Pies and Wine

Pies made with local ingredients and domestic wine for Thanksgiving

We made pies tonight for our Thanksgiving celebration tomorrow, left to right: rhubarb, pumpkin (2) and apple. The wines are from California, Missouri and Washington. Wishing everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving.


Celebrate Local Foods this Thanksgiving

We’ve decided to incorporate more local foods into our Thanksgiving celebration this year. What better way to give thanks for all the bounty that surrounds us than to seek out and prepare local foods to serve our familes?

Granted, it’s a bit more work than usual, but it will be worth it. We’re mostly a make-it-from-scratch kind of family anyway; this is just a little scratchier than usual. I must start by coming clean with the fact that the turkey will not local. I looked, I really did, but couldn’t find anyone West River who sold home-raised turkeys. The Goosemobile folks from Canistota sell free-range, organic birds, but don’t deliver out here until December (I have ordered a turkey as well as a smoked pheasant). We tried to go the wild route since the Black Hills turkey population is very healthy, but we waited a little long into the season, and they’ve wised up. They moved from yard to yard, staying well within the 600-foot radius of houses, barns, sheds and horses. Turkeys have an excellent sense of self-preservation! Since we’d rather not scare the neighbors by blasting the 16-gauge off the front porch, our bird will come from the store this time. Next year I will be better prepared.

Now for the successful finds; let’s start with pie: pumpkin, apple and rhubarb, all local. Other local/homegrown/homemade foods will be the buns, green beans, potatoes, applesauce and wheat salad. I’ll make whole cranberry sauce even though cranberries are not local; they are raised domestically, and I’ll use beet sugar. The sweet potatoes are from Louisiana. We decided to forgo the green salad since it would more than likely require imported food. Likewise, the wine will be domestic that day. The coffee is imported, but fair-trade certified from Equal Exchange.

It may be a small effort, but it is an effort. Searching out local foods may take more planning and thought, but not necessarily more work. And the food will taste all the better by knowing it benefited local producers and wasn’t shipped 1,500 miles to grace our table.

Raw Milk Comments

Remember to get those comments into the Department of Ag within the next 10 days. You can email your comments to Darwin Kurtenbach at darwin.kurtenbach@state.sd.us or Tony Shumaker at tony.shumaker@state.sd.us.

I’ve included my comments on the rules in this post. Please know that you don’t have to cover every single element of the rules in your letter; pick the ones most important to you.

Letter to the Department of Ag

Update – Raw Milk Rules

Just a quick reminder that if you haven’t yet sent in your comments on the proposed raw milk regulations, there is still time to do so. The hearing is Nov. 17, and the state will take comments several days past that.

Also, you can email your comments to Darwin Kurtenbach with the Department of Ag; here is his email address: Darwin.Kurtenbach@state.sd.us  Please put Raw Milk Comments in your subject line.

New Proposed Regs for Raw Milk

I received this email today from Lila Streff, owner of the dairy where I have bought both milk and cheese. Her operation is small, clean and quality. These proposed regulations will adversely impact her farm and her customers ability to buy raw goats milk. I have visited her farm, looked at her goats and her processing kitchen; I know it’s clean. She has a set of guidelines she already follows, and they’re adequate. More regulation won’t make her milk safer, but it may very well make it unavailable.

If you feel that being able to choose local foods from your neighbors is important, please take a few minutes to send a letter to the Dept. of Ag by November 17. Lila has included pertinent information as well as the address.

