Footsteps Farm Today

Footsteps Farm Home ~ Blog Home

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Long Hours

I work as a Project Manager at the Navy Sub Base commissary.

My old company lost the contract the end of the year adn a new one has taken over. Far more professional that the old one but a whole lot to learn,

I have been working up to 18 hours a day off the farm to get up to speed.

So no e-mails have been answered in a long time. I have had to step back from being the head fencing coach at the high school, something I REALLY miss, especially the great kids.

So if you haven't heard from me in a while that is why.



Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lard facts again

This is a handout that I received while attending the Pastured Pork Seminar in Atlanta Ga early this year (2009). It has already been reproduced and republished online for pubic viewing. I thought you all might like to know more about how great pastured lard is.

Real Lard is rendered pork fat ( it is called tallow if it comes from a ruminant such as beef cattle). RENDERING is gently heating the fat to separate out the protein strands, the “cracklings”. It is a beautiful, white, naturally-hydrogenated, solid fat. Most of its carbon sites are filled with hydrogen’s in their natural and normal cis position just as it comes from the hog. Good lard is only 40% SATURATED fat, with 48% MONOUNSATURATED and 12% POLYUNSATURATED fat.

Lard is stable and the preferred fat for frying, it does not easily turn into trans fats when heated. Potatoes, for example, fried in lard can be cooked in a shorter time at a higher temperature resulting in a better taste and texture as well as less rancidity and embedded oil. Lard is a HEALTH FOOD that needs to be returned to it’s rightful place in the American diet.

There are two kinds of fatty acids we cannot make and are therefore called ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS, they and both polyunsaturated 18 carbon molecules. OMEGA 6 is double unsaturated LINOLEIC acid and OMEGA 3 is the triple unsaturated LINOLENIC acid. The omega number refers to the location of the first double bond. Like other polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s) they are unstable, go rancid easily and should never be heated. Special and incredibility healthful EFA Omega 3 fats include CONJUGATED LINOLEIC ACID 9CLA0 which is found in grass-fed animals especially ruminants, DHA (the brain fat) and EPA which are found primarily in deep ocean fish, and GLA found in some plant oils.

Organically-raised, foraging and outdoor range hogs have the healthiest lard. Conventionally-raised pork get virtually no exercise, live outdoors and eat no greens. Much of their diet is of the lowest possible quality. This lard is of equally low quality. The diet and lifestyle of the hog radically affects the quality of the lard! Confinement pork lard has similar OMEGA 6:3 ratios to feedlot beef, a 100gm serving has about 8 grams of O-6 and 0.8 grams of O-3. A much more healthful ratio of O-6:O-3 can be achieved by increasing the amount of fresh green forages. The O-3 content can be greatly enhanced by feeding flax seed, sea greens, green algae or fish oils. On the other hand, hogs that eat garbage, especially bakery waste will incorporate toxic trans fats, heavy metals or other toxins in the fat. Free-living warthogs have a ratio approaching 1:1.

The health of Americans plummeted when “politically correct” diet advise recommended vegetable oils for cooking, especially partially-hydrogenated oils. Shortening, for example, is a liquid oil until manufacturers heat it up under pressure, bubble hydrogen gas into it ( with a catalyst to make it all work faster) and force-feed the C double bonds hydrogen atoms that often latch on is a crossways or trans configuration. (“cis” means same side whereas “trans” means on the opposite side). A little bit of hydrogen added in the trans configuration increases shelf life of the oil and allows vegetable oils and corn oil not to go rancid in large, clear containers exposed to light and heat on the store shelves. A lot of hydrogen added in the trans configuration solidifies the liquid oil, creating stick margarine or solid vegetable shortening, such as Crisco. Polyunsaturated oils go rancid easily due to unstable double bonds.

Fats are made of FATTY ACIDS which are carbon-hydrogen chains (C-C-C-C-C-C-C-C-C-C) that latch on in groups of three to a glycerol backbone to make a TRIGLYCERIDE molecule, which are the basic molecules of which all fats ares made. The length of the carbon chains and where, if any, double bonds (ie, missing hydrogen molecules) occur differentiate the fatty acids one from another. The more double bonds, the more unsaturated. One double bond gives you monounsaturated, many double bonds gives you a polyunsaturated, no double bonds gives you a saturated fatty acid. The main saturated fatty acids (from shortest to longest chains): CAPRIC,LAURIC,MYRISTIC,PALMITIC and STERIC acids. The main monounsaturated is OLEIC acid.

