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Posts by DAVID BECKER


is learning about farming. Amazed and impressed.


Name Your Cow, Get More Milk
Cows become part of the family when you name them. Then they return that kindness and attention with more milk. An award-winning research team  from Newcastle, England, Drs. Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson, have shown that farmers who give a cow a name and treat her as an individual can increase annual milk production by almost 500 pints. It was a breakthrough that was picked up by Harvard’s annual Ig Nobel Prizes, which honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then th [...More]


Great Questions to Ask Your Farmer
Most farmers who work farmer’s markets and farms stands are proud of what they produce.  And many want to tell just how they do it. There’s the grass-fed beef farmer who firmly believes you don’t need to use grain to finish beef cattle. Or another farmer who collects stinging nettles with gloves to provide greens early in the season. Then again I never returned to the farm stand where the farmer talked glowingly about the power of Roundup, a herbicide that’s toxic to wildlife. I u [...More]


The Full Flavor of Top Round from Grass-Fed Beef

An Amazing Experience

Ingredients 3-4lb grass-fed top round roast 3 tablespoons butter, softened 3 gloves of garlic, crushed Salt Pepper Preparation Preheat oven to 500 degrees Combine butter, garlic, salt and pepper Rub roast with butter combination Sear roast in oven for 20 minutes Reduce oven to 200 degrees Continue to cook until internal temperature reach 110 degrees Rem [...More]


Baloney Science on the Perils of Meat
More bad news for red and processed meat. Linked to cancer again! Call in the Department of Homeland security and the nation’s top scientists. Meat has a terrible reputation already, so why not pile on? But the recent study in the American Journal of Epidemiology Nov 1, which found “associated risks” for prostate cancer with red and processed meat, is stretching for a headline rather than for some truth we can sink our teeth into. To debunk the study, I turned to Dr. David H. Newm [...More]


Please, Sir: $1 Billion More a Year for School Lunches
“President Obama has pledged to end childhood hunger by 2015.” Talk about an ambitious goal! With two-thirds of its budget dedicated to food assistance, the USDA is the department with primary responsibility for orchestrating this change. At a press conference this morning USDA Secretary Vilsack asked for a $1 billion more a year to fund healthier school lunches. Pinch me ’cause I must be dreaming. Remember back in the early 90s? The USDA used “science” and “guidance” from agrib [...More]


Getting the Most Out of Your Bird: How to Cut Up a Chicken
Some foodies and food editors seem obsessed by large-animal butchery, and have spread the word. Classes are sold out, even when priced at $10,000 a pop. Butchers are rock stars. But I wonder: How many people can even carve up a simple chicken? I made a total hash of it the other night when I brought home a beautiful organic chicken. Not the kind with breasts the size of tissue boxes, but a sleeker bird altogether. Eventually the job was done and the chicken pieces were browning in some lov [...More]


Michelle Obama: "A Drumbeat of Small Changes" for Healthier Food
The front page of The New York Times dining section recently featured not one but two stories on chefs playing a major role in encouraging better eating habits in America. All part of Michelle Obama’s “crusade to reduce childhood obesity through better school lunches, community gardens, farmers markets and exercise.” When faced with big challenges the average citizen throws up her hands and says “but what can I do to really make a difference?” The answer is “plenty.” And unli [...More]


Spanish Chicken with Red Peppers and Tomatoes

Take a Trip with