In this week’s podcast episode I’m joined by Sarah Hoffman of Green Dirt Farm in Missouri, where she raises sheep on pasture, milks them and turns their milk into award-winning cheese. We discuss Sarah’s journey to farm life and how her desire to raise children in that setting led her and her husband to make some courageous career choices.
Sarah ditched a medical career to become a first-time farmer. She has learned a lot about selecting farmland and maximizing its potential, learning to safely make excellent cheese, marketing and cultivating customer relationships, animal husbandry, and forage management.
A big part of Green Dirt Farm’s success today is agritourism. Sarah shares her approach to farm dinners, cheese appreciation events and other tactics that deepen the relationship between her farm and her community. Whether you’re interested in farming yourself or wanting a deeper knowledge of where your food comes from, you’ll really enjoy this interview with Sarah.
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HERE. Or, if you have an Alexa device, just say: “Alexa, play podcast Small Farm Nation.“
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What I’m Reading/Watching/Listening To
- I watched the documentary Milk Men on Amazon Prime. Milk Men explores the dairy industry in the Pacific Northwest, following farmers through changing seasons in that agricultural landscape. It’s a fascinating tale of economic pressures to grow-or-die, which is very relevant today, as I discussed in last week’s newsletter.
- On Audible, I’ve been listening to the book Kiss the Ground. Whether you buy the Audible version as I did, or read on Kindle or paperbook, I highly recommend it. It’s an intelligent, informative read that gives insight into regenerative agriculture, factory farming, climate change and how our food choices directly relate to the health of our planet. As a Sanskrit text written in about 1500BC noted: “Upon this handful of soil our survival depends. Husband it and it will grow our food, our fuel and our shelter and surround us with beauty. Abuse it and the soil will collapse and die, taking humanity with it.”
Food News You Can Use
Are there hallucinogenics in your meat?
Ketamine, a hallucinogenic party drug and experimental antidepressant. Phenylbutazone, an anti-inflammatory deemed too risky for human use. Chloramphenicol, a powerful antibiotic linked to potentially deadly anemia. All these drugs are prohibited in beef, poultry, and pork consumed in the U.S. Yet government data obtained by Consumer Reports suggest that trace amounts of these and other banned or severely restricted drugs may appear in the U.S. meat supply…
Recalling all the Recalls!
Let’s start with yet MORE meat recalls. Folks, find a local farmer and know where your food comes from!
- More than 6,000 tons of beef recalled in 25 states due to salmonella risk. This meat was sold at Ralph’s, Sam’s Club and Walmart, under the brand names of Kroger, Laura’s Lean and Generic JBS. It’s pretty much the beef everyone buys, other than those of us who support local, pastured meat farmers.
- Over a quarter million pounds of turkey were recalled, also due to salmonella contamination. It’s no surprise all these meat recalls occur when meat is combined from so many sources and ground together.
- Salmonella isn’t the only problem, as 12,000 pounds of sausage had bits of metal in them!
- Raw milk believed to be source of E. coli contamination in cheese
- YouTube video from Vox: How Salmonella-Tainted Food Gets in Your Fridge
Oh…and then there’s this one:
Listen…whether you’re a dog or a human, there’s no such thing as guaranteed food safety. There never has been. Our ancestors knew that, but we’ve largely forgotten it as we abdicated the knowledge and skill of how to feed ourselves to factories and labs. There was a time where we at least not only knew where our food came from, but we could identify it. Today, much of our food has many strange ingredients from so many places produced by so many companies/people. Is it any wonder there are so many recalls? As the New York Times said, the big companies may try but they can’t guarantee food safety.
Thanks for Appreciating My Work 🙂
- An iTunes review: “Excellent info in the Facebook podcast! That is relevant information that farmers in today’s world really need to know if they want to make it as a business.” – Kadidelhopper (Leave your own review on iTunes here).
- An Amazon review of my book, How to Make Money Homesteading: “This is honestly the most helpful book I have read in regards to homesteading. I was looking for some ideas on how to make money while being more self sufficient. This book not only gave me some great ideas, but is also full of links to other websites to learn even more from others that have been successful.” – Ava Wilson