Make it made in the USA! Celebrate the Fourth of July holiday weekend
with beef, pork, poultry and more from American farmers and ranchers!
 

~ JULY 2009 ~

Let’s Rodeo!

Ranch Foods Direct is helping sponsor and providing beef for the 69th annual Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Days. The traditional ranch rodeo on Fourth of July weekend kicks off a full week of activities. For a schedule of rodeo events, CLICK HERE.

Get yourself
in a pickle

Here’s pickling made easy. Gourmet magazine offers a simple stovetop technique for “pickling” summer vegetables. Try it as a colorful accompaniment to grilled steak or burgers. CLICK HERE for the recipe.

Life began in a garden

For one Ranch Foods Direct customer, local music teacher Roann Keen, the garden became the perfect backdrop for a summer class. CLICK HERE for her story and photos. For more resources on growing young minds by teaching them about growing food, CLICK HERE.

Did you know? ... Americans represent 4 percent of the world’s
population, produce 21 percent of its output, consume 25 percent of
that output and earn 26 percent of the world’s income.
 

Supplier Profile
A new season blooms at Windsor Dairy

Some of the best and most authentic cheeses are being made just up the road where Colorado’s artisan cheesemaker Meg Cattell is creating many fans in the food community. Her cheeses are seasonal: imbued with fragrant winter hay or lush wildflower-studded pastures. The seasonal variations end up rich and complex, but they are especially sweet in the summer since her pastures are filled with fresh wild geraniums, clover, turnips, kale and much more.

“It’s a total salad out there,” she enthuses of the irrigated pastures set against distant blue peaks at her family’s farm just a stone’s throw from the neighboring Windsor subdivision.

As 1,200 chickens in an assortment of colors scurry around the farm, vying for attention with the goats, the sheep, the horses and, of course, the multi-colored Brown Swiss cows, Meg introduces slices of some of her newest cheeses. There’s a new spring cheddar. There’s also a European monastery-style cheese, rind washed with cider made from local apples. There are also golden curds of fresh mozzarella, just yearning for an accompaniment of summer basil and tomatoes.

“The springtime Colona is really, really sweet. The Buckhorn is another good choice at this time of year because it’s made in the winter and aged to perfection,” she says as she cuts thin slices from a wheel. “We get some of our best cheeses from winter milk.”

Located just across the fence from fancy homes and a manicured golf course, the dairy barely skipped a beat after last year’s tornado, thanks to their traditional production methods. CLICK HERE for more.


Make your own: Dips and dressings

One tip for healthier eating is to make your own salad dressings or dips at home. CLICK HERE for some simple recipes for adding popular cheeses to dips and dressings.


Supplier Profile
How to make better bread

In the warm yeasty air of Shawn’s Bakery, participants in Ranch Foods Direct’s June artisan bread class followed loaves of French country bread from a simple mixture of flour and water in the bottom of a giant mixing bowl to fresh-from-the-oven goodness. Participants were invited to take home warm loaves to share with family and friends.

The tour through Shawn’s bread-making process included examples everywhere of the high quality ingredients that go into every loaf.

Here’s a great place to start: the real sourdough starter mash Shawn includes in all of his breads. He explained that this fermented grain begins the breaking-down process, making the carbs easier to digest, a benefit for diabetics and pre-diabetics. “Sourdough is like an acid. You can feed it and keep it in the refrigerator for weeks, even years,” he explained as he passed around the fragrant pail. It takes about seven days to make your own sourdough starter from a simple mix of grain and water.

CLICK HERE for more pictures and a continued report on the class.

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The bibles of baking —
Shawn’s recommended reading on bread

Shawn keeps several reference books handy on a nearby shelf at his bakery. Among them:

The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, CLICK HERE,

Artisan Baking Across America by Maggie Glezer, CLICK HERE,

Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads CLICK HERE,

The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, also from Peter Reinhart, CLICK HERE,

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Bonus bake session —
See Shawn’s demonstration at Fiddles, Vittles and Vino later this month!

