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|Friday, April 2nd, 2010|
|Press Release: Artisan Cheesemakers and Land Trust collaborate to preserve historic farm
Hunterdon Land Trust and local cheese makers work together to preserve historic farmstead in Holland Township, Hunterdon County picasaweb.google.com/KateButtolph/StametsProperty
The Stamets Farm sits atop a hill with beautiful views of the Delaware River and has been farmed by just two families since the American Revolution. When William Stamets, whose family had owned the farm for generations, passed away in 2001, many people feared the property would be developed, ending the tradition of family farming on the land that had endured for hundreds of years. On Monday March 29th those fears were put to rest with the culmination of a deal coordinated by the Hunterdon Land Trust.
By purchasing the development rights to the property the land trust simultaneously protected the land, ensuring that it will always be used as a farm, and made it possible for Nina and Jonathan White, local farmers and cheese makers, to purchase the property as the new home for their environmentally sustainable Bobolink Dairy Farm.
“This project has such a great outcome--the permanent protection of the largest unpreserved farm in the township and its transfer to a farming family with an established commitment to sustainable agriculture”, said Margaret Waldock, Executive Director of the Hunterdon Land Trust Alliance.
Preservationists and farmers both have big reasons to celebrate the successful completion of this deal. The farm has great conservation value given its size, soils and the fact that it is located in the middle of hundreds of acres of land that has already been preserved. To lose this property to development would have dealt a serious blow to preservation efforts in the region.
Holland Township Mayor Edward Burdzy indicated that the preservation of the Historic Stamets farm represents a milestone in Holland's farmland preservation effort. “Bill Stamets would be proud that the land will continue in agricultural use” said the Mayor.
Like many family farmers Nina and Jonathan White have found it challenging to find a farm to buy, given the cost of real estate in New Jersey which is often a significant barrier to famers. They are well known cheese makers producing high-quality artisanal cheeses from their Bobolink Dairy, established on leased land in Vernon, NJ. For many years the Whites had searched for a farm to purchase as a permanent home for their herd of 100 rustic Bronze Age cattle. Their long search came to an end when the land trust showed them the Stamets Farm in Holland Township. The Hunterdon Land Trust secured grant funding to preserve the farm through the purchase of an agricultural easement from the Stamets’ estate and then the Whites purchased the preserved property from the estate.
The deal required the participation of a large group of partners to fund the purchase of the $1.4 million conservation easement, and a great deal of work to coordinate all of the partners involved. The Hunterdon Land Trust secured preservation grants through a variety of public and private sources. The state of New Jersey’s farmland preservation program, the Hunterdon County farmland preservation program, and Holland Township all contributed funds and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation provided $700,000 in Federal Farm and Ranchland Protection Funds to secure an agricultural easement on the farm.
“We are very pleased to contribute a portion of our federal farmland grant to the Hunterdon Land Trust and support their efforts to preserve this farm,” said Michele S. Byers, executive director of New Jersey Conservation Foundation. “Bobolink Dairy is a terrific example of a sustainable dairy operation, and we congratulate the Hunterdon Land Trust on their success in helping the White family find a permanent home for their farm in Hunterdon County.”
The Open Space Institute provided a bridge loan which allowed the land trust to close the project in time to meet the March 29 closing date, while the land trust waited to receive a portion of the grant funding.
“Hunterdon Land Trust has a great track record of agricultural preservation in Hunterdon County, and this is a project we’re proud to be involved with,” said Marc Hunt, the Southern Appalachians field coordinator for the Open Space Institute. “The acquisition of this easement will allow the farmer to purchase land that sustains his operation at an affordable price. This is a model for an innovative project by a land trust that really does it right.”
The White’s cheeses and breads are currently sold on their rented farm in Vernon, NJ, in farmer’s markets throughout the NYC region, including the indoor market on Sunday in Stockton, NJ, as well as nationally via their website, www.cowsoutside.com. After their move to Holland Township, Bobolink cheese and breads will also be available for sale at the Hunterdon Land Trust’s Farmers’ Market at Dvoor Farm.
“Bringing Bobolink Dairy together with the Stamets property demonstrates how the preservation and farming communities can work together to keep family farms a part of our county and to build the local food system” said Waldock.
