Friday, May 28, 2010

Why eating locally matters.

We hear a lot of "green" buzz phrases like: eat local, food miles, certified organic and food security. Sometimes it's hard to sort through what really matters and we throw our hands up and continue in a habit of thoughtless eating. I (Jen) would argue that eating locally grown food is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies and our planet.

In her book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" Barbara Kingsolver, along with her husband and daughter, chronicle a year of deliberately eating food produced close to where they live. I highly recommend this book to anyone. She does not sugar coat the difficulties, but shares her deep satisfaction of knowing she is eating what her own hands have grown. The food that she does not grow herself, such as meat and dairy, she buys from local farmers. Her husband, Steven Hopp, shares some astounding statistics in his sidebar "Oily Food" P. 5. "Each food item in a typical U.S. meal has traveled an average of 1,500 miles. In addition to direct transport, other fuel-thirsty steps include processing (drying, milling, cutting, sorting, baking), packaging, warehousing, and refrigeration. Energy calories consumed by production, packaging, and shipping far outweigh the energy calories we receive from the food."

Last Tuesday morning, I drove less than 10 miles from my house to a farmers market. Farmers, artists and bakers were there to sell there goods and engage in conversation. When was the last time you talked to the farmer that grew your food? I was able to buy food for numerous meals: lettuce, asparagus, radish's, fresh baked bread, cucumbers and shallots. Most of these items were picked that morning. I also came away with potted herbs for my garden. I could have gone to the store and no doubt spent more money for the same items, but the difference in the the food miles and most importantly taste of the farm fresh food is not even comparable! I can get organic cucumbers that are selected for their ability to travel long distances from California packaged like a Sherman Tank, or I can get a cucumber selected for it's taste and quality that come from within a few miles of where I purchase it. With oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico as I type this, my awareness of our countries dependence on oil is heightened, and quite honestly, it makes me angry.

Do I really think I can change the world and help the planet by buying my lettuce at a local farmers market? Maybe. Will the lettuce taste better? Absolutely. If the local food movement continues to pick up momentum, and more Americans buy their food at local farmers markets, can we change the world? Yes, I believe so. I believe conscientious consumers are already changing the face of the food systems in this country. Riemer Family Farm is committed to supplying quality natural beef to customers within 100 miles of the farm.

Steven Hopp suggests that if every U.S. citizen ate just one meal each week composed of locally raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week." That's just one meal! My goal is to eat as much local food as possible. Small buying habits can make a big difference!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Kitchen progress 2007 to 2010

The Kitchen has come a long way! Plaster is going up right now. Next projects: Bamboo floor, cabinets, appliances...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Taking the Calves and Cows to Pasture

At Riemer Family Farm, we have had 23 calves this spring. We are still awaiting the arrival of a few more. Last weekend, Jen helped move the calves with their cows down to the pasture for the first time. Many years ago, Jen had the opportunity to help her college roommate’s family move their cows to pasture. Back then it was a novelty; sort of like playing cowgirl for the afternoon. This time, there was a great sense of satisfaction knowing that these are OUR cattle and that this is the first time of many that she will be herding them to pasture. I guess Jen's no longer playing cowgirl, but rather becoming a real farmer!

As for other news on the farm, the crops are planted, the vegetable garden and heirloom roses are looking good, due to the ideal weather thus far this spring. The front lawn of the farm house has deep ruts, however, due to all of the construction equipment delivery trucks dropping off our plaster board and lumber. More on the farm house renovation progress to come...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Farm House Progress

Many of you want to see before and after pictures of the farmhouse. This is neither, it's a partway through picture. Welcome to our kitchen! In the last three years we have cleaned out & gutted the house. We have worked along side professionals who are much more knowledgeable than us in the world of home renovation! From planning, to plumbing, running electrical, re-building and framing new walls, and building stairways. One thing we are really excited about is the new soybean-based spray foam insulation. It is a green product, very efficient, and just looks really cool too; imagine marshmallow fluff in yellow from floor to roof!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Spring Calves, Year 83

This is an exciting time of year at Riemer Family Farm. Every spring in late April through May the calves are born. This spring is the 83rd for the herd dating back to when my grandfather, Willis Riemer, purchased cows in 1927. We are over halfway through this calving season and we have 15 calves from 14 cows. Yep, that means we have a set of twins. Twins in cattle are about as common as twins in people. We currently have a herd of about 25 cows. The gestation period is also about 9 months in cows, as the bull is sent down to the pasture around July 4th every year. You could say it's a sort of independence day for the bull.

The "cows come home" to the barns and have access to the barn from late fall through early spring. The calves are born near the buildings in early spring and monitored closely for a couple days after birth. The cows and their new calves are then sent down to the 55 acres of pasture on the western most portion of our land to graze during the spring, summer, and fall.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Why Riemer Beef?

• The Riemer family has been raising beef cattle since 1927.

• We do not inject growth hormones into our cattle.

• You save money when you buy meat in bulk.

• We do not feed antibiotics to our cattle.

• The cattle are raised humanely.

• You support a local farmer.

• It’s great tasting beef.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Leigh's Slow Cooker Round Steak

Many of you have asked for recipes. Round steak can often be tough because it is from a highly exercised part of the animal. This recipe will make the round one of the best steaks in the house.

Cousin Leigh’s Slow Cooker Round Steak

2 to 2.5 lb round steak trimmed into serving sizes
1 can of mushroom soup
1 pouch of onion soup mix
1/2 can of water

Place Steak in crock pot. Mix the soups and water, pour over steak. Cover and cook on medium-low for 4-6 hours. This makes the meat very tender and makes a thick brown gravy. No need to make gravy!

Greek Style Rib-Eye Steak

This is a fantastic recipe that we found on All This is Jen's favorite recipe site. Be sure to invest in a good meat thermometer to ensure that your beef is done just the way you like it. Please share your favorite recipes with us!


* 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
* 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper
* 2 beef rib-eye steaks (1 1/2 inches thick)
* 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 2 tablespoons crumbled feta or blue cheese
* 1 tablespoon sliced ripe olives


1. In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients;rub onto both sides of steaks. In a large skillet, cook steaks in oil for 7-9 minutes on each side or until meat reaches desired doneness (for medium-rare a meat thermometer should read 145 degrees F, medium, 160 degrees F, well-done, 170 degrees F). Sprinkle with lemon juice, cheese and olives. Serve immediately.

Beef Cut Diagram