Pasture for Life Farmer explains why he does not feed his cows grains

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Pasture for Life is a certification standard for 100% pasture reared meat. It is an initiative of the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association which was formed in 2009, when a small group of British farmers decided to join together to extol the wide-ranging benefits of producing meat from animals fed exclusively on pasture. Our friends at Knepp Castle Rewilding Project are part of the scheme and we rave about their meat.

A few months back, one of the other farmers in the scheme, Tom Morrison, was interviewed on the BBC World Service program The Food Chain in an episode entitled ‘Of Maize and Men‘. The programme was focusing on the problems associated with Maize production worldwide and was interested to hear the views of this Pasture for Life farmer who explained why he does not use maize to feed his cattle.

We thought you would like to hear it too so we extracted a clip from the BBC podcast, and have copied the transcript further down if you prefer to read. Continue reading

Hold fire on the Sea Bass recipe! (Retraction and Apology)

Within days of my Stuffed Sea Bass recipe going live I received the following email:

give-bass-a-break

Wild bass stocks are dangerously low
We urgently need to catch less and eat less!

Scientists say that no seabass should be caught in 2017 to allow the population of this favourite fish to start to recover.

Whether you’re choosing it to cook at home or to serve up to customers – just STOP buying WILD CAUGHT seabass and switch to an alternative like farmed bass (ask for certified, responsibly farmed bass).

Most people will encounter farmed seabass especially in supermarkets, but many restaurants and fishmongers still serve wild bass.

MSC certified hake, mackerel and haddock are also great replacements for wild bass – they’re green rated on our Good Fish Guide so are guilt-free choices for fish-eaters.

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Study: dairy, not plant based diets is the best way to feed the planet

grazing-cows

Dairy cows in New Zealand where the study was conducted.

  • A recent study demonstrates that dairy farming is a more efficient and cheaper method for providing human energy and protein requirements than growing grains or pulses.
  • This contradicts decades of claims that a plant based diet is the only way to feed a burgeoning world population.
  • The new analysis is based on whole year farm-to-plate production using  real world farm practises taking into account human protein needs not just calories.
  • In our commentary we show how vegan diets indirectly support animal farming, whilst contributing to obesity and food waste in the wider society.

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The United Nations University has published one of our blog posts!

Our post “Why home-grown food is up to ten times better than arable crops” was picked up by writers at the United Nations University, who asked if we would be happy to let them publish it in their “Our World” online magazine. We were delighted, and they have now published it, giving us exposure to a new audience.

They have done a nice job, giving it a new title and reformatting it with their own images.
You can take a look at it here.

United_Nations_University_Article

UPDATE [29/Mar/2015]

The article has now been reblogged at Resilience the sustainable communities website, where it has kicked off a lot of good discussion.

Pasture fed meat comes to the high street

Chalk Valley Eaterie store front

I have been to a fabulous new restaurant/cafe twice in ten days (it must be good!) and I want to tell you all about it.

As you can see it is called Chalk Valley and is situated at 37 London Road Southampton SO15 2AD, which is in a stylish part of the city, with easy on street parking outside.

The owners, real food devotees Will Buckley and Sarah Jane Fairey, invited me to lunch after they read one of my blog posts and I have to say it was one of the best lunches I have ever eaten! Ribeye steak with a super fresh salad, an amazing truffle sauce and a pepper sauce too, plus superb pickles … I was in heaven.

If, like me, you find grabbing lunch out a bit tricky, due to your exacting dietary standards, you can now relax as Chalk Valley’s modern fast-food menu has pasture raised beef with the option of a gluten free bun or no bun at all. Many of the condiments and salads are organic and along with straight fries, they also do sweet potato chips.

Knowing the quality of the food, the nutrient density, the freshness and the happy origins of the meat matters to me and a lot of other people these days. For a new restaurant to meet the growing demand for really good food that is ethically produced, with sustainability at its heart makes perfect sense. To put it on the high street as a café, bar and grill was both courageous and a stroke of genius, thrusting these ideals right into mainstream view.