Olive oil contains 71% OLEIC acid, that heart-healthy, monounsaturated fat that we’re supposed to get more of. Lard contains 44 % oleic acid, sesame oil (41%), corn oil (28%), walnut oil (28%), flaxseed oil (21%), cottonseed oil (19%) and sunflower oil (19%), grapeseed oil (15%) and safflower oil (13%), beef tallow (43%), butterfat (29%) and human butterfat (ie the fat of breast milk at 35%).

Lard (14%) of the 18-C saturated fat, STEARIC acid, which has been shown in clinical testing to lower cholesterol.

Like olive oil, lard contains 10% of the omega-6 fatty acid LINOLEIC acid, again, roughly the same as human butterfat (breast milk) at 9%.

Lard contains 2% MYRISTIC acid, a 14-C saturated fat that has been shown to have immune enhancing properties. Human butterfat 8% myristic acid, cottonseed oil (1%0 and the tropical oils, coconut oil (18%) and palm kernel oil (16%) vegetable oils have zero.

Lard contains 26% PALMITIC acid, a 16-C saturated fatty acid, olive oil only 13%, human butterfat contains 25%. Palmitic acid is antimicrobial.

Lard’s basic fatty acid composition is compared to the butterfat of human breast milk. Lard is less saturated and more monounsaturates.

Saturated Monounsaturated Polyunsaturated
Breast Milk 48% 35% 10%
Lard 42% 44% 10%

WE NEED SATURATED FAT- It makes up over half of all cell membranes and gives cells stiffness and integrity. Bones reguire about 50% of the dietary fat to be saturated so calcium can be absorbed. SF lowers Lipoprotein-a in the blood, an inflammatory marker directly associated with the risk of heart disease. SF protects the liver from alcohol, toxins and drugs and they enhance the immune system. Omega 3 fats are retained in the tissue when the diet is rich in SF. Heart muscle contains rich deposits of stearic acid and palmitic fatty acids as they are foods the heart muscle uses and which are drawn upon in time of stress. Many SF have antimicrobial properties and protect us from harmful pathogens in the intestine. There is no scientific evidence to back up claims that SF causes “artery clogging” in fact arterial plaque is only 26% SF the rest unsaturated fat, over half of the plaque is polyunsaturated fat !.

WE NEED CHOLESTEROL- it is only found in animal fat. In spite of being falsely accused of being the cause of atherosclerosis, heart attack and stork, cholesterol is actually a necessary substance in every body. It is a strong anti-oxidant and free radical scavenger. This is why cholesterol levels go up as we get older since we need more protection. Cholesterol makes up a large portion of the brain, is the root of all corticosteroids and hormones in the body, it is the precursor to vitamin D. It keeps our skin soft and moist, and makes the bile which we need to digest fat. Mother’s breast milk is very high in it (which should tell us something!). Our bodies make over 2000mg daily whereas a maximum of only 100mg can be absorbed from the diet, so it’s pretty clear how shaky and wrong the connection of heart disease to dietary cholesterol intake. It is oxidative stress that causes cholesterol to elevate in the bloodstream in response to excessive free radicals. In the skin, uv light causes the production of free radicals, known carcinogens and aging factor, which damage the vital phospholipids of the skin unless the cholesterol is there in adequate supplies to protect it. Cholesterol is required for proper function of serotonin (the “feel good” brain chemical) such that low cholesterol levels are associated with aggression, violence, depression and suicidal tendencies. Cholesterol lowering drugs, especially the statins, are intrinsically toxic to the liver, they deplete CoQ10, an enzyme needed by all muscles by (note that the heart is a muscle), and ultimately leaves us dangerously exposed to oxidizers, free radicals and other damaging agents.

TRANS FATS- Are one of the most dangerous foods in the world. They serve no purpose in the body except to cause inflammation, cancer and degenerative disease. TF began to enter the diet of Americans around 1910. Not too many years later we began to see the heart attack “epidemic” begin. Now most Americans consume up to or more than 20% of their fat intake as trans fats. French fries have about 40% TF, cookies and crackers range from 35-50%, and donuts are 35-40% TF. If mothers eat TF it will cross the placenta and every cell in the baby will contain TF, even the brain. Every cellmembrane is a layer of fat with a thin protein coating on both sides. If TF gets built into the membrane it is defective and won’t resist viral or other infection and it becomes cancer prone (seen most often in the current skin cancer “epidemic”). TF causes problems in the brain as DHA or other brain fats cannot be made from it, and the stiff and straight abnormal molecule creates overly rigid membranes. By eating a good balance of SATURATED FATS, POLYUNSATURATES and ADVOIDING TF, it is thought that we can prevent MS, ALS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease as well as depression, schizophrenia, and other mental illnesses.

