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Posted 11/7/2016 9:17am by Aaron Lichtenberg.

Although we're a long way from the major shifts in grocery retailing seen at the turn of the 19th century, and then further into the 1950's and beyond, I would be remiss not to acknowledge the sincere difference between the emerging “supermarkets” of the post-WWII era and today's major grocery chains. The domination, and continued consolidation, of major supermarket chains in the US is, by any measure, an oligopoly. This has had deep and reverberating effects on our population, culture, and specifically how we consume our general “everyday needs”

How this plays into my business as a small produce farmer is multifaceted and complicated, to say the least, and certainly contains enough fodder for a graduate dissertation in economics. However, suffice to say, I'd like to cover just a couple of points that have come to my mind often regarding what may be, albeit debatable, the three most prominent factors on how people consume fresh produce today: price, quality, & service.

I'll address price first, as I feel it may be more concrete, but no less complicated than the latter two. The expectation of the modern consumer for cheap food is one that, I feel, stems from the same time period stated above in the opening paragraph. That epoch revealed drastic changes in production methods, with distribution models shifting just as rapidly, built on the back of the burgeoning industry's reliance on cheap production of fossil fuels and all their constituent counterparts.

These two main sectors, production & distribution, likely had, and still has, the largest influence on the price of goods & food in America. Because of our system of economics this seemed to clearly spell out the inevitable regarding prices: a “race to the bottom”**. Some may argue that this outcome was a desired and positive change. However, it cannot be ignored that with a “race to the bottom” mentality on the price of goods, that choice has inevitable consequences on how those goods are produced, and what qualities those goods have and offer to our society.

Which neatly leads me to quality. I feel this consideration contains not only the subjective opinions of an individual toward a specific product, but also the landscape from which that product exists. This exercise could take us in unlimited directions even to include considerations of what economists call externalities.

However, while it is fascinating to explore the differences between your grandparents' supermarket offerings and today's, this measure of “quality” I feel can be better interpreted as a “service”. It is quite clear that the diversity in products that we can choose from today, at any time of the calendar year, is staggering. It could also be said that, “some choice is good, unlimited choice will inevitably lead to failed expectations”. So let's put aside the “service” aspect considered within quality and just consider trying to address the opinions behind “quality”.

Although this may be a more difficult point to address while analyzing “quality”, I feel it just may be the most significant factor when determining outcomes of perception toward a product. I think those with marketing degrees may agree with me on that assertion. Suffice to say that the appearance vs. actual qualities of a product may just have one of the most significant, and potentially divergent, influences on a consumer's choice.

Let's take an apple for an example. A “Red Delicious” apple is no doubt one of the most ubiquitous examples of what has driven consumer expectation towards apples that I can think of. It's round, red shape contains the quintessential ideal that has been stamped into nearly everyone's mind as to what an apple “should” be. It doesn't matter that it's flavor is uninteresting and bland; it ships well, resists bruising and many marketing dollars have been put behind its preeminence in the marketplace.

A customer came up to me at the last farmers market and asked me about organic apples. Although I told him I knew very little about being an orchardist, let alone in organic production, I did share the small amount that I had learned from another grower of organic apples. There are a plethora of varietal choices in apples, all with different complex flavor profiles and even natural resistance to different fungi and disease pressures. Although “organic” apples do exist, many are still sprayed to reduce the occurrence of splotches and specks that consumers plain expect to absent on an apple they'll consume...regardless of whether it actually affects eating quality or storability...to say nothing of the fact that if an apple (or any fruit/vegetable) is bruised, or has a small amount of “rot” on it, it is often times still perfectly edible!

The reality seems to be that, in this country for sure, we consumers have been practically “socially engineered” to expect perfect looking produce and products: no dents, no dings and it'd better be cheaper than the next place. Our expectation is now that we'll be able to go to a single location, with innumerable, constantly changing, but consistent choices. Only then to pick from a perceptibly “perfect” looking selection of products, and pay the lowest possible price for those goods. All while not having to consider all the factors and/or consequences in creating that landscape of choice we are bumbling about within to pick out or dinner choices.

As long as we continue these societal expectations, I feel we'll continue to proliferate oligopolies in the marketplaces of all of our goods and services in what we determine as needs in managing our daily lives. As long as we continue to demand “perfect” looking produce, for the “cheapest” possible price, within a constant array and diversity of products, anytime of the calendar year, we'll have to accept the consequences of that circumstance.

We'll have to accept a global system of massive mono-cultures and mass-production systems to produce those products. These systems have to rely often on using destructive production methods that affect our health, and are largely dependent on pesticides and palliative measures that, in turn, cause environmental harm, and further which are completely dependent on the extraction-based economy of our modern distribution system.

