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According to random.org…

Congratulations to Christy!

Christy said…
I would love to know more about tallow and lard.

Well guess what, you are going to be able to soon!  The book fat has a wonderful section on lard and tallow including fabulous recipes!  Send me your shipping address, and I’ll make sure to get this book out to you!  Also, Jennifer McLagan will be sending you a signed bookplate for the book.  How great is that!!

Thanks everyone for entering.  I’m looking forward to starting my series soon with butter!

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This is Beau, Shanen and family from Ebersole Cattle Co.  I have been so blessed to have met Shanen about a year ago.  We met through local Iowa mama groups and have since become good friends.  She is a ranching mama, a true cowgirl and one that works hard… for you and me.
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Beau and Shanen raise pastured and grass fed beef.  I can go on to explain all that they do to ensure that their cattle is raised naturally, cared for and loved for, however, this post is about the struggles that real family farmers go through to be able to continue to provide nourishing meat for your family and mine.

Beau and Shanen are some pretty amazing people that are turning the Southern part of Iowa around.  If you’re from an agricultural state it’s understood that most farmers are from a generation of farmers.  Land gets passed down from generation to generation to continue on the family farm.  For cattle ranching, starting from scratch is difficult and cost prohibitive; most cattle ranchers either work for someone else or have had the operation in the family for several generations.  This is where the Ebersole passion comes to play.

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Both Beau and Shanen spent many years working for a large cattle ranch before purchasing their own farm.  Their land wasn’t handed down but instead they felt led to take out a loan and start from scratch.  A Cattle Rancher must be able to wear many hats to be successful. Managing money and a budget well enough to realize a profit from year to year can be a challenge. A cattle rancher must be knowledgeable in areas of nutrition, reproduction, marketing and animal health.  Shanen has an animal science degree from Iowa State University. As you can tell, both she and Beau were a match made in heaven!  I’ve spent many of hours chatting with Shanen.  She is truly knowledgeable and passionate about both the science and human love towards raising her cattle.  (In a future post, I will have a one on one video interview with Shanen!  Get ready for that, it’s going to be exciting!!)

For those of us that live in urban areas and that purchase beef already cut up and packaged, it’s difficult to understand what a cattle rancher does.  In the United States, there are basically two types of cattle producers: purebred and conventional. 

  • Purebred cattle producers produce breeding stock for area commercial producers. They are concerned with developing and merchandising a product that will improve the quality of offspring produced by commercial breeders. 
  • The conventional producer is in business to produce beef for the consumption of the world’s population. They will sell their calves at weaning or shortly thereafter.

Beau and Shanen Ebersole are conventional cattle producers of Maine-Anjou cattle moving towards an unconventional (grass fed) operation. In order to pay their farm loans, Beau currently has a full time job working at a large cattle ranch.  This leaves Shanen to do most of the cattle work throughout the week.  This family works hard!!  When Beau and Shanen first started on their ranch, they would raise their animals, and after their mama cow would calf they would sell them at the sale barn.  This means they would sell them to larger producer who would then take them to a feed lot.  A factory farm.

Shanen is a real foodie and loves her animals.  It pains her to have to take her beautiful calves and sell them to a feedlot.  A life without pasture and fed solely on grains.  This is when Beau and Shanen made the conscious decision to try and market their beef locally.  She wanted to raise them and pasture them on her land.  Now remember, their land wasn’t handed down.  They have bills to pay and it’s only for that reason that these calves are sold at the sale barn.  What is incredible about this family is that in 2 short years she went from selling her first pastured beef to selling 12 head of grassfed beef last year.  this year, she has an even bigger goal.  She doesn’t want to sell any of her calves at the sale barn.  She wants to finish them on her land, on her pasture, on her grass, and sell them directly to the consumer.  Directly to you and me!! 

