Here at Dingo Farms, we are excited to be a part of Growing Forward 2’s program, the Canada-Ontario Environmental Farm Plan. This is a voluntary environmental education and awareness program for farms and farming families to partake in. What this program does is to allow farm families to increase their environmental awareness in up to 23 different areas on their farm. By going through the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) local workshop process, farmers are able to highlight their farm’s environmental strengths, identify areas of environmental concern, and set realistic action plans with time tables to improve environmental conditions (Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association, 2017). The EFP can then be used in conjunction with cost-share programs to begin implementing their action plans.
All farm operations deal with materials that, if improperly handled, have the potential to contaminate and damage our environment. Learning about the risks on our farm will help us develop plans of action to use in the event of a spill or other emergency. The process of developing a customized Emergency Plan will put essential information at our fingertips in the event of an emergency. A completed Emergency Plan is a series of plans that help prepare us for different types of emergencies according to the specifics of our operation (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs, 2016).
The idea for Environmental Farm Plans originated from the Ontario farm community. Farmers were involved in every stage of developing the original EFP through the Ontario Farm Environmental Coalition. The program continues to be delivered to the farm community by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association through funding provided by Growing Forward 2, a federal, provincial, territorial initiative, and with the provision of technical information being the responsibility of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. The Ontario Farm Environmental Coalition was led by four main organizations: Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, Farm and Food Care, and Ontario Farm Animal Council (Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association, 2017).
The goal of the Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) is to help us see our farm in a new way. It asks us to think about our land, the buildings on our farm, the products we use, all from a new point of view. It asks us to rate how each of these things could affect the environment – the air, soil, wildlife, and water sources – around our farm. This is all accomplished through the EFP Workbook. The EFP Workbook has two parts – the Farm Review and the Action Plan.
In the Farm Review section, we will assess the soils on our farm and rate their ability to offset or increase potential risks to the environment. The Farm Review includes 23 Worksheets to help us rate different situations on our farm. From these ratings, we will develop an Action Plan.
As we work on our Action Plan, we will have to decide whether potential problems result from natural risks on our farm (e.g. soil type or depth to water table) or from the way we manage some part of our farm operations. We will have to think about what we need to do to solve these problems or control them, either right away or over the next few years (Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association, 2017).
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs. (2016, 01 04). Canada-Ontario Environmental Farm Plan. Retrieved from Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/environment/efp/efp.htm
Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association. (2017, 08 17). EFP Emergency Plan. Retrieved from Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association: http://www.ontariosoilcrop.org/oscia-programs/workshops-webinars/environmental-farm-plan/efp-emergency-plan/
Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association. (2017, 08 17). Environmental Farm Plan. Retrieved from Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association: http://www.ontariosoilcrop.org/oscia-programs/workshops-webinars/environmental-farm-plan/
Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association. (2017, 08 17). Environmental Farm Plan Infosheets. Retrieved from Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association: http://www.ontariosoilcrop.org/oscia-programs/workshops-webinars/environmental-farm-plan/infosheets/
Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association. (2017, 08 17). Get involved with the Environmental Farm Plan. Retrieved from Ontario Soil & Crop Improvement Association: http://www.ontariosoilcrop.org/oscia-programs/workshops-webinars/environmental-farm-plan/get-involved-with-efp/
Irradiation. The radiating of meat and produce which people, old and young will consume. This write up is based upon our opinion of meat and well being for the population, but it has a solid base of scientific articles, journals, periodicals, and professional statements to help inform you of what you are actually buying and consuming.
Now, this ‘new’ technology has been kept pretty quiet, very few people even know about it and even fewer know it is already happening. In 2016, Health Canada announced that it would allow for the sale of irradiated ground beef on grocery store shelves across the country (Russell, 2016). It was said that irradiation would improve the safety of their products, what does it actually mean? By definition Irradiation is a process by which a food product is exposed to high doses of radiation, types that are permitted: gamma-rays, high-energy electrons and x-rays. Food irradiation is known as a cold process. It does not significantly increase the temperature or change the physical or sensory characteristics of most foods. Fresh or frozen meat can be irradiated without cooking it.
However, it is proven to alter the content of food. The nutritional content of irradiated foods is seriously compromised. Irradiation can destroy between 5 percent and 80 percent of vitamins and nutrients found in a variety of foods including essential vitamins A, B complex, C, E, and K. For example, irradiated eggs lose 80 percent of vitamin A and orange juice loses 48 percent of beta-carotene (Curtis, 2013).
Irradiation not only reduces the food’s nutritional content, but also changes its flavor, texture and odor. For example, turkey and pork can become bright red while beef can turn from red into a shade of green or brown. Numerous studies show that irradiated foods are inferior in taste, texture, and smell to non-irradiated foods (Curtis, 2013).
According to the Canadian Meat Council; during irradiation, the energy waves affect unwanted organisms, but are not retained in the food and the food does not become radioactive. Irradiation is radiant energy which disappears when the energy source is removed. This result is similar to food cooked in a microwave oven (Canadian Meat Council, 2017). We already have many, many scientific journals, articles and papers published on the negative side effects of the microwave oven; which kills any and all bacteria, nutrients and vitamins alike. There is absolutely no nutritional value in any of the food that comes out of a microwave, but that’s another topic entirely.
“With the irradiated process you basically get rid of most pathogens, like E. Coli and Salmonella, making the food much safer to eat and actually extends the shelf life of meat,” said Sylvain Charlebois, a professor of food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University (Russell, 2016). However, the meat itself should not be coming into contact, nor be raised with any of these health concerns if it is raised and processed properly and responsibly in the first place. The idea of irradiation first launched back in 1996, but it was met with a huge backlash from not only the farmers, but consumers as well. In a 1997 CBS nationwide poll, 77% of US consumers did not want irradiated food. This public resistance is why food trade associations have been plotting to eliminate all requirements for labeling irradiated food (Eversole, 2008).
