Will the farmer go after one lost piglet even though the other 19 are safe?
Yes. A farmer understands the parable of the good shepherd who will leave the 99 to find the one lost sheep.
Our Very Own Parable
The baby pigs at the farm in Myerstown, PA were finally old enough to come to our farm so we sent one of the guys in the farm truck to pick them up. The mostly pink pigs were sired by a long line of heritage breed boars. Heritage breeds are ones that have not been cross bred extensively for commercial production standards. They retain characteristics such as depth of flavor in the meat, health and heartiness which enables them to thrive on outdoor pasture, and survival instincts.
One little piggie's survival instincts were disctintly misguided on the drive home.
Peeking his snout over the tailgate, one piglet kept trying to push his way past the cover over the truck's bed. Was he seeking freedom? Was he scared? Who knows, but I do know that pigs brains are very tiny. Their large heads are built as bulldozers, thus the instinct of pushing something out of his way makes sense.
What doesn't make sense is why he jumped!
The driver could see from the rear view mirror first the snout, then the front feet, then both and the large head peeking out, while driving down the road.
Not brave enough at full speed, our little piggie waited until stopping at the red light before he jumped out.
That's when Farmer Reuben got the distress call. "What do I do?"
In the midst of planting thousands of tomatoes, baking sourdough bread and packing our custom market boxes, Farmer Reuben couldn't go out to rescue the pig himself so he sent our farmer apprentice, Andres, to asses the situation.
Arriving on the scene, our roadside farm situation was already being assisted by a friendly construction worker and a police man.
I heard the the police man somehow brought the pig back to the truck where he circled it and sniffed around trying to reunite with his fellows. Can you imagine him riding in the back of the police car? I'm not sure exactly what happened because I wasn't there. You know I would have got a video of it I could.
The construction worker donated second hand plywood to secure the other pigs in the truck for the remainder of the drive home.
Our brave, misguided piggie apparently had fallen on his face according to the police "report" and his snout was a bit road burned. This time he was secured in a closed van and drove home separately.
At the farm, the pigs were greatly relieved when they finally made it to the corral in the pasture. Andres said they squealed like murder as they were carried from the truck but fell silent immediately upon reaching the ground.
Walking around contentedly this morning, each one was acclimated to its' new surroundings, none the worse for wear. Even the little piggie who cried, "wee, wee, wee, all the way home."
You've just read the story I hint at in the Life on the Farm video here. But there's so much more to show you so watch now:
We can't stop planting because you are depending on us to grow amazingly fresh and delicious vegetables this summer - especially the tomatoes. We use every day to its maximum potential, using every person, every farm vehicle and every last drop of energy that Farmer Reuben has.
Farmer Doesn't Crash Anymore
Did you know that Farmer Reuben used to suffer from crashing blood sugar in between meals? He couldn't keep going without stopping to have a snack.
Months after making some diet changes in our family Reuben said to me, "You know, that doesn't happen to me anymore."
Some of you experience the same thing so it's time to resume my little series:
How to Eat Like a Farmer: Three Ways We Soak Our Grains and Why
Farmers are seed experts but it's almost laughable that knowing how seeds grow didn't translate into knowing how to prepare seeds for our family to consume. Even in families still connected to midwestern rural life, we didn't avoid inheriting the bad food habits of our modern, western, lazy, food culture.
Maybe you remember recipes for Buttermilk Pancakes that required you to start the batter the night before? Did you ever skip that step and wonder what the big deal was?
Have you ever tried to make your favorite muffin recipe with whole wheat flour instead? Did you end up with dense bricks?
Overnight Buttermilk Pancakes are the hint that should send us back to a more nutritious and flavorful way of eating grains.
What Farmers Know
- Seeds don't germinate unless they have the right conditions.
- Seeds can travel through the digestive systems of animals unharmed.
- Seeds can be stored for years without harming their potential to sprout.
The reason for these amazing characteristics of seeds is due in part to an compound called Phytic Acid. I'm not going to explain the science but most simply, phytic acid is the way that plants store the phosphorus that the new seedlings will need.
Feeding Animals: Farmers also used to know that fermented grains break down the phytic acid and make the nutrients in feed more bio-available for the animals they are raising.
Feeding Humans: The same thing is true for us. Fermenting grains, even ground grains (flours) and sprouting grains and seeds makes the nutrients more bio-available.
Is this important for us or just an interesting thing to know?
With digestive issues more prevalent in our families, wouldn't it be nice to know that a simple change to help?
That's because the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, pasta, all our yeast raised bread products aren't just empty carbs, they also contain pytic acid which binds to the nutrients in your digestive system and not allowing them to be absorbed and used by your body.
It's called an "anit-nutrient" for this reason. You can read more about this in many books, blogs, and scientific papers.
For many reasons, some people turn to grain free diets like the paleo diet and find healing and improved health and energy.
Others can't imagine giving up bread so what can they do besides ignore their mild symptoms, or perhaps their suffering.
What We Do - 3 Ways We Soak
- Soak your flour - We enjoy our baked oatmeal, "wheat bake", oatmeal, whole wheat english muffins, pancakes and muffins every morning by starting the batter the night before. We combine the flour with buttermilk or something similar each evening and add the rest of the ingredients the next morning. Many of our breakfast recipes can be found in this pdf book from my friend, Kelly, at Kitchen Stewardship.
- Soak your nuts - Almonds and other seeds are more digestible when soaked over night in water and salt and they dried the next day. This is easy!
- Switch to Sourdough bread - Sourdough is a method of slow fermenting the whole grain flours for a fantastic bread that is the perfection of robust flavors, amazing texture and superior digestibility and nutrition. This old fashioned method of bread baking was universal across many cultures until the development of quick rise yeast and de-germinated white flour. Baking powder and quick, active dry yeast made it unnecessary to follow older slower, healthier methods. Never mind the other additives that have to be included to preserve freshness and replace the nutrients that are lost.
How did this help Reuben?
More nutrients available in his breakfast and lunch gave him the energy he needed to get through the day.
Adding grass fed butter, coconut oil and whole grass fed milk also added high quality fats that sustained him longer AND aided in the digestion of the grains.
Mid morning and mid afternoon blood sugar crashes are a thing of the past for Farmer Reuben! There might be hope for you too.
Sourdough Bread Fresh From the Brick Oven on Fridays.
This is the only kind of bread we eat and every loaf of brick oven bread we make is slow fermented with organic whole grain flours.
Now you know why!
Some of our farm friends tell us:
- This is the only bread I eat!
- I am gluten intolerant but I can eat Farmer Reuben's Bread
- I finally found the bread I ate when I lived in Germany
Friday is Bread Day at Willow Haven Farm:
On Farm Market Open Now
Bake day = Friday 10 am - 6 pm
for fresh bread, cookies and more
Early Day = Saturday 8:30 am - 3 pm
for farm shopping to start your weekend
Farmer's Favorite Bread this Week? Raisin Walnut!
What are You Planning for Mother?
Don't forget that Mother's Day is THIS Sunday. Plan ahead by coming to our farm store for unique gift ideas and hanging flower baskets.
We still have garden transplants and the weather is looking nice for gardening and yard work this week.
Clean Haven Gift Basket for Mom
Hanging Baskets - reduced price when you buy 3 - only $12.00
1-2 $ 15
We'll keep farming for you!
P. S. Free Bread at our Farm Store IF you sign up for a Market Box subscription. We are giving $15 farm store credit today when you sign up for a market box subscription and show Wray in the store your completed membership. It's a great way to sample many of our special farm foods.