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So here is the deal.  Shanen has 2 weeks to sell 6 more grass fed calves.  If these calves are not sold, they will end up being feedlot animals on grain.  Below is a picture taken this morning of calves drinking from their mama’s milk.  These beautiful healthy animals could nourish your family!
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Shanen has many different options available.  From refrigerator bundles, 1/4, 1/2, to whole.  You can even pay in what Shanen calls a PAY-AS-IT-GROWS plan!  
We have a strong desire to help people plan & afford HAPPY HEALTHY BEEF.  That is why we have designed this Pay-As-It-Grows plan.

You can reserve your beef up to 9 months in advance & make affordable payments each month until your beef is delivered.  This allows us to care for our animals & pay our bills while your beef is growing. Call Shanen & we’ll help you design a plan that will work for both of us!  We’re always open to ideas!

Shanen does ship and has customers in various states!  The shipping is quite affordable and the nourishment you will receive is priceless!  Remember that some of the health benefits of eating grass fed beef is the omega 3 content that it has!

The Giveaway!!

In order to show her gratitude and enthusiasm to show everyone the great tasting, Happy, Healthy, Beef that she raises she has agreed to a giveaway!!

Remember I said Shanen is a Real Foodie?!  Well guess what?  She is offering 2 of my readers an Ebersole Cattle Co. grassfed beef package including…

  • 2 lbs of grassfed ground beef
  • 1 package of grassfed beef sticks
  • 1 quart of rendered beef tallow!!!!!

How exciting is that?!  Beef Tallow, YUH!!!  This is all about Shanen, so here’s what you need to do!  Also, to those of you that do order beef from her, she is offering a 5% discount to all of my readers!

How To Enter:

  1. Leave me a comment why family farmers like Shanen are so important to the health of our families.
  2. Become a fan of Ebersole Cattle Co on Facebook
  3. Follow Ebersole Cattle Co on Twitter and tweet about the giveaway. (copy and paste)

    @dianabauman @greenranchmom Grassfed Beef Giveaway including rendered beef tallow! #giveaway  #realfood http://shar.es/muQjb

  4. Follow Shanen’s personal blog for a closer insight into her life as a ranching mama, Green Ranching Mom

Please Remember, leave a separate comment for each entry, or your extra entries will not count!

Every comment must include an email address – it’s ok if you comment with your blog account as long as I can get to your email through your blog!  The giveaway ends May 10th and is open to the Continental US only.  The winner will be chosen by random.org.

Now go out and support FAMILY FARMERS!!!



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Do you remember about my recent experience in New York City to participate in Kelly Ripa’s Cake Off For A Cause?  As much fun as I had with that experience, one of the highlights of my trip to New York City was meeting the lovely Christine from Fresh Local and Best.

I was tweeting as Christine and I literally passed by
Mario Batali and a friend on the streets of NYC!
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I would like to start this post by saying that Christine is one of the most hospitable, genuine people I have met.  After my time with the Cake Off event, I met up with Christine and my hubby at the hotel of the lobby I was staying at.  Right away I knew who she was.  I was so excited to meet her that I ran up to her and we gave each other a big hug!  I had been in communication with Christine before so honestly, when I first saw her it felt as though I were reuniting with an old friend.  Isn’t the blogging world great!  We hit it off right away.

What’s great about Christine and I is that we are both local foodie advocates.  She hails from San Francisco and is in touch with where her food comes from.  She uses real food and let me tell you, she is not afraid of using and eating REAL FAT!!  My kind of woman!  In SF she was a gardener and she taught me the coolest thing while in NYC… she has a FIG TREE in her apartment!!  A fig tree that she started in SF, brought with her to NYC and it produced 8 figs last year.  She inspires me!

We had a blast!  She started our evening by taking us to Chelsea Market.  A market filled with vendors selling real local food.