The scary part is that in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has approved several foods for irradiation including; Beef and Pork, shellfish, fruits and vegetables, and spices and seasonings (Russell, 2016). Our Canadian meat is sold across the border and most of our meat is imported from the U.S!
List of Some Products that are already irradiated:
- Fresh meat and poultry (including whole or cut up birds, skinless poultry, pork chops, roasts, stew meat, liver, hamburgers, ground meat, and ground poultry)
- Wheat and wheat powder
- White potatoes
- Many spices
- Dry vegetable seasonings
- Fresh shell eggs
- Fresh produce
Critics of irradiated food say it produces toxic compounds, like benzene or toluene, and reduces the nutritional value of food while also changing the taste of meat (Russell, 2016). Officials say such concerns were taken into consideration. “Health Canada developed the new regulations after conducting a thorough assessment, and concluded that irradiation is a safe and effective treatment to reduce harmful bacteria in ground beef.” The scientific review noted also that “a major Canadian nutritional institute” indicated “all can benefit from having the choice of irradiated foods, but especially those at greater risk (e.g., people with compromised immune systems, such as transplant recipients and individuals with cancer and HIV/AIDS, and those in hospitals and long term care facilities” (Canadian Meat Council, 2017).
Irradiation does not replace any current food safety standards, rather is “another tool to be used to maintain food safety,” the Canadian Food Agency states (Kohut, 2017). Some researchers have even compared it to releasing the same chemicals as a BBQ’d piece of meat! “When you use the barbecue, you produce billions of free radicals. You also produce toxic compounds because you burn the fatty acids,” said Charlebois (Russell, 2016). WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE?!
To put into perspective, Dr. Joseph Michael Mercola who is an alternative medicine proponent, osteopathic physician, and web entrepreneur delves into the actual science behind Irradiation. Irradiated herbs, seasonings and spices are exposed to HALF A BILLION chest X-ray’s worth of gamma radiation. This information is clearly publicized by the USDA and FDA.
The FDA presently supports the use of Cobalt-60 culled from nuclear reactors on all domestically produced conventional food.
The level of gamma-radiation used starts at 1 KiloGray — equivalent to 16,700,000 chest x-rays — and goes all the way up to 30KiloGray (500,000,000 chest x-rays or 10,000 times a human lethal dose).
According to Green Med Info:
“Despite the irresponsible promotion of this process as safe, food irradiation destroys much of the vitamin content of food, produces a number of toxic by-products: formaldehyde, benzene, and formic acid, as well as unique radiolytic products, e.g. 2-alklycyclobutanoes, that have been demonstrated to be cytotoxic (damages cells), genotoxic (damages DNA), and carcinogenic (causes cancer) in test tube and animal studies.” (Mercola, 2011). 2-alkylcyclobutanones (2-ACBs) are radiolytic derivatives of triglycerides found exclusively in irradiated food. The compounds are generated proportionally to fat content of the food and the dose of absorbed radiation. That means the more fat = more toxic compounds created; the leaner the meat, the less toxins.
Opponents also say there hasn’t been any research on long-term effects on humans who eat irradiated foods or on workers who oversee the treatment process (Russell, 2016).
Research in animals suggests the compounds may promote tumor growth and colon cancer, and studies show 2-alkylcyclobutanones are able to cross the intestinal barrier, enter into the bloodstream, and be stored in the fat tissue of an animal. The compounds have also been shown to be cytotoxic and genotoxic, which means they may damage cells and DNA, respectively. Studies on human cells also revealed potential cancer-causing effects, with researchers concluding “this compound may be regarded as a possible risk factor for processes in colon carcinogenesis related to initiation and progression.” (Mercola, 2011).
Another study found that cats developed “mysterious” and “remarkable” severe neurological dysfunction, including movement disorders, vision loss and paralysis, after being fed a diet of irradiated foods during gestation. When they were taken off the irradiated foods, they slowly recovered. This is a major clue that irradiated foods deserve some serious regulatory scrutiny, but unfortunately they have already infiltrated the food system. (Mercola, 2011).
Now, this is mostly geared towards the U.S Food and Drug Administration, but the effects are the same regardless of country. Not to mention more than ¾ quarters of our meat and food is from the USA. The FDA claims, “Irradiation is an important food safety tool in fighting foodborne illness,” noting that the sources and amounts of radiation applied to foods are not strong enough to cause the food to become radioactive. They also state that “food irradiation does not significantly change the nutrient content, flavor, or texture of food.” However, “The FDA presently supports and actively promotes the use of Cobalt-60 culled from Nuclear Reactors as a form of “electronic pasteurization” on all domestically produced conventional food (Mercola, 2011).
Dr. Gayle Eversole, PhD, ND also provides support to Dr. Mercola’s evidence and statements.
Irradiation produces toxic by-products in the food.
Ionizing radiation knocks electrons out of atoms and creates free radicals. These free radicals react with food components, creating new radiolytic products, some of which are toxic (benzene, formaldehyde, lipid peroxides) and some of which may be unique to irradiated foods. No one knows the long term impact of eating unknown quantities of these damaged foods. Studies on animals fed irradiated foods have shown increased tumors, reproductive failures and kidney damage. Chromosomal abnormalities occurred in children from India who were fed freshly irradiated wheat (Eversole, 2008).
Irradiation using radioactive materials is an environmental hazard.
