Feeding your family like our own

Healthy Living

What the ‘BEEF’ is going on?

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

References

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/

 

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For The Meat-A-Holics

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.

Adding the final layer of cheese

Adding the final layer of cheese

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 Final Product

The Final Product

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!

Enjoying the Meatzza

Enjoying the Meatzza


Honest Goodness? Click on the images to see the sales pitch

ani•trite noun \ˈnī-ˌtrīt\ 1: a salt or ester of NITROUS acid

hon•est
adjective \ˈä-nəst\
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

trans•par•ent
adjective \tran(t)s-ˈper-ənt\
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 connboisseur 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?c

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  


Camping and Cooking….Ahhhhh

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


Winds of Change

Everyone has a time of year when they are open to change, excited about it even. Some people pick the New Year to make their changes, others choose September when the kids head back to school and routines return to normal.  For me however, it is the spring.  I am always inspired to start fresh as I watch Mother Nature gently encourage the world around us to grow and flourish. As the very first crocus pushes through the snow or the first Robin hunts in my still frozen garden I am reminded that determination and simple hope can change the outcome of a day. Really the world around us chooses spring as well; no other season inspires such dramatic change.  Here at the farm spring means a lot of different things, different changes. From when the first warm breezes sweep across the fields carrying the smells and sounds of spring, fresh turned fields and the soft noises of new life in the barn. Spring assaults your senses and hopefully inspires you.

So this spring we are going to inspire you to change the way you feed your family. We are going to teach you that there are better, healthier ways to eat that don’t break the bank.  We are going to give you ideas and recipes that will get your family, young and old cooking and eating together.  We want to show you that selecting and preparing your food can be as enjoyable and enriching as eating it.  So join us weekly for a glimpse of life at Dingo Farms as we explain our products, share our thoughts and views and show you through traditional and outside the box recipes that food can be extraordinary.

Are you ready to be inspired to change?