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The gardening game
Do you know where your seeds come from?
You may be surprised...
By Jerri Cook
Somehow I always thought the seeds, bulbs, and roots I purchased from mail order companies came from a quaint American farm, somewhere in the heartland, with burgeoning rows of high quality vegetables and flowers. I was as wrong as a two-headed frog.
It all started last August when I used a coupon from Gurney's to order asparagus roots. By the third week of September my order hadn't arrived. I decided something was amiss and called the company.
The customer service representative I spoke with assured me my order would arrive at the proper planting time for my zone, sometime near the beginning of December.
I was confused, how was I supposed to plant anything in zone 3b in December?
The cheery voice told me to put the crowns straight in the ground and mulch over them. They would be fine.
I expressed my doubts. I already checked with my local extension agent, the president of the local Master Gardener association, and a knowledgeable neighbor before calling. No one thought planting asparagus after October in our area was a good idea. I would just take a refund.
The less-than-knowledgeable representative asked me to hold while she checked with someone. Silence. A few minutes later a chipper voice came on the line and said, "Spring Hill Nurseries."
Huh? I explained that I was holding for someone at Gurney's. "No problem," the jaunty voice assured me, "I'll transfer you."
More silence and another voice came on the line, "Henry Fields."
"I'm holding for Gurney's. What's going on?"
Not to worry, she could transfer me. I hoped so, this wasn't a toll free number and I was racking up the minutes running around in this long distance circle.
More silence and then-click. They hung up on me.
But who had hung up, Gurney's, Spring Hill Nurseries, or Henry Fields? And why was I transferred from one to the other?
The name game
I decided to take a closer look at Gurney's. I remembered hearing something about them going out of business a few years ago. The large mail order company Foster and Gallagher, who owned Gurney's and many other seed companies, filed for bankruptcy in Indiana, putting hundreds of people out of work.
Like most gardeners, the logistics of the seed industry were of little interest to me. I simply shrugged the whole thing off and went on my merry way.
Now I found myself staring at the FAQs page on Gurney's website, where it says the company was bought at a bankruptcy hearing a couple of years ago by a group of "lifelong mail order gardeners."
After scrolling to the bottom of the page I noticed the copyright for the website is held by Scarlet Tanager, LLC doing business as Gurney's. This must be the group of lifelong mail order gardeners that bought the company.
Anyone can find information on a company (or corporation) by contacting the Secretary of State in the state where the company is located. Since Gurney's is located in Indiana, I decided to pop over to the Indiana Secretary of State's website to see if Scarlet Tanager, LLC is listed in their corporate database.
Sure enough there it was. It is an umbrella corporation for The Garden Store, The Michigan Bulb Company, Gurney's, and Henry Field's. For a mere $1 fee to the fine state of Indiana I was able to find the owner of Scarlet Tanager, LLC, Niles Kinerk. A couple of peripheral searches turned up more information on Mr. Kinerk. He also owns Spring Hill Nurseries, Breck's Bulbs, Audubon Workshop, Flower of the Month Club, and Gardens Alive. Wow, Niles has a lot of companies under his umbrella.
It turns out he's not alone. Totally Tomatoes, R.H. Shumway, The Vermont Bean Seed Company, Seeds for the World, Seymour's Selected Seeds, HPS, Roots and Rhizomes, and McClure and Zimmerman Quality Bulb Brokers are all standing shoulder to shoulder under the J.W. Jung Seed Company's umbrella.
Under Park Seed Company's canopy you'll find Wayside Gardens, Park Bulbs, and Park's Countryside Garden.
The list goes on.
No matter which catalog you order from, the chances are pretty good you are getting the exact same seed as everyone else. Virtually every large mail-order garden company in the United States uses a seed broker to supply them with stock. The broker's job is to find tons of seed at a low price. They contract with competing umbrella corporations, selling the same seed to everyone.
As if the waters weren't muddy enough, each mail-order seed company can resell the same seed using different names for it. For example, you see a wonderful red lettuce named Sheep's Tongue in catalog A and place your order. A couple of days later you see another red lettuce named Camel's Tongue in catalog B. You really like red lettuce so you order some from the other catalog too. A few weeks after planting you notice they look and taste exactly alike. What's going on?
Well, the patent on the lettuce known as Sheep's Tongue has expired, or it is an heirloom and never had a patent. If there is no patent anyone can grow and sell it. However, if the company that owns catalog A has a trademark on the name Sheep's Tongue, other re-sellers will have to call it something else. This is true for plants, roots, bulbs, and trees.
At first glance this just seems like good old American business forging ahead. But there is something unsettling about this whole arrangement. How are we supposed to know who we are dealing with when we buy seed? And where does all this seed come from?
Trying to find out is like playing pin the tail on the donkey, the only way to know for sure is to take off the blindfold.
King of the hill
The American nursery trade is a 39.6 billion dollar a year industry. With the purchase of Seminis in January of 2005, Monsanto is now estimated to control between 85 and 90 percent of the U.S. nursery market. This includes the pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer markets. By merging with or buying up the competition, dominating genetic technology, and lobbying the government to make saving seeds illegal, this monolith has positioned itself as the largest player in the gardening game.
Monsanto holds over eleven thousand U.S. seed patents. When Americans buy garden seed and supplies, most of the time they are buying from Monsanto regardless of who the retailer is.
Most home gardeners started noticing the initials PVP appearing next to selections in the mail order garden catalogs a few years ago. This stands for Plant Variety Protection. It means the seed or plant carries a U.S. patent. It is illegal to save seed from or otherwise propagate PVP varieties. Consumers will have to buy more each year if they wish to grow a PVP variety.
Greenpeace chides, "Monsanto-no food shall be grown that we don't own."
They could be right.
Terminator Technology promises to be a big money maker for Monsanto and its subsidiaries. Plants are genetically modified so they won't produce seed, or if seed is produced, it is sterile. With this maneuver they are guaranteed a continuing market for vegetable, fruit, and flower seed.
Consider the newest Frankenstein called Traitor technology. This charming little piece of genetic engineering will help Monsanto's chemical division rake in billions of dollars a year from across the globe. It allows growers to control the genetic traits of plants by applying an array of chemicals, all owned by Monsanto. Do your genetically modified watermelons have blight? No problem, for a price you can buy the chemical that will turn on the plant's blight fighting gene. No kidding. It is estimated Traitor technology could dominate world seed supply with an astonishing 80 percent of the market by 2010.
Six companies Du Pont, Mitsui, Monsanto, Syngent, Aventis and Dow control 98 percent of the world's seeds. These companies are opening research facilities and acquiring local seed companies and farmland on every continent, and they can't do it fast enough.
Imports of seed and stock from Pakistan, India, Mexico,Thailand and of course China, are on the rise. Countries like Thailand boast of seed exports rising at 12 percent per year from 1998-2001. American seed exports fell at twice that rate for the same time period.
As biotechnology forges on, something is lost. At first it is barely noticeable, just a sense that something is different.
Ashes, ashes, all fall down
Before it was acquired by Monsanto, Seminis eliminated 2,000 varieties of seed from its inventory. The first things to go were the older open-pollinated varieties; vining petunias, butterfly weed, butter beans, German green tomatoes, and other heirlooms grown by gardeners for generations, replaced by genetically engineered varieties.
High-tech patented hybrid varieties are far more profitable for transnational seed companies to produce and sell. These new frankenseeds are bred to perform adequately over a wide geographical area, giving the patent holder a much larger market.
As consumers are losing the freedom to choose what they will buy and grow, thousands of varieties of garden seed are walking the plank, straight into the abyss of extinction. Consider this, in 1981 there were approximately 5,000 vegetable seed varieties available in U.S. catalogs. Today there are less than 500, a 90 percent reduction.
