WIN A FREE GRILL BOX

We are giving away a beef grilling box fit for any grill!

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Once a month we will draw one entry from those who have shared a post on Facebook or Twitter, from new likes of our Facebook Page and new Followers of our Twitter account and from new subscribers to our eMagazine. Each of these is an entry, so why not do it all and increase your chances to win! We will also give you more opportunities to enter by sharing special posts on Facebook and retweeting special tweets on Twitter. Watch for them – they are coming.

Vindicator Brand reserves the right to determine the content of the grilling box and how long the promotion lasts.

Naturally & Humanely Raised

Many, in the interest of their health, have chosen not to eat red meat. However, the truth is that it’s not the meat itself that is the issue. The health hazard seems to be the rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) and carcinogenic preservatives such as sodium nitrate.

On top of that the diets that these farm animals are fed and the filthy conditions in which they are reared make red meat uniquely suspect. Humanely raised red meat is a different animal altogether.

More than just feeling good about being humane, naturally raised beef is healthier for consumption. Cattle are naturally grass-eaters – grazing in the pasture is what they’re meant to do. As a result, there are some healthy benefits to raising cattle the way they were born to be raised.

  • Pasture-raised beef contains the proper Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio. This means that pasture-raised beef contains up to 20 times the amount of Omega-3 per serving when compared to mainly grain-fed beef.
  • Pasture-raised meat cooks 40% faster so it is easily overcooked, hence the reputation of being “gamier”. When cooked properly however it is arguably much more flavorful than grain fed beef.
  • Pasture-raised meat contains up to 100 fewer calories per 6-ounce portion than conventional beef
  • Pasture-raised beef may help to cure rather than promote cancer. This is because it contains one of the most potent anti-cancer compounds known: CLA (conjugated linoleic acid).
  • Pasture-raised beef also contains protein, iron, zinc and lots of B vitamins.

So, feel good about your decision to go with pasture-raised because of the humane way cattle are raised, but know also that grazing is what was meant to be and as such has many nutritional and health benefits over conventional beef.

Sustainable Farming

Farming For the Future

We believe that achieving a sustainable food producing network is critical to an abundant and healthy food supply for generations to come. While many Wisconsin farms boast being part of a rich and diverse yet sustainable farm community, they make up a minority of agricultural operations in our state.

Many Madison restaurants want access to healthy, delicious, affordable local food, grown responsibly. But, Madison is in the state’s minority. To achieve a strong sustainable local network of farming communities, we first must understand what sustainability is.

Sustainable Farming Defined

In this farmer’s opinion, sustainable farming is to produce agricultural products in a way that:

  • Is environmentally friendly to the farm, to the community and beyond
  • Improves the lives of the farmers working it, the communities supporting it and the population that enjoys it
  • Is mindful of the health and well-being of the farm animals
  • Recognizes that it’s part of a larger sustainable food producing network

Sustainable food distribution systems rely on local or regional networks of sustainable farms. Products are sold directly to consumers through farmers’ markets, local grocers, farm shares and co-ops. Food is also sold directly to restaurants, food services, and food hubs.

Sustainability Best Practices

  • Protect their waterways from runoff and erosion
  • Care for their animals
  • Raise food without harmful chemicals
  • Use regenerative farming techniques: such as crop or livestock rotation
  • Composting
  • Are open to other ways that farmers can maintain a sustainable, pesticide-free environment on their farms

Sustainably operating a farm means investing in practices and policies to preserve and restore farmland for the use, education, and enjoyment of future generations.

Farming for the Future

Free of Antibiotics and Hormones

What Are They, and Why Do They Matter?

In the past several years in several of these United States, legislation has been and is being considered that would limit or ban the use of non-therapeutic antibiotics in animal agriculture.

The Use of Antibiotics in Animals

It is estimated that of all the antibiotics used in the United States, 80% are given to agricultural animals. Antibiotics are used, unnecessarily some feel, in these animals to promote growth or to prevent diseases that result from animal overcrowding and unhygienic living conditions.