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This was one of my favorite places that she took me to.  The Lobster Place!  
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Fresh shellfish and seafood!  I ended up ordering fresh sardines, fish and shrimp.  I’ll have a future post showing just how my mami and I cooked these babies up!  It  was the BEST seafood we have had in the states.  My mami even stated that if she closed her eyes she would have thought she were in Spain while eating the sardines!!  You can order online and we will definitely be doing this in the future!
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The best prawns and sardines I have ever had in the States!!
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After the Chelsea Market and my hubby goofing off…

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Christine took us to Bar Jamón, a tapas bar in the line of Mario Batali’s restaurants. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures from the tapas bar as it was so dark inside and flash photography was not allowed.  Check out Christine’s recap for some photos!  As much as I enjoyed the dishes served I had hoped for something a little more authentic and true to Spain.  I have had the opportunity to visit many tapas bars in the States.  From Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, California, and NYC I still haven’t sat at a tapas bar that captures the essence of what it is in Spain.  Tapas are usually way overdone and expensive.  Tapas bars in Spain are meant to be a place to relax over simple small dishes.  Nothing elegant about them and that is what makes them so special.  I can not wait to share with you in detail what a real Spanish tapas bar is when I get to Spain :D  2 more weeks!!!
After Bar Jamon, Christine took us to a ramen house, Ippudo’s in the East Village for dinner.  I had no idea we were in the East Village until I read Christine’s post.  Gabe and I were pretty excited to read that we were there, lol!  This place was HEAVEN!!!  Gabe and I are still talking about it and I am definitely going to recreate this…
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This was DELICIOUS!  A pork bun.  Steamed bread filled with tender pieces of Berkshire pork belly!  Oh my gosh… Gabe couldn’t stop talking about it, so I’m going to have to make this as soon as I get some local pork belly!!
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We rounded out the meal with a fresh bowl of ramen.  Home cooked noodles and so delicious!  What an amazing day of food!! Poor Christine, by this time she was exhausted as she had just arrived from a trip to France.  A culinary getaway which focused on spending time in the countryside in the South of France to harvest and learn how to prepare black truffles.  A must see
It was after this dinner that we hugged and parted ways.  Thank you Christine for taking the time to have made this such a special trip for my husband and I.  As happy as I was to have met Christine, I’m only happier to call her my friend!  Un besote amiga!! 
If you haven’t had the chance, stop by Christine’s blog Fresh, Local and Best.  She is just as kind and genuine in person as she is in the blogosphere.

Asparagus and Chorizo
My heart sings for the first asparagus of the season.  My farmers market still hasn’t started and I don’t yet have an asparagus patch but I couldn’t wait.  I found organic asparagus on sale and was sold!  Asparagus can be made so many different ways but one thing is almost a consensus, to be done right it needs extra virgin olive oil!  Check out my facebook fan page for about 19 other ways to make seasonal asparagus.  Here are a few of my favorites from all of you!!  Thanks facebook fans for sharing!!

Alie – steamed with homemade hollandaise sauce

Paula Vitchkoski Jones from Bellalimento – Baked in a paper bag w/lemon & lots of garlic ;)
Linda – Tossed with olive oil, sea salt and orange zest and roasted at high heat in the oven for about 6 min! 
Brook – Steamed then tossed with olive oil and lavender pepper from the farmers market.
Therese Asmus from Artistta – Tossed in olive oil with salt and either cooked under a broiler in the oven or on the grill. Yum!
Hope – brush with olive oil and favorite seasonings and grill it! YUM!

As you can tell, evoo has it!  It’s really no surprise. Beautiful flavors are created when you use olive oil and it’s so versatile as you can use any seasoning for a completely different taste.  Whether you steam, broil or grill asparagus is delicate and if done right has a gentle crunch when you bite.

What is so cool about asparagus is that it’s a perennial and literally has no leaves.  What you see is exactly how it grows from the ground.  A patch takes about 3 years to come in and lasts for many more.  So if you establish a nice asparagus patch you’ll be enjoying it the first part of Spring for many years.  Check out a picture of this overgrown asparagus I took at the community garden last year!
Asparagus is a rich source of folate and potassium.  According to Worlds Healthiest Foods, Asparagus benefits our gut flora!  
Asparagus contains a special kind of carbohydrate called inulin that we don’t digest, but the health-promoting friendly bacteria in our large intestine, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, do. When our diet contains good amounts of inulin, the growth and activity of these friendly bacteria increase. And when populations of health-promoting bacteria are large, it is much more difficult for unfriendly bacteria to gain a foothold in our intestinal tract.