Seeds removed from commercial production are left in private corporate seed banks. Open pollinated seed will not store indefinitely, it must be propagated to ensure its survival. This is an expensive proposal, one not likely to happen in the world of capital consolidation and wide profit margins.
The more likely scenario is the "unprofitable" heirloom seeds will be allowed to expire and patented hybrids will take their place. Seed biodiversity will be compromised globally, while the corporate stranglehold tightens around the throat of the consumer.
Kent Whealey, co-founder of Seed Savers Exchange, says "Few gardeners comprehend the true scope of their garden heritage or how much is in immediate danger of being lost forever."
Taking the ball and going home
Like the glaciers that rolled across North America, heaving and prying the earth into new forms, giant transnational seed companies are changing the face of gardening as it once was. What's left behind is the product of a destructive force to be sure, but something beautiful and promising also remains.
Across the globe people are growing and saving heirloom seeds, ensuring the promise of diversity and heritage for future generations. Groups like Seed Savers Exchange are blooming in the remains of corporate devastation. Some of these organizations are large, offering seeds from across the globe. Others are neighborhood and regional groups saving and trading local favorites. Whatever their size, they are dedicated to preserving the earth's biodiversity.
All it takes to form a seed saving club is for one neighbor to pick up the phone and say to another, "Do you want to trade some seeds this year?" There you have it, a seed saving club.
Imagine if one neighbor called another neighbor and that neighbor called yet another, and so on. The next thing you know black gardeners and white gardeners, southern growers and northern growers, farmers and city folk, church goers and non-church goers, would be united in an effort to prevent the extermination of thousands of varieties of seed. What a beautiful thing it would be.
Before you could shake a dollar at it, the landscape of the nursery trade would change. It's the age old law of supply and demand, if no one wants patented hybrids, then they become unprofitable in short order. The reigning corporate kings of the gardening game would be forced to take their ball and go home, leaving consumers free to choose a more sustainable pastime.
It could happen.
Ollie ollie oxen free
My asparagus roots showed up two days before Thanksgiving. Several inches of snow blanketed the ground and the temperature hadn't risen above the single digits for days. I decided against planting them directly in the ground and mulching over the top as instructed by the Gurney's representative. I didn't feel like shoveling all that snow. Instead I tossed them in the back of the refrigerator to wait for spring.
While winter wore on I visited the Seed Savers Exchange website (www.seedsavers.org), several times. I filled out the catalog request and spent time checking out the site. It is chock full of information and inspiration. There's an online catalog bursting with heirlooms I've never heard of. I'm not sure what lazy housewife beans are, but you can be sure I'm going to get some.
I asked my neighbors to save seeds this year. We'll get together in the fall for a harvest celebration and share our gardening glories and stories. You can bet there'll be a tale behind every seed saved. I hope I hear them all.
Transnational corporations can't build communities, they can't celebrate identity. Only we can do that, and we can do it with every seed we plant.
Might be more of an argument here, indeed, to support your local growers, local nurseries, etc. into providing the selection you (y'all) want, so you don't have to resort to internet purchases from nursery mongers. Only problem is, the local nurseries probably just get them from the mongers, anyway.
As a small business owner, I support buying locally 100%.
I know it depends on your rurality as to buying online, but this is definitely a good reason to take the drive into town. You buy online (from "them!") for your convenience at what expense?
I am again learning more about heirlooms, seed savers, etc. ... seems easy enough for the consumer to take back control ... but, I know, history shows ... the consumer won't exercise its undeniable power.
Now I know why I find myself saving more and more seeds from my own garden. I'm still growing beans decended from ones that a late friend smuggled from Mexico in her hadbag over 70 years ago.
I discovered the "name game" with nurserys a couple of years ago and always try to check who they are a subsidiary of before I order. I figured a lot of my seeds were coming from China. Everything else does.
Well written post and chock full of information. It explains a lot. I'm a life long seed saver. Just started trading, but I'm going to look into planting more Heritage seeds now.
Walk In Beauty!
I wish my husband's mother was still alive. She's been gone for decades. When I was first married I wasn't into gardening and couldn't appreciate how much wisdom Mary had to share. She was an old fashioned gardener and farmer's wife. They lived on 100 acres on top of a mountain. Mary put in a huge...and I mean huge garden every year. She always saved her own seed. If I remember correctly, she had them in envelopes in the freezer compartment of her refrigerator. She worked very hard on her garden and her flowers. She would put up three or four hundred jars of food to get them through the winter. She also had two freezers full of fresh killed beef, pork, chicken and vegetables. She even ran her own little business selling cuttings in the mail. Her ad ran in some farm magazine. She didn't make much but she was proud of her little venture.
Her vegetables were so good tasting. My favorites were the canned jars of vegetable soup she'd heat up and serve with hot cornbread. It was to die for. I couldn't count how many different vegetables there were in that soup. She grew things I hadn't ever heard of. Even now when I'm digging in the dirt I think of Mary. I want to learn how to grow my own food and save my own seed. I want to have lots of fruit trees and berries planted like she had. She even had a great big old pecan tree. I know I can't have that but I did plant four hazlenut or filbert trees last year. I hope they make it through the winter.
I don't much care for the idea that big companies are gaining a monopoly on the seed industry and worry that those who control the food supply, control the world.
It is an interesting subject to keep our eyes and ears on and share what we learn.
This will be Lou and I first year doing veg gardening to make some to put up.
I think we will can tomatoes, roma mostly and stewing for beef stews
green beans, long and wide
broccolli i think these are better frozen
corn, extra sweet for canning
corn red tiny ears strawberry as decor for garlic braids
pickles for canning
pickles for tiny gherkins for tunafish
pickles for relish
cabbage for sauerkraut frozen or canned?
Is there anything else we should try to grow?
I am planning on covering everything with straw to get rid of the weeds.
What are the best homemade tomato supports? Nothing works for us : (
Sheri, we like to make 6' tall cylinders out of wire fencing for tomatos. Last summer, we curved the wire, but left about 2' open for easier access, and we secured 2' stakes across the opening at top, middle and bottom to stabilize it. We further stabilized the structure with some heavy stakes vertically placed and tied to it.
Very important and wonderfully written article, Loon - I'm going to cross-post this thread in the Sustainable Living forum, and some others when I get time.
ps - Sheri, there are some less fossil-fuel-dependent ways of putting up food than canning and freezing - root cellar, dehydration (need to find a solar-operated design), choosing vegies that don't need these techniques. For example, who is that gardener/writer who married Barbara Damrosch? His book about 4-season gardening gives plans for a movable *greenhouse* further north than I am that would make vegies left in the ground over winter accessible for a longer period like parsnips - greens in the cabbage family? something to look into. Apologies for the way my memory is workingNOT these days
Here on DG we have an heirloom vegetable forum with much discussion on seed saving and open pollinated varieties. The tomato forum has some really zealous OP seed savers. Saving seeds is very simple and rewarding. Plus, the old varieties had real taste. The new hybrids are bred for ease of mechanical harvesting, shipping/shelf life and appearance.
Heirloomseeds.com and Victoryseeds.com are excellent small family owned sources for the real deals and at reasonable prices.
I have to deal with endless pestilence and disease but have gardened most of the past 30 years. I was absolutely convinced that I needed the latest hybrids. It's a lot of hype. I grew some great heirlooms last year and now when I see a hybrid that looks good, I look around for similar oldie so I can save the seeds.
Saving our plant heritage is our responsibility because our industrial ag system is not interested. Over 80% of our corn, soybeans and cotton are GMOs. When we send seed corn to those poor 3rd world countries, it's GMOs and endangers the purity of their native varieties. Europe has banned a lot of our GMOs.
It can't be a good thing to lose control of our food so please consider open pollinated varieties when you make your choices. Your taste buds will be glad you did.
