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Breezy Hill Update Dec 4, 2015

Posted 1/4/2015 9:03pm by Art Ozias.


  • Ground beef pick up went very well.  I have started a new list, so if you weren't here this past Saturday let me know.
  • We also have a list started for pork.  Pork is now a good choice for protein.  
  • Looks like a cold week ahead so milk production will surely decline.  Milk customers may want to call, text or send an email just to make sure we have enough.
  • Just finished smoking some bacons I cured this past week.  I have almost finished a large roll of freezer paper that I bought in Dayton,Oh(1972).  That was my first time to cure/smoke bacon. That roll traveled to Maryland, Alabama, Florida, Illinois and finally to the farm.  I just knew I'd need it when I got back to the farm.
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Notes from a recent Grass Fed newsletter.  It was notes from a recent trip to Terra Madre that Greg Gunthorp made.   Very interesting.  Sounds like a great tax deductible trip for a grass finishing beef farmer (me).     "I had the honor and privilege of traveling to Turin, Italy at the end of October for the Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre event with Slow Food. It was a great trip. I met a lot of people. Ran into a lot of old friends. Got to know some acquaintances much better. I found out that I share a lot in common with people in the local sustainable food movement from all over the world. Here are a few highlights of my trip:   Before I even left the States, I met with Renee and Andrew at one of the Frontera Fresco restaurants at O'Hare. I got to try the tortas (sandwiches) with our bacon and chorizo and had a great conversation. I am so thankful for Chef Rick Bayless's support of the farm to fork movement and what his restaurants have allowed our farm and business to become.   The time thing kind of did a number on me going and coming back. I left Chicago at 3:00 in the afternoon and arrived in Germany at 5:00 am and didn't sleep on the plane much. And my work schedule meant I didn't sleep much the night before. Next time I go to Italy I want to do it on less than two days of no sleep! I'm constantly reminded that I'm getting older and it's time for the next generation of Gunthorp Farms to continue taking some of the reigns!   That first walk into Terra Madre was surreal. The thing is huge. I don't know the exact numbers but it's around 175 countries represented, 3,000 delegates, and about 200,000 visitors.      I went to meet ham producers. We are building a meat cave at the farm to make a dry cured ham. I got to see and meet some of the best from Italy, Spain, and the rest of the world. There were some 36-month Iberico Serranos that just melted in your mouth. Heavenly! It's amazing what they can do for a ham with salt and time.   The most interesting conversation I had was with a Bulgarian sausage maker. It took me two translators to find a common language to communicate with her. They do five to eight pigs a year, cure and stuff the sausage in pig bladders, char them with ashes in a fire, and hang them in the attic for up to two years. This was one of my favorite sausages. There was a time when these preservation techniques were needed because of no refrigeration. We're fortunate some of these old ways still exist because they taste really good.     I was impressed with the level of and willingness of delegates to share information. I told several people --  and was constantly reminded -- that Slow Food people in the United States are giving and love to share information, knowledge, and ideas. I don't know why I should have expected any different from the rest of the world.   My son Evan and I got the opportunity to attend Slow Food USA's Slow Meat event in Denver in June. Slow Food is doing the event again in June of 2015 as a much larger international gathering. I got to help communicate about it with people from the rest of the world.     I met the director of Slow Food Netherlands and had an interesting conversation with him.     I had a good discussion with the director of the Rare Breeds Conservancy in the United Kingdom. Tom and his people are doing some great work in the U.K. on preserving biodiversity in livestock and poultry. I got to meet in person someone I know from the Salt Cured Pig group on Facebook. Evan and I got invited to make salami in Wales with Illtud Llyr Dunsford. We are going to take him up on that.    I met some bee keepers from Brazil. I met a co-op producer that collects the fruit in the jungles of Africa that give cola its flavor. I got to meet a veterinarian doing some amazing research on animal welfare in Macedonia. I'm predicting he'll have as big of an impact on the livestock industry worldwide as Temple Grandin.   I had an interesting conversation with a government official from Cambodia. He was intrigued by our conversation, and I don't think he was a Slow Food fan, but he was having trouble arguing with our concepts. A new friend from Oregon and I got invited to go to Cambodia to discuss agriculture issues. We might be going. That would be interesting. I'd hate to guess how many countries I met people from. It was a lot.   