Jan 2012

Winter Farm Update

Two feet of snow on the ground, 20 below wind chills and you’re doing what?  Milking cows?  This time of year always makes me question the wisdom of running livestock in the wintertime.  We typically have the advantage of mild winters here in the “banana belt,” but it can get bad!  I can tell stories of the brutal winters of the late 80’s and early 90’s milking a few hundred cows, which I don’t miss at all!  The most profitable grass-based dairies milk seasonally and dry the cows off in the winter.  Hmmm!!  Some days I wonder how that would work for us, but I just can’t get past going without milk to drink for a few months.  So, I’ll keep milking in a cold parlor with numb fingers for now!
With the rise in feed and fuel costs, we constantly analyze ideas to keep our farm profitable and keep the food flowing.  As our herd continues to grow each year, we have identified the need to upgrade the milk barn, which will reduce labor and help us improve milk quality.  This winter we will be repairing cement in the parlor, painting, and installing a pipeline and bulk milk tank.  This system will speed up the milking and bottling, which will get us out of the barn and into the field quicker.  These upgrades we hope will help us hold the line on overall production costs, allow us to get more done with fewer people, and maybe even find time for a day off!  -Doug

The last of the Navajo Sweet watermelons, in cold storage until December. The chickens loved it!

Beef Stock

Prepare for chilly days and freezing nights with homemade beef broth.  Rich in nutrients that our bodies need--especially in the winter time--this nourishing liquid can be frozen for later use, or refrigerated and consumed within a few days.  Cooking the bones in water with vinegar allows the nutrients to leach into the water.  Some of the most prevelent minerals found in beef broth include calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.  According to the Nourished Kitchen website, homemade bone broths include geletain, which "shows promise in the fight against degenerative joint disease.   It helps to support the connective tissue in your body and also helps the fingernails and hair to grow well and strong."  There are many variations on turning beef bones into nutritious stock, and we have provided two recipes to get you started. 

The first is from one of our favorite cookbooks, Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon.  The second is less specific and allows for using vegetable scraps and leftovers.  Both provide a delicious and healthful addition to your winter diet and can be consumed on its own, used as a base for soups and stews, as cooking liquid in grain dishes, or in any recipe that calls for beef broth.  Enjoy!

Recipe #1
  • About 4 pounds beef marrow and knuckle bones
  • 3 pounds meaty rib or neck bones
  • 4 or more quarts cold filtered water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 3 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • severals sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
  • 1 teaspoon dried peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  1. Place marrow and knuckle bones in large pot with vinegar and cover with water.  Let stand for one hour. 
  2. Meanwhile, roast the meaty bones at 350 degrees until well browned.  When browned, add to the pot, along with the vegetables. 
  3. Pour the fat out of the roasting pan, add cold water to the pan, bring to a boil and stir to loosen up coagulated juices.  Add this liquid to the pot. 
  4. Add additional water if necessary to cover the bones, but no higher than 1 inch below the top of the pot. 
  5. Bring to a boil.  A large amount of scum will rise to the top--remove this with a spoon. 
  6. After skimming, reduce the heat and add the thyme and peppercorns.
  7. Simmer stock for at least 12 hours.  You can cook up to 72 hours. 
  8. Just before finishing, add parsely and simmer another 10 minutes. 
  9. Remove bones, and strain stock into a large bowl.  Let cool in the refrigerator and remove the congealed fat that rises to the top. 
  10. Transfer to smaller containers and to the freezer for long-term storage. 
Recipe #2
  • 5-8 pounds of beef soup bones
  • Vegetable scraps (collect vegetable scraps and store them in the freezer in a gallon-size freezer bag.  Onions, garlic, leeks, carrot tops and peelings, celery leaves, parsley stems make good additions)
  • Filtered water
  • 2-3 Tablespoons vinegar (apple cider or white vinegar work well)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Any other ingredients desired such as fresh thyme, pepper, garlic, etc
  1. Roast the bones at 375 degrees until well-browned, about an hour.  Don't skip this step as it provides wonderful flavor to the broth! 
  2. Place the bones in a big stock pot along with the vegetable scraps, and cover with water. 
  3. Deglaze the roasting pan with a little water, and add to the stock pot. 
  4. Bring stock pot to a boil then add the vinegar, bay leaves, and any other spices (such as peppercorns).
  5. Turn the heat to low and simmer for several hours, at least 4.  Every 30 minutes or so, skim off any scum that rises to the top of the pot and discard.  Add water as needed during the simmering process.
  6. When done, remove the bones and filter the remaining stock into containers.  Cool in the refrigerator.  Once cooled, the fat will rise to the top and you can scoop it out and discard, or use for cooking fat.  The stock can be frozen or kept in the refrigerator for a few days. 

Winter Farm Update
Beef Broth

Raw Milk Fast Facts Part Two
Friends of Larga Vista

Like Winter on the Farm.... on Facebook

Raw Milk Fast Facts: Part Two

This winter, we will be delving into the nutritional content of raw milk:  what makes it so good for you.  As this is a lengthy topic, we are going to spread it out over several months.  In this second segment, we will look into the vitamin content of raw milk. 