WigglyPaw, I use deep straw mulch in my garden to control weeds and conserve water. Several times now, I have gotten all the bales of straw from a local halloween hayride. They aren't much good for anything else after a week of hayrides. By spring the pile has already started to rot. You use much less straw and control weeds better if you put a few layers of newspaper under it. You will get some wheat sprouting through the straw, but you can easily pull it out. I usually leave a lot of it to use in decorations. By spring you can till everything under or just add more straw and pull back where you want to plant.
The only squash you can safely can is summer squash. Winter squash is very dense and not recomended for canning. I bake my winter squash, mash it up and put it up in seal a meal bags. All I have to do is cut a hole in the bag for steam to escape and pop it in the microwave when I want to serve it.
Thank you so much for sharing that article with us. I knew of Spring Hill and Michigan Bulb and Gurneys, however some of the otheres were news to me. You know I am a big seed saver, and I will continue to do so. Most of my flowers are old heirloom type, and produce seed that will grow when you plant it. I have heard of GMO the year I tried to grow some butterfly weed.
Multiple 2008 Studies Confirm Genetically Modified Crops Damage Human
Health and the Environment
Although genetically modified (GM) corn is banned in most of the
world, it has been approved as "safe" for human consumption in the
U.S. for 12 years and is now likely unknowingly consumed, in one form
or another, by more than 90% of Americans on a regular basis. But a
recent series of peer-reviewed studies were published in 2008
confirming previous studies indicating potentially severe health and
environmental problems associated with the biotech crops. Recent
alarming scientific research includes:
1) A new long term study by the Austrian government confirms previous
findings that consumption of GM corn, for as little as 20 weeks, can
damage the reproductive system, lower fertility rates and increase
illness and death rates in offspring.
2) Researchers in Mexico reported in December that some popular
varieties of GM corn negatively affect the learning response of bees.
Scientists say this may be an indicator of the cause of Colony
Collapse Disorder, a recent catastrophic and mysterious die-off of as
much as 30% of the world's honey bee population in the past couple of years.
3) In Italy, scientists published a study that put the biotech
industry in a public relations tailspin. In the study, laboratory
tests showed a direct connection between consumption of GM corn and a
damaged immune system.
WOW, wonderfully written article. I've know of the connection between the mail order seed companies for many years and the hold Monsanto has on major crops such as corn, wheat & beans. I hope that everyone will share this information with their friends and garden clubs. The more people that are made aware the better. In my own little greenhouse business I've been trying to by heirloom and organic seed as much as possible. It's getting harder every year. This year I've saved more of my own seed than ever. Let's all try to support our local growers and businesses more this year!
I am witnessing bee problems first hand. There have been very few the past couple years and several of the ones I have watched act disoriented and uncoordinated. Definitely abnormal.
Another thing of very great concern is autism and the many different syndromes associated with it. A couple decades ago, it was uncommon. Now, one in 150 American born boys have it and slightly less girls. There has been no scientific explanation to date but it is clearly caused by something in the environment or food. Research is badly needed to determine if there is an effect from all the GMO food we all ingest.
I bought some blackberry bushes in those little boxes at Walmart year before last. It was early spring. I think they were black raspberries. I don't know what the differences is between black raspberries and blackberries. I didn't even look at the box to see where they were grown or where they came from. I do know they were super healthy and grew fast like a son of a gun and I had to get rid of them. I made the mistake of planting them inside the fence where I grow my vegetables and they spread by underground runners and they were taking over the place. We pretty much chopped them up with the rototiller last fall. I'm sure we'll get some spring up this year though and I plan to dig them up while they're little and put them someplace where they can run all they want to...maybe on the edge of the woods.
I'm pretty sure the Arenac Conservation Department spring tree sale includes berry bushes. They send me a letter early each year so I can pick out what I want and order it. Everything I've ever bought from them has been super healthy and I've never lost one tree or plant. They sell native species to here and the prices are good. You may want to check your local conservation department to see if they have a similar program in your area.
Other than that you can google "organic blackberry plants" and see what nursery pops up.
Cindy a friend of mine grew her raspberries/blackberry's in one of those hard plastic kiddie pools for that same reason that Brenda pulled hers out...they did beautiful and didn't bother and invade her regular garden.
Just a thought ;o)
How deep was that kiddie pool? That's a great idea. I had thought of planting them in a row with supports on both sides to make it easier to harvest the fruit and just using the big riding mower to mow alongside the row on both sides to take care of the runners.
Did she bury the pool or leave it all above ground?
That's the summary of every affiliation within the Garden Watchdog, but even when you're viewing a specific company's entry (to get their address or send 'em an email, get the 'scoop" on them, or--hint, hint--leaving YOUR feedback to help others!), you can see if they're connected to anyone else.
Thanks for the tips everyone. Blackberries are a larger berry than a raspberry. I want them for our second lot up at the cottage near West Branch. They would be planted way far away from everything. We call that part of the lot the ditch, because that is where we put all of the leaves when we collect them in the fall. I think they will do well in that spot.
I believe that black raspberries are a hybrid of the blackberry and the red raspberry. There are red raspberries hardy to zone 4. Both are wild all over northern Michigan. I picked many, many pounds with my grandparents when I was a kid in the 60's and 70's. Most won't bother but they taste much better than the domestic ones although they are smaller and seedier. They have used native raspberries and ones from Sweden to breed some very cold hardy varieties. Check with nurseries in Minnesota and Canada, they have to provide plants hardy to zone 4 and some to zone 3.
The remote, frozen landscape provides an ideal backdrop for the vault
Almost 90,000 food crop seed samples have arrived at the "doomsday vault" in the Arctic Circle, as part of its first anniversary celebrations.
The four-tonne shipment takes the number of seeds stored in the frozen repository to more than 20 million.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, built 130m (426ft) inside a mountain, aims to protect the world's food crop species against natural and human disasters.
The £5m ($7m) facility took 12 months to build and opened in February 2008.
"The vault was opened last year to ensure that, one day, all of humanity's existing food crop varieties would be safely protected," explained Cary Fowler, executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT).
"It's amazing how far we have come towards accomplishing that goal."
The arrival of the latest consignment of seed samples means that the vault, deep inside a mountain on Norway's Svalbard archipelago, is now storing a third of the planet's most important food crop varieties.
Among the anniversary arrivals are 32 varieties of potatoes from Ireland's national gene banks.
It is thought the lack of diversity in Ireland's potato crops played a major part in the spread of blight through the nation's harvests in the mid-1800s, contributing to the Great Famine.
The vault, operated by a partnership between the GCDT and the Norwegian government, stores duplicates of seeds held in national collections.
It acts as a fail-safe backup if the original collections are lost or damaged.
The permafrost helps maintain the vault's sub-zero temperatures
"We are especially proud to see such a large number of countries working quickly to provide samples from their collections for safekeeping in the vault," said Norway's Agriculture Minister Lars Peder Brekk.
"It shows that there are situations in the world today capable of transcending politics and inspiring a strong unity of purpose among a diverse community of nations."
As well as the consignment of seeds, experts on climate change and food production have gathered in Longyearbyen for a three-day anniversary conference.
They will examine how climate change threatens global food production, and how crop diversity will improve food security for people in regions that are going to be worst affected.
Frank Loy, an environment adviser to President Obama, said: "When we see research indicating that global warming could diminish maize production by 30% in southern Africa in only 20 years' time, it shows that crop diversity is needed to adapt agriculture to climate change right now."
Thank you Loon for posting this info.
I didn't have the time to read all these posts but anybody interested in learning more should rent the video/documentary "The Future of Food". Some parts are boring but what an eye opener. It will make your skin crawl and all I've got to say is Monsanto is an evil empire and if you're smart you would get your hands on as many non-hybrid seeds ASAP
and save some every year.