The Hunterdon Land Trust is Hunterdon County, New Jersey’s only countywide land trust. Incorporated as a 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization in 1996, the land trust is committed to preserving and protecting the rural landscapes and natural resources of Hunterdon County. To learn more about the Hunterdon Land Trust, please visit their website at www.hlta.org.
|Wednesday, March 31st, 2010|
|I can't read this aloud without getting veclempt
from The Cow, page 28 1922, New York, by Jared Van Wagenen, Jr.
This much at least is certain: that with the years the Kingdom of the Cow is a constantly widening empire. Even like the sheep of which Vergil wrote, she “hath a golden hoof.” To some one-time fertile regions she comes late, but she comes to save.
When the soil miner has wrought his perfect work and the earth no longer gives her increase—when seed for the sower and bread for the eater grow scanty—then the cows comes to the rescue. From the beginning she has exemplified the doctrine of soil conservation. Where she makes the land her own, green carpets of pasture possess the fields, alfalfa throws it perfume to the breeze and corn waves and rustles in the sunshine. There great new barns rise in the place of the old, and white-walled farmsteads speak of peace and plenty.
There contented far folk found dynasties by striking the roots of their lives deep into the soil. “And such is the Kingdom of Heaven”
|Friday, March 26th, 2010|
|Jonathan's Rooster Tacos
Jonathan's Rooster Tacos
This is the best way of dealing with a wifebeater rooster (with apologies to my herbivore friends)
1. Catch the rooster, when he's roosting, and put him in a cage with lots of clean water but no food for 24 hours.
2. Hang him by his feet, stick a small knife up through the groove in the roof of his mouth, aiming for the (incredibly small) brain between the eyes. You'll know that you've hit the brain when his pupils dilate. Then slit his throat and he'll bleed out in about one minute. Ignore the somewhat unnerving "death rattle". Pulling down on the head will speed up the bleedout, and help to contain the splatter. This is best done outside: his victims will clean up the mess.
3. Skin the rooster, then chop off the feet, head and extreme section of the wings. Give the hackles to your friend who ties fishing flies.
4. Eviscerate carefully, saving liver, heart, and gizzard. Cut open the gizzard and remove the stones along with the inner membrane. Save for making chicken haggis.
5. Put the bird in a pot, cover with water, add some bay leaves and juniper berries, but no salt. Put on a very low heat (I stack two burner grates) and cook below a boil until fork tender, about 3 hours.
6. Remove bird to cool, then strip off all the meat, then put the bones back in the stock.
7. Continue simmering stock for another hour, then strain. Reduce stock to a demiglace and save for enriching sauces. (Cold chicken demiglace can be whisked into mayo for use in chicken salad or egg salad)
8. Chop the pulled meat across the grain into pinky-widths. Avoid chopping pinky.
9. Squeeze the juice of two limes over the chopped rooster meat and put in the cooler.
10. Cook up about a pound of fresh sausage, let cool, then chop into bitesized pieces. Reserve the sausage drippings.
11. Grind the following in a spice mill or mortar and pestle: 1 T whole cumin, 1 t sage, 1 t oregano. No salt!
12. Cook the ground spices in the fat slowly at low heat, as if you were making a roux. When slightly browned, add a large onion, chopped, and cook the onion slowly until soft but not browned.
13. Add the marinated rooster meat and cooked sausage to the pan, and cook it all together until the meats are at serving temp. Add some stock to moisten. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
14. Serve with steamed or toasted corn tortillas, rice, shredded Bobolink cheese, raw onion, and some good hot sauce.
|Saturday, June 27th, 2009|
|away we go
Friday has long been my day off the farm, when I drive the market van in to Union Square at dawn, and then go forth into the city for a day of wound-licking and recreation: two hours of qi gong therapy for my sore and aching corporeal self, followed by a spiritually restorative lunch and a beer ior three with friends.
Now that I'm pretty much healed from all of my various agrigenic hurts and pains.of the past few years (really, I'm ok!), I've been replacing the body-work therapy with a film or two, and I'm pleased to report that there are some good ones running in the local bijou nowadays.
For example, when I saw that a cheese-loving union Square regular had a new film, I just had to repay her patronage in kind.
So, I went and saw "away we go", which is a quirky, thoughtful, laughing-out-loud funny film, which deals with some pretty serious stuff without seething its characters in self-pity, and affording both the protagonists and the audience, well, redemption.