We as consumers are the only real ones that have the power to affect this reality in our culture and society. The above asserted dominant expectation toward perfect, inexpensive and unlimited choice is a fallacy that is wreaking havoc on our society:

Price= The monetary value that one pays for a product

Quality= The perceived value, relating to personal expectation, of a given product to a consumer

Service= The manner in which the product is offered or made available to a consumer

Pick two...you can't have 'em all

thanks,

aaron

**see: THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM HYPOTHESIS: AN EMPIRICAL AND THEORETICAL REVIEW, by: Daniel W. Drezner

Posted 10/23/2016 11:19am by Aaron Lichtenberg.

The Omnivores Dilema...

Not only a great book by Michael Pollan, but a true maxim of what it means to go about feeding one's self, to say nothing of choosing to eat meat in that endeavor.

Our first time actually raising "meat birds" commercially to sell was not all that enlightening, but still quite a good learning experience. Namely, how many actual chickens we're actually willing to send off to the other side in one day with just the two of us doing it (it's our least favorite day of the year for sure!).

Alas, let me digress a bit...the first decisions to make, in taking on a direct role of providing chicken to ourselves and community of farm faithful , was choosing a breed to raise. Thankfully there are others to talk to in the close-knit farming community, but nothing replaces actual experience.

The most common breed of "broiler chicken" that I've seen raised on small farm scale is the white feathered "Cornish-Cross", and most all commercial breeds are fast-growing, white feathered breeds as well. There are other considerations as too, but maximum quick growth may be the most important factor for commercial meat growers.

The common breeds, including "Cornish-Cross" listed above, are raised in only 8 weeks...8 weeks! An amazing feat of growth, and so much so, that this causes the breed to eventually barely even be able to stand up for any length of time...often even leading to a bald spot on their breast.

So, with these considerations, we wanted to try something different. So we chose to try two different breeds, the "Kosher King" and "Freedom Ranger". As these birds grew the differences became immediately clear. All the chickens were very active and running all over throughout their entire life. They did indeed grow quickly, in just 12 weeks in fact, but were able to be mobile the whole time and with no health issues (like broken legs from growing too quickly!).

Well, you've made it this far...so let me tell why I feel it's important to share all this information with you!

First, you may notice some differences in your chickens from what you may have had before, like colored pin-feathers. You may occasionally see a few pin-feathers that are present still on your chicken. This is of course quite normal, only it's more obvious than with the white feathered birds.

You'll also notice that we made other "uncommon" choices, like including the feet with your fresh dressed chicken. We do this because of the wonderful health properties of a chicken stock made with the feet included, like collagen a good promoter of cell growth, etc. that's extracted when making stock. You may recall the craze of making "bone broth" in health magazines of late...well, you can read more about collagen here... As the article points out, it's no panacea, but possibly part of a well rounded diet...including VEGETABLES! I especially like the last assertion about cooking meals from scratch.

I'll close with saying thank you to everyone, once again, for participating with us to play a part in creating a more "sane" way to procure food for ourselves. We're happy that you all find it important to source your food as locally as you can, and further we understand that you go through more effort in doing so. So, a sincere thank you to all those that are dedicated to the task of eating seasonally and locally!

all our best,

aaron & Liz

Posted 10/22/2016 12:37pm by Aaron Lichtenberg.

A note on Chicken Feet and Collagen:

A collage of notes found on Collagen and Gelatin...

There are at least 15 types of collagen, making up about 25% of all the protein in the body. It is present in bones, ligaments, tendons and skin (type I collagen), in cartilage (type II collagen), and in bone marrow and lymph (type III collagen, called reticulin fiber). The word collagen comes from the root "kola", meaning glue.

Basically, collagen is the same as gelatin. Collagen is the word used for its form when found in the body, and gelatin refers to the extracted collagen that is used as food. Bone broth produces a rubbery gelatin when cooled. Most commercial gelatin products are made from animal skin and often contain MSG, but broth made from bones produces a much more nutritious gelatin that contains a wide range of minerals and amino acids.

Poor wound healing, bleeding gums, and bruising are often been attributed to vitamin C deficiency, however the problem is actually a collagen deficiency, as vitamin C is needed to synthesize collagen.

 

Gelatin has also been found to help heal the mucus membranes of the gastrointestinal tract in cases of inflammation such as irritable bowel syndrome or in "leaky gut syndrome".