Seed Savers has them.
Also along these lines is the government program NAIS now already implemented in many states
The National Animal Identification System not only effect farmers but people with a few chickens in their backyard.
It will even effect pet owners.
Very scary stuff not to be ignored.
Its really too bad that we can't talk about these things without being cencored. Its not fun to think about but these things but they are real concerns and effect all of our lives.
I know its not something one likes to think about but on the other hand you don't want to stick your head in the sand and pretend these things aren't happening.
I know "political" conversation is banned here but this is about gardening, vegetables and our food supply and theres nothing political about that.
Its only political because our government is trying to control it.
Maybe a forum for this vital information should seriously be considered.
I wholeheartedly agree that it is a subject demanding discussion.
However, I also find that Dave's Garden is just about the ONLY place I can go on the internet and avoid all the nonsense that has become reality outside of The Garden.
Unless I want to go to Sesame Street or Bob The Builder's website, there is really no adult alternative to "escape" from all the rhetoric. Even National Geographic dot com is too depressing to visit.
As much as I want issues to be discussed, and more importantly, solved, I am glad there is one place I can go to on the web and not be constantly reminded about that stuff, ad nausium, with pundit commentaries that may or may not be true.
What is reprehensible is that anyone can say anything, and not have a lick of support to back it up as true or not with reputable references any more. It's a free-for-all.
More links to lively discussions would be great here, if there are any other places and forums.
Of course, if it were a Dave's Garden Forum (and contained therein), I could chose not to follow it if the reality of it bothered me.
I thank you Brenda, for bringing this to our attention and for the links to pursue additional information. As depressing as the world news is, we are still of this world. All the more reason for our unending efforts to make it a more beautiful place in which to live!
The Sustainable Alternatives Forum discusses many of these subjects. There have been threads removed and individuals reprimanded but on the whole much more freedom is granted in the discussion of our food supply. Usually links are provided as the basis for topics. I didn't even know the forum existed for at least 6 months and there may be more of you that would find it interesting and make valuable contributions to the conversation. It soon becomes obvious that Americans don't have a clue what they are really eating and why.
I agree that DG is a very civilized and well managed site just as it is.
If you'd like, I can move this thread to the Sustainable Alternatives forum.
There has been a little more latitude granted there, but just as with all of DG, political rants are definitely not allowed. The idea of the forum is to share ideas for positive and constructive changes that individuals can make on their own ;o)
MSG Is Being Sprayed On
Fruits, Veggies, Nuts,
Grains And Seeds
As They Are Growing...Even
Those Used In Baby Food
Truth In Labeling.org
In the 1970s, reluctant food processors "voluntarily" took processed free glutamic acid (MSG) out of baby food. Today it's back, in fertilizers called "Omega Protein Refined/Hydrolyzed Fish Emulsion" and "Steam Hydrolyzed Feather Meal," both of which contain hydrolyzed proteins; and in a product called AuxiGro WP Plant Metabolic Primer (AuxiGro) produced by Emerald BioAgriculture (formerly Auxein Corporation), which contains both hydrolyzed protein(s) and "monosodium glutamate."
AuxiGro is being sprayed on some of the vegetables we and our children will eat, into the air we and our children must breath, and onto the ground from which it can move into drinking water. Head lettuce, leaf lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, and peanuts were among the first crops targeted. On September 12, 2000, the Auxein Corporation Web site gave the following information: Crops registered include: Celery; Fresh Market Cucumbers; Edible Navy and Pinto Beans; Grapes; Bulb Onions; Bell, Green and Jalapeno Peppers; Iceberg Head Lettuce; Romaine and Butter Leaf Lettuce; Peanuts; Potatoes; Snap Beans; Strawberries; Processing Tomatoes; Fresh Tomatoes; and Watermelons. Today, there is no crop that we know of that has not been approved for treatment with MSG by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Even in California -- the only state where there are any restrictions on the use of AuxiGro -- AuxiGro has been approved for use on a number of crops, and Emerald BioAgriculture continues to push for more. Field tests in California have been -- and may continue to be -- conducted on a variety of crops, and those AuxiGro treated crops may be sold in the open market without revealing that they have been treated. We can't tell you which crops those are because the CDPR has refused to send records of test trials (which are public information) to the Truth in Labeling Campaign. As of June 13, 2002, AuxiGro was registered for use in California on tomatoes, almonds, apricots, cherries, plums, nectarines, peaches, prunes, grapes (including grapes to be used in wine), and onions.
At that time, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation said they were not aware of any testing of AuxiGro for use on other crops. They also said that they did not have any proposals presently in house to register additional crops for AuxiGro. It would appear, however, that what the CDPR said was not true, for the CDPR subsequently announced that Emerald BioAgriculture had applied for permission to use AuxiGro on tomatoes (new use), and on melons (new crop) -- and, to the best of our knowledge, approval is always preceded by field testing. On July 7, 2004, Emerald BioAgriculture requested approval of use of AuxiGro as a desiccant, disinfectant, fertilizer, fungicide, growth regulator - for increased yield and prevention of powdery mildew in various crops such as almonds, grapes, and melons. They also asked to add cole crops (including broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, collards, turnips, rutabaga, mustard, watercress, and kohlrabi) to the list of crops approved for AuxiGro use. Approval for use on organic crops--in all states--has been requested.
What's wrong with using glutamic acid, an amino acid found in protein, as a spray on crops? - In protein, amino acids are found in balanced combinations. Use of free glutamic acid as a spray on crops throws the amino acid balance out of kilter. - It's not the glutamic acid found in protein that is being sprayed on crops, it's a synthetic product.
The spray being used most widely is called AuxiGro. The "free glutamic acid" or so called "L-glutamic acid" component being used by its manufacturer, Emerald BioAgriculture, contains L-glutamic acid, an amino acid found in protein; but it also contains D-glutamic acid, pyroglutamic acid, and other chemicals referred to in the industry as "contaminants." The free glutamic acid used in AuxiGro is processed free glutamic acid. It is manufactured -- in chemical plants -- where certain selected genetically engineered bacteria -- feeding on a liquid nutrient medium -- excrete the free glutamic acid they synthesize outside of their cell membrane into the liquid medium in which they are grown.
In contrast, the free glutamic acid found in protein, and the free glutamic acid involved in normal human body function, are unprocessed. free glutamic acid, and contain no contaminants. - No one knows what the long term effects of spraying processed free glutamic acid on crops will be. - That the processed free glutamic acid (MSG) will be absorbed into the body of the plant and into the fruit, nuts, seeds, or vegetable it produces seems undeniable. If it were not, the plant would not be stimulated to grow.
Neither Emerald BioAgriculture or the EPA will address this issue. - That there will be residue left on crops has not been disputed by Emerald BioAgriculture. But no study of either the amount of that residue, or the least amount of processed free glutamic acid needed to cause a reaction in an MSG-sensitive person, has ever been done. "It should wash off" doesn't mean it will wash off. "It seems unlikely that such a small amount would cause a reactions" doesn't mean that a small amount will not cause a reaction or have long term health effects. - Free glutamic acid is known to be toxic to the nervous system. But the neurotoxic effects that processed free glutamic acid will have on animals that consume the plants on which it is sprayed - effects over and above any effects caused by external glutamic acid residue - have never been evaluated.
Neither are there data on the effects that spraying processed free glutamic acid will have on drinking water. - Consider, also, that children are most at risk from the effects of processed free glutamic acid. Their undeveloped blood-brain barriers leave them most at risk from exposure to processed free glutamic acid. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that infant animals fed processed free glutamic acid when young develop neuroendocrine problems such as gross obesity, stunted growth, and reproductive disorders later in life, and that they also develop learning disabilities. Emerald BioAgriculture did not address that particular safety issue in its application to the EPA. - No one knows how little glutamic acid is needed to kill a single brain cell or to trigger an adverse reaction. - Free glutamic acid is a neurotransmitter. It causes nerves to fire, carrying nerve impulses throughout the nervous system. - Free glutamic acid is a neurotoxin.