Especially those of my friends who are 30-ish and have yet to spawn (nearly all of my lj friends, I think!), you'll get a hoot out of this film. And, with your help, Maggie will be able to keep buying my cheese!
|Thursday, May 7th, 2009|
My life doesn't totally suck. this is what I've been up to these past days:
|My testimony at a NJ lesgislative hearing
Chairman, Senator, Secretary, and members of the committee:
My wife and I are dairy farmers in Vernon, in Sussex County, on the "rooftop of New Jersey". We pasture just under one hundred cattle, and produce fine artisanal cheeses from their raw milk. Our cheeses have been served at Drumthwacket, the White House, fine restaurants, US embassies around the world, and more to the point, at the dinner tables of voters and taxpayers all over this state of my birth. We are fully licensed and inspected by the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services, and enjoy a healthy and productive relationship with our regulators.
Nina and I are not even remotely interested in selling raw milk, as it is worth a great deal more to us made into cheese than any sensible person would consider paying for fluid milk. So, our comments here can be considered to be those of informed consumers, and not merely the punditry of industry insiders.
First of all, Nina and I do indeed drink the milk of our cows, on a daily basis. We consider it to be the safest food available to us, as we are quite aware of every aspect of its production. Of course, most consumers don't have the luxury of such a posteriori
knowledge of their foods' provenance, but neither do they have sore backs and skinned knuckles that come with the luxury!
Depending on which anthropologist you ask, you'll be told that humans have been drinking the milk of ruminants for somewhere between five and fifteen millenia. The cow has been called "the foster mother of the human race", and we must recognize that the cow, the sheep, the yak, and goat have been our co-evolutionists.
The earliest words written by human hands are the cuneiform clay tablets of the Kingdom of Ur, in 2800 BC, in what is now Iraq--and guess what they record? The dairy records of the king's herds of cattle: how much milk, how much butter, how many calves.
If the members of the committee were to visit our farm (and we do hope that they will!), they might be lucky enough to witness a new calf being brought into the herd by its mother: the other cows come and circle around the new little one, and each in turn gives a sniff and a lick, and then a moo towards the proud mother. They are welcoming the new calf to the social community, and associating its odor with the face of the mother. The mother then goes off to fill her belly, while the others keep an eye out for their new relative. Nina and I like to think of this as "No Calf Left Behind', without the mandatory testing, and fully funded!
Any one who has witnessed this ritual can see how it is the origin of our folk dance, as is evidenced by the fact that all of the human cultures who have developed circular folk dances are descended from pastoral cultures: the Celts, Semites, Balkan, Latin, to name a few. And, because the cows do the dance as part of their evolved means of survival in the perilous open savannah, it follows logically that WE LEARNED IT FROM THEM!
My point here is simply this: drinking milk right from the cow is part of our human heritage, an expression of an ancient relationship that helped to define us as the humans that we have become. While the State may have an interest in regulating the sale of raw milk, and perhaps setting standards to protect the health and well-being of the people, an outright ban on the sale of raw milk is denying a basic and ancient human right.
But let's be clear about the safety of raw milk: A few years back, the top food safety expert from the US FDA testified by affidavit at a hearing such as this in the Ohio state assembly. One can assume that such an august federal official would have access to the best epidemiological data. He goes on for a few dozen pages, citing all the supposed dangers associated with raw milk. The most striking aspect of his testimony is the paucity of actual victims: most of the cases that he cites, when you drill down with Google into the primary sources, were in fact nothing more than a positive reading on a fast screening test, many of which were subsequently found to be false positives when the more accurate, slower lab tests were done. Nearly all of the cases cited were victimless: nobody got sick. The case can be made that the manicure industry has a much, much worse safety record than the raw milk industry!
Which brings us the next point: there are risks associated with every sort of action; any one of us could have been run down by a bus while crossing the street to come to this hearing today. We all make daily choices of risk and benefit, based on our own perceptions of both. The State has an interest in protecting its citizens from untoward risk, and therefore we have rules, regulations, enforcement, courts. The state also can reduce personal risk by helping individuals make more informed choices by providing better data: nutrition labels, tobacco warnings, PSAs encouraging good hygiene, and so forth.