For example, people with Celiac disease who suffer from a variety of digestive problems due to an intolerance to gluten, often find bone broth is a way to super-feed the system without causing digestive discomfort. In this example, the immune system has become so hyper-vigilant in attacking gluten stressors, that it may also attack beneficial foods such as celery, navy beans and chicken. The body uses the collagen and other constituents from the connective tissues in the broth to rebuild the damaged tissues like the intestinal lining. In this way, the bone broth heals the gut without irritating the body.

Gelatin is rich in the amino acids proline and glycine. Although it is not a complete protein itself, it provides many amino acids and therefore decreases the amount of complete protein needed by the body. One Dr. spent 20 years studying gelatin and found that convalescing adults who have lost weight due to surgery, dysentery, cancer and other diseases fare much better if gelatin is added to their diet. Studies on gelatin show that it increases the digestion and utilization of many dietary proteins such as beans, meat, milk and milk products. Collagen is helpful in:

  • Soft tissue and wound healing

  • Formation and repair of cartilage and bone

  • Healing and coating the mucus membranes of the gastrointestinal tract

  • Facilitating digestion and assimilation of proteins

In short gelatin is a wonder food with anti-inflammatory and anti-aging qualities, as it helps to fill in the missing amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) in the standard American diet.

According to one source “The degenerative and inflammatory diseases can often be corrected by the use of gelatin-rich foods”.

 

One of the greatest benefits of using gelatin is to help balance that amino acid intake. Because collagen makes up approximately 50% of the whole animal, gelatin can be used to help create a more complete protein balance in our diet. The standard American diet tends to be very high in muscle meats (such as beef, chicken, lamb and turkey), which when not balanced by other proteins (such as eggs, fish, dairy, shellfish, organ meats) can contribute to inflammation over time.

Gelatin has a unique and very non-inflammatory amino acid profile, primarily consisting of glycine, glutamic acid, proline & alanine. Although these are non-essential amino acids (meaning your body can make them), many malnourished and over-stressed livers are not able to manufacture all the non-essential amino acids in the amounts demanded by the body. The liver needs an abundance of these proteins to keep functioning optimally, particularly to fuel phase 2 detoxification. This helps your body “take out the trash” in our toxic world, reducing inflammation! (my addition...”too much 'boozin'!)

Posted 10/5/2016 5:49am by Aaron Lichtenberg.

Hello Everyone,

Thanks again to all our summer members this past season and welcome to all you Fall Members taking advantage of the best of the harvest season!

I am reaching out to everyone to say that we still have some chicken available to reserve for pre-order. Many have already placed their orders through our pre-order program, but we still have some spots left to reserve and stock your freezer this winter!

The chickens have been fed high quality Organic feed from Green Mountain Feeds out of Vermont, and LOTS of quality veggies destined for the compost bin (gosh lots of tomatoes, they love 'em!).

So those of you that aren't vegetarian, like these chickens have been, put in your orders now!

Again, they will be available at our CSA pickup locations throughout the week of Oct. 17th. If you won't be able to make it to one of our (Fall Season) CSA pickup location times, which one is at the Gilford Farmers Market on Oct. 22nd, then we can arrange individual meetups without trouble. We plan to deliver your chickens fresh and ready to eat or freeze.

The estimated price per pound has ended up at $5.50/# and the final weights should be between 4-5 pounds.

Thanks and let us know your order soon!

aaron & Liz

--

Eat well and Be well,
Aaron & Liz Lichtenberg
Owners
Winnipesaukee Woods Farm
Alton Bay, NH

winniwoodsfarm.com

Posted 8/29/2016 7:19am by Aaron Lichtenberg.

It has been a running joke between Liz and I now for weeks as she asks me if I've gotten around to posting Fall Share signup's, while she's fielded questions from farm members for weeks now, with the same response..."we'll be getting around to publishing it soon...". I'm finally now making good on my promise! You may NOW SIGN UP for your Fall Harvest Share here on our site, or just click here...!

This time of year also signifies another big change out at the farm as the Back-to-School season has started. As all the kiddos return to school, families return to their school year routines, and Winni Woods Farm looses 50% of it's workforce!

Liz's first official day of school is today and I've now taken over all the farm chore tasks as Liz has made her transition back to the classroom and a brand new position in Gilmanton. Her hard work and presence will be missed out at the farm just as much as will be welcomed by her new colleagues and students at Gilmanton Elementary School. So, please join with me in wishing Liz well on her transition back to school and new position with the folks over at Gilmanton Elementary!

The imbedded picture of our beech tree is the true harbinger of the fall season to come. So, as our pace quickens, along with the squirrels and chipmunks, over the coming weeks we'll see the leaves change and the air turn crisp and clear with the coming of autumn...I welcome the change in season and will do my best to keep up with all the harvest season tasks. I look forward to seeing you all out at the remaining Farmer's Markets and hope that you'll join with me in a great fall share season!

all our best,

aaron (& Liz!)

