Up to the Amish for Raw Milk II

Welcome to the second installment of going Up to the Amish for Raw Milk. But, before we get back to traveling to visit the farmers who produce our food, you have GOT to look at this segment from Portlandia, the show that is my new favorite and getting plenty of coverage in the newspaper. Watch the following video to pick up tips about eating locally, knowing your food’s origins and befriending the farmers that produce it:

Portlandia, my new favorite thing.

Getting to know your farmer, is the trendy and right thing to do.  Know your food and from whence it comes. It’s worked for us. We’ve been eating locally and organically since 2008.  We have become well, never felt better and save money. Can’t beat it! Why? Your food is cheaper because you save money on transportation costs and you eat less of it because each bite is nutrient dense, not empty calories.  You can see how your food is prepared, before you decide to incorporate its nutrients into your body and you can bet it’s fresher than anything you can buy at a mainstream grocery.

This sign, the photo taken in summer, tells of the sale of
raw milk at Your Family Cow in Chambersburg, PA.

What’s the point of visiting farms? So you can see how your food is produced and connect with the farmers, their families and the animals they are raising. It’s very important to have a positive energy about how your animal food is treated, both in life and in its humane death. As Melissa Ford of BlogHer, a woman’s blogging forum and community, mentioned, “Treating animals humanely in life and then not being concerned how they die is like smothering granny with a pillow.” An unpleasant image, but one that really hits home and paints a picture.

Your Family Cow shows lots of blue sky and green grass in
their marketing which mirrors all you see when you visit
the farm: clean cows in green grass with blue sky above them.

So, after visiting Trickling Springs Creamery in the last post, we traveled several miles to Your Family Cow where we usually buy milk, meat, eggs, cheese and baked goods. A generational family farm, Your Family Cow farmed conventionally for years, modernizing as did other farmers in the area as every new innovation was added to the agriculture toolbox. But, eventually the owner, Edwin Shank, says his family saw a diminishing rate of return and they studied organic farming and the cost benefits, turning around their operation when they became completely organic in their orientation. They’ve never looked back, lovingly producing a safe, nutritious product in all of their sale areas.

Why look! It’s Colin the chicken, from the Portlandia
video above. A healthy habitat produces healthy chickens,
kids, adults and customers.

What a happy place sustainable farms are to visit. Rather than feel the animal’s dissatisfaction with their drudgery, one can feel them happy while living in pleasant surroundings with good treatment. And the cycle of life with a respectful use for everything is an obvious theme. Things just seem to work better when one farms with nature instead of in opposition to it.

The grass fed beef freezer at Your Family Cow is always
stocked with the best. High quality pastured beef has
more nutrients so is cheaper than one would think.

A natural farming system is in place, set up as if it were planned, and surely it was. All one has to do is work with it, not against it. For instance, the cows graze in the field and spread manure around as they eat which fertilizes and restores the grass for their next season’s feeding. It’s a win-win. Everyone benefits and the cows are happy.

A bounty of homemade organic goods are available at Your
Family Cow and other farms and country stores in the area.

We shopped at Your Family Cow’s farm store for quite a while. Edwin Shank was there and we talked to him about the pastured pork that is in right now, but sure to sell out soon. Customers are increasing every week for Edwin and the Shanks as people are quickly learning to choose wholesome food products. Edwin remarked that the pork farm down the road supplying Your Family Cow with hams, sausage and ground pork will be doubling their stock for next year when they raise their pigs and hogs. This indicates a heartwarming demand showing people are continuing to know what is good for them and act on it while telling their friends.

Your Family Cow offers seasonal vegetables from the garden,
cheese, free range eggs, milk and baked goods, all fresh,
delicious and ready to actively build up bodies and minds.

On our trip last weekend, we purchased 20 pounds of hamburger, a tremendous large, thick ham steak that won’t begin to fit on a plate and a pound of sausage all for $120.00. Better food and at a reasonable price. The ham steak will serve for a number of meals as meat entree, flavoring and then as a soup base. In the past, we have paid $23.00 for nice size pork shoulder and made pulled pork Bar-B-Que for sandwiches, eating them all week.

The residents of the Shank Eco-farm, Your Family Cow, are
bright eyed, curious and eager to connect with visitors.

It is amazing how much longer grass fed and pastured cows live compared to their stockyard counterparts. The stress of living in crowded conditions, not being able to rest or lie down takes its toll. In addition, being over bred to constantly produce milk while being on drugs and antibiotics causes stockyard animals to live about half as long as those cows pastured in the fresh air while eating grass instead of grain. the average life of a stockyard cow is 5-7 years, while a grass fed cow lives 10-15 years. Organic farming studies have determined that cow replacement rates on grass fed farms are 30-46% lower.

Leaving Your Family Cow, we have a cooler full of goodies. The
Shanks are a Mennonite family.  Showing their faith, signs of
comfort welcome customers and send them on their way.

Charles Benbrook, PhD, chief scientist pf the Organic Center and former executive director of the board on agriculture of the National Academy of Sciences, led the study that investigated milk and meat production compared with money earned and environmental effects. To study this article in greater detail, click here.

Free range chickens freely run around many farms and
homes in Pennsylvania. They all seem to stick together
and know what to do to avoid intrusion.

Getting ready to leave Pennsylvania, we go on our way, secure that we have food to put in the freezer when we get home. Scenes of rural harmony are all over as we drive by great stretches of farm land occasionally dotted with small farming villages. On one of the back roads, we had a great time watching this pimped out rooster run around with his three hens. There seemed to be no friction between the individuals in this “polyamorous” relationship, a new word I learned on BlogHer this week.

Finally, the quintessential Amish experience,
seeing an Amish buggy.

When driving on the back roads in an Amish area, one is bound to come across Amish buggies driving around, running errands like everyone else. As much as I would LOVE to take photographs to share of Amish people in their buggies, that would go against the dictates of their religion forbiding the making of graven images. So, finding a buggy without anyone around it that might be offended by the intrusion of a camera made the trip. I mean how can you post about visiting the Amish without Amish people? So, here it is! We were really there. It really happened.

…And I really have a recipe for Amish Hot Fudge.

And you don’t.

Come back tomorrow for “Up to the Amish for Raw Milk III”
for Amish Hot Fudge

 

One fateful starless night, 17-year-old Ira Wagler got up at 2 AM, left a scribbled note under his pillow, packed all of his earthly belongings into in a little black duffel bag, and walked away from his home in the Amish settlement of Bloomfield, Iowa. Now, in this heartwarming memoir, Ira paints a vivid portrait of Amish life—from his childhood days on the family farm, his Rumspringa rite of passage at age 16, to his ultimate decision to leave the Amish Church for good at age 26. Growing Up Amish is the true story of one man’s quest to discover who he is and where he belongs. Readers will laugh, cry, and be inspired by this charming yet poignant coming of age story set amidst the backdrop of one of the most enigmatic cultures in America today—the Old Order Amish.

If you would are interested in reviewing this book,
hover your mouse over the following link:

Growing Up Amish: A Memoir

NaBloPoMo January 2012


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