WPCA RADIO, 93.1FM and streamed live on www.wpcaradio.org
Why: Many fruits and vegetables depend on pollinators, like bees, to carry pollen from plant to plant so that fruit and seeds will grow. No bees, no fruit! Learn how Pollinate Minnesota is working to protect and encourage these critical workers in our food system.

Sylvia

The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming! Got your skills & gift ideas in hand?

I can’t believe it – Thanksgiving is next week!! It’s the kick off of the who-can-make-the-most-memorable-meal-and-still-look-totally-relaxed season.
And as if that weren’t enough, each of us tends to think back (dare I say, compare) to wonderful get-together’s of years past. (How is it that the quality of Grandma’s cooking rises a few inches every year?)
And then there’s the gift giving craze. Heaven help us!

Well, here are two or three fun things to consider as you rev up for the next 40 days of food and festivity:
Learn to bake hearth breads. Join with a handful of friends for a fun- and flour-filled afternoon. Yup, you can do it in your home oven. You can learn about breads based on mild French Sourdough or poolish (the starter used for making focaccia, pizza and ciabatta, just to name a few). Bread classes are: Nov. 19, Dec. 10, or Dec.17. For info and to register for one of these dates, click here.
Prepare Grass-fed beef & other pastured meats. Class demonstrates two very different approaches to preparing pastured meats for great taste and high nutrition: low & slow, AND fast. It’s not rocket science, but these approaches put lean and flavorful qualities of pastured meats center stage. Class Dec. 3. For information and to register, click here.
– Gift a class to friend or family.
– Schedule a private class for a handful of friends. Just call to arrange, 651-238-8525
– Ready for unexpected visitors? Want to start your meal with a bang? Or gathering snacks for the big game? Order 100% grass-fed beef summer sausage now. Eat guilt-free! Our summer sausage does not include added artificial nitrates and nitrites.
– Tie a bow around the summer sausage and it’s a gift!

Ben Hewitt on 21st Century homesteading for a meaningful, healthful life on 40 acres or in a 400-sq ft apartment

Author, homesteader Ben Hewitt

Author, homesteader Ben Hewitt

I hope you enjoy this Deep Roots Radio chat with author and modern-day homesteader Ben Hewitt. An engaging storyteller, Ben pulls you right into his books and their characters. His most recent publication is The Nourishing Homestead: One Back-to-the-land Family’s Plan for Cultivating Soil, Skills and Spirit. Ben, his wife Penny and their two sons grow 90% of their foods and build their lives on 40 acres in Vermont.
What they’ve learned over the years “is readily transferable to any place — whether you live on 4 acres, 40 acres or in a 400-square-foot studio apartment.

On November 10, 2016, Hewitt be in Amery, Wisconsin to share a great meal, and to describe his experiences and ideas about the tie between growing your food and quality of life, environmental consciousness and rebuilding local community.

He’s also written:
– The Town that Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food
– Making Supper Safe: One Man’s Quest to Learn the Truth about Food Safety
– Home Grown: The Adventures in Parenting off the Beaten Path, Unschooling and Reconnecting with the Natural World

Enjoy a local organic dinner, and conversation with Ben Hewitt
Nov. 10, 2015, 6:00-9:00PM
Farm Table Restaurant, Amery, WI
For tickets, www.hungryturtle.net