________________REFERENCES and FOR MORE INFORMATION--------------------



EAT YOUR CHOLESTEROL, William Campbell Douglass 1985

THE MILK BOOK, William Campbell Douglas 1985

THE CHOLESTEROL MYTHS, Uffee Ravnskov, 1999


EAT FAT, LOSE FAT, Sally Fallon, 2005

KNOW YOUR FATS, Mary Enig, 1999

PASTURE PERFECT, Jo Robinson, 2004

SMART FATS, Michael Schmidt, 1997

PIG PERFECT, Peter Kaminsky, 2005

Will Winter, DVM 612-756-1232

Lard can be obtained from any part of the pig as long as there is a high concentration of fatty tissue. The highest grade of lard, known as leaf lard, is obtained from the "flare" visceral fat deposit surrounding the kidneys and inside the loin. Leaf lard has little pork flavor, making it ideal for use in baked goods, where it is treasured for its ability to produce flaky, moist pie crusts. The next highest grade of lard is obtained from fatback, the hard subcutaneous fat between the back skin and muscle of the pig. The lowest grade (for purposes of rendering into lard) is obtained from the soft caul fat surrounding digestive organs, such as small intestines, though caul fat is often used directly as a wrapping for roasting lean meats or in the manufacture of pâtés.
History and cultural use

Raw fatback being diced to prepare tourtière.
Lard has always been an important cooking and baking staple in cultures where pork is an important dietary item, the fat of pigs often being as valuable a product as their meat.[4] Similarly, it is also prohibited by dietary laws that forbid the consumption of pork, such as kashrut and halal.
During the 19th century, lard was used in a similar fashion as butter in North America and many European nations. Lard was also held at the same level of popularity as butter in the early 20th century and was widely used as a substitute for butter during World War II. As a readily available by-product of modern pork production, lard had been cheaper than most vegetable oils, and it was common in many people's diet until the industrial revolution made vegetable oils more common and more affordable. Vegetable shortenings were developed in the early 1900s, which made it possible to use vegetable-based fats in baking and in other uses where solid fats were called for.
Toward the late 20th century, lard began to be regarded as less healthy than vegetable oils (such as olive and sunflower oil) because of its high saturated fatty acid and cholesterol content. However, despite its reputation, lard has less saturated fat, more unsaturated fat, and less cholesterol than an equal amount of butter by weight.[2] Unlike many margarines and vegetable shortenings, unhydrogenated lard contains no trans fat. It is also based on the image of lard as a "poverty food".[4]
Many restaurants in the western nations have eliminated the use of lard in their kitchens because of the religious and health-related dietary restrictions of many of their customers. Many industrial bakers substitute beef tallow for lard in order to compensate for the lack of mouthfeel in many baked goods and free their food products from pork-based dietary restrictions.
However, in the 1990s and early 2000s, the unique culinary properties of lard became widely recognized by chefs and bakers, leading to a partial rehabilitation of this fat among "foodies". This trend has been partially driven by negative publicity about the trans fat content of the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in vegetable shortening. Chef and food writer Rick Bayless is a prominent proponent of the virtues of lard for certain types of cooking.[12][13][14][15]
It is also again becoming popular in the United Kingdom among aficionados of traditional British cuisine. This led to a "lard crisis" in early 2006 in which British demand for lard was not met due to demand by Poland and Hungary (who had recently joined the European Union) for fatty cuts of pork that had served as an important source of lard.[16][17]
[edit] Culinary use

A slice of bread spread with lard was a typical staple in traditional rural cuisine of many countries.
Lard is one of the few edible oils with a relatively high smoke point, attributable to its high saturated fatty acids content. Pure lard is especially useful for cooking since it produces little smoke when heated and has a distinct taste when combined with other foods. Many chefs and bakers deem lard a superior cooking fat or shortening because of lard's range of applications and taste.
Because of the relatively large fat crystals found in lard, it is extremely effective as a shortening in baking. Pie crusts made with lard tend to be more flaky than those made with butter. Many cooks employ both types of fat in their pastries to combine the shortening properties of lard with the flavor of butter.[4][18][19]
Lard was once widely used in the cuisines of Europe, China, and the New World and still plays a significant role in British, Central European, Mexican, and Chinese cuisines. In British cuisine, lard is used as a traditional ingredient in mince pies and Christmas puddings, lardy cake and for frying fish and chips, as well as many other uses.[16][17]
Lard is traditionally one of the main ingredients in the Scandinavian pâté leverpostej.
In Catalan cuisine lard is still used to make coca bases and typical cakes as ensaimades.
Lard consumed as a spread on bread was once very common in Europe and North America, especially those areas where dairy fats and vegetable oils were rare.[4]
As the demand for lard grows in the high end restaurant industry, small farmers have begun to specialize in heritage hog breeds with higher body fat contents than the leaner, modern hog. Breeds such as the Mangalitsa hog of Hungary or Large Black of Great Britain are experiencing an enormous resurgence to the point that breeders are unable to keep up with demand.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Product availability

We are so greatful to Faith Middleton and WNPR's Food Smooze for their continual mentioning of our products.