In Georgia, radioactive water escaped from an irradiation facility; the taxpayers were stuck with $47 million in cleanup costs. In New Jersey, radioactive water was poured into drains that emptied into the public sewer system. Few communities want the increased risks of hosting irradiation facilities and the periodic transport of radioactive materials to and from irradiators. Numerous worker exposures have occurred worldwide (Eversole, 2008).
Irradiation is a quick fix with long-term consequences.
Irradiation doesn’t kill all bacteria; those that survive are radiation-resistant. Eventually these bacteria will require higher doses of radiation. Irradiation doesn’t kill the bacterium that causes botulism, or viruses. It can’t be used on dairy products, a major source of food poisoning. If the labels are removed, irradiation will be used very widely because producers will ‘follow the leader’ and irradiate to prevent themselves from liability for food poisoning, no matter how remote the possibility. The costs, as always, will be passed on to the consumer (Eversole, 2008).
Irradiation is not the only option for providing clean and sustainable food. Cleaning up filthy slaughter houses, slowing down processing lines, increasing the number of federal meat inspectors, and encouraging local and organic agriculture instead of factory farming are just a few proposals that can lead to long-term food safety solutions without the risks of irradiation (Eversole, 2008).
Contamination is possible during any of the following steps of food production:
Open field production -> Harvesting -> Field packing -> Greenhouse production -> Packinghouse or field packing -> Repacking and other distribution operations -> Fresh-cut/value-added processing -> Food service and retail -> Consumer
As you can see, the more steps your food goes through before it reaches your plate, the greater your chances of contamination becomes.
The FDA is quick to state that “Irradiation is not a substitute for good sanitation and process control in meat and poultry plants. It is an added layer of safety.” But it is, in essence, a tool to wipe out bacteria, parasites and other potential pathogens that linger in food. This means food manufacturers have an out of sorts … After all, they’re going to nuke everything later anyway, so why go to the trouble of actually growing your food or processing your food in sanitary conditions to begin with?
Irradiation is essentially a very effective medium for masking filthy conditions in federal slaughterhouses and food processing plants. The foundational solution to this problem lies in preventing contamination at the source — on the farm, during processing and shipping, and so on — not in wiping out pathogens later using questionable technological interventions like radiation! There simply shouldn’t be any need for irradiation, as there simply shouldn’t be E. coli in your lettuce or Salmonella in your poultry in the first place (Mercola, 2011).
This is why we farm the way we do. There are no hidden factions or methods in our animal raising. We have a closed looped farm, meaning there are no outside influences on our animals. The only time they are exposed to the outside world is when they go to the abattoir, which is a local one up in Sprucedale, ON. This provincially, locally owned and run abattoir is kept to the highest standards of cleanliness, control over the meat coming in and out, and are humane. Federal abattoirs are where the problems lie.
The new regulations do not require that Canadian ground beef be irradiated, simply that it is allowed to be. Irradiated beef will be required to be labelled as such. In Canada, consumer choice is assured by a Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations requirement that irradiated foods be identified on the labels of prepackaged products and that signage accompanies bulk displays of irradiated foods. The label or signage must reveal clearly that the food has been irradiated with both a written statement (“irradiated”, “treated with radiation” or “treated by irradiation”) and the following international symbol (Canadian Meat Council, 2017):
However, there are exceptions:
Irradiated meat used in another product (such as sausage) does not have to contain the radura image on the package (it does have to list irradiated meat in the ingredients, though).
Restaurants are not required to disclose the use of irradiated foods. So be aware that any time you eat out, you have no way of knowing if your food has been irradiated (Mercola, 2011).
How Will I Know if My Food Has Been Irradiated?
The FDA requires that irradiated foods bear the international symbol for irradiation. Look for the Radura symbol along with the statement “Treated with radiation” or “Treated by irradiation” on the food label. Bulk foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are required to be individually labeled or to have a label next to the sale container. The FDA does not require that individual ingredients in multi-ingredient foods (e.g., spices) be labeled. It is important to remember that irradiation is not a replacement for proper food handling practices by producers, processors, and consumers. Irradiated foods need to be stored, handled, and cooked in the same way as non-irradiated foods, because they could still become contaminated with disease-causing organisms after irradiation if the rules of basic food safety are not followed (Administration, 2016).
The Canadian Meat Council, who has long been funded by governmental bodies and pharmaceutical companies claims that “irradiation offers a longstanding, well-researched, internationally accepted and proven methodology for further reducing the potential presence of harmful pathogens in meat” (Canadian Meat Council, 2017). And yet, it is just the opposite! There is little to no evidence (that hasn’t been funded by the government or big pharma companies) that suggests irradiated meat is good for the consumer, the meat or even the environment.
This is a very serious awakening for the consumer, you are consistently bombarded with terrible food options from all sides! What can you eat? What is safe to eat? What else is going on behind closed doors? All of this is valid suspicion. We are trying our very best to inform you of the procedures and protocols that are changing so that you can make an informed decision as to where your food is coming from. We know that on our end, we are doing everything possible to ensure a quality product that is safe, tasty and well, normal for consumption.