Under certain circumstances, free glutamic acid will cause nerves to fire repeatedly, until they die. - Processed free glutamic acid kills brain cells. The free glutamic acid ingested by laboratory animals that caused brain lesions and neuroendocrine disorders was very often given in the form of the food ingredient "monosodium glutamate." "Monosodium glutamate" is the name of a particular food additive. Processed free glutamic acid is the reactive component in "monosodium glutamate," just as processed free glutamic acid is a reactive component in AuxiGro. The glutamate industry research done in the 1970s that was submitted to the EPA by the Auxein Corporation, that pretended to find that processed free glutamic acid is "safe," has been long refuted by independent scientists.
Indeed, at the present time, neuroscientists attempting to develop drugs to block the toxic effects of free glutamic acid are using processed free glutamic acid to selectively kill certain kinds of brain cells. - Processed free glutamic acid causes neuroendocrine disorders in maturing animals that ingest processed free glutamic acid early in life. - Processed free glutamic acid causes learning disorders in maturing animals that ingest processed free glutamic acid early in life. - Processed free glutamic acid crosses the placental barrier and causes learning disabilities in animal offspring of dams that ingest it. - Processed free glutamic acid has access to the brain through the blood-brain barrier, which is not impervious to the unregulated flow of processed free glutamic acid. The blood-brain barrier is immature at birth and may continue to develop up to puberty.
In certain areas called the circumventricular organs, the blood barrier is never impervious to the unregulated flow of free glutamic acid. In addition, the blood-brain barrier is easily damaged by such events as high fever, a blow to the head, drug use, stroke, ingestion of processed free glutamic acid, and the normal process of aging. - The National Institutes of Health recognize glutamic acid as being associated with addiction, stroke, epilepsy, degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and ALS, brain trauma, neuropathic pain, schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression. - For years, free glutamic acid has been produced and used in food additives with names such as monosodium glutamate, sodium caseinate, and hydrolyzed soy protein.
In some people, the processed free glutamic acid in food additives causes adverse reactions that include migraine headache, asthma, arrhythmia, tachycardia, nausea and vomiting, depression, and disorientation. The processed free glutamic acid in prescription and non-prescription drugs, food supplements, and cosmetics can also cause adverse reactions. There are badly flawed industry-sponsored studies that have pretended to find that processed free glutamic acid does not cause adverse reactions. Inappropriate procedures used by the glutamate industry have included limiting subjects to people virtually guaranteed not to be sensitive to processed free glutamic acid, and/or using processed free glutamic acid or other similarly reactive substances in placebos as well as in test material.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has based its claim that processed free glutamic acid causes only mild and transitory reactions on those badly flawed industry-sponsored studies. - Even the EPA admits that the food additive called "monosodium glutamate" causes adverse reactions. - Even the FDA admits that the food additive "monosodium glutamate" contains processed free glutamic acid. - Even the FDA admits that many consumers refer to all free glutamic acid as "MSG." The EPA's approvals of use of MSG in agriculture are simple, straightforward, and in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act In reviewing the application of Auxein Corporation (now Emerald BioAgriculture) for use of processed free glutamic acid in a spray to be applied to crops as they grow, the EPA failed to conform to the requirements of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which require, in part, that the EPA review any proposed action for validity, completeness, reliability, and relationship to human risk.
The EPA also ignored Executive Order 13045 which requires government agencies to consider available information concerning the variability of the sensitivities of major identifiable subgroups of consumers, including infants and children. For example, Auxein Corporation sent the EPA 14 industry-sponsored toxicological studies from the literature, all done in the 1970's, but failed to mention hundreds of studies in the literature that refuted those 14 studies. Auxein Corporation even failed to send the EPA independent studies that appeared in the same book(s) as the industry-sponsored studies sent to the EPA. For example, although processed free glutamic acid causes brain lesions and neuroendocrine disorders in infant animals, this special hazard faced by infants was ignored by Auxein Corporation.
It would appear that Auxein Corporation restricted its consideration of "available information" to information made available by the glutamate industry; and the EPA, even after having been sent abstracts from other "available information," has not challenged the Auxein Corporation applications. A more complete discussion of the shortcomings of the EPA approvals granted to Auxein Corporation has been submitted to the EPA. Questions about the safety of spraying processed free glutamic acid on plants and into the environment have been raised by the Truth in Labeling Campaign and by individual consumers.
The EPA has refused to address those concerns. The EPA, and, in particular, EPA spokesperson Dr. Janet Andersen, has failed to respond to allegations that in approving the spraying of processed free glutamic acid, the EPA failed to consider the reliability, validity, and completeness of the Auxein Corporation application or comply with Executive Order 13045 entitled Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks, except to say that the EPA had complied with executive order 13045. Moreover, while responding to letters that asked direct questions of the EPA, Andersen failed to respond to most, if not all, of the direct questions contained in those letters. AuxiGro, the first MSG-laced plant "growth enhancer" to hit the market, has been approved for spraying on every crop we know of, with no restrictions on the amount of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) that may remain in and/or on crops when brought to market.
Even before consumers had an inkling that crops were being sprayed, the Truth in Labeling Campaign received reports that MSG-sensitive consumers had gotten sick from head lettuce and potatoes. Federal Register notices chronicling the application and approval of processed free glutamic acid are available on the Web via GPO Access, the Federal Register, through: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html.
Application for approval of use of AuxiGro was made to the EPA in 1997. Testing of the product was also approved in that year, and many of the test crops sprayed with AuxiGro were brought to market without notifying consumers. Glutamic acid was granted an exemption from establishment of a tolerance limit in January, 1998. AuxiGro was also approved for use on a number of crops in January, 1998, and approved for use on other crops later. No announcement of these approvals was made in the Federal Register.
Due to a technical glitch in the system, the glutes came to need one more approval to make their California registrations work. The glutes were asking for AuxiGro to be approved for use as a fungicide in California, but the EPA had only approved AuxiGro for use as a pesticide produce or plant growth enhancer. And when application was made for this addition to their approvals, the application was brought to our attention; and the Truth in Labeling Campaign filed a formal protest to this approval of AuxiGro. The Formal Objection of the Truth in Labeling Campaign was filed on August 16, 2001 with the EPA. By law, formal objections filed in a timely manner must be responded to within six months.
Also, by law (we were told) even though the Final Rule had not been promulgated, this additional use of AuxiGro would be considered approved unless and until the EPA determined that it should be otherwise. In July, 2004, we received a conference call from Dr. Andersen and a number of other EPA players, including an EPA lawyer -- a "courtesy call" telling us that our objections had been discounted and that the Final Rule allowing use of AuxiGro as a fungicide would be published shortly in the Federal Register. What's wrong at the EPA? Neither the EPA nor Janet Andersen, Ph.D., director of the Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division (BPPD), are stupid. Rather, all evidence would appear to suggest that the EPA, which is charged with protecting the health of Americans, says it is protecting the health of Americans, when in fact the EPA acts to protect the bottom line of big business.
