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Defending the rights and broadening the freedoms of family farms and protecting
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News for April 12, 2010

Goat farms spur growth in Alaskan cheese making

JUNEAU, Alaska — When Jennifer Ansley saw goats for the first time at a state fair, her heart nearly skipped a bleat.

"Oh, that's what I want," she told her husband. "I'm going to learn to make cheese. And I did."

A decade later, Ansley is among a growing number of Alaska farmers who have found a niche with goats, hardy animals they say adjust well to the state's climate. Ansley has 10 goats on her 15-acre farm in Ester and makes cheese for her family — something that concerns state officials who have drafted the state's first rules for commercial cheese making.

"We don't want people making cheese in their bathtubs," said Kristin Ryan, director of the state Division of Environmental Health. "We want it done in a sanitary environment."


Fear of pesticides persuades consumers to go organic

Is it worth paying an extra 30 cents for an organic apple? What about pricier organically grown strawberries, $4 a pound, versus $1.88 a pound for conventional berries? For broccoli, the difference is typically $1 a pound.

Nutrition isn't the issue, according to the Mayo Clinic, which says there's no conclusive evidence that organic food is more nutritious than conventionally grown food. Even so, like many aspects of organics, that's controversial. A recent European Union-funded study by Newcastle University researchers found that organic produce has 40 percent more antioxidants than conventional.

The difference is in the way the products are grown, with conventional farmers using chemical fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides that organic growers must avoid to meet U.S. Department of Agriculture organic standards.


What happened to all the buttermilk?

It's on the tip of my tongue, but I can't recall it. When something should be there and it isn't, it nags me. And it is not just a word I might be looking for, but physical things, like the other half of a pair of socks or swimming caps. They cannot walk but they certainly vanish.

Yet there are missing items that you'd never miss, because you did not know they existed in the first place. Like buttermilk.

Buttermilk is the by-product of butter churning, an acidic liquid, thicker than milk, which was once considered valuable. It was used in bread making, taken as a refreshing drink and even sloshed over faces to treat teenage spots. It is low in fat and nourishing.


Got (good) milk?

Snowville Creamery's slogan is "Milk, the way it used to be." It's an idea that resonated with readers of my piece "Milk's New Wave". This week, many wrote, called or logged into our chat to share their memories of delicious milk.

Some readers missed the "cream-line" milk most. Others talked about the thick, rich flavor of milk they drank when they were young. But my favorite memory came from Les Hubbard of Prince Frederick, Md., who recalled the days when the Sealtest milkmen would deliver bottles of milk to his door in Arlington.

The cream on top would be poured off to serve in my parents’ morning coffee or my grandmother and caregiver occasionally would purloin some to make butter. That would be a part-time task assigned to I believe a Maytag washer with wringer atop. The agitator with bottle of cream attached soon produced butter which was a scarce commodity during rationing of those days. We couldn’t do that later when upgrading to a Bendix front loader.


Vegetable Growers Meet to Discuss New FDA Standards on Food Safety

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration is developing a new nationwide set of food safety standards for growing, harvesting and packing fresh fruit and vegetables.

The Produce Safety Project and Center for Food Safety and Security Systems at the University of Maryland attracted about 200 fruit and vegetable growers, extension educators, packers, government officials and others to discuss the science behind and practical considerations for these new regulations.

The daylong event, the fourth such stakeholders discussion, was held Wednesday at the University of Maryland University College.


ACTION ALERT: Rescue Local/Organic Farming in the Food Safety Bill!

Urgent -- Call Your Senator Today

Next week, as early as Tuesday, April 13, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a sweeping overhaul of federal food safety law S. 510. The House food safety bill passed last year (HR 2749) included several measures that threaten small-scale organic producers, including a registration fee of $500 and blanket application of complicated monitoring and traceability standards -- regardless of one's farm size.

There's no doubt that industrial agriculture needs better oversight. But, family-scale local and organic farms are probably the safest in the nation they are part of the solution, not part of the problem -- and need to be protected!


Got raw?: Debate rages between raw milk advocates, food safety experts over drinking unpasteurized milk

NAPLES — It’s a liquid miracle with the potential to drastically change a person’s health. That’s how Aziz Obidov describes raw milk.

Although he stops short of saying it will cure cancer, he does believe it’s just what the American body needs. That’s why the Uzbeki immigrant sells raw milk from a farm in Tallahassee at Camilla, the small Eastern European grocery store off U.S. 41 in Naples that he and his wife have been running for the past year and a half. His operation is small, selling only about 20 gallons of milk and about 10 quarts of cream each week. He also makes and sells, butter, cream cheese, farmer’s cheese and keffir made from the milk.

“Where I am from, there is no raw milk,” he says. “There is only milk. That’s the only way you have it.”


Ron Paul: Twenty top applause lines at SRLC -- Video

SRLC , New Orleans, 2010: Ron Paul's  Freedom speech at the recent Southern Republican Leadership Conference was received with all of the enthusiasm this 'cattle call' for Republican leaders is known to generate.  They booed, they cheered, they stomped their feet. Ron Paul is indisputably the hero of American college students.

As a group, Paul's supporters have twice catapulted his votes to win or come within one vote of winning two Republican presidential straw polls. Ask any one of them if they think Ron Paul can really win the presidential election, they will all answer an immediate yes.

Though, difficult to pick out Paul's best applause lines at his recent speech at the Southern Republic Conference in New Orleans, below are the lines that merited the response that almost caused a stampede. 


Symposium Shows Raw Milk Debate Rages On

MADISON, Wis. -- A bill that could legalize the sale of raw milk has not been set for a vote yet, but those in favor of raw milk production aren't standing still while they wait.

Both sides of the raw milk debate are very passionate, but supporters of the proposed bill gathered Saturday at the Monona Terrace for the 2nd Annual International Raw Milk Symposium said it's not just about raw milk, it's about freedom.

Mark McAfee produces 2,000 gallons of raw milk each day and sells it in 400 stores legally in California.

"It's a wonderful God-given product that's just unprocessed in whole form," said McAfee. "We test our raw milk like crazy. We believe in Mother Nature but we test and verify."


Hundreds gather in Madison to promote raw milk sales

Madison - More than 300 people, including some from as far away as Europe, attended an international symposium Saturday meant to promote the benefits of unpasteurized milk - and to urge legalizing raw milk sales in Wisconsin.

Advocates say the Dairy State's handling of the issue will send an important signal to the rest of the nation.

With the exception of limited, incidental sales, state law prohibits the sale of unpasteurized milk to the public because it may carry bacteria that cause food-borne illnesses.

Raw milk advocates want the law changed, saying the benefits of fresh, unprocessed milk far outweigh the risks.

Currently, 25 states allow some form of raw milk sales.



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