I attended a panel made up of a farmer, a processor and two high-level officials from European Union Food Hygiene. As far as I could gather, European Union Food Hygiene is the equivalent of our USDA, FDA, and CDC combined. They talked about all kinds of foods including meat, dairy, and eggs. It was cool because the session was like watching the United Nations. Everyone had headsets on because there were three languages on the panel plus some others as people in the crowd asked questions. What you heard through the headset depended on which language you set it to. I took two points away from the panel. European Union legislation allows small producers and processors of traditional products substantial protections and, in some cases, complete exemption from the regulations. This is something our trade associations working with small producers and processors need to look into. I've yet to be able to find the EU regulations in English. It was also interesting to hear that bureaucrats all over the world have the same message: They are here to help us. They have lots of resources. The rules and regulations are there to protect the markets, farmers, processors, distributors, retailers, and consumers alike. We have the safest food supply in the world. What ended up happening in this session was the same thing that happens in U.S. listening sessions. The level of animosity in the crowd escalated as the session went on. The questions were civil at the start and people were almost yelling by the end. The officials were articulate. I'd seen this play out many times before in U.S. meetings. So, like everything else, we are not alone in the world in this regard either.   I was included in both Slow Food USA videos. I got to talk about our pig roast with the Chicago Cubs. Slow Food USA is doing meat events with entertainers and at sporting events to start the dialogue with the whole population instead of preaching to the choir. I was in a stop action video. That will be interesting to see. It took a long time to shoot.   I got to visit the world's first Eataly in Turin. It took me explaining to about four people in the store before they understood that I was a farmer from Indiana and I raise animals for the Eataly in Chicago. After I got someone that spoke some English and showed them a video of our turkeys, I got to see their "laboratory" (meat cutting room) and got a picture with two of their butchers at their chicken rotisserie. I was impressed to see they had a Wendell Berry quote on the wall at the main entrance.     The vehicles on the streets of Turin are different from what you see in Indiana. Even the ones that look the same have different motors. Lots of BMWs, Mercedes, and bunches of little cars. On my walk to Eataly, I stopped at a roundabout and took a video of the cars going around. I almost got thrown in jail. Apparently, it's against the law to capture the image of police officers, and there were officers on the other side of the roundabout. They spoke no English, and I don't speak Italian. A third officer who spoke broken English showed up. He finally understood why I was taking the video. Then I showed them a video of our turkeys. They were laughing when I left.     I got to visit a street market while I was there. One of the booths was a food trailer with a deli case with raw meat at one end, cured meats in the middle, and a rotisserie with cooked meats at the other end. It was sweet.    The skies were clear for my flights in and out of Turin. I could tell from the air that it's a diverse landscape of smaller acreage holdings than anything around us. It's beautiful countryside. There was some corn planted right in the city. Their corn planting populations were really low. If I was to guess I'd bet their corn was 15,000 final population. There were lots of old beautiful buildings. I could see the Swiss Alps from our hotel. I was kind of surprised the city had eight to ten foot high masonry or steel fences around just about everything. Their manufacturing base doesn't look like its faring any better than in our area. Awful lot of empty factories.     They took us to the conference at 8:00 in the morning and got us back to our hotel at about midnight. Of course, we sat around and ate cheese and salami and drank beer and wine until two or three in the morning. There were about 175 US delegates. They put most of us up in the same hotel. Lots of great people.     I was very impressed with all of the food except breakfast. Now I know where the term continental breakfast comes from. We were on the continent of Europe. I wanted bacon and eggs, not a bagel, roll, slice of cold lunch meat, and juice.     Pope Francis and Michelle Obama both sent comments for the opening ceremony. The movement is starting to capture lots of attention from high places, whether it's because of wanting food that tastes great, economic justice, economic development, environmental issues, or social justice. One of these years, I wouldn't be surprised if the Pope makes an appearance at Terra Madre.   This trip was something I would recommend for anyone involved in local and sustainable food. It's a life changing event. It's hard to comprehend the scope of people around the world making efforts to create a food supply that is good, clean, and fair. It gave me more ideas than I could ever get to in the rest of my life. I made international contacts that will be invaluable. After this trip, I realize the movement is huge across the globe. I can get some ideas of where we are headed in the U.S.     The analogy I like to use for local and sustainable agriculture is it's like a huge snowball rolling downhill picking up speed. We can kind of help guide the direction but nothing is going to stop this. Very exciting times".       


Here is the FAT CHANCE again.    


I sure wish we had more milk to sell.  I know it is hard to find, but you have to keep looking. 


Art Ozias

(660) 656-3409