Make sure to take advantage of the delicious recipes and health benefits of eating asparagus this season!

Espárrago Con Chorizo – Asparagus with Spanish Chorizo Sausage

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of asparagus, cut in half
  • 2 small links, Palacios Spanish Chorizo Sausage, sliced
  • EVOO
  • Large Granule Sea Salt to sprinkle

Method:

  1. In a cast iron skillet warm 2 – 3 tbl of EVOO.
  2. When the oil is heated through, add the asparagus and brown on both sides until tender
  3. Add the chorizo sausage and mix in allowing it’s flavors to incorporate for about 5 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve immediately.

Buen Provecho!

Other recipes of interest: Tortilla Española con Espárrago – Spanish Tortilla with Asparagus

 Don’t forget about my fat book giveaway! One more week to enter for your very own copy signed by the author!!!

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It feels so great for it to finally be Spring!  My absolute favorite season of the year. The buds are blooming, chickens are gorging themselves on worms and bugs and overseas Spaniards are getting ready to celebrate La Feria de Sevilla!  What a beautiful time!

In order to get ready for Spring and all of it’s bounty I have been trying to clear my pantry, refrigerator and deep freeze of food I preserved last year.  With my last cabbage and few carrots in my downstairs fridge, I decided to make repollo con garbanzos.  The flavors in this dish are enhanced by pork lard and bacon and slow simmered in homemade chicken broth.  A comforting side dish or meal on it’s own.

Repollo Con Garbanzos

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • 1/2 cup farm fresh pork lard (or butter)
  • 7 slices of bacon, cut into thin strips
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 carrots, sliced thinly
  • 2 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans
  • salt to taste

Method:

  1. The night before, soak the garbanzo beans in water overnight or up to 24 hours.
  2. Prepare the cabbage.  Cut the cabbage into quarters removing the core.  Slice the leaves thinly and wash well.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the cabbage.  Bring back to a boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until tender.
  3. Once the cabbage is tender, in a large dutch oven or pot, melt the lard or butter.
  4. Add the bacon and cook until browned.  Remove from the pan and set aside.
  5. Add the onion and cook until translucent.
  6. Add the cabbage, carrots, bacon, garbanzos, bay leaves and chicken stock.
  7. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours or until the garbanzos are soft.

Serve with a green salad and crusty bread!  Buen Provecho!

 Don’t forget about my fat book giveaway! One more week to enter for your very own copy signed by the author!!!

Do I ever enjoy urban gardening! It’s so much fun to be innovative with the limited amount of dirt that we have to raise enough food to preserve and eat throughout the year.  If you’re a newbie, it’s no big deal to raise up one bed in your own yard and go from there.  But let me tell you, once the garden bug hits, you’ll be scouring your neighbor’s yard! For me, it’s come down to utilizing 5 different techniques.  The square foot garden method, raised beds, community gardening, container gardening and edible landscape gardening.

The square foot garden

Mel Bartholomew is a genious!  He came up with the idea to raise up 4 x 8 beds, fill it with a mixture of 1/3 blended compost, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 coarse vermiculite, grid it off in 1 x 1 sections, and plant a different flower, vegetable or herb in each square foot, using 1, 4,  9, or 16 plants per square foot.  It maximizes what you can plant in a small area.  I have seen gardens flourish using this method and the output is incredible!

Here is my current Spring plan that I planted outdoors two weeks ago.  I utilized two of my raised beds and although this diagram is not exact it gives you an idea of how I used a grid to know how many qty of veggies to sow.  The empty areas is where I will plant my second succession of the same crop.