We as a society have decided to permit a wide range of potentially dangerous activities and behaviors, including smoking, drinking, firearms, golf, and yes, manicures. For some reason, many years ago, for reasons that may have been more political than scientific, our state decided to forbid the sale of the milk of our foster mothers, and now we have the opportunity to correct that mistake. Let's hope that we will consider the big picture, measured in millenia, not quarterly corporate 10k filings, and decide to restore to New Jerseyans a basic and ancient human right.
|Monday, May 4th, 2009|
|Bobolink Media Blitz
Nina and I just spend three lovely days in front of the lenses of a TV crew from France. Three days of being "on" is indeed a tiring stint, but the crew were truly lovely to work with, and the show looks like a really, really nice production. (pardon the vagueness, I'll provide more details about the show once I clear it with the froggies.)
Just before the French crew arrived, our baker's brother's friends shot this "Swine flu PSA"
at the farm.
During all of this, I shot a few stills myself, with the ole' blackberry: I'll put them on on flickr later, and embed them here.....
|Tuesday, March 17th, 2009|
Nina is a woman of many talents: she can sing, dance, cook, make babies, run a business, educate complicated children, and more.
But she's also pretty good at disassembling roosters: not bad for a woman with all of her teeth!
We'll all have chicken and dumplings when she comes, when she comes...
|Wednesday, March 11th, 2009|
|What Body of Water Are You?
|You Are a Bay|
|You are a blissful, peaceful person. Some might call you spiritual.|
You are easy-going and tranquil. You take solace in life's sweet moments.
You are sentimental and open-hearted. You love many people, places, and things.
You try to live an enlightened life. You are benevolent, noble, and intuitive.
|Tuesday, March 10th, 2009|
|Bobolink Calving Season
It's been a pretty good season so far: we're milking nineteen cows, with number twenty expected "soon". That's probably about the halfway mark for this season.
|Saturday, February 28th, 2009|
|Jonathan and Cesare 2/28/98
Look what I found on my morning walk: an hours-old calf! He was born with a bit of a neuro delay: he couldn't walk or find his mother's teats, so an intervention was in order.
We carried him to the barn, got him dried off and warmed up, then taught him how to suck.
By mid-afternoon, he was standing on his own, and momma had him all cleaned up.
|Friday, December 26th, 2008|
|Which is stranger: liposuction or lipodiesel?
I'm thinking that, while lipodiesel will get all the press attention, liposuction is much, much more bizarre, macabre and nauseating.
Surgeon uses human fat to run his cars
Health department raids liposuction clinic as doctor leaves for South America
By Guy Adams in Los Angeles
Friday, 26 December 2008
Alan Bittner has been accused of removing too much fat from three patients
A leading Beverly Hills plastic surgeon claims to have found an environmentally friendly way to combine two of America's great obsessions – after converting his 4x4 to run on fat removed from clients during liposuction operations.
Alan Bittner, who founded a high-profile clinic on Rodeo Drive, the Bond Street of Los Angeles, claims to be able to power both his Ford Explorer and his girlfriend's Lincoln Navigator on biofuel converted from excess flesh from human tums, bums and thighs. "The vast majority of my patients request that I use their fat for fuel – and I have more fat than I can use," he says. "Not only do they get to lose their love handles or chubby belly, but they get to take part in saving the Earth."
Dr Bittner made his claim in a posting on the internet site lipodiesel.com, adding that he has performed roughly 7,000 liposuction operations, and that a gallon of human fat will produce roughly the same quantity of biofuel.
Scientists say there is no reason why human fat cannot be turned into biofuel, since it contains triglycerides which are no different from those found in waste animal fats that are already being used for the same purpose. However the discovery left medical regulators unimpressed. Using human medical waste to power vehicles (or indeed for any other commercial purpose) is largely illegal, and Dr Bittner's clinic has been raided by California Health Department officials. The magazine Forbes says that Dr Bittner's ability to create what he calls "lipodiesel" first came to light in lawsuits filed by several former patients, who recently accused him of allowing his girlfriend and assistant, who were both unlicensed, to carry out intricate operations.
A gallon of "lipodiesel" will give motorists roughly the same mileage as they would get from regular diesel, the magazine added. At present, most biofuel is made from a mixture of specially grown corn, and left-over beef or pork products.
Sadly, Dr Bittner is no longer around to bask in his new-found fame. His practice in Beverly Hills suddenly closed shortly after last month's raid, and he is believed to have moved to South America.
Lawyers representing several former patients are currently attempting to track him down. One of them, Andrew Besser, claims Dr Bittner's unlicensed girlfriend removed too much fat from his three clients, leaving them horribly disfigured. Dozens of other patients have complained to the State Medical Board, he added.