One Farm; One Family; Directly to You
Administration, U. F. (2016 , 06 28). Food Irradiation: What You Need to Know. Retrieved from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: https://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm261680.htm
Canadian Meat Council. (2017). Food Safety- Food Irradiation. Retrieved from Canadian Meat Council Website: http://www.cmc-cvc.com/en/food-safety/food-irradiation
Curtis, N. (2013, September 01). Harmful if swallowed- The Dangers of Food Irradiation. Retrieved from Natural News Website: http://www.naturalnews.com/041878_food_irradiation_harmful_nutrition.html
Eversole, D. G. (2008, April 15). The Dangers of Food Irradiation. Retrieved from Rense Website: http://www.rense.com/general81/foodr.htm
Kohut, T. (2017, February 22). Irradiated ground beef approved by Health Canada. Retrieved from Global News: http://globalnews.ca/news/3265782/irradiated-ground-beef-approved-health-canada/
Mercola, D. (2011, November 05). Never Buy Meat, Potatoes or Herbs With “Treated by Radiation” on the Label. Retrieved from Mercola Website: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/05/why-are-your-spices–seasonings-exposed-to-half-a-billion-chest-xrays-worth-of-radiation.aspx
Russell, A. (2016, May 30). What is irradiated beef and is it healthy? Retrieved from Global News: http://globalnews.ca/news/2729913/what-is-irradiated-beef-and-is-it-healthy/
As many of you may have guessed, my family loves meat. We love it so much that my dad insists upon having some with every meal! It is here where the question must be asked, is there ever point where there is too much meat??
A couple of weeks ago we were celebrating a family birthday, and the best way to celebrate? With meat of course! This was indeed a special occasion, for the birthday meal requested was a pizza. But not just any ol’ pizza, it was decreed that it shall be… The ‘Meatzza’. That’s right, a pizza made entirely out of meat! The idea originally stemmed from a youtube video, “Meatzza”, by Epic Meal Time. [Catch the original masterpiece here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYhDthbBrrU (It does contain some mature content)]
Gathering all of our resources, we put this idea to life! We began with our ground beef base (3lbs) mixed with our Special Rub. We left them to bake on our stone pans in the oven, meanwhile taking on the challenge of cooking the bacon strips (and bacon strips, and bacon strips, and bacon strips), grilling the sausages and preparing the other ingredients. Another great way to bake the ground beef bases is on stone pan on the BBQ! (You may have to adjust cooking times.) Instead of using an entire sausage as the crust, we cut them in half length-wise. Just for your knowledge, we used Pork Fine Herb sausages; we found the flavouring was a nice compliment.
After applying the ‘crust’ we then covered the ground beef base with our tomato & fine herb sausage sauce. Veering farther away from the original we used the meat from braising ribs to add to the meatzza, rather than the Flank Steak. We added the chopped up bacon strips to the mix too. Then came the cheese, “’Cause this is Pizza!” We used a Tamiskaing cheese from Thornloe. And last, but certainly not least came the pepperoni and the last dab of cheese.
The result? A fantastic, flavourful, and extremely filling meal. The whole family enjoyed the Meatzza and not a scrap was left over! For anyone that needs a different, fun meal, try out your own versions of the Meatzza! Happy Eating!
Then as you take your first bite the burger explodes with flavor and a small bit of juice escapes onto your chin.
Yes…BBQ season is back, despite Mother Nature. Our calendars say it is so!
So to have this mouth watering experience in the picture you must visit http://www.richmondstation.ca, or the restaurant and order chef Carl Heinrick’s signature burger. In the meantime fire up the Barbie!
Here at Dingo Farms we are extremists with the grill, we grill year-round. We don’t mind bundling up in front of the grill many nights a week to inorder to savour the flavor.
To add to your grilling pleasure we are pleased to offer our new BBQ griller package of pork and beef. Just a nice sampler of steak, porkchops, sausage and burger. But don’t stop there, shake it up a little this season and try a ½ ground pork/ ½ ground beef burger for a juicy twist. Better yet if you’ve never tried fresh Ontario Lamb see what a ½ ground lamb / ½ ground beef burger chef’s up like. Surprise the kids; they might surprise you by liking it. Toss in some Dingo spice (recipe available on http://www.facebook.com/dingofarms) or free at our store, and enjoy a new flavor experience.
Our personal favorite way to grill these burgers is to get the grill good and hot, sear the burger 3-4 minutes per side (resist the urge to flatten the burger and squish all that good juice out!). Then lower the temp of the BBQ to medium and cook to desired doneness, experts say internal temp. of 170°. We enjoy our Traeger Smoker (www.traegercanada.com) but it works equally as well on a propane grill such as napoleon (www.napoleongrills.com). For those foodie’s in the know wanting the ultimate experience I hear that the Big Green Egg grill is killer! (www.Biggreenegg.ca ).
As always safety first when resurrecting the BBQ from the depths of its winter hideaway. For tips on getting your bbq ready to grill visit http://www.toronto.ca/fire/prevention/safebarbecuing.htm.
If convenience is more your thing our boxed burgers are back in convenient small 3lb boxes ready for the grill. Perhaps a juicy new “Filler-Free” Sausage is in order for a quick lunch or dinner? That’s right “filler-free” means nothing but meat. Try swapping a “hot dog” out for a Filler Free sausage for those hard to please, yet to be foodies?
A little tired of the “let’s just have pizza tonight” line? Make it a family cook night. Make your own pizza using Dingo Farms selection of cured meats, pepperoni, keilbassa, summer sausage or smoked sausages. Oh and don’t forget your favorite veggies!
Make your own dough in a bread maker or use a prepared flat bread/pita or prepared crust, add your favorite toppings and use a pizza stone on the BBQ!
Too much right? My excitement for BBQ is taking over, while writing this, if you couldn’t tell.
Check out this site for step by step how-to’s with Chef Jamie Oliver (http://www.jamieoliver.vom/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=245743)
Since it’s easier and economical to plan meals with some stock in the freezer, check out our beef and pork packages. Sample a variety of cuts at a great price. Watch our facebook for our favorite BBQ recipes using cuts from the packages.