Shawn Sanders will conduct a bread-making demonstration during the annual Fiddles, Vittles and Vino fundraiser Saturday, July 25 at local heritage site Rock Ledge Ranch. “I’ll be doing the demonstration in their really neat earthen oven made out of red clay,” Shawn explains. For more information or to purchase tickets for this popular event featuring great food and wine and organized by local chefs, CLICK HERE. Funds raised are used to help support the ranch.



Did you know? … Fully 90 percent of the items on grocery store shelves contain corn in some form or fashion, according to Robert Kenner, director of Food Inc., which is expected to open in July at the Peak Theatre in Colorado
Springs, CLICK HERE. More than 40 agribusiness companies were contacted about being included in the film but all refused the invitation, Kenner says.

Other startling facts from the film:

In 1972, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration conducted 50,000 food safety inspections. In 2006, the FDA conducted only 9,164.

In 1996 when it introduced Round-Up Ready soybeans, Monsanto controlled only 2 percent of the U.S. soybean market. Now, over 90 percent of soybeans in the U.S. contain Monsanto's patented gene.


A FRESH take on food —
Film offers refreshing thinking on what we’re eating

Ana Sofia Joanes’ documentary FRESH, now screening across the country, stars a similar cast of characters and tackles many of the same issues as Food Inc. but brings another perspective to viewers. The young filmmaker strives to “celebrate farmers, thinkers and business people across American who are reinventing our food system.” The result is a full hour of inspiration for food lovers everywhere, with beautiful scenes of pastoral farm life plucked from the midst of an increasingly mechanized world. Ranch Foods Direct owner Mike Callicrate says, “Ana nailed it. She makes this film uplifting by focusing on solutions to the problems with our industrial food system.

This movie and Food Inc. compliment each other perfectly.”CLICK HERE to watch a preview of the film or to read articles about it.

Watch FRESH at Ranch Foods Direct this month!

Ranch Foods Direct will show the documentary FRESH in the multipurpose room at the store on Saturday, July 18 at 10 a.m. Stop by to watch Ana’s take on the revolution happening in the world of food. Ranch Foods Direct pork supplier, Russ Kremer of Heritage Acres, is one of the farmers featured.


   Where, oh where, is Emerald Valley Ranch?

The name brings to mind Black Angus cattle grazing peacefully in the lush grass beside a quiet stream. Unfortunately, you’ll have a hard time finding the Emerald Valley Ranch if you go looking for it. The beef doesn’t originate there, because it doesn’t exist. Many companies create brand names and logos to make the customer imagine they are getting meat right from a specific ranch. In fact, the huge majority of these brands are pretend “zombie” brands, pulled directly out of the mass- produced flow of ordinary commodity products. (Niman Ranch meat products, for example, no longer have any association with Bill Niman, their famous founder, and Coleman Natural Beef is no longer affiliated with Colorado’s Coleman ranch family.)

For more about the phenomenon of the “zombie” brand, read award-winning food writer Betty Fussell (author of Raising Steaks: The Life and Times of American Beef ) as she explains this common marketing ploy on her blog, CLICK HERE.


Did you know? … Only two cents out of every $1.50 spent on a serving of fast food French fries goes back to the potato farmer. Farmers on average get only 7 to 8 cents of every retail food dollar and the amount continues to diminish. “If current trends continue, by 2020 there will be no farming in agriculture,” says Joan Dye Gussow, nutrition educator and author of This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader. Meanwhile, 15,000 new processed food items are introduced every year, meant to be a flashier substitute for boring old REAL food, she adds. (CLICK HERE for more on Joan’s book, published by Chelsea Green.


