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Listen In

July 3, 2018

Top of the morning to you, friends!

OK... so everyone seemed to enjoy the new "Listen In" newsletter inspiration. I will say that I do find it refreshing to target my writing to one of our tribe and have the rest of you listen in than to try to write to all of you at once. So here is this week's "Listen In." ENJOY!


From: amanda@******
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2018 10:36 AM
To: Edwin Shank
Subject: Excited to find your farm! / a few questions

Good morning, farmer Edwin,

I can't tell you how excited we are to find your farm! My husband and I and our children (5yr, 3yr) just moved to PA from Texas. Yesterday the children and I stopped at your farm. What a delightful, pure food oasis!

But the kindness of your team is what really impressed us. One sweet young girl, I think she said her name was Emily, took my 5 and 3 year old up to the nest of new kittens in the little brick building beside the store. Another lovely lady answered my many food questions in the store. I believe she said her name was Maria. I was amazed at her "real food" knowledge and her willingness to spend as much time as I needed. She even gave us a pint of raw milk for free since it was our first time to the farm!

Please give Maria and Emily a big thank you. We'll be back... because the kids are already begging to go see the farmer's kittens again! LOL

But I do have some questions. I hope you don’t mind. Maria said it would be fine to email you directly.

Here is the thing: I have long bought "organic" in the grocery store... but I'm pretty new to some of the rest of these "real farmer foods." Where do I ever start? I guess what I'm trying to say is this: If you and your wife were just getting started into real, healing foods for your own family, which foods would you start with? Which are the most important? Which give the maximum health benefits? Which are the best value... give the most bang for the buck?

If you can give me some direction in this Edwin, I'd really appreciate it.

Thank you so much!
Your newest customer,
Amanda ****


Good morning Amanda,

Welcome to the Family Cow family! It makes me smile that your experience with our farm, foods and "culture of care" was remarkable. We do try hard to stay focused in those three key areas. In fact, one of our favorite team slogans is: "Real Farmers. Real Caring. Real Foods." So yeah... since that's what we focus on... it does mean a lot that you noticed. :)

And yes, I'll tell Emily and Maria that you felt their "caring" too. Dawn and I and family feel so blessed to have them and other friends like them on our Family Cow Team.

Your question, Amanda, "Where do I ever start?" is an excellent one! It's good for me to remember that our full array of healing foods probably is a bit daunting to someone new. But no worries... You'll learn healing foods one step at a time like the rest of our tribe.

And you are also very right that "Family Cow farmer foods" are on a totally different wavelength than grocery store organics.

Before I start, let me qualify that 'what-is-best' and 'where-to-start' depends a bit on the family. Since your family includes children and children are notoriously finicky with new stuff, I'll keep that in mind. I'll also assume that you are basically healthy and not trying to fix something like IBS, Crohn's, Colitis or something of that sort. If you were, there would be different places to start. So... here goes!

#1. RAW MILK: Raw milk is absolutely the best starting place. This is where our family started. Our raw milk is a pleasure to drink. Your children will love it, and it is full of probiotics and living enzymes. It's also super high in omega 3 brain-development-good-fats and CLAs since we don't give our cows any grain at all... They are 100% grass-fed. Raw milk is gut healing and immune boosting. Families report fewer colds, less ear infections, less allergies, fewer to no dental cavities and less sickness all around when their family is on raw milk.

And get this! ...the raw milk is also the best value per serving of all of our foods too. In our farm store the milk is $7.50 per gallon and a gallon is 16 servings so it's less than 50 cents a serving! How is that for a win-win? This super-value fact is often overlooked when moms and dads are thinking of economical ways to feed their families healing foods. It's hard to know where to stop when talking about organic, raw, 100% grass-fed milk from Jersey cows. It just has so many amazing advantages over most all of our foods that it's hard to know when enough said is enough said. :) One thing for sure, it IS the best place to start!

#2. RAW CHEESE: I'm putting these in order a bit, Amanda, thinking of where to start with children who may not be acclimated to "strange" foods. Raw cheese has all of the benefits of raw milk... probiotics, enzymes, brain-boosting good fats, etc. The cheese simply has the advantage of putting the health building effects of raw milk on a cracker or in a sandwich or just a wonderful snack all by itself. :)

For further reading, see this post by Dr. Mercola where he says, "Raw Cheese from Pasture-Raised Animals is the Ultimate."

#3. WATER KEFIR: I put this at the 3rd recommended step in the journey because it is such an easy transition. It is simply so good. It takes a bit more acclimation than the raw milk and cheese but it usually wins a lot of rave reviews even with children. The water kefir is a fermented drink that is mildly effervescent and will remind you of a natural healthy soda. As you may notice, all of these that I've mentioned so far are very probiotic and enzyme rich. That's because increasingly doctors and health experts agree that health and immunity is all about a healthy gut and a healthy gut is about a health gut microbiome. So all of the foods I'm recommending here are super gut health boosters one way or another.

#4. RAW LACTO-FERMENTED FOODS: You'll notice in this category things like our Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Ginger Carrots, Dilly Beans, and Beet Kvass. I would have put these foods higher up the list if it was not for your children. There is no doubt that these are super gut health building but there is also no doubt that to some it is an acquired taste. For me... I love them all.

#5. RAW MILK KEFIR: This one is hands-down the absolute most health-building, gut-restoring, immune-boosting, life-changing of all of our foods. It's like super charged raw milk. So why do I have it down at #5? Two reasons: 1) The government will not allow us to make it for you. We can sell you the kefir starter grains and give you the instructions. Kefir is easy to make, plus we give you my wife's phone # to walk you through the process but it still is not the easiest place to start on your journey. You may be interested in this comparison between water kefir and milk kefir. 2) Raw milk kefir is also a bit of an acquired taste... effervescent and tart like very tart yogurt. We use it as a base for fruit smoothies with bananas, strawberries... wherever your imagination takes you. :) The smoothies are an excellent meal replacement. It is even a great weight loss tool.

About 6 years ago I used raw milk kefir and raw milk exclusively to lose about 30 lb in 30 days! LOL kind of crazy, I know, but it was fun and made me feel tremendously good. As I was doing the raw milk diet, I wrote about it as a week by week story... You can read it if you wish. It's called: "I Really Shouldn't Tell You This."

Well, I could go on, Amanda, but this is enough to get you started. :) The rest of our foods are just as pure and organic as these first five. The important thing is that 100% of The Family Cow foods are grown and selected with gut health and super immunity building as the main goal. Low to no sugar, no preservatives, organic, grass-fed, raw, probiotic, soy-free etc... Our family is always committed to do the best that we know and each year we keep learning more and getting better. Believe it or not, we are still on our real foods journey too. :)

The other great thing, which you have already discovered I guess by virtue of this email... is that since my family and I are the actual farmers and there's no distributor or grocery store between us... you get to ask straight questions and we get to give you straight answers every time. We love this personal connection and transparency and sense of community and we think you will too.

We think it's the way food, farming and community was meant to be.

So... Blessings and welcome to the tribe!

Your (new) farmers,
Edwin Shank for Dawn and the family too

Real Farmers... Real Caring... Real Foods

Edwin Shank

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