So visit us at http://www.facebook.com/dingofarms for great ideas, recipes, offers and promotions and just to hear what exciting is going on at the farm.
To get you started today check out the amazing marinade below.
An amazing marinade
• 1/3 cup soy sauce,
• 1/2 cup olive oil,
• 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice,
• 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce,
• 1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder,
• 6 tbsp fresh basil chopped fine OR 3 tbsp dried basil,
• ½ cup fresh parsley chopped fine OR 1 1/2 tbsp dried parsley flakes,
• 1 tsp ground pepper,
• 1 tsp minced garlic
1: free from fraud or deception: legitimate, truthful, genuine, real, humble, and plain
2: reputable, respectable, good, worthy
3: creditable, praiseworthy
4: marked by integrity
: marked by free, forthright, and sincere expression
1: fine or sheer enough to be seen through
2: free from pretence or deceit
3: easily detected or seen through, readily understood
4: characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices
I think we all understand the purpose of dramatic packaging (marketing, marketing marketing). The graphics, the wording, it all plays a key part in selling a product or service. There are even people out there whose soul job is market evaluation and making a product more saleable then the competition. They even hold focus groups that rate everything from a products name and colouring on the package to the font used and logo design. It’s important I get it, but all the hype and strategy shouldn’t deceive the consumer about the product inside.
So I was very curious when my youngest and I were out shopping recently and he came across some beef jerky that he just had have. The front label touted the key word “clean” and the back label clearly stated it was “organic grass fed beef jerky with no Nitrites added”
Now “Z” is a beef jerky connoisseur and has made beef jerky his snack of choice since he was about a year and a half old. I am concerned as all moms are about what is in the products that I feed my kids, especially the ones that they want to eat all the time. I stand behind the products that Dingo Farms produces and I know there is a small amount of nitrites in Dingo Farms Beef Jerky….there has to be, the nitrites give the product some shelf life and more importantly prevent the formation of botulism. It does add somewhat to the flavouring as well because it is basically salt. Now as I read the back of the package there was one item on the ingredients list that immediately caught my attention “cultured celery powder” Now here is the thing; celery as a fresh vegetable has one of the highest naturally occurring nitrate numbers out there as are spinach, beets, radishes and cabbages. Surprised?, I was when I started reading. On an average 10 % of our nitrite exposure is from cured meats and 90% naturally occurring from vegetables. Now don’t panic, you don’t have to live on nuts, fruit and beer, remember moderation and awareness!. So what happens to those naturally occurring nitrates when you process cultured celery to a powder? Because I am not a chemist I came home and researched, in fact I invite you to do the same.
What I found in my opinion is a clear lack of transparency and honesty by any Marketing team or producer who markets their product under the guise of natural, nitrate free, nitrite free and no preservatives when in fact the cultured celery powder is a nitrate and acts as a preservative (and is equally harmful). It does what sodium nitrites have done for years under the pretence that it is a healthier alternative when in fact it isn’t. For the most part the nitrates in cultured celery powered tend to be far more concentrated then the amount used in our beef jerky. And if you continue reading most sources say nitrites are not the health risk they are made out to be if they like everything out there are consumed in moderation. Bananas are a healthy snack and a great source of many vitamins and nutrients the body can benefit from but a diet rich in bananas would be a diet high in potassium and too much potassium can lead to heart damage and cardiac arrest. Get what I am saying?
While manufactures seemingly make it easy to make the right choices food wise, really the onus is on the consumer to read and understand (and continually educate themselves) and sadly when I did ask at the store no one was able to refute the misleading packaging on the beef jerky “Z” was hoping to eat. So I wanted to compare this premium product with a product I already know and love and here is what I found…
The beef jerky in the store was marketing itself as a premium product worth a premium price. The “nitrite free beef jerky” was almost $3.00 more for a portion that was considerably smaller then the beef jerky sold at Dingo Farms even though they were the same by weight. It was bloated with oil and gummy rather then that well cured (dryer) texture I prefer. Not to mention the over the top packaging some market genius thought of (does not scream sustainable to me). I admit the packaging of the Dingo Farms beef jerky isn’t pretty, but we are working on that, but I can promise when we do pretty it up, it won’t be excessive. The products at Dingo Farms along with the packaging are genuine and well thought through. We prefer the product to speak for itself and our ingredients are honest and transparent. What does our Beef Jerky package say? Naturally grown beef and minimal nitrites.
Now if you truly want to know what is in your beef jerky, come grab a round roast and then pop over to our Facebook and look in our recipe folder for our homemade beef jerky recipe. You’ll see it still has the salt, but at least you can choose.
Here are some links that we found enlightening http://www.good.is/posts/your-nitrite-free-meats-are-full-of-nitrites/ http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/nutrition/DJ0974.html http://ruhlman.com/2011/05/the-no-nitrites-added-hoax/ http://m.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/ottawa-mulls-new-labelling-rules-for-natural-deli-meats/article558784/?service=mobile
Fall….Its that time of year when even though the sun is shining bright there is a brisk feeling to the days. Where we live the breezes are filled with the smell of onions drying and the cutting of fields and occasionally if the wind is just right at dusk you’ll be treated to the smell of a fireplace beginning to take the chill off the evening. There is a hum of urgency all around. We farmers are no stranger to Old Man Winters frosty fingers, eager to change the morning dew to a shimmering frost. I love fall, the smells, the sights, the colours, the feeling and of course the food. We put a lot of food by and I try to make jarring and pickling a family event. There is something very rewarding about a pantry stocked with jars of the food you’ve grown. There’s something more to be said about cracking a jar open in the cold of March and the smells and colours of your garden in August flooding your senses. We can a lot as the foods come into season but the fall brings an abundance of veggies just begging to be preserved to serve another day.