Concern about the growing level of drug-resistant bacteria has led to the banning and reduction of such sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics in food animals in many countries in the European Union and Canada. However, in the United States, this practice remains legal, but curtailed by the US Department of Agriculture in a ruling that took effect on January 1, 2017.

Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic resistance is a global health concern that results in strains of bacteria that do not respond to standard antibiotic treatment and can result in severe life-threatening illnesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the use of low doses of non-therapeutic antibiotics in animal agriculture “contributes to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in food-producing animals.

These resistant bacteria can contaminate the foods that come from those animals, and persons who consume these foods can develop antibiotic-resistant infections.” Antibiotic resistant bacteria can also be transmitted through the environment and water supply. The CDC reports that each year 2 million people are infected and 23,000 people will die from antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Hormones in Beef

Hormones in beef, of course, are used in the United States to bolster growth in food producing cattle. The resistance to the practice is centered around scientists in the EU who have said that the use of six hormones (3 natural and 3 artificial) in beef production poses a potential risk to human health

They have argued that even though a particular hormone may exists naturally in cattle, that growth hormones cause the amount of naturally occurring hormones to increase by 7 – 20 times, endangering the health of the animal, infecting the food it produces and ultimately putting human health at risk.

The European Union’s Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures Relating to Public Health (SCVPH), the reporting committee, also questioned whether hormone residues in the meat of growth enhanced animals can disrupt human hormone balance, causing developmental problems, interfering with the reproductive system, and even leading to the development of breast, prostate and colon cancers.

Until there is a full governmental ban on these practices, we can all help by supporting farming practices that are sustainable, support a healthy environment, and that do not harm our communities. This includes purchasing meats from a producer that has raised beef without the use of non-therapeutic antibiotics and growth hormones.

A Wisconsin Farm

The farm-to-table idea is seen, by some, as something relatively new. As a social movement in our modern culture, maybe it is. However, we are just getting back to our roots. Are we not?

This social movement, which promotes serving local food at restaurants and at home through direct acquisition from the producers, is beneficial in several ways:

Knowing where our food comes from. Whether it is a winery, brewery, farm, fishery or other type of food producer, we often know the local proprietors personally, we know where they are, and they are accessible. Many even offer tours that highlight the way they produce what they do. When you know where your food comes from and who grew it, you know a lot more about that food.

Locally grown food is full of flavor. Crops are picked at their peak of ripeness. Meat, fish and poultry are delivered fresh versus being processed to be stored or shipped to restaurants far away.

Eating local food is eating seasonally. It offers the community the opportunity to celebrate the wonderful seasonality that Wisconsin has to offer. Many of our festivals started out as local community celebrations of the changing seasons.

Local food has more nutrients. Local food has a shorter time between harvest and your table, and it is less likely that the nutrient value has decreased. Food imported from far-away states and countries is often older, has traveled and sits in distribution centers before it gets to the restaurant.

“Buying Local” is at the heart of the movement. When we look to the local community first for what is needed, the local economy is supported. The money that is spent with local farmers and ranchers all stays close to home and is reinvested with businesses and services in our community.

Local food benefits the environment. By purchasing locally grown foods you help maintain farmland and green and/or open space in your community. The disappearance of heirloom and open-pollinated fruits and vegetables due to the diminishing number of local family farms is harmful to the local environment.

Local foods promote a safer food supply. The more steps there are between you and your food’s source the more chances there are for contamination. Food grown in distant locations has the potential for food safety issues at harvesting, washing, shipping and distribution.

The disappearance of small family farms is not only disappointing on a local level, but it lends itself to a centralized food distribution system which can rob a community of the ability to be self-sufficient.

So, whether we are carnivores, omnivores or herbivores, certainly we should all be locavores.

In writing this article, we relied heavily on Michigan State University Extension, 7 Benefits of Eating Local Foods, by Rita Klavinski, published online April 13, 2013. http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/7_benefits_of_eating_local_foods

13 Tips for Preparing Pasture-Raised Beef

Congratulations on your decision to purchase pasture-raised beef from Vindicator Brand. We hope to serve you and your family for many years to come. In doing so, we wanted to address the differences in pasture-raised beef versus other products you’ve purchased.