Dr Bittner's lawyer is yet to comment. A notice on his website claims that the doctor is currently living in Colombia.
|Babka's post-op visit
I took Babka back to the vet today for her post-operative checkup. She's healing remarkably well, and seems to be regaining feeling and muscle control in the left rear leg.
Her left hip is dislocated, and the foctor wants to wait a few more days before reducing it, to let the swelling go down.
Thanks for all of your well wishes!
|Thursday, December 25th, 2008|
Two days after being hit by a car, Babka has risen! She's doing a fine job of tripod-walking. In fact, she just tried to follow Nina and Jacob on their afternoon walk--we convinced her to come back a rest some more.
Her left rear leg is still pretty sore, but she seems to have much, most or all of here neurological capabilities there.
Tomorrow she'll go back to the vet to have her surgical drains removed, and hopefully she'll be back to normal, more or less, soon.
"Babka, you good dog!"
|Wednesday, December 24th, 2008|
Yipee! Babka just stood up and walked into the kitchen, tripod-style.she strode over to me, looking uncomfortable but proud.
She seems to have some use of her leg, but we might not know if there's neuro damage for another few days.
|Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008|
Babka got hit by a car today: She's alive, no fractures or obvious internal injuries, just some severe lacerations to her rear legs.
Nina and I were both off the farm: Tobias and Dom got her to the vet, followed by the driver who hit her.
The vet examined her, took X+rays, stitched her up. The driver presented her credit card and covered the fees, which was greatly appreciated.
Babka is now at home, lying on her Tibetan rug, looking pretty uncomfortable . She was able to produce a sadly meager tail-wag just now, and had a few sips of water with her doggie-Advil.
We'll know in a few days if there's any neuro defecit.
|Thursday, December 18th, 2008|
|neither rain nor snow nor...
...Will keep me from making my appointed rounds, which include Union Square Greenmarket in the morning, laden with untuous cheese, and thence to d.b.a Brooklyn (N. 7th bet Berry and Wyethe) in the evening. Where I'll be serving up cheese and homemade charcuterie to match Ray's best beers.
How's that for a run-on sentence?
Other good news: I figured out how to clean my Blackberry's sticky trackball, which was no doubt full of whey, or worse.
|Wednesday, December 10th, 2008|
|Sneak previews of forthcoming events
Here's a bit of advance notice, but please note that the details are not quite gelled yet:Cheese, Charcuterie, and Beer tasting at the newly opened DBA/Brooklyn
Once again, Jonathan will be teaming up with his good friend Ray Deter, beer maven and owner of two of the nation's best places to drink beer
, for a pairing of fine artisanal foods with excellent artisanal beers and ales.
The event is a celebration of the recent opening of Ray's newest venue, DBA Brooklyn, 113 north 7th st (bet Berry & Wythe, L train to Bedford Ave).
The tasting will be on Friday, December 19th, 7-10 pm, and is open to the public. Because yelling "free beer!" on the Internets seems like a really bad idea, we will collect a $5 donation from all participants, to be donated to the Labyrinth Dance Theater, a 501(c)3 arts organization
On a somewhat related note, another forthcoming event:Nina's Film Debut!
The premiere showing of a dance film titled "Dark Angel", by Labyrinth Dance Theater, will take place in NYC on Monday evening, December 29th.
The supporting cast includes Bobolink's own Angel, Nina White, shown here in Angelic Purple (Nina made the angel costumes, too!).
The event will include a reception, including Bobolink's breads and cheeses, Finnish Vodka, Ales from Brooklyn Brewery, and other delectations. There will also be a silent auction including a number of unusual culinary and musical items.
To see the trailer, learn more about the event and to order tickets, please click here.
|Monday, November 24th, 2008|
The problems facing the world are not the result of a lack of solutions, rather a lack of leadership.
Doesn't it seem that, just this week, the transitional government has just sent the lame ducks to the back of the bus?
|Thursday, November 20th, 2008|
With the herd tucked into the winter pasture until March, the salami and prosciutti hanging and the bacon smoking, my mind returns to reading and, hopefully, writing.
I just finished "Genghis Kahn and the making of the Modern World", by Weatherford.
If you haven't read it, you ought to, really.
Tomorrow shall find me in NYC, and probably free for.lunch, and thence to dba.