Don't think for a moment that MSG is the only toxin unleashed on the American public by the EPA. Let the words "methyl parathion" and "DDT" jog your memory. The EPA, in granting the chemical referred to as "L-glutamic acid" an exemption from the requirement of a tolerance for residues of "L-glutamic acid" on all food commodities when applied/used in accordance with good agricultural practices (thereby allowing unrestricted amounts of processed free glutamic acid (MSG) residue to remain in and on any and all food crops that come under the EPA's jurisdiction) violated Section 408(c)(2)(A)(i), Section 408(c)(2)(ii), Section 408(c)(2)(B), and Section 408(b)(2)(D) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Neither "L-Glutamic Acid and Gamma Aminobutyric Acid; Exemptions from the Requirement of a Tolerance; Final Rule" (Federal Register June 21, 2001) nor "Glutamic Acid; Pesticide Tolerance Exemption; Final Rule" (Federal Register January 7, 1998), which preceded it, met the criteria established by law for granting exemptions from the restriction of a tolerance. How did spokesperson Andersen excuse the fact that the EPA approved processed free glutamic acid for use in an EPA approved spray?
First, said Andersen, the free glutamic acid used in the spray is naturally occurring, and it's 99.3 per cent pure pharmaceutical grade L-glutamic acid. Yet, in admitting that the free glutamic acid in AuxiGro is not 100 per cent pure L-glutamic acid, and that it is pharmaceutical grade, Andersen contradicted herself, and actually made the point that 1) if the free glutamic acid used in AuxiGro were truly natural, it wouldn't be "pharmaceutical grade;" and 2) if the free glutamic acid used in AuxiGro were truly natural it would be 100 per cent, not 99.3 per cent pure L-glutamic acid. Andersen said something else very interesting. She said that the EPA is well aware of the fact that MSG causes adverse reactions. However, when Andersen used the term "MSG" she was referring to the one food ingredient called "monosodium glutamate," and not to the free glutamic acid in "monosodium glutamate" that causes adverse reactions. Failure to define terms, asAnderson did (and does) so handily, is both deceptive and misleading.
What Andersen did is very clever. What she said makes no sense at all. No one has ever claimed that the processed free glutamic acid in AuxiGro comes out of a box labeled "monosodium glutamate." So for her to say it doesn't, is meaningless. On the other hand, the claim has been made that the free glutamic acid in AuxiGro will cause the same brain lesions, neuroendocrine disorders, adverse reactions and other diverse disease conditions that are caused by the free glutamic acid in "monosodium glutamate" and the other food additives that contain processed free glutamic acid. That claim is true, but Andersen does not address it. How do you refute someone who ignores legitimate questions and spews out irrelevant statements as though they pertained to your legitimate questions? You don't. The EPA defense of its approval of use of processed free glutamic acid in plant "growth enhancers" and its registration of AuxiGro has two parts to it: 1) ignoring those who question EPA actions, and 2) making the irrelevant statement that AuxiGro does not contain MSG (monosodium glutamate). Neither Andersen nor anyone else at the EPA ever addressed the criticism that approvals given by the EPA to allow the use of free glutamic acid and the product AuxiGro were inappropriate. The EPA, which approved the used of processed free glutamic acid in plant "growth enhancers," made a grievous error. But instead of recognizing and remedying that error once it was pointed out to them, the EPA began a cover-up.
That cover-up included use of ambiguous words and phrases, half-truths, and downright lies told to consumers. The cover-up continued (and continues still) with a variation of those ambiguous words and phrases, half-truths, and downright lies told to legislators who inquire about spraying MSG into the environment. You might find the Emerald BioAgriculture sales literature interesting Sales literature promoting AuxiGro was once found on their Web site, but is now long gone. While Federal Register notices included the fact that there is processed free glutamic acid (MSG) in AuxiGro, the sales literature from Auxein Corporation did not mention the fact that their product contains free glutamic acid until the Truth in Labeling Campaign began to broadcast that information.
In November, 1999, Auxein added deceptive, misleading, and untrue statements in an elaboration of its Product Page, wherein they essentially make the untrue assertion that the glutamic acid used in AuxiGro is chemically and biologically identical to that found in plants and animals. Sales literature did (on September 12, 2000), however, contain the following: "PRECAUTIONARY STATEMENTS HAZARDS TO HUMAN AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS CAUTION" If you think you might be reacting to AuxiGro sprayed on crops, you might want to try to (contact Emerald BioAgriculture (formerly Auxein Corporation) at the addresses that follow. (A friend recently told us that he tried to contact them by e-mail, but his e-mail was returned unopened.) By law, the company is required to forward reports of adverse reactions to the EPA.
You might want to ask the EPA if Emerald BioAgriculture did so. John L. Mclntyre, Ph.D. President & CEO Emerald BioAgriculture (formerly Auxein Corporation) 3125 Sovereign Drive, Ste. B Lansing, MI 48911-4240 Phone (888) 828-9346 Fax (517) 882-7521 mailto:%email@example.com
Thank you Brenda for sharing this. Makes one wonder if the big issue of second hand smoke is being used as a distraction for what the other hand is doing. Remember they told us there was no difference between generic and name brand drugs too.
I recently viewed info regarding Monsanto on the seed swap forum. It was quite an eyeopener for me. Yes, I was thinking that I was wise and a conscientious consumer buying organic and stuff "good for me". Right, like that is possible when the truth is being suppressed. Many, if not most people don't know what the heck is going on, or to what degree.
THANK YOU LOON! for sharing your knowledge. As much as I enjoy going to my happy place here on DG, I appreciate learning the truth. Reality cannot be avoided and the more we are informed, the more we are able to make clear decisions based on the facts. I appreciate it very much!! And I'm glad you were able to present this info on this forum...and that I found it!
A Southern California company has recalled alfalfa sprouts that may be contaminated with salmonella.
Los Angeles Calco Inc. of Arcadia said it is recalling 4-ounce containers of sprouts that it distributed to three wholesalers in Los Angeles and Costa Mesa. The containers carry sell-by dates of April 23 and May 2.
A company official says the sprouts were sold to restaurants but did not go to any retail markets.
The seeds available at my local Walmart are Ferry Morse seeds. FM is owned by Jiffy Canada which in turn is owned by a Norwegian company. Europe has consistently resisted GMOs. So far as I have been able to determine Ferry Morse seeds are readily available and they are not gmo seeds nor slated for use or profit by a GMO company. They also have a line of organic seeds.
That's good info about Ferry Morse, I have bought their seeds just out of convenience. Although I am not a big fan of WM and all of it's imports... maybe it's not so bad in this instance.
Everytime I see/hear about these recalls it just makes me wonder what the left hand is doing. But that's just me, a constant cynic of sorts.
I bought a bag of oranges from CA this morning (transported to my local market of course). I wish to grow some citrus trees. Anyone have good non GMO seeds for trade? I have many seeds that I just ordered from http://www.heirloom seeds.com. It wouldn't have to be for many seeds, as most of my seed packets contain 50 seeds. Some veggies and herbs.
I just heard on the radio where a LA state senator wants stronger labeling on imported seafood. Louisiana has one of the largest fishing industries in the nation and of course would like to see other sources discredited to eliminate competition. However, the report says that only 1% of the imports are tested and those few tests often reveal antibiotics, antifungals and several carcenogenic substances which levels are mostly approved by the USDA. The senator wants prominent signage stating they may contain hazardous substances. China was the country of origin specifically mentioned.
Between over fishing, high prices, suspect quality and pollution I feel like giving up fish. I'm already turned off by the factory farming of land animals. I guess when I have to finally confront fear, guilt or disgust with every bite, I'll have to give it all up.
twiggybuds: Ive been a vegetarian for more than 30 years. Implicit in that decision is that you will have peace and tranquility in your attitudes about your food. Fear, guilt, disgust are emotions that do not belong there. It was an easy decision for me - my "way" was through macrobiotics which was a little fashionable back in the 60s in California where I was. It may not be that easy for someone else. Especially, I think vegetarianism should be a choice - not a last resort.
QUOTED: Anthropologists claim that man's ascent began coincidentally with his becoming carnivorous.
Flyboy: I have several degrees in anthropology - taught it in college for about 20 years.