First, pasture-raised beef is leaner and that makes it healthier for you:

  • It also has the right kind of fat
  • It has more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids
  • It has higher levels of antioxidants
  • It has higher levels of vitamins A and E

Pasture-raised beef, because it is leaner, needs a different approach to preparation.

The most common reason for tough meat is overcooking. It is easy to overcook a very lean cut. Pasture-raised beef is best prepared rare to medium rare. That doesn’t mean you can never have a good tasting, tender cut that is well done. It just needs to be prepared differently.

Hopefully these tips will come in handy:

  1. Brushing your beef with oil prior to cooking will enhance the flavor of the meat. Your pasture-raise beef is extremely low in fat, making it very easy to overcook, making it tough, dried out and stuck to the pan or grill. Brush the meat with your favorite light oil. There are so many options out there, so I experiment with it having tried grape seed oil, sesame oil, pistachio oil and avocado oil, as well as a few of the infused versions of them. Of course, it’s hard to beat the old standby – olive oil.
  2. Marinating your beef in the refrigerator prior to cooking. A simple Italian dressing is very effective in tenderizing your cut of meat without drowning out its flavor. There are dozens of options for marinades at any typical grocery store or you can get creative. Cuts such as a strip steak or sirloin are extra lean, so you must be extra attentive to preparation with those cuts.
  3. Tenderizing your beef can produce a wonderfully tasty steak. Some cuts, such as a chuck steak, have a nice steak flavor, but require more attention. If you do not have time to or do not care for a marinade, tenderizing with a meat mallet is great. Start with a thawed cut of beef, coat with your favorite rub, place the meat on a solid surface, cover with plastic wrap and pound out your meat. Some recipes, such as swiss steak and veal scaloppini and schnitzels, call for pounding your meat flat, but do not do that if you’re serving a regular steak. This serves to break down the connective tissue in the meat and pushes the flavor of your rub into the meat.
  4. Pan frying your steak is NOT a mortal sin! As a matter of fact, some of the best chefs in the finest restaurants do it. Stove top cooking is great for any type of steak. You have more control over the temperature than on the grill and you can use butter to carry the taste of fresh garlic through the meat just like the steak chefs do.
  5. Cut the time of cooking your pasture-raised beef. Because it has high protein and low-fat levels, the beef will usually require up to 30% less cooking time and, as you know, it continues to cook when removed from the heat. If using a thermometer, pull your meat 10 degrees earlier than you would. If you time the steaks, cut that time back. For instance, if you would normally have cooked your meat 4 minutes on each side to produce a medium rare steak, cut that back to at least 3 minutes on each side. Be careful not to leave your meat unattended as it can go from perfect to over cooked in less than a minute.
  6. Let your beef rest after taking it out or off the stove or grill. Let it sit covered and in a warm place for 8 to 10 minutes after removing it from the heat. This will let the juices redistribute.
  7. Always use tongs on your beef. A fork pierces the meat and you’ll lose juices
  8. Reduce the temperature when cooking pasture-raised beef. Roasted meats can be cooked at 275 degrees and your slow-cookers and Nesco-type pans should be set on the lowest temperature settings. (NOTE: Your cooking time will still be shorter.)
  9. Never use a microwave to thaw any meat, much less your pasture-raised beef. For quick thawing place your beef in a vacuum sealed package in water for a few minutes.
  10. Room temperature is where your pasture-raise meat should be before cooking . . . do not cook it cold straight from a refrigerator.
  11. Always pre-heat your oven, pan or grill before cooking pasture-raised beef.
  12. Always sear your beef before cooking to lock in those juices. When grilling, sear the meat quickly over a high heat on each side before reducing the heat to a medium or low. When roasting, sear the beef first then place it in a pre-heated oven. When pan frying, sear each side on high heat, then remove the meat for a minute or two as you reduce the heat to finish cooking your steak.
  13. Use caramelized onions, olives or roasted peppers to add low fat moisture when cooking hamburgers. Some moisture is needed to compensate for the lack of fat.

Thank you for choosing Vindicator Brand pasture-raised beef and happy cooking (and eating).