Fall also means work and lots of it. The farm garden is big but the work there doesn’t compare to bringing in the harvest that will feed our animals through the winter. The work starts with the first light of the sun across the dewy grass and finishes only when Mother Nature draws her starry drapes across the dimming sky. It’s quite a sight to see as all the tractors drone towards home, seeming almost as weary as the farmers who ride them.
Fall days call for a special kind of dinner. It has to be easy; no time can be wasted on fussy foods. It has to be able to cook itself….with the aid of a trusty slow cooker or slow roasting in the oven. It has to be able to wait. The first plate may go out at 4pm to hungry kids heading for farm chores but the last plate for Dennis at 9pm has to be just as fresh tasting as the first. And last but not least it needs to replenish you body and soul, head to toe….soothing aches and warming toes, a good fall dinner should do all that.
One of my favourites for fall is meatloaf, yes meatloaf. It’s been a staple in most families for generations and everyone has a recipe from Mom or Grandma. It’s so simple, so economical. A chameleon of sorts, you can start with virtually any kind of ground meat and take it in any direction you would like by varying the ingredients. Traditional beef with fresh tomato sauce, try lamb, feta and spinach or delicious bacon wrapped pork meatloaf. I make a few at a time and pop them in the freezer but is easily made a day or so ahead of time and popped in the oven or whipped up an hour or so before you need to feed the family. And it’s simple enough for the kids to make if you’re tied up. It’s a hearty dinner served with potatoes or rice and a salad from the garden. And there is no mistaking the enjoyment that comes from a thick slice of meatloaf on a crusty bun with some garlic mayo for lunch the next day. Although old fashioned meatloaf is considered an oven dish, we dare you to take it up a notch and cook your master piece on the BBQ. Again is looks after itself and there’s something to be said about the addition of those smoky bbq flavours. So when you’re raking up those fall leaves make up your favourite meatloaf recipe of try one of ours from below or at http://www.facebook.com/dingofarms light up the bbq and pay homage to the passing summer, moving from burgers to warm your soul fall and winter dinner staples. I promise that the wonderful aroma of the meatloaf on the bbq will take you back and hopefully slow you and yours down enough to enjoy the beautiful fall season. No need to be afraid of ground meats when you know where it’s coming from
Easy and economical, it’s that simple
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
- Leaves from 4 sprigs thyme (about 1 teaspoon)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup well-shaken low fat buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, freshly ground if you have it
- 2 pounds Dingo Farms ground pork
- 1 pound Dingo Farms pork sausage, removed from casing and broken up
- 1 cup crushed saltine crackers (about 20)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 8 Dingo Farms double smoked bacon strips
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F and arrange a rack in the upper third. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
Over medium heat add oil, onion, garlic and thyme and cook until soft
In a large bowl, add the eggs, buttermilk, mustard, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper. Whisk until the eggs are broken up and evenly combined. Add the onion mixture, ground pork, sausage, cracker crumbs, and parsley. Mix until thoroughly combined, do not over work the mixture.
Form the meat into a 9 by 5- inch loaf. Arrange the bacon across the top of the loaf and bake until the internal temperature is 155 degrees F, on an instant-read thermometer, or about 55 to 65 minutes. Pop under broiler for about 5 additional minutes. Remove from the oven to a cutting board and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving. It is important to let the meatloaf rest so the juices aren’t lost all over your cutting board
Adapted from Aida Mollenkamp recipe on the food network
Apple Chutney Ingredients
- 2 large tart cooking apples (such as green Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1/4 cup golden raisins (or dried cranberries would be good too!)
- 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp orange zest
- 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice shopping list
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 50 minutes. Uncover and simmer over low heat for a few minutes more to cook off excess liquid; let cool. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
With the end of July and beginning of August being the most popular summer vacation weeks we thought this is the perfect time to touch on food safety when you’re camping and we’ll also give you some camping recipes that are easy and delicious.
I’ll start by saying I love camping. When I was young I remember my Nana and Grandpa taking me camping. The musty smell of that green canvas Coleman tent, my Grandpa in his undershirt and workpants, setting up the campsite. As the hammer thumped the first peg into the ground you knew this was the beginning of a week of adventure. It seemed like we traveled for hours to get to this magical place, when in fact they only took us to Musselman’s Lake in Stoufville a mere 30 minutes from where I grew up. I remember wandering the park as my grandparents worked fascinated by all the tents of various shapes and sizes. The “rich people” who had trailers and permanent sites with patios, flowers and patio lanterns. Oh how I loved those patio lanterns, even during the day you knew the promise they held for the night. The softest glowing light in a rainbow of colours and shapes. The little Tiki men, the traditional Chinese lantern shape, the tulips, sigh… how I coveted the tulip shaped lanterns. The pinks, mauves, yellows and turquoise. I was convinced my mom should buy me some so they could hang in my room year long. Camping meant eating simple, my Nana wasn’t gourmet in the kitchen at home with all the gadgets to begin with and that blue metal Coleman cooler didn’t hold much but you knew when that old green Coleman stove got fired up the food would be good regardless. I can close my eyes as I type this and smell the bacon in the cast iron pot; I can hear the sizzle and sputter as the eggs drop in beside it. The whole campground smelled of bacon as the campers came to life and prepared for another day of adventure. Lunch was on the go, that square slice of ham smeared with bright green relish on white, squished against the handle bars of my bike. If I peddled fast enough I could let go of the handlebar and take a bite… it was heaven. Dinners while camping, I honestly don’t remember, perhaps I rushed in, ate and was gone so quickly I really don’t know. But the campfires, I remember those. Everyone had a campfire, some under the glow of those beautiful patio lights, others I remember the flame dancing alone in the vast blackness of the night only occasionally revealing a glimpse of the campers around it. Hotdogs were the norm and if you has been good a marshmallow or two then off to bed, on the best nights the warmth of the sleeping bag and the hum of the insects would lull you to sleep. Life was good
Some years later my Grandparents bought a trailer and we would spend weeks at the lake. The big fridge in the new shed meant food was in good supply and small hibachi was replaced with a larger bbq. While breakfast and lunch stayed pretty much the same, dinners became memorable with steak and chops grilling, the savoury smoke mouth-watering. Always eating now under the warm glow of our patio lanterns.