I have never heard of this. "ascent" is not a term anthropologists would use. They talk usually about "adaptations". Most anthropologists have observed that in the temperate and tropic zones - homo sapiens is an ominivore.
I never seriously studied it. My degrees are in engineering. Read about it, though. I guess a little knowledge might be a dangerous thing -- but, here goes.
The old show was, I believe, "The Ascent of Man." It was back in the days of black and white TV.
It related the "fact" (or premise) that man's brain started to increase in size concurrent with his starting to change from a forager to an "omnivore." (Sorry if I previously glided over that category.) The distinguishing feature of the difference was that he started being carnivorous.
I consciously envy you your academic qualifications. Would that I had remained in academia. I blame it on the fact that, post-war, my DDW insisted on my throwing myself into what was to her "the real world."
I apologize if i have inadvertently ruffled your feathers. It was not the intent of my posting.
some people think the size differential you are referring to was actually sexual dimorphism within the same population - not evolutionary phases of distinct populations. "the real world" is sometimes a hard adjustment to make.
I guess that "some people" hold vastly opposite ideas.
I think that in human evolution, sexual amorphism is inconsequential. Maybe possible among peacocks and lions.
I seem to remember Larry Summers getting the boot from Harvard because he had dared to suggest that there was actual sexual amorphism evident in the capacity of the females to understand math and science. Your gender responded quite violently and vociferously.
I musty admit that each of us has certain hereditary hang-ups. I lean toward the findings of Hermstein and Murray in The Bell Curve.. (That too, proved to be fighting words.)
"The real world' deals in specifics more than theory. I was slightly turned away when Euclidean geometry was accused of being wrong -- and that parallel lines really do meet; but I regained my composure when, in practice, they really don't. We need something positive to lean on -- especially when our blue blanket gets lost.
I think the main thing is that we should not close our minds to human possibilities nor to close our minds to corporate realities. The Earth is our home and we have a responsibility to understand it and not undermine its function by sticking our head in the sand.
I feel that we are passengers on this spinning clump of matter -- and not controlling it. I have this sinking feeling that's man's attempts to interfere with Mother Gaia are not only annoying -- but, also, misguided.
i have had the luxury of living through the seventies -- when the Pied Pipers were warning of the dire consequences of "Global cooling." And that we were doomed.
And that we had already exceeded the sustainability capacity of Mother Gaia -- and were destined for a "lemmings" fate. (Which, incidentally, convinced many of our brightest children to refrain from adding more than 1.6 offspring to the population pool.)
Read the continuing saga of the polo ponies in Florida. It's sickening.
twiggybuds, I also love fish. Catfish from out pond is very enjoyable. And a steak to me was, and still is something that I might crave on occasion. We just found a place nearby, sorta, because nothing is actually "nearby", but they sell grass finished beef. All meats are organic, beef, pork, chicken, eggs. And all animals are treated humanely. I will admit that the first time I tried a steak, I had a new appreciation of beef. It tasted better than any meat I've had and the experience was one of culinary delight.
Before that, it was what you described, and I just couldn't enjoy a steak or any other meat wondering what was in it, how it was processed! Ug. I don't care how much you marinaded with your special secret sauce and cooked it on the grill to perfection!
If you are interested, I can give you the info because I know they ship their products and have a website. We have been very pleased with all of the products and feel it is worth the extra cost. They also have some great artisan cheese and an awesome yogurt. We understand that it will cost extra because of the fees, certificates, and all of the rest of the hoops they must jump thru to provide these products.
Until we can start raising our own and making our own cheese and yogurts!! Just a dream right now.
For now I will stick to my heirloom veggies, wildflowers and medicinal herbs.
I'd be interested in their website, Allwild. When we were in France we ate grass-fed beef, and our friend said we wouldn't like it because it was different from what we're used to here, but we thought it was great. We also eat deer meat, though, so we're not that accustomed to "marbled" meats.
One thing I have noticed with grass-fed meats is they taste wonderful. and don't have to be masked by spicy sauces. Kinda reminds me of olde England when they started heavily flavoring meats to hide the fact the meats were partially (?) spoiled
The website is http://www.MyRancher.com and they are in Greenville, TX. The owner has a little store off of Highway 30 which is our route to Dallas and back and that is how we discovered them. The owner said he started out what was foods for "wellness" and it turned into what it is now. If you like sausage, it is very good too. AndTri-tip beef is a nice cut of meat that he offers, which is usually a more common cut in California for some reason.
Yes, it is leaner and a little different taste but I am enjoying it which makes my dh very happy because we have meat more often.
Thanks for the link, allwild. I think we also go right past them on our way to Dallas.
Dave and I have been raising our own beef completely naturally. We're loving it! We also have dairy cows, and that has been wonderful. We also have chickens, and are working on raising pigs on pasture. We have 2 sows at the moment that are about 6 months old or so. Hopefully I can find a boar in the heritage breed I am looking for to complete our pig herd.
You aren't far from us. I hope you plan on attending the East TX roundup!! Perhaps you and I can trade medicinal plants? :)
Trish, it sounds like you are living the dream I was just speaking of!! I hope you find the heritage boar you're looking for. That sounds just like how we would like to do it, and we will but it has been baby-steps so far.
I have been hoping to make it to the East TX roundup. I thought it was Saturday, the 16th of May? Haven't been able to confirm because someone has to be here before I can leave for that long. And I do have some seeds that I am hoping to give to a couple of members if I do make it.
Hey msrobin, I am almost exactly halfway between Texarkana and Dallas. maybe I could meet up with you on your way if I can't make it and give the seeds to you? You will probably need to stop say around Sulphur Springs for gas or water or something? Just a thought. :)
allwild I hope your baby steps can soon turn into leaps. I've raised chickens and rabbits in the past and could not bring myself to eat them after going through all the work of dressing them. I hope you have a better experience.
I just looked over the link you posted and those products sure do look good. I may have a line on some local meat, pork for sure. I have new tenants on my mobile home lot next door. The man asked me for permission to have a housewarming pig roast because before he moved in I ranted about not disturbing the peace. Of course I had to ask where he was getting a pig. His FIL has a meat shop in Mobile. The guy didn't know about beef but said his FIL buys the pigs directly from a farmer across the bay and that the meat is very lean. That sounds good and I've got to prepare a list of questions. It would be great if I could give him a list and get delivery. It's only about 35 miles away but I can't drive.
I think it is only a matter of time before many more people start seeking out naturally grown meat or become vegetarians. The green movement will help push it along. I wonder what the emissions difference is between a grass fed beef and one eating corn. I read an article recently that said one of the reasons they feed cows antibiotics is because the corn causes so much gas, inflammation and other stomach upsets. That's something that surely needs to be explored while all this cap and trade talk is going on in Washington.
Dorothy, we've raised rabbits, lamb and goats and had no trouble eating them when it was time. The rabbits get so crowded that you don't mind butchering the young ones, and we never named anything that was destined for the table, anyway. We still raise chickens and eat them, when the hens are too old to be good layers and, if we buy a straight run, when the roosters are the right size.
I was hoping that link would have pork but it's mostly beef. We make our own sausages out of deer, anyway. It would be nice to find a source of decent pork that we could feel comfortable about. With lamb, mostly I buy New Zealand or Australian, with the feeling that they may be safer than ours, but I don't know if that's true.
We have a friend who sometimes raises his own meat, and we have tried to talk him into getting a young pig for both families, but he says that the slaughter is too much of a hassle. He was raised on a farm in Georgia and has memories...
twiggybuds, you are right about the emissions, it is only a problem with the cornfed cattle lots. But that is great that you found a local source, I bet they will deliver.
greenhouse_gal, last time we were at My Rancher, we were looking for a roast so the discussion came up that in the near future, more pork products will be offered. Something about the time it takes to pasture them and they have a network of ranchers that are using his standards of raising the animals. But I did notice they aren't offering much pork on line yet.
