Thursday, March 25, 2010

article from Charlotte Observer

Please take the time to read this article.
There was a very interesting fact about North Carolina which I high-lighted in purple.

Health care reform can't stop with insurance changes
By Nicholas D. Krist of National Columnist
Posted: Wednesday, Mar. 10, 2010
Until three months ago, Thomas M. Dukes was a vigorous, healthy executive at a California plastics company. Then, over the course of a few days in December, as he was planning his Christmas shopping, E. coli bacteria ravaged his body and tore his life apart.
Dukes is a reminder that as long as we're examining our health care system, we need to scrutinize more than insurance companies. We also need to curb the way modern agribusiness madly overuses antibiotics, leaving them ineffective for sick humans.
Antibacterial drugs were revolutionary when they were introduced in the United States in 1936, virtually eliminating diseases like tuberculosis here and making surgery and childbirth far safer. But now we see increasing numbers of superbugs that survive antibiotics. One of the best-known - MRSA, a kind of staph infection - kills about 18,000 Americans annually. That's more than die of AIDS.

Dukes, 52, picked up a bacteria called ESBL-producing E. coli. While it's conceivable that he touched a contaminated surface, it's likelier that he ate tainted meat, said Dr. Brad Spellberg, an infectious diseases specialist who wrote "Rising Plague," a book about antibiotic resistance.
Routine use of antibiotics to raise livestock is widely seen as a major reason for the rise of superbugs. But Congress and the Obama administration, plus earlier administrations, have refused to curb agriculture's addiction to antibiotics, apparently because of the power of the agribusiness lobby.

The ESBL E. coli initially remained in Dukes' colon, causing no real damage. Then he suffered an inflammation that perforated his colon. The bacteria escaped.
Dukes began suffering stomach pains and saw his doctor, who gave him Cipro, a strong antibiotic that used to work against the infection. The pain grew worse. The next evening, he was in surgery to remove 8 inches of his colon.

A culture attributed the infection partly to ESBL E. coli. Doctors inserted a tube to administer an intravenous antibiotic in an effort to save his life.

If ESBL E. coli is frightening, there are even more potent superbugs emerging, like Acinetobacter.

"We are seeing infections caused by Acinetobacter and special bacteria called KPC Klebsiella that are literally resistant to every antibiotic that is FDA-approved," Spellberg said. "These are untreatable infections. This is the first time since 1936, the year that sulfa hit the market in the U.S., that we have had this problem."

The Infectious Diseases Society of America, an organization of doctors and scientists, has been bellowing alarms. It fears we could slip back to a world in which we're defenseless against bacterial diseases.

There's broad agreement that doctors themselves overprescribe antibiotics - but also that a big part of the problem is factory farms. They feed low doses of antibiotics to hogs, cattle and poultry to make them grow faster.

A study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that in the United States, 70 percent of antibiotics are used to feed healthy livestock, with 14 percent more used to treat sick livestock.
Only about 16 percent are used to treat humans and their pets, the study found.

More antibiotics are fed to livestock in North Carolina alone than are given to humans in the entire United States, according to the peer-reviewed Medical Clinics of North America. It concluded that antibiotics in livestock feed were "a major component" in the rise of antibiotic resistance.

Legislation from Louise Slaughter, a New Yorker who is the only microbiologist in the U.S. House, would curb routine use of antibiotics in farming. The bill has 104 co-sponsors, but agribusiness interests have blocked it in committee - and the Obama administration and the Senate have dodged the issue.

After weeks receiving intravenous antibiotics, Dukes is recovering at home in Lomita, Calif. He must use a colostomy bag, but he hopes to be patched up and ready to return to work next month. Still, the ESBL E. coli remains in his gut.

"As long as it's contained in my colon, I'm a happy camper," he said. "But if it gets out again, I'm in trouble."

Dr. Martin J. Blaser - chair of the department of medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center - agrees agricultural use of antibiotics produces cheaper meat. He says the price may be an enormous toll in human health.

"You could have very lethal pandemics," he said. "We're brewing some perfect storms."