This Bar and Grill conceals its extraordinarily high standards behind a veil of high street accessibility. Despite its top notch quality no one could feel intimidated in the warm, friendly and inviting café environment. I loved the wall frieze manifesto, I loved the young chaps taking the orders, as though this level of quality were something the world is used to, and I loved the food and the totally sustainable ethos behind the way it was served. This is food from five star ingredients, made available for all, which is my idea of a genuinely Good Thing.

the mural flowing all down one side of the café declares the farming ethics behind the meats on the menu

The mural flowing all down one side of the café declares the farming ethics behind the Chalk Valley menu. The beef, pork and lamb comes from their own farm which they declare is ‘beyond organic’.

When Will and Sarah first contacted me and invited me over to Chalk Valley I immediately googled the restaurant to find out more. Much to my delight,  on looking through their website I found, a couple of articles by the great Graham Harvey – the very same Graham Harvey who was my keynote speaker at our Grass Fed Meat Revolution event held in Chichester in autumn 2013. It transpired that Will and Sarah Jane are friends with my other main speaker too, Sir Charlie Burrell, the man behind the stupendous Knepp rewinding project! (see my article on the event here). So the brains behind Chalk Valley Bar and Grill are clearly right up my street!

The main theme of this eatery is the super high quality 100% grass fed organic nature of their beef, lamb and buffalo meat, and their pasture reared pork, chicken and eggs. My understanding is that it is all from their own farm which is in the Test Valley, a chalk downland environment, hence the name of the café.( Please read the article by Will Buckley on the subject of the importance of our precious British chalk downlands here.) The other theme is the promotion of fast, tasty, accessible, pomposity-free, youthful and healthful food that ticks all the boxes.

I was so exited to be there on the first occasion that I clear forgot to take any photos, so this necessitated the task of going there again, today, with Keir, and indulging in one of their top burgers (the one called Chalk and Cheese for me – using goat’s cheese as an option, and bacon) which was served in a crisp curled lettuce leaf, while Keir went for the pork hot dog (served in a long cos lettuce leaf) and sweet potato chips to share. Relish, in all senses, was had, and boy was it good. The tea was served in really nice pots, and was made with proper leaf tea which was full flavoured. And I was even provided with a tea towel to use as a cosy, as I do like my tea to be kept hot (as anyone who knows me will testify).

Following a polite request, I was allowed into the kitchen to meet the chefs, two busy young men, clearing up as they went along (rule number 1 in my mum’s kitchen) and I was pleased to see that the area where the local artisan buns are toasted is kept quite separate from where the burgers and steaks are cooked, meaning that even those who are very sensitive to grains should be able to eat here safely. (Obviously I would make it clear when ordering that you are strictly grain free – but as far as I could see they are very capable of keeping you safe from any grain contamination).

One of the items discussed on my first visit, which I hope will soon take its place on the menu, is the special faggots that Will has devised with his chefs. Like haggis and sausages, faggots traditionally contained offal, partly so that no part of an animal went to waste, but also to get the prized nutrition of organ meats into the diet in an appetising form.

I have been banging on about offal for years now, as have other researchers such as Dr Terry Wahls (Associate Professor of Medicine at University of Iowa) who never travels without dried offal to see her through, and to which in part she attributes her cure from galloping multiple sclerosis. So my heart sang when these bundles of nutrition were mentioned. Let me know when they make their debut, Will, and I will be down in a flash.

Like me, Will Buckley is one of the nose-to-tail food advocates, which as well as being part of our ancestral tradition, is the only really decent way to approach an animal based diet. Eating in harmony with ones genome in this way seems like an altogether sensible way to live, I am sure you will agree, and this is where the science is leading. So it’s “back to the future”, and why not? To a Medical Herbalist and Clinical Nutritionist like me, it all makes complete sense.

Thank you Will and Sarah Jane for a superb lunch. I look forward to many more as I am determined to try every dish on your menu.

 

Why home-grown food is up to ten times better than arable crops

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Just some of the homegrow produce from our garden here at Rosemary Cottage.

An article in the Telegraph [1] that recently came to my attention galvanised me to assemble some thoughts that had been gradually coalescing for several weeks around the environmental and nutrient impact of our food choices.

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Pork – tradition and nutrition

  • Afifah on Radio 4’s Any Questions
  • Nutrients in pork
  • Latest research into eating pork shows positive health potential
  • Red meat and bacon may not be linked to colon cancer after all
  • Pig domestication and history of pig rearing
  • Where to find the best pork in West Sussex

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