And I'm still looking for any viable citrus seeds. I might have a chance at some meyers lemon seeds from the seed trading forum.
allwild- well, we're getting where we want to be with baby steps, and you can too! There are so many things that we want to do, it can be overwhelming. Step- by-step, we are getting there. This year, we are experimenting with providing all of our animal's feed here on the property. We certainly won't be able to do it all this year, but we're making progress.
Also interesting is that the salmonella problem is NEVER found in grass fed beef. We're still dependent on range cubes and a small amount of sweet feed during milking time, so we still compost our manure for a couple of years. We've also had to supplement our beef cows 3 times this winter. Hopefully by next year, we can reduce or eliminate that altogether and not worry about the manure issue.
FYI- we bought good sized lime and lemon trees in the fall from Atwoods in Jacksonville when they went on clearance for $5/gallon pot. They look like they will fruit this year. Keep your eyes peeled.
Pasturing pork is not quite as easy as cattle. Not to mention the fact that they grow slower on pasture. The heritage breeds do much better (thus our desire for specific heritage breeds). Also, there are the predators. As we haven't moved onto our farm yet, we are having a terrible time with predators, even though we have farm fence almost all the way around the land. Just two weeks ago, while I was gone to TN, we lost our last 2 goats (out of the 8 that we originally had- all killed by dogs), and we lost our beloved Jersey calf- the first one we've had born. It is frustrating to say the least.
You lost Dandelion? How sad. So sorry to hear that. :'(
Have you considered getting a few bottles or a tote of EM and spraying both the manure compost piles and pasture with activated EM (AEM). Innoculating to increase the beneficial probiotic cultures is another way to protect against the pathogenic cultures. You can also put EM in the livestock drinking water to help their intestinal flora as well.
Trish, there has been alot of discussion on using EM on the Soil and Composting forum. This is the same culture that is used in Bokashi composting.
I believe wgnkiwi was feeding Bokashi bran to her chickens as well as including it in the drinking water.
Here is a link to a YouTube video of a dairy in Costa Rica that sprays the holding pen down with EM. The EM neutralizes the odor and keeps the flies down. They no longer need pesticides to control the flies http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAmISYNR5EE
What great information garden mermaid!!! Can't wait to look into myself.
That is such a shame about your goats Trish!! That is the main reason why we haven't gotten our chickens yet, as they are first on the list! I love yard egss!!! We are planning on making a chicken tractor where the chickens can be moved to turn up the soil and condition it with their dropping and eat the bugs!!
There are many preditors here too which includes more that one pack of coyotes that run around here regularly. We also have some gi-normus owls! Although we hope to get a jack or jenny because they are known to keep the coyotes away. (for some reason it has to be the jack or jenny as opposed to the donkey? I'm not sure what the difference is) A friend told me that she saw one take a coyote in the mouth and fling it like a ragdoll!
The not too long ago I heard what sounded like a lady screaming. My dh said it is probably a bobcat!!
edited to clean up the different donkeys - don't want to offend anyone
I'm glad to know donkeys have some spirit. So often when I've seen them on tv they're so heavily burdened and docile looking that I'm sad for them.
Trish I can imagine you are all heartbroken and disgusted with the marauding dogs. All the old farmers have a cure for it and, unfortunately, you might have to join them.
GM I went to your EM link (which was very informative) and found this. It's about raising pigs the old fashioned way like my dad did when I was little. I so wish it was universal practice. I can see the prices would have to go up but so be it.
Yes, twiggy, we are heartbroken- and discouraged. Losing 8 goats was bad enough, but losing a dairy heifer...that really hurts. If we were at the property full time, we'd stand more of a chance against them. You're also correct that we'll likely have to resort to more serious action if we want to keep our animals alive. Hopefully it will only be a few more months until we get to move in!
Guardian animals are also in the works. We've decided that no new animals can be added until we move in for their safety. We may luck out, but that may mean that we won't be able to add any until next spring. We'll see.
GM- we have incorporated the use of DE on our farm. So far, so good. All of our animals are worm and disease free. We tend to treat our animals the same way we treat ourselves- no outside chemicals unless there are no other options. (of course, us humans tend to consume junk food on occasion...thankfully, the animals are not addicted to such things). Our plan is that if an animal is so sick that it requires antibiotics, we will use them on that animal. Once the animal is well again, we will sell the animal. I wouldn't want to lose an animal (or a human), just because I didn't want to use chemicals, but I don't want to keep an animal on the farm who needs chemicals. We hope this will help breed health and vigor into our herds. Of course, if a human gets sick, we won't sell him/her just because they needed medical assistance *grin*
We recently added a Jersey/Normandy bull calf to our farm. Daisy is raising him. The gal we got him from was absolutely astonished that we have been able to raise calves without any vacs. We've had 15, possibly more, born this year. The only loses were due to wild or feral animals.
I'm not totally convinced that the prices for either beef or pork really have to be so high for grass fed. I can only imagine how much labor and feed goes into a confinement lot animal! We spend most of our time just watching and enjoying ours (which makes it easier to spot a problem). The only real downside is that I can not grow as many animals. Naturally, I could fit many many more cows and pigs here if I were doing confinement farming. But adding in more farmers growing fewer meat animals, and it all works out. Not in the big cities, I understand, though. I heard one pasture pig farmer suggest that we need to turn a bunch of pigs out onto the kudzu. A never ending free supply of food, and happy fat pigs!
Good link, MsKatt. I was talking to my brother last week, and he had absolutely no idea about Monsanto, or the dangers of GMO food. Sigh. Talk about your head in the sand!! I gave him about a 2 hour lecture on the whole situation. He was properly scared at that point. I informed him to wake up :)
It's easy to forget that (it seems) the vast majority of the US have no clue. Must keep spreading the word!
Baker creek Heirloom Seeds, http://www.rareseeds.com tests all of there seed for GMO's. They are GMO free, untreated, organic seeds. I love there catalog. I sat up last night for a few hours looking at it. You can imagane what I had dreams about all night! Tomatoes!!!LOL
If you don't have that catalog, get it. Plus they have great heirloom discussion forums on their website. Fantastic people there. That catalog has single handedly turned me into an heirloom nut!
flowrgirl, an active campaign against small farms that sell directly to the general public increased around 2006. They have mostly harrassed small dairies and co-ops and come in with police cars flashing lights and hauling the small producers off in hand-cuffs in front of their friends and family. Did you see anyone haul off a Dole executive or Peanut Corp executive in handcuffs after the spinach e.coli or peanut salmonella incidents? It seems that they save the handcuffs and police drama for small producers who have happy customers and no reported illnesses.
If you are buying directly from the producer or belong to a small co-op, you may want to give them the FTCLDF information on How to Survive a Farm Raid.
You may also be interested in learning how Big Food has been using the same disinformation tactics as Big Tobacco:
Quoting:...many of the tactics currently being used by Big Food now mirror those used by U.S. tobacco giants as they successfully fought off regulation for decades, thereby contributing to the deaths of millions of Americans. According to Brownell and Warner, the common strategies include dismissing as "junk science" peer-reviewed studies showing a link between their products and disease; paying scientists to produce pro-industry studies; sowing doubt in the public's mind about the harm caused by their products; intensive marketing to children and adolescents; frequently rolling out supposedly "safer" products and vowing to regulate their own industries; denying the addictive nature of their products; and lobbying with massive resources to thwart regulatory action.
This is one study that found that excessive amounts of synthetic beta carotene increased the risk of lung cancer.
The general opinion of nutritionists is that these vitamins work in the context of WHOLE FOODS to promote health.
I doubt if corn with 165 the normal amount of beta carotene can be considered a whole food.