The State of SD is preparing for a Hearing on Nov. 17th to introduce a new Proposed Law pertaining to the sales of Raw Milk. You can view this proposal at: http://www.state.sd.us/doa/das/Raw%20Milk%20Rules%20Oct%202009.pdf
The new proposals make it legal to sell Raw Milk in SD if you follow all of the new proposed laws. These new laws create an economic barrier and encroach on personal freedoms. I think you will see that this will eliminate any small farmer from selling Raw Milk- which also eliminates the freedom to purchase and consume the milk of choice. If you care about maintaining the freedom of choice on this matter in SD, now is the time for your voice to be heard.
I recently talked to The SD Director of Ag, Kevin Fridley. He said that it is not important to be at the hearing in person. I don’t agree, but not everyone can get to Pierre for the hearing on Nov. 17th.  Kevin said that what really counts is the letters that are written. These letters are documents that will be on file and taken into consideration. So it is important to get as many people to write as possible. He said to stick to the particular issues that are being proposed and address the Proposed Law by its Number.
After the hearing on Nov. 17th, the proposals –along with all of the written letters and documented verbal comments of the public, go before a Review Committee where it will all be discussed and (hopefully) considered before it can be voted on and become law. It is a process and we can be a part of it.
Our voices can make a difference!
 The issue of freedoms to choose would probably pertain to the very first one 12:05:07:11 of having to hold a permit to sell. To get this permit, of course, you have to follow all of the other new proposed laws. However, If we don’t have to have a permit, then the other laws do not pertain. The consumer should be able to choose for themselves the most sanitary place to purchase upon visiting different farms that offer Raw Milk. This should not be a government controlled issue.

***(This is the toughest one to tackle and you have to really be prepared for this one —They definitely are!—Thanks to The FDA). This would be great, but you are going after the whole Raw Milk issue with this one, and I don’t really think they are going to consider that issue right now.
I would suggest and recommend tackling the Proposed Laws that I have listed below if you view these as pertinent.  These are the issues that I see as huge barriers to allowing the sales of Raw Milk.
***Please feel free to use this as a guide as you compose a letter to The State Ag Committee***
Key issues to Oppose/mention in letter:
1). (12:05:07:15) — Bottling Machine –Hand-Capping is Prohibited.  The Proposed Law of an expensive bottling machine poses an economical barrier to the small farmer. There is no scientific proof that this is more sanitary than hand bottling. Washington State has proven this and omitted it in their statute. (It is good to quote this).  
 I have documented information on the prices of the Bottling Machine: $8,950 ;  Bottles : (min purchase) 1 Pallet (1,344) of Quart (square) bottles @ $1,102 per pallet; and 1 Pallet (792) of Half Gallon  bottles @ $1,188 per pallet; Caps : (4000 x $51.77 per thous.) = $207.08. Plus shipping and taxes on these.
2). (12:05:07:15) —Barn Construction Requirements. An economical barrier is posed to the small farmer to construct a facility to meet all of their criteria  just to sell a small quantity of milk. It is prejudicial to treat all farmers like a big dairy.

3). 12:05:07:17—The Proposed testing for coliform levels of 10 per mil. is too low. It practically comes out of the animal at that level. Other states require between 50 and 750 per mil. (Idaho and Connecticut – 50 per mil. are good examples to quote).  SD is making it so low that it can’t be passed -therefore we really won’t be able to sell the Raw Milk.
4). 12:05:07:20— Proposed Customer List—It is intrusive to the customer’s privacy to have to submit your personal information to a government list. They could call you and harass you! It is none of their business what you consume (what type of milk you drink and where you purchase it).  This is a breach of privacy.
5). 12:05:07:22 —TB and Brucellosis Tests — Proposed Law is to do this twice/year.  Once/year is adequate. To do the test the animal is injected with a serum. If you test more than once/year, the animal’s body will think it has the diseases and throw a FALSE POSITIVE . These tests are expensive, and again an economic barrier to the farmer. They are also unhealthy for the animal.
This is the  address for sending your written comments:
 South Dakota Department of Agriculture
Division of Agriculture Services
Dairy & Egg Office
523 E. Capitol Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501
 If you have any other questions about this Proposed Law, please feel free to contact me:

Lila Streff
Streff Ridge Farm and Goat Dairy 
12376 Beaver Den Dr
Custer, SD 57730