Nicholas D. Kristof is a columnist for The New York Times, 620 Eighth Ave., New York, NY 10018-1405.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Interesting Reads

From the L.A. Times:
From the Daily Tarheel
You will see Lee in the video clip but he was at the Parker's farm with his job through NCSU.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Feeding Hay

In the winter we feed hay to the cattle. The easiest way we have found to do this is to use the skid steer with a hay spear.

The cows see the hay and they are on their way to eat lunch.

After the hay is on the ground, Lee uses the spear to roll it out.

Still rolling.

Here are the happy cows eating lunch

and a happy llama.

Charlie the official chicken feeder

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Top 10 reasons to shop at the Farmer's Market

We have a huge stack of magazines that we have been going through at our house. So, as I am glancing through them trying to decide if there are articles I want to save I run across a list in the August/October 2008 issue of Organic Gardening promoting National Farmer's Week.
Since our Farmer's Markets are starting soon I thought this would be a nice article to post. My comments are in blue.
Opening Day for Salisbury Farmer's Market- April 17, 2010
Davidson Farmer's Market- May 1, 2010
Here's the article:
Top 10
Local Favorites
Here are our top reasons to shop at the farmer's market.
1. You can ask the grower questions directly: Will this pepper be hot enough for chili? Can I use this potato to make hash browns.
2. You can get gardening tips from people who grow food for a living.
3. You support the grower rather than a middleman, and put money into your local economy.
4. Samples of fresh food let you discover varieties, and sometimes even vegetables (like sea spinach), that are completely new to you.
5. Buying locally produced food reduces your carbon footprint.
6. The food comes with a story.
7. It keeps farmland from turning into more subdivisions.
8. No beeping scanners or chiming registers- just a "howdy" and a cigar box with jingling chance in it.
9. Real music played by bands, not piped-in Muzak.
10. The dog can come along- try that in your supermarket.
I would suggest you ask the Market manager or vendors if pets are allowed. The Salisbury Farmer's Market does not allow pets but the Davidson Farmer's Market does allow pets.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

March pics

I love to take pictures of the animals but they don't always want to to cooperate with me.
For example, these baby pigs were laying beside their mom (that's her ear you can barely see to the right) sunning themselves. I was being very quiet so I could creep up on them & get a photo. But they heard me or rather they heard Bandit (you'll see his picture below) and they all got up. Oh well.....

Here are some of our laying hens.

Another picture of the hens

This is Lakota.
She is one of the Border Collies on the farm. She has been working at a dairy farm for the past year but she is back home with us now. She has really enjoyed being back home & seeing all the new animals.



I am always asked if we have turkeys at Wild turkey Farms. The answer is yes. These are our "barn turkeys." We do raise turkey for Thanksgiving but we do not have them for sell year-round.



This is my buddy Bandit. He is the father to my Border Collie, Freckles. We rescued Bandit before we were even married so we have had him for at least 9 years. He loves to run around at the farm but he is definitely not a working dog, he's just my buddy. I can never get a picture of Bandit because every time I try to take his picture he is in my face giving me kisses. So the only way to get his picture was to be in the picture with him.

Monday, March 8, 2010

What A Week-end!!

What a busy week-end we had at Wild Turkey Farms!!
On Saturday, we had the Davidson Tailgate Market. I appreciate all who came out. I was so busy I had to recruit some help (Thanks Patti!). I met a lot of new people at the Market. It's great to have new people come out.
Just to remind everyone of a few dates.
On March 27, 2010, we will have our second Charcuterie Class with Chef Charles. If you were at the Market I hope you took a few minutes to look at the photo books (we have one & Chef Charles).
We have a few spots left but they are filling up hurry!
May 15, 2010, will be our first Open House, Farm Tour & Pig Pickin' at the Farm. We participated in 2 farm tours last year & have done countless tours on our own but this is our first official Open House. We hope that you'll support us on this.
More details to come.
If you are interested in volunteering let me know!!
While I was at the DFM Lee was at a farm auction. He got a lot of good deals. He bought a trailer frame, lumber, pig feeders, an auger & probably a few more things that I don't know about;-) The plan for the trailer is to build another movable chicken coop. That should keep everyone happy! More chickens mean more eggs!
And speaking of eggs.....I actually went home with a couple of dozen on Saturday. I always sell out. That's alright though I made Lee & the boys homemade banana bread so they were all glad I had eggs leftover!
By the time Lee got home from the auction with all his goodies it was 7 o'clock so we did not do anything more than we had to at the farm. But Sunday afternoon it was such a nice day so we unloaded all the goodies from the auction and did several other tasks.
I had my camera so I went around and took some pictures (Stayed tuned....I will post tomorrow or if you can't wait they are on FB).