Posted 8/25/2016 5:38am by Aaron Lichtenberg.

Our weekly poem and photos by Amy!

Huge zucchinis for heaven sakes,

Nothing to do but but bake bake bake,

12 loaves later and a zucchini lasagna pan...

Makes for a very very  happy man, 

Thanks Aaron and Lizzie,
 
For keeping me  extremely busy!!!
 
I made 3 death by chocolate zucchini , 2pineapple zucchini, 1 pineapple coconut zucchini, 3 zucchini blueberry lemon, and 3 pineapple blueberry zucchini breads!
 
  
Posted 8/21/2016 7:05pm by Aaron Lichtenberg.

It is hard to believe that this time is already here, but the deluge of back to school shopping deals and talk about final summer outings make it tough to ignore; the end of summer is on its way!  

For all the farmers we have ever met, there is always the mid-season slump: a time where you don't think there is any possible way you will ever be able to sustain the energy to make it through the remaining months.  Much to our amazement each year, however, we do make it.  When it's all over, there is the post-season wind-down, where all you can think of is getting away and giving your body and mind a chance to recuperate and never returning to farming again.  But, come January, the nostalgia sets in and you are excitedly looking at seed catalogs and planning your field maps.

Since I am only the "hired help" who works part of the season, I don't really go through these phases in the same way.  As I prepare to head back to start my eleventh year of teaching, leaving Aaron all to his lonesome, I can't help but think back on all those roasting hot days in the sun where I would look up from the middle of the carrot row and think, "How could anyone do this all year long?!"  And here I am now, one week before school starts, thinking nostalgically about the season and wishing there was a way to be in two places at once.

This week marks the next to the last pickup for those who chose the Short Season Share.  We thank you for your support of local agriculture and our farm.  It has been great getting to know you and your families and sharing a small part of your world with us!  We truly enjoy providing you with organic options and hope that you have enjoyed the experience as well.  As always, we welcome feedback, comments and suggestions on how we can improve in the future!

We look forward to the final weeks of the Full Season Share and hope to see many of you this fall for our Fall Shares.  Aaron will be posting information about this shortly.

Posted 8/17/2016 1:21pm by Aaron Lichtenberg.

As I was out in the fields harvesting flowers the other day, I kept hearing this distant noise.  I wasn't quite sure what it was, but because I was trying to be efficient and make my way through the row quickly, I didn't take too much time to stop and investigate.

I continued through the remainder of the snapdragons and the sound hit me again.  This time I decided that it must be one of Lyman's trucks rumbling in the distance and paid it no mind.

After a few more minutes, I was into the celosias.  Then, I heard the sound again, except this time it was louder.  I turned my head to look in the direction of the road, but my view was blocked by the popcorn that is growing in the row next to where I was harvesting. Finally, I realized what I had been hearing.  That low rumble was not a truck...it was the bees, busy at work, pollinating our corn!  

It was at that very moment that I realized that being "efficient" isn't always the best option because often you miss the beauty that is right in front of your face.

By the way, the miracle of corn is something to be appreciated...each individual kernel of corn is associated with a single hair of silk that has been pollinated.  If you are interested, check out this site for an explanation of how we get the perfect ear of corn.

Posted 8/14/2016 8:00pm by Aaron Lichtenberg.

 

It's Saturday,
Which means a new CSA...
Feet(s) going running for some beets
Pair with cukes, fresh greens and tomato
Worth more than a ton of dough...

 

Thank you Amy for our weekly smile!

Posted 8/14/2016 7:55pm by Aaron Lichtenberg.

This recipe comes to you from Chris and Andrea for roasted cabbage:

Slice into approx 1/2" slices then lightly brush each side with olive oil, salt and pepper (or whatever seasoning you enjoy) Bake on cookie sheet in 400 degree oven for about 10-15 mins per side (flipping half way making sure they are beginning to caramelize like in the picture) the texture is so buttery and delicious!

WInni Woods Farm CSA Week#14September 13th, 2018

Hello Farm Faithful! After another long week I've picked up my draft from last week and am trying to keep in touch for week #14...after this week, only two more summer shares left! We're managing

New Slideshow: Wedding and Event FlowersAugust 12th, 2018

Click here to view the slideshow.

Winni Woods Farm Share - Week #9August 8th, 2018

Good morning to all, It was another scorcher this week, and suppose that we are getting used to the highs and lows of the summer (at least as much as one can in 100+ degree heat index and pe

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