Raw milk is chock full of vitamins in their purest, most bio-available form.  Applying heat to the milk, as in the pasturization process, destroys many of these vitamins.  Pasturized milk is fortified with vitamins, but these are "synthetic, laboratory-created versions of naturally-occuring vitamins.  They are not treated the same way as natural vitamins by your body" (Nourished Kitchen).  Vitamins are classified into two groups:  water soluble and fat soluble.

Water Soluble Vitamins--the B-complex vitamins and vitamin C--are not stored in the body but need to be replenished every day.  According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, up to 80% of water soluble vitamins in milk are destroyed in the pasturization process!  
  • Vitamin B-complex:  This group includes thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, biotin and pantothenic acid. These vitamins help the body obtain energy from food. They also are important for maintaining a normal appetite, good vision, healthy skin, healthy nervous system, and red blood cell formation (Colorado State University Extension).  Vitamin B6 helps the body to break down protiens and is vital for the function of the immune system produce antibodies that fight many diseases.  Vitamin B12 helps maintain the nervous system and is needed to make DNA, the body's genetic material found in all cells.
  • Vitamin C:  Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C helps hold body cells together, aids in healing wounds, assists in bone and tooth formation, strengthens the blood vessel walls, is vital for the function of the immune system, and improves absorption and utilization of iron.  (Colorado State University Extension).  Since vitamin C is not stored in your body, it is important to get plenty of it from your food each day.  Raw milk contains some vitamin C, while pasturized milk typically contains none.

Fat Soluble Vitamins--vitamins A, E, D, and K--are stored by the body in the liver and fatty tissues.  It is important to eat high quality fats which will contain both a higher quantity and quality of these critical vitamins.  Drink your raw milk whole to not miss out on any of these vitamins. 

  • Vitamin A:  This vitamin is essential for growing children!  It promotes a healthy immune system, fertility, good vision and healthy skin.  The skin, eyes, and mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, throat and lungs depend on vitamin A to remain moist. Vitamin A also plays a role in the health of the heart, in bone growth and tooth development (CSU Extension).
  • Vitamin D:  Critical to bone health, endocrine health, and immune system function.  Vitamin D deficiency is linked to high blood pressure, cancer, periodontal disease, osteoporosis and autoimmune disease.  Vitamin D is important in the body’s use of calcium and phosphorous, and its presence increases the amount of calcium absorbed from the small intestine. Children especially need adequate amounts of vitamin D to develop strong bones and healthy teeth.  Synthetic Vitamin D2 and D3 are commonly added to pasturized milk.  D2 has high toxicity levels and has been linked to heart disease, and D3 is difficult for our bodies to absorb, and both are best to avoid. (Nourishing Traditions and CSU Extension).
  • Vitamin E:  This is a powerhouse vitamin and is a critical antioxidant that helps fight the effects of free radicals in the body.  It's essential for cell health and is "remarkably effective in mitigating cardiovascular disease with protective effects for the entire circulatory system.  Vitamin E also promotes healthy, clear skin.  Due to its status as an antioxidant, it could prove helpful in the fight against cancer.  Beyond that, it’s critical for eye health and may mitigate the effects of cataracts" (Nourished Kitchen).
  • Vitamin K:  This vitamin is naturally produced by the bacteria in the intestines of individuals with healthy gut bacteria.  Taking antibiotics reduces the body's natural ability to produce vitamin K, which plays an essential role in normal blood clotting.  Vitamin K also supports bone health, "even reducing post-menopausal bone loss among women.  Interestingly, vitamin K may even prove effective in the fight against degenerative cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease" (Nourished Kitchen).

Remember to drink your milk raw and whole to get all these wonderful vitamins in your diet naturally!

Friends on the Farm

We've met most of you at markets, milk drops or in the barn but haven't really shared our story of how and why we came to Larga Vista Ranch.

We met Kim and Doug at a restaurant closing in Pueblo in December of 2006. We learned about their dairy and after researching the benefits of raw milk wanted to sign up as shareholders. We had just moved to Pueblo, didn't know anybody, and had a 2 year-old and newborn son. We spent quite a bit of time on the farm during the year and a half that we lived in Colorado. William would help out when he could and we loved being at the farm.

In 2008 we had to move back to California but we knew that we would be back someday--the farm had made a huge impact on us. We are so thankful for what we learned about Weston A. Price and the benefits of a regenerative diet. We were able to reverse our boys' extensive tooth decay with diet, I was able to get rid of my horrible anxiety and panic attacks, and we know that the reason our family is as healthy as we are is because of the high value we put on the food we eat.

In 2010 we had our 3rd son and decided it was time to make plans to get back to the farm. We didn't make it here until spring of 2011, but when we did it felt like we were home. Our older boys spent the summer catching bullfrogs in the pond, playing in the mud, climbing trees, building forts...all the things boys should be doing. But also learning what it means to work. They help their dad feed cows, pigs and chickens. They collected eggs, planted gardens and helped harvest. They even helped sell watermelons at the markets!  They have learned some amazing life lessons just in the short time we have been here. We have nursed baby pigs back to life, bottle fed baby cows, and worked harder than we ever have in our lives... and we love it!

We've seen first hand the heart ache and the rewards of being on a farm.
We enjoy working alongside Doug and Kim, and we feel privileged that we are able to be here and look forward to getting to know all of you more.

William, Melanie, Caleb, Seth, and Andrew

Thank you for your continued support of Larga Vista Ranch!

Kim and Doug Wiley and sons