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wild Turkey Farms Newsletter- March 4, 2010

Wild Turkey Farms News- March 4, 2010

Guess what we had this week.....more snow yeahhhhhh. Enough of all this white stuff I'm ready for all of our pastures to be lush & green. Actually I guess the snow was a good thing and will help get us to that goal. We've spent the last 2 weekends reseeding pastures and the snow will be good for helping to get that grass & clover off to a great start especially if we can get some nice weather for the next week or 2. I sure am ready for spring to get here. We plan to get in the greenhouse this weekend & get some plants started for this summer- better late than never a guess.

As I mentioned in our last newsletter, we held our first ever charcuterie class with Chef Charles Catering on Feb 13 & we had a great time. Our good friend Sara Pitzer wrote a wonderful article that ran in the Salisbury Post last week. Thanks Sara.

Our next Charcuterie class is going to be held on Saturday March 27 10am- 3pm at Chef Charles Catering in Charlotte. The cost is $120 per person and includes a wonderful gourmet lunch and participants get a share of everything they make during the workshop. Come by our booth at the Davidson Farmers Market & check out the pictures from Feb 13. Class size is limited so sign up quickly by emailing us at

Save the date: We're planning an afternoon open house, farm tour, and pig pick-in for Saturday May 15. Tickets will go on sale soon so stay tuned for more details.

Find us at Davidson Farmers Market Winter Tailgate this Saturday March 6 and Saturday March 20 9am-noon. Don't forget to get there early for eggs.

This week's specials:

Sausage stock up special- mix and match to make the most of your savings
buy 5 lbs & save 5%
buy 10lbs & save 10%
buy 15lbs & save 15%
buy 20lbs & save 20%
Ham Steaks & Ham Roast 10% off through this weekend.
Feel like firing up the grill to make some BBQ? Pork picnic roast & whole pork shoulders are on sale for just $3.75/lb

Are you out of our area or not able to make it to the market? No need to settle for lesser quality or starve your inner carnivore- Start a buying club in your neighborhood, at work, or at church. We'll send you a list of products, you get friends or coworkers to sign up, and we'll deliver- what could be easier? The bigger the order the more you save for coordinating the effort. No place is too far. Email us for details.

Don't forget to visit us at our blog and on facebook

Thanks for your support & we'll see you at the market.

Lee, Domisty, Rosty, & Charlie Menius
Wild Turkey Farms
China Grove NC

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Charcuterie pics....Kry-o-vac machine

When I am freezing vegetables, fruit or meats at home I have a small vacuum seal machine. We buys rolls of plastic, cut to desired size, seal one end, put our vegetable, etc in the bag and seal the top of the bag. It sounds easy enough but you have to make sure there is no moisture on the seal of the bag, make sure everything fits in the bag (chicken wings) can be a pain.
So when I saw the kry-o-vac machine that Chef Charles has I fell in love.

Chef Charles giving instructions on bagging the meat.

Yummy porkchops!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Charcuterie Pics.....Making Sausages

I know it seems like I am dragging this out with the Charcuterie pics...... We took about 140 pictures. Don't worry I'm not going to post then all. Instead of getting bored looking at all the pictures I just thought I would post certain parts of the class. These pictures include stuffing the sausage.

The tray below contains casings that were made ahead of time. The sausage was placed in the stuffing machine (I'm sure it has a more sophisticated name than that) & then into the casings they go.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Check out the Salisbury Post story

Check out the story about our Charcuterie workshop that was printed in the Salisbury Post.