Today 35 years later I love camping. We did the tent thing when the kids were little but quickly bought a tent trailer. And despite the fact we consider this roughing it we don’t go without. Many a fellow camper has complimented us on our kitchen setup. Strangely the colours haven’t changed in 35 years, green Coleman stove and blue Coleman cooler or should I say coolers because there are usually 3, add to that the small fridge in the trailer, full size Bbq and you can begin to see… we eat well when we camp.
On average we camp for over 30 days between May and October and more often then not there are at least 3 other families camping too. The first trip a celebration of summers arrival and the last, usually a turkey dinner surrounded by good friends for Thanksgiving. The secret of successful cooking when camping is good tools. Invest in good coolers! http://campingwithgus.com/2011/04/03/camping-tips-pick-camping-cooler. My pots are cast iron with the exception of the huge pot we deep-fry the turkey in. My utensils are good quality and long handled so they easily transition from Bbq to open fire. Good long oven mitts…you need these when cooking with cast and many a night they have saved my arms from the fire when late night snacking.
More important then what you’re cooking with is the food you’re cooking with. Has it been safely prepared and stored? I won’t pretend to know all the secrets but http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/consumer-centre/food-safety-tips/food-handling/picnicking-hiking-camping/eng/1329169559628/1329169688727 is the best link I have found for tips on safe food storage, handling and preparation. Nothing is worth putting your family at risk, so take the time and do it right!
As I mentioned we average 30 days of camping a year but the lengths and destinations vary. Last summer had us adventuring through Eastern Canada for just over 3 weeks; Thanksgiving was a short and sweet 3 days stay. But one thing never changes, the importance of food. From the cooler in the truck as we pull out of the driveway to sustain us enroute to the picnic tables pulled together sitting 17, food is an integral part of the festivities and part of creating the memories… Who doesn’t have a camping memory including food? I spend many a night before baking, chopping, marinating and such, in order to have convenience and efficiency while away. My ènroute`cooler is brimming with Dingo Farms jerky and cured meats chopped and sliced, in an assortment of flavours to satisfy everyone. Assorted cheeses and chopped veggies complete the package along with icy water to help keep things cool. But this isn’t just for the drive, this combination works amazing for other on the go activities like hiking and canoeing. If room is an issue (the kids never want to carry too much) a Ziploc bag with Dingo farms jerky and a bottle of water and the kids are set to go with no worries about food safety. I love that! Breakfast most days has to be a quick fix… who wants to wait around while mom cooks when there are adventures to be had. Dinners are well planned in advanced yummy Dingo Farms meat. Steaks, my favourite kebabs, marinated pork with humus and pita. Can’t forget the amazing burgers and if we are lucky some fresh fish. Dinners are a chance to slowdown and share the day. The laughs and giggles. The special finds and secret trails. This is what memories are made of! But what I love, my favourite part of camping is the camp fire. This is where the families gather, a communal fire with the promise of more good food and tales from the day and a story… I am famous for my stories. Bigfoot, aliens and spooky tales based on the local folklore are always favourites, the best stories are supported by camp rangers and have had quirky hints placed around the camp ground days prior to the telling of the dreaded tale. As the tales unfold we comfort ourselves with food naturally. Smores, peanut butter cones and mini apple pies are favourites with the kids the adults crave a savoury fix. Jalapeños stuffed with cheese and bacon, taco bit or bacon, parm, jalapeno dip top the list of must haves. Everyone retires peacefully content and the soft lull of the insects takes you to sleep. These are the times that memories are made of… all the effort to organize and pack are worth it. Even as I type this I am bombarded by memories both from my childhood and as an adult with my own kids. These adventures not only shape your kids they shape you, remind you the importance of slowing down. Slow down!
For recipes and more camping tips visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/dingofarms
Where is the Blog???? Is that what you’ve been asking yourself? We apologize. The farm as you may well imagine is a busy place, but there are a number of things that impact how a day, week or even a month play out. Some drastic and some just annoying like a 750lb boar that chooses the only day of rain in weeks to unhinge the gate and go for a joy ride around the farm amid the lightening and apocalyptic downpour. I swore…. that he was smiling. Some things like injuries can stop your day on a dime and unfortunately a lot of these things we have no control over since we work daily in a high risk environment. And then there are the disasters like losing acres of land at harvest time to fire, a spark from a combine or a grass fire out of control. This is life on the farm, for the most part all the surprises must be dealt with first and as many entrepreneurs we struggle to keep balanced between work and family. Not an easy task when the office is in the house, and there is no time clock in the barn or field, the cows just don’t get it!. Perhaps this explains why making wine is a popular endeavour. With a family of 7 too it presents some interesting days, between animals, kids and crops well a day off at least every 2 weeks or so is pretty important!. We are a farm family after all. We appreciate our customers respecting our no Sunday sales policy.
