Tonight was “dad’s night to cook.” We just picked up some fresh zucchini and yellow squash from the local farmer’s market last night (I stuffed and barbecued a big one last night for supper), had some hamburger thawed in the fridge, so I probed my memory and decided on a casserole.
The recipe is fairly simple, brown a couple of pounds of ground beef and set aside. Slice and sauté a couple large squash in olive oil, I use oil grown by my friend Irv Leen of Gold Rush Farms, and set aside. Mix thinly sliced mushrooms, a couple of cups of sour cream, a cube of melted butter and a roll of crushed Ritz crackers with the beef. Spread the beef evenly in the bottom of a 9 x 14 casserole dish. Spread the sautéed squash on top of the beef and then add a couple of cups of shredded cheese over the top. Place in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes and supper is served!
While waiting the 20 minutes for the casserole to bake, I began to think about the past several weeks… I have been to Washington D.C. to meet with reporters and writers about the use of antibiotics in livestock, discussed organic and conventional production and grassfed vs grainfed beef…PEW held a discussion in Chicago on antibiotic use and superbugs…and Panera launched a campaign insinuating that farmers who use antibiotics are lazy. I recommend you take a look at a well written post by my friend Carrie Mess “Dear Panera Bread Company” and “Here’s What Panera had to say…”
Now you are probably asking yourself, what in the heck does this have to do a squash casserole?
Well, remember that ground beef I used, here is the back story.
I own and wear a pink shirt. I even have and wear several pink ties. However, this post isn’t about apparel…sorry.
“Pink Slime” has hit the media yet again in recent days. Several of my friends in social media have inquired what my thoughts were on a number of videos and news reports: Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution ‘70% of Americas Beef Is Treated With Ammonia,’ Fox News Report ‘Pink Slime in 70% Of Ground Beef,’ and ABC News ‘Where You Can Get Pink-Slime Free Beef,’ were the three most cited.
Can you imagine taking fresh picked fruit, misting it with ammonia hydroxide to eliminate bacteria, sticking it in a blender, cooking it, putting it in a jar and then selling it for human consumption? Most of us do, by purchasing jelly and jam to go with our peanut butter.
Can you imagine taking fresh picked lettuce or spinach, misting it with ammonia hydroxide to eliminate bacteria, putting it in a package, selling it, buying it, opening it, adding croutons, tomato and ranch dressing and then eating it? Many of us do, purchasing prepackaged salad to eat before supper.
This post is not intended to promote, nor condemn the practice of utilizing ammonium hydroxide, but rather to present some facts and allow you to make your own decisions. This is not a “new” process, nor is it solely utilized by the meat industry. The questions are those that I have been asked over the past four days. Read more…
A friend of mine on Twitter sent me a link to an article titled “First ‘test-tube’ hamburger to be produced this year” and wanted to know my thoughts, so…
The idea of being able to take bovine stem cells, growing muscle tissue in a lab and then taking that tissue and turning it into “hamburger” is an intriguing idea. It makes me think of a science fiction movie or even Star Trek.
Those who know me and have followed my blog also know that I am a supporter of utilizing technology to improve the ability of agriculture to provide safe and wholesome food in the most efficient manner possible while also being environmentally friendly. This endeavor could potentially provide an option for people to choose, when it comes to choices of “meat.”
After being intrigued by the initial presentation of the idea, I then reached the point in the article where the author begins describing the “benefits” of having being able to create “hamburger” in a test-tube. Yes, I am putting the word hamburger in quotations…I just have a tough time calling something hamburger that comes from lab.
Some of the benefits listed included:
“Conventional meat and dairy production requires more land, water, plants and disposal of waste products than almost all other human foods.”
It is important to realize that most of the land utilized to raise cattle is of very poor quality and not land that is favorable for growing “human foods.” Particularly in the west, cattle run on mountain and dessert range, where elevation and length of growing season limits production to grasses. Additionally, where cattle have been managed properly, beneficial grasses actually increase, for both the cattle and wildlife, fuel loads are reduced and organic material in the soil is increased. Read more…
Current elements in the economy and the agricultural industry have the makings for a “perfect storm.” Just last week I was asked to do an interview pertaining to the current price situation for the beef industry. As I did the interview I realized what a unique set circumstances we have. In short, do not be surprised when you do not see ranchers and farmers jumping for joy over the currently high market prices. We are in very uncertain times. Read more…
I recorded the Oprah show, Go Vegan For A Week, that aired last week with Michael Pollan as a guest and the topic being veganism. I finally had a bit of time to watch and digest what had been said. Because society is no longer connected to the food that they eat, shows such as this tend to make me a bit nervous. Call me paranoid, but when a major celebrity, a popular documentarian and an author are giving advice to a million plus people on “healthy” eating, I get skeptical. On issues pertaining to health and diet, consult a doctor and for information on agriculture, talk to a farmer or rancher. There were three primary “nuggets” that I thought were of significant importance, one of which I found myself in partial agreement with Michael Pollan and another with Oprah Winfrey.
First, I was impressed by the inclusion of the video from Lisa Ling’s visit to Cargill. While it may have been “shocking” to those not familiar with the beef industry, it represented how agriculture has changed by blending efficiency, quality and animal welfare. Cargill, as shown in the video, has implemented modern technology, handling methodology and designs by Temple Grandin that reduce stress on animals. What I really appreciated about this video was the fact that a major company was willing to allow cameras to enter one of their facilities to share their part of the agricultural story. Read more…
This next section will try to help explain the components involved when formulating a ration.
What is the difference between a concentrate and roughage?
What is TDN?
TDN is a figure that indicates the relative energy value of feed to an animal and is expressed in pounds and in percent. There are four factors that affect TDN: % dry matter, digestibility of the Dry Matter, amount of mineral matter in the digestible dry matter and the amount of fat in digestible dry matter. Basically, if you take a feedstuff and subtract the water and all of the non-digestible components, what you are left with is the TDN.
Feeds are grouped based on their percentage of TDN for cattle on an as-fed-basis.
Group A – These are pure fats, high fat feeds, and high in digestibility: soybean oil, dried whole milk, cotton seed, soybean seed, and dried bakery product to mention a few. Read more…
This is the first post in a series, to continue the discussion of grain-fed and grass-fed cattle.
Animal nutrition is like human nutrition or should I say, human nutrition should be like animal nutrition? A balanced diet keeps the body healthy and functioning properly.
Often times, through various social media and traditional media platforms, I see statements that would lead the reader to believe that cattle are just being fed corn; so I felt compelled to put together a simple post that explains what is involved when preparing a ration for cattle. Saying that cattle are fed on corn alone makes as much sense as saying that you can be healthy by eating nothing else than meat, or living a healthy life by only eating apples. Cattle, like humans, require a balanced ration. Read more…