In addition we pass on a heartfelt thank you to The Hartford Courant, Linda Giuca and John Woike for a GREAT article and AWESOME pictures.

With all this advertizement many calls, e-mails and web site hits have prompted the need for an explaination on our availability.

As the article stated hang time for Spanish style hams is three years, our cross breeding program is 2/3rds completed and we won't have the final part until early next year, then the 3 year clock starts.

We will also do some normal hams with a year and also some with a 18 month hang time.

Because we treat our animals with respect we do not push them to get ready for your dining pleasure, when they are ready is when they go to slaughter.

That being said you also should know that because our birds and pigs are pastured, they are greatly affected by Sunlight intensity and duration (winter means less sun which means slower growth). Chickens as an example need 14 hours of light to produce an egg.

Being pastured also means you must have pasture, so chickens are seasonal and we at the end of our season with all being slaughtered in the next 3 weeks.

Currently we have 21 hogs growing, they have slowed down but are at about the weight they would be slaughtered IF we were a factory farm. Our pigs grown to over 300 pounds which gives them time to develop flavor and intermuscular marbling. It also gives them time to grow a bigger pork chop. Our chops are typically a pound a piece and 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches thick.

We are looking at early next year before the next batch of pork is available, this does not mean our hams, it means everything else. You see we do sell normal "hams" that are cured and smoked from fresh meat and ready within 2 weeks after slaughter...these are NOT real hams. They are what you are used to, what you love, but not real true country style hams.

So keep an eye on Deb's site and look for our chickens over the next 3 weeks, you can try our whole hog hot dogs until they run out which will happen soon.

You can try some of our pastured lard and you can read the benifits of it here on our blog.

Remember that beside being Humane we are particular with our products.

Great wine isn't made in a week, outstanding cheese doesn't age over night, holy smoke good pork takes a year and blow you away ham takes 3 years.

You can wait for the best and in the meantime try the rest.

Oh one more thing, yes we will do turkeys next year agan, we lost all but one this year. One huge bit of advise...start your turkey search NOW for next year, do not wait until November to find one.

Or you could order a Busty Broiler Chicken from Ct Farm Fresh Express and have it for Christmas dinner.



Taking time to do right by the customer and the animal.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Spanish ham project update

Here are two links for you, I don't know how long they will stay active.

The first if from The Hartford Courant article..they did a great job and thank you.,0,4876509.story

The second one is from our dear friend Faith Middleton and WNPR's food smooze, as always thanks to Faith our pigs are in high demand.

As soon as I have some free time I will write an update for all to read.



Friday, August 14, 2009

This weeks bundle

1. Loin roast 5.48 lbs @ $15.00 PP
1. Smoked Shoulder 5.50 lbs @ $8.50PP
1 Pack of 2 loin chops 2.65 lbs @ 15.00 PP
2 Smoked hocks 1.99 lbs @$6.00PP
5 Breakfast Sausage 4.48 lbs @12.50PP
5 Whole hog Franks 5.17@ $8.75 PP
3 Smoked Nitrite free Bacon 3.16Lbs @ $14.75 PP
3 Smoked Ham steak 1.95lbs @ $10.00 PP

Total weight about 30 pounds @ $10.00 PP

Monday, August 10, 2009


Text to follow

Apple cider vinegar

We take 3 double shots per day.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bundle Packs

Bundle of pork: Each bundle contains about 25 pounds of the best pork we can raise. At least 2 packs of chops and 2 smoked shoulders, 5 packs of Nitrite free smoked bacon and 5 packs of smoked ham steaks. 1 pack of Fat Back. $10.00 per pound.

Here is what is in our bundle packs:

Chops: Bone in rib and loin chops cut 1 ¼ to 1/12 inches thick. Moist and Flavorful, from our pastured pigs. Plan to serve 1 chop per person. 2 chops per package. $15.00 per pound.

Smoked Ham steaks: Small, one or two steaks per package. Cut from the center of smoked hams. $10.00 per pound.

Smoked shoulder: The “arm” or lower part of the front shoulder. The bone remains for even more flavor. Plan to serve ¾ pound per person. $8.50 Per pound.

Smoked Nitrite free bacon: you have not yet had real bacon until you have tried this.
$14.75 per pound.

Pastured Lard: THE best there is, see our blog for information on the benefits of eating PASTURED lard. You have not had a good French fry until you have cooked them in our lard. $4.00 per pound