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Thanksgiving is for the Birds

As an organic farmer, I just totally love finding creation's answer to a problem... You'd have to experience the thrill to know. It just feels so right, so satisfying... so rewarding. It feels like God looks down, and smiles, and says "Yes! That’s my way! Use life to balance life. That is the way I designed my eco-system to function – Each life group balancing out the others so that none become out of control."

The Power

After Worse than Monsanto and then the Concentration Farms post, a lot of you are asking good questions. Since USDA Certified Organic foods are sometimes coming from Concentrated Animal Farms, and these industrial farms quite likely are sourcing their organic feed from imported, possibly fraudulent sources: How can we know? Who can we trust? Which foods are pure and safe? Which brands sell food from confined animal compounds?

Concentration Farms

The problem with industrial organics is much deeper than fraudulent imported grain. In fact, to me, that's not their most deceptive tactic. The most deceptive is that factory farmed food from concentrated animal farms is intentionally being marketed as 'free range' and 'free roaming' and foisted unto unsuspecting shoppers.

We're Coming to Maryland!

Hey, this is exciting! We are starting a delivery route to Maryland beginning next week on Wednesday (11/20), which happens to be my dad's (Edwin's) birthday. :) Here are the five Maryland pickup locations. Click for details:

Worse Than Monsanto

How many people could 5 million dollars bribe? I know, crazy question... but stick with me and I'll explain. So, the gloves are off, the gantlet is down and we've crossed the Rubicon. There is no turning back. Here's the truth: Fake Industrial Organics are Worse than Monsanto.

Stolen Cream?

Good evening Family Cow Folks! I'm sorry I didn't write earlier. I knew you'd have questions and you do deserve answers. The truth is simple. I was busy with spring and summer farm work and didn't have much time to write. I know busy isn't exactly a creative excuse, but it'll have to do in a pinch. :) So here's the question I'm pretty sure you've asked. "Ok... Mr. Shank... so you are right. The new Family Cow butter is yellower, softer and all around more delectable than almost any butter we have ever experienced...

Out of the Sacred Ground

What is it about this dirt... this ground of our farm? Sometimes I think about it. How my great grandparents and my grandchildren, even though they've never met, have all held it in their hands. <br><br> Isn't that awesome? It's humbling. Life is short and fragile and passing, but the dirt remains... connecting us all. <br><br> Six generations of family have worked this land Close to 100 years. We've milked the cows and gathered the eggs, fed the pigs and raised our families.


I've Never Done This Before... I've never published another farmer's thoughts in Fresh Thoughts on Real Foods. But I guess there's a right time for everything. This crazy story feels like the right time. Plus the farmer who wrote this piece is none other than the renowned Joel Salatin himself, the farmer/writer/philosopher of Polyface Farm, so maybe you'll forgive me.

Just Imagine... Spring Chicks!

Just Imagine! What if you'd wake up on The Family Cow farm some chilly but sunny morning in March? What if we'd allow you to tag along with our chicken manager, Marlin Charles, as he expertly starts our first 600 chicks for the year? You'd go with Marlin every step of the way... picking the chicks up at the post office, settling them safely into their cozy brooder and helping them each find their first feed and water.

Organic Watchdog Barks the Alarm!

Good afternoon folks, It IS a GOOD afternoon even though bad things are happening. It's still good because, in spite of the bad, good is here to overcome the bad. Let me explain: What is The bad? Organic milk customers are being disrespected and intentionally deceived by factory farms into thinking that their 'organic' milk comes from cows on grass and happy in pasture when it actually does not. And it's happening on a very industrial, family-farm-crushing scale. To make matters worse, this deception is aided and abetted by the USDA. This is bad.

Listen In

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!

"Before they call... I will answer"

Happy New Year? Absolutely! 2018 is all set to be a wonderful new year! Thanks everyone for your enthusiastic endorsement of our 'Rescue Farm' project. It means an awful lot to feel personal excitement through your kind words of affirmation. It's clear that many of you were moved by the message of the "Amen Acres" plaque that we found on the old barn wall. Isn't God so amazing?!

Enter... The Rescue Farm!

Hey... We're Rescuing a Farm! Actually, let's get this straight. It's not really us. All you who support our Family Cow farm, you are helping us rescue another farm. We couldn't do it alone. So it's a tribe effort! :) Isn't this exciting?!

Raw Milk Photo Journal

New years are for looking forward, of course, but I also can't help but reflecting back a bit. 2016 was an exciting year in the raw milk world. As some of you regulars know, a few years ago our Family Cow farm was among the first few farms in the world to be listed under the high standards of the then-newly-formed RAW MILK INSTITUTE (RAWMI)...

The Master's Code

Something's been bothering me for a while. Sometimes it's just a niggling in my background consciousness. Other times it comes to the forefront and gets in the road of other important stuff. But it's always there. That something is GMOs...

Double Agent

Sometimes I feel like a double agent privy to inside information. Often it's sensitive, potentially damaging information on chemical farming to which, if the "chem farm" folks were wiser, they really shouldn't allow me access. Especially since they should know who I am. You know, one of those lunatic, chemical-free, organic farmers!

From Cambodia to Azores

You might think I'm overly excited because Dawn and I just got back from two weeks in Cambodia mentoring Kenny and Lindsay Mathews, a newlywed farm couple setting up the very first dairy in Cambodia...overly excited because this farm, Moo Moo Farms, is a raw milk farm to boot which means that 100% of Cambodian dairymen specialize in raw milk! :)

A Morning with Wesley and Roland

Just Imagine! <br><br> What if you'd wake up on The Family Cow farm some warm dewy morning in June. What if you could tag along with our boys, Wesley and Roland (13 and 11), for the first hour of their day...go with them every step of the way as they carefully tend the hens that produce The Family Cow's truly pastured, soy-free eggs? <br><br> In this early morning photo tour through Wesley's eyes, we’ll let you peek briefly into a typical farm morning and at the same time get a behind the scenes look into the holistic pasture and livestock management that we put into Family Cow pastured eggs.

Goodwill Toward Men

I think God has been trying to tell me something this Christmas season. The message keeps coming out of unexpected places. And even though I can be slow to sit up and pay attention, eventually he gets his message through...

What is it About Cows?

What is is about cows? It seems we were created to live in harmony with these gentle mothers... to be co-dependent. How else can we explain the historically proven phenomena that persons who live closest to the cows are often the healthiest, and strongest of their society?

Never Be Afraid

You ask how, during these difficult times, our family finds the strength, courage and stamina to go on. Many of you are afraid for us… or for yourselves...

They Missed Him

They missed him, the inn keeper and his family did. But you can't blame them really. They were flat-out frantically busy! Town was full! Thousands, even millions, were traveling from all over the world for the special decreed taxing by Caesar Augustus...