Raised Beds

I can’t speak highly enough of raised beds.  If you live in the city, it’s one the best and easiest ways to garden.  It allows you to fill it in with rich organic soil and compost.  A necessity for those of us that  have a lot of clay, sand or rocks in our yards.  They are visually appealing to our neighbors and easily incorporated into the landscape.  One of my favorite things about raised beds is that they keep the insect and weed populations down!  Raise it up a little higher and the bunnies and ground squirrels will stay away as well.  Irrigation of water is wonderful in raised beds, just make sure to stay on top of watering during the very hot months.

Community Gardening

A revelation to those of us with shady backyards or apartment dwellers with no land.  Cities throughout our nation are taking a stand for the local foods movement and providing us with abandoned areas to garden in.  They generally divide the land into plots and assign them to city dwellers.  It revitalizes the landscape and builds community!  I have been so blessed by our community garden.  I have met the most amazing people both seasoned and novice gardeners helping each other to continually learn all that organic gardening entails. I am so excited as our community garden this year is expanding to 60 more plots!  That’s 60 more gardeners to chat with, learn from, and best of all…. share our harvest!

Here is a post I wrote last year specifically on how I got involved in our community garden and how I started on my path to growing my own and supporting local family farmers :D  The Local Foods Movement Part 1: The Franklin Community Garden.  If you are from Des Moines, Iowa I would encourage you to look into the Community Gardening Program.  It’s really a win win situation.  The city provides you with the plot, compost, wood chips, and water!  All you have to do is seed, feed, and weed!  How awesome is that?!!

Container Gardening

Another great way to grow your own in small spaces!  I generally grow my herbs in large containers in my backyard.  This year I’ll be utilizing the Garden Patch™ Grow Box™ to grow my cucumbers in and 55 gallon drums to grow my potatoes!  When you run out of room, growing in containers is the way to go.  Just make sure to stay on top of watering as the containers heat up quickly underneath the hot sun and dries out the soil.  Container gardening is also a great way to control insects, fungus and disease.  For all you apartment dwellers, container gardening is a suitable way to grow veggies on your apartment roof!

Edible Landscape Gardening

This is an area I’m excited to start diving into.  Incorporating vegetable plants into our landscape.  This year I am pulling up a perennial I have growing in my front garden.  I will replace it with vertically growing beans which should look beautiful to the side of my large window in front of my house.  It will add greenery and be visually appealing to passer by’s.  For me, the added bonus is that I will have beans growing right in my front yard!  This is the theory behind edible landscape vegetable gardening. Incorporating vegetable plants and fruit bushes into the landscape side by side perennials and annuals.  Swap an ordinary bush for a blueberry bush!  Add sweet potatoes into the mix.  The vining foliage is both beautiful and edible!  The tubers will store all winter :D  It’s really just thinking about how to integrate your vegetable plants and fruit bushes to have it look like a part of the landscape.

Well garden soldiers, I hope this was helpful.  With all the outdoor gardening I’ve been doing over the past couple of weeks, I didn’t have a chance to get a post up called, “It’s Spring… Start Planting Now!”  As a reminder, it’s a perfect time to seed spring vegetables outdoors now.  They will have ample time to thrive in the cooler weather before they fade away in the summer.  If you don’t have any raised beds or plots, you can start by growing a salad garden in containers.  A few containers seeded with lettuce, carrots, radishes and beets!  A super easy way to grow your own salad!

Until next time, have fun outside :)

Part 1: Ordering Seed Catalogs
Part 2: Understanding the differences between Heirloom, Hybrid, GMO, and Organic Seeds
Part 3: Planting Zones, Frost Dates, and Planting Calendars
Part 4. Understanding Succession Planting
Part 5. Spring Time is Near! It’s Time to Start Those Seedlings!
Part 6. Growing Seeds Indoors Under Supplemental Lighting
Part 7. Tending your seedlings
Part 8. Methods of Urban Gardening