The time and chores necessary to keep our farm functioning can be at times a painstakingly slow wheel and even slower in 40 degree weather!. Honestly hats off to everyone working outside this summer, even the animals!. With few times of the year allowing for breaks we did take one after that crop saving rain on Sunday. The animals had an almost a peaceful expression as our world took a breath and soaked up moisture. Unfortunately the rains were sporadic throughout Southern Ontario and some were left un quenched, we were one of the fortunate ones. However the crops are not out of the woods yet or in the bin so to speak. Hay for example has suffered so much this year due to drought that right now in southwestern Ontario one round bale is double the cost it was at the beginning of this year! With no real break in sight and not much of a second crop coming who knows where the hay will come from to over winter all the animals? How will farmers feed these animals?. What will the cost of meat do in the stores? Something to ponder.
This year we have planted about 1900 acres. Corn, Wheat and Soybeans and hay. We rent fields in our area from land owners, fellow farmers and from developers who have bought up the farmland in speculation. Some of the fields we work are several km away, and some are here in Bradford and the time spent manoeuvring the streets, traffic and back roads of Bradford to get there is becoming increasingly challenging. This may sometimes include crossing a finish line of a bike race all in the name of getting to the field before the rain did! Many thanks to the consideration the locals that aren’t annoyed or impatient when they see the “cultivator”, tractor with hay bales on a wagon or “combine” crossing through an intersection or down a back road. Truly, the patience and caution some drivers exhibit on the road does not go unnoticed and is most appreciated since at the end of the day we all want our loved ones to make it home safe and sound. Farmers do help feed cities, and towns, did you eat today? Then give the tractor the right of way!.
These crops take many months to grow and harvest time is get r done while everything else waits and this does include answering emails in a timely manner unfortunately. This is our job, our life and our love. Most of the crops supply the conventional markets and some we grow for our animals, i.e. non GMO corn, and hay. Field work is but a cog on the ever spinning gears that make up the inner workings of our farm and an incredibly important one. All consuming in our thoughts especially in a weather year like this one.
The biggest of our challenges is Mother Nature herself. Some hail global warming some say just history repeating itself, regardless unprecedented heat and lack of moisture are setting records for 2012 and it’s not over yet. Many forward thinking farmers market their own crops as we do by relentless market watching, sound marketing advice and when all else fails as Mom said, trust your gut!. No one hits every market high and hopefully lands a few upward trends all the while praying for the success of harvesting your crop. High prices are just that unless you have a crop in the bin. Value should be placed on every hour a farmer spends marketing, even the 3 O’clock run to the DTN computer to ease your mind about a marketing decision. Drought in the corn belt of the U.S. and parts of Ontario have set crop values soaring. July 19th 2012 as the markets closed it set a new all time high record for corn, never before seen.
Record high crop prices are just that if there is nothing in the bin. What does it all mean?
I am a Mom, no big proclamation I know, there are millions of us out there. But with Mother’s day upon us, I know that all the dads and kids out there are going to be trying to figure out some special tribute to “Mom”.
Take a hint from “Moms” and do what we do when we want to make you feel special, or celebrate you or comfort you…. We feed you
Now there is an easy way to feed Mom and make her feel special. It requires little imagination (I’m giving you the hints so it’s doesn’t count for thinking of this all by yourself) it does require dough… not the kind you make in the kitchen but rather the kind that you put 40 hours in to get. Yes, more simply said you can take Mom out for dinner. There are some amazing places locally that serve up our sumptuous meat products. From Cowbell www.cowbellrestaurant.ca in Toronto who offers outstanding casual dining and a weekend brunch that has me drooling as I type to Marben www.marbenrestaurant.com who serves up among other things, Dennis’ Roast Beef (yep that’s our own Dennis) a euphoric, melt in your mouth “Mom never cooked like this” dish. There’s Pie www.eatmypie.ca in Barrie that the kids will love as well as Mom or you can visit our website for more of our friends who love to cook with Dingo meats.
If the kids are too little or you’re celebrating more then one Mom at the table this year and organizing an outing to eat is too much then think about ordering in. Cravings www.cravingsfinefood.ca or Oscars www.oscarsrestaurant.ca both in Barrie offer catering for small and large groups as well as quick and simple “take home“. Any of the above will impress Mom and show how special you know she is.
BUT, if you have the time and energy and you plan a little you can surprise Mom by bringing her home after a fun day out to a wonderful dinner lovingly prepared by her family. What? How? You may ask. Well first grab yourself a roast… we’re at the Evergreen Brickworks www.ebw.evergreen.ca this weekend so we can help. There are a ton of options and price points and sizes so you can find one to fit your family.
The benefit of a roast is, besides prep they really need little attention so you can work on side dishes when the roast is cooking and if your organized you can even make part of it ahead of time. I’ll be making my famous potato salad (famous in my circle anyways) but you can serve a beautiful roasted or mashed potato. I’m also grilling my favourite! Fresh asparagus (just coming into season) but choose your family favourites really because EVERYTHING goes well with a roast.
Now below is my recipe, but you can cook a roast in as many different ways as there are roasts, from the BBQ to the oven to the slow cooker. So if mine doesn’t suit you please ask us or your butcher the best method of cooking.
Invest a little time, a little money and a lot of love and mom will have no doubts about how important she is to you… and well Dad, Fathers Day is not far off J
For cooking on the BBQ with or without a rotisserie visit http://www.beefinfo.org/?ID=17&ArticleID=72&SecID=6 I follow 4C the 3 burner method. Super easy and melt in your mouth
Beef roast to suit your family
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 cup paprika
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
Mix all ingredients together and spoon over beef and rub in. You do not need to use the entire rub, simply store unused portion in an airtight container for up to 6 months.