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

Ya gotta have heart!!

Americans love their flame grilled steaks, simmering pot roasts, and juicy burgers. But what about the rest of that 100% grass-fed steer? What do you do with the heart, liver, tongue, oxtail, shank bones and other lesser known cuts? Today, we’ll focus on the heart because it can become a favorite.
The heart of a full-grown beef steer can weight four or five pounds.It’s the most lean cut of meat in the cow. It’s also a muscle that’s worked constantly since conception. Lack of fat and constant use can make any muscle tough if not cooked correctly. Fortunately, there’s a great recipe and approach that makes for a luscious stew of tender morsals.
I adapted this recipe from Jennifer McLagan’s “Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal.” I’ve tapped the unique cooking powers of a stove-top pressure cooker to yield tender beef and a savory sauce. It’s a hearty meal when served over hot rice and with a side of steamed carrots. I washed my dinner down with home-brewed kombucha.

Moroccan beef heart stew with brown rice and home-fermented kimchi.

Moroccan beef heart stew with brown rice and home-fermented kimchi.

Here’s a recipe for a 4 lb. heart. If you have a cut of heart that’s smaller, simply reduce the other ingredients proportionally. Or, you can make the full recipe for the sauce – it’s delicious on eggs, polenta, rice or baked potatoes. Here’s the recipe:
Braised Heart

When it’s too hot: Get ready…set…ferment!

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It feels like 150 degrees out there; way too hot for picking beans, weeding beets and thinning carrots. And the thought of putting huge pots of water to boil to blanch greens and can veggies is crazy-making. But that’s what summer’s about, isn’t it – enjoying what you can now of the fruits and veggies from your garden, CSA box or farmers market, and preserving the rest for the much cooler days we know are ahead.
Fermentation is a great way to preserve veggies without heating up the kitchen. For example, yesterday – when it was 84 degrees – I put up kimchi (think of a very spicy Asian version of sauerkraut) and swiss chard stems. It was easy.
What is fermentation, you ask? It’s a method of preserving foods that’s been used for thousands of years by cultures the world over.
In a nutshell, and at its most basic, what you do is submerge your chopped, sliced or whole veggie in salted water (a brine) and then let the action of anaerobic bacteria do their work to “sour” the food. The beneficial micro-organism harnessed for this work is lactobacillus bacteria. That’s why this process is sometimes referred to as lacto-fermentation.
By the way, although the terms sound similar, lacto-fermentation has nothing to do with milk and lacto-intolerance. Instead, lacto refers to the lactic acid produced by the bacteria which acidifies the food, releases additional nutrients from the veggie, and keeps it safe to eat. Think of sauerkraut – fermented cabbage. Fermented foods can be ready to eat in a handful of days or after several weeks, and then stored for months more. Key to this process is constantly keeping the veggies submerged.

Napa cabbage kimchi and swiss chard stems ferment

Napa cabbage kimchi and swiss chard stems ferment


Oh, and what did I do with the chard leaves I stripped from the stems? I blanched them in boiling water for two (2) minutes and then plunged them into ice water to stop the cooking and ready them for the freezer. Again – easy.
So what’ll it be this weekend (after it cools down enough to head out to the garden)? I think I’ll pick green beans to ferment with a brine and a variety of other spices. Fennel? Caraway? Dill? What will work best with my grass-fed beef burgers, pot roasts and steaks?
Here are some of the books I’m using to build my fermentation skills:
– The Art of Fermentation, by Sandor E. Katz
– Fermented Vegetables, by Kristen K. Shockey & Christopher Shockey
– The Kimchi Cookbook, by Lauryn Chun
– The Nourished Kitchen, by Jennifer McGruther
– Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning, by The Gardeners & Farmers of Terre Vivante
What are you fermenting?
Sylvia

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.
Sylvia

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

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

What goes with garlic, brandy, home-made bone broth, & 3 hours?

How to start dinner!

How to start dinner!

One of the great things about being a sustainable farmer is that sometimes you’re faced with interesting challenges.
So there I was with a gallon of home-made chicken bone broth (from the roasted carcasses of our own free-range birds) and a cool spring afternoon. What to do?
I paired the rich broth with several home-grown garlic cloves, a couple of harvested chickens – including an old nasty-tempered roaster that weighed in at over 12 pounds – some good brandy, red wine and celery.
First, I browned about half a pound of bacon in a very large fry pan. I sautéed a huge chopped onion in the fat, and then distributed the fragrant mix between a couple of large enameled cast iron casseroles.
I dredged the disjointed chicken pieces in flour seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper. I heated up the fry pan once again and browned all the chicken. They, too, went into the casseroles.
I swished 1.5 c of brandy in the hot fry pan, tossed in a lit match and jumped back as flames shot up. What a glorious aroma. I divided the brandy between the two casseroles, and now used the same pan to heat a quart of the broth. While it was warming, I chopped 8 celery sticks into 1.5-inch pieces and added them to the pots.
Once the broth reached a simmer, I portioned it out to the two casseroles. I brought both pots up to a low simmer, covered them, and popped them into a 250-degree oven.
It’ll take at least three hours for these old birds to become —- coq au vin!
I hope you’re having a great dinner as well.
Sylvia

Morning break after a three-dog night

It hit -28 last night at Bull Brook Keep, and that’s without taking windchill into account.
After pulling on my flap-earred hat, long-johns and heavy jacket, I fed and watered the chickens and fully expected to find frozen eggs in the nest boxes. Today’s harvest was small and cold, but not frozen. I’ll check the coop several times this morning to gather up any new contributions before they freeze and crack.

Hot and spicy break after a three-dog night

Hot and spicy break after a three-dog night


Chilly morning chores prompt substantial morning breaks. Today’s includes toasted French sourdough fortified with pastured butter and homemade jalapeño jelly, extra sharp Cheddar, a fresh pear and piping hot organic Welsh Morning tea with plenty of organic half-and-half and vanilla-spiked organic sugar. Thank you God.