How Did We First Begin to Farm?

So, according to Wikipedia, humanity apparently experienced a transition from the hunter-gatherer people we were to the farmers we are today. Okay, according to a site called History of the World as well. Alright already, according to research done at the University of Sheffield’s, Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures.

It’s called Neolithic Revolution and appears to have taken place anywhere from 10,000 to 19,000 years ago.

Human history records that, from the beginning, we have basically been hunting (includes fishing) and gathering for our food, clothing, tools and material used to shelter ourselves. Being able to communicate with each other has been advantageous, we specialized and combined the two activities, men going out to hunt and the woman doing the gathering. But basically, as hunter-gatherers, we have lived by doing what comes naturally., is what we are told.

Animals in the wild are obviously hunter–gatherers, too. Lions and wolves communicate well enough to hunt as a group. Bees can tell each other where the best pollen is.

According to a piece published in ScienceDaily online (oh yeah, I forgot to mention ScienceDaily), the beginnings of agriculture changed human history and has fascinated scientists for centuries.

However, there seems to be a lot that researchers are still in the dark about. For instance, a tell-tale sign that a crop has been domesticated by farming is that it doesn’t disburse its seed naturally. Wheat, for example, doesn’t shed its seed. It depends on farmers to do it and therefor the crop is dependent on humans to survive.

Scientists then reason that many domesticated crops look a lot different than they did when it grew in the wild. I am wondering if there is such a thing as wild wheat today. I’ve never heard of such a thing, so I asked our good friend Google, and it doesn’t know either.

So, much to my surprise, researchers really don’t know how we began to cultivate the earth rather than or in addition to hunting and gathering.

I think that is very interesting. What about you? Please leave a comment?

Concessions at the Games of Rome

The crowd of 80,000 plus roared as Aaron Rogers hit Randall Cobb on a crossing route that slanted deep up field. He was wide open and that catch went for 40+ yards and a touchdown – something you don’t often see against the New England Patriots. But we saw it that day and more than that, we saw a Packers win!

We’ve seen a lot over the last 25 years of Packer football – the play of two, count them, two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks and the dynamic receivers that were made so by the play of those QBs. We saw our team take two trips to the Super Bowl, the advent of the Lambeau Leap and on one Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings we saw Antonio Freeman catch a ball that should’ve been intercepted while laying on his back. He got up and ran into the end zone to score a game winning touchdown in overtime. That play happened right in front of me.

Do you know what else is a must at every game at Lambeau Field? Brats and beer! A nice sizzling brat with stadium sauce and sauerkraut nestled in a soft bun washed down with a cold Miller Genuine Draft. Call me stupid, but it just doesn’t get any better than that, and that’s why I wouldn’t have liked the games of the Colosseum in Rome.

Never mind that the chariot races were brutal, the gladiators were ruthless and the lions ate people – there were no brats and there was no beer.

Oh, there were concessions at the games. A dude by the name of Statius wrote of the tables at the games of the Saturnalia that “served every class alike, child, woman, plebs, eques and senator”. And what did they eat?

“Scarce had Dawn got out of bed”, writes Statius, “when sweets began to rain down on us, a rare dew distilled by the rising East Wind. The finest harvest of the hazel orchards of the Pontus and of the fertile hills of Idume, all that devour Damascus grows on its boughs, all that thirsty Cunus dries, all fell in profusion.”

Still no brats and no beer.

“There was a veritable shower of little cheeses and fritters, Amerines not too smoked, must-cakes, and enormous caryotis dates form invisible palms.”

No brats and no beer.

“A second audience, at least as good-looking and well-dressed as we who were sitting down, now threaded its way along every row. Some carried baskets of bread and white napkins and more elaborate delicacies; others served languorous wine in brimming measure: you would think each one a divine cupbearer from Mount Ida.”

Yes, but no brats and no beer!

Yes, I’m quite sure. Without brats and beer, the games of the Saturnalia in ancient Rome would’ve been a flop.

Thanks to the folks at the Food Timeline for the discussion about the Ancient Roman Colosseum on their website: http://www.thefoodtimeline.org