Product Profile
Meet the guajillo chili

Local Baja Salsa introducing a new variation featuring guajillo chilies. Guajillo chilies  [gwah- HEE-yoh] are thick, dark reddish brown chiles that contain mild to moderate amounts of heat. The flavor of the guajillo is said to be distinct, slightly fruity with a strong piney, berry under-taste. The guajillo is one of the most commonly grown chiles in Mexico.

A full range of popular Baja Salsa flavors are available at Ranch Foods Direct. Use the one you like to make poor man’s caviar for parties or as an appetizer. CLICK HERE for more about how and where fresh Baja Salsa is made. CLICK HERE for the caviar recipe.


A beef version of a pork classic

Marcy Nameth provides produce for Ranch Foods Direct, as well as coordinating deliveries from neighboring farms on behalf of the Arkansas Valley Organic Growers. The Callicrate Beef chuck roast is one of her favorite items at the store. She writes, “I picked up a chuck roast last night and just put it in the oven using a porketta recipe that I usually use a pork shoulder or butt roast. I’ve used it on beef chuck years ago and thought I’d try it again. I was introduced to it by a Scandinavian lady I worked with who was from Minnesota. She didn’t have a clue what was in the spice mix but finally got the recipe for me.” CLICK HERE for the recipe.


Try this at home

Food writing duo Jane and Michael Stern recently made a discovery while visiting the Western shores of Lake Superior. At the legendary café in Two Harbors, Minnesota, called Betty’s Pies, they were introduced to a “pie shake.” The concoction is made by blending together an entire piece of pie with a splash of milk and ice cream (vanilla is a favorite.) They recommend using a cream pie for the best results.

IF you prefer your pie a ’la mode the traditional way, you can look forward to Western slope fruits arriving this month from Glenn Austin family orchards in Paonia (CLICK HERE for more about them) — starting with cherries, apricots and various berries, leading up to the highly anticipated peach season. Then, pick up a pint of ice cream from a wide selection of locally made Anne and Mann’s flavors.


Food for thought:
Alcohol can be a gas

Should farmers produce America’s fuel as well as its food? Controversy over the benefits of ethanol erupted last year in response to surging food prices, as ethanol plants competed with livestock producers for grain. Many came to believe the ethanol industry was simply fueling the growth of high input, government-subsidized, industrial agriculture while contributing to world hunger.

David Blume, author of Alcohol Can Be a Gas and a long-time self-proclaimed “permaculturist,” hoes a middle row. He believes American farmers can (and should) produce energy as well as food in a sustainable, environmentally responsible way. Ethanol is one of cheapest and most efficient renewable fuels to make and can be produced from a range of crops, including perennials, which means it fits into diversified farming systems that build up the soil and work with — rather than against — nature, he says.

He also opposes the way large oil companies like Valero have bought up smaller ethanol plants to feed their pipelines. He believes such consolidation undermines the country’s fledgling independent renewable fuel and energy market.

Multinational oil companies have used the Commodities Futures Trading system to artificially drive the price of corn up while depressing the price of ethanol, essentially gaming the futures market, he contends. “The impact of artificially high corn prices is that plants like VeraSun, that aren’t built and supported by farmer-owners, but rather by capital investors, had to pay high prices to compete with Big Oil to buy corn and make fuel,” he said. “Meanwhile, the futures price of alcohol was driven down by Big Oil’s fuel monopoly—easy since they buy over 99 percent of alcohol fuel produced.” The result is market dominance by a few large companies. For more on David Blume’s unique perspective and his work with rural revitalization and renewable fuels, visit his website by clicking HERE.


“We must involve our hearts in science.”
— Jane Goodall

 


... Your local source of natural beef, poultry, buffalo,
pork, lamb, eggs, wild seafood, deli meats
and cheeses, meals and more!

Member, Peak to Plains Alliance (www.peaktoplains.com)

Store and Meat Plant
2901 N. El Paso, Colorado Springs 80907
Retail Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Sunday
(719) 473-2306 or 1-866-866-6328
www.ranchfoodsdirect.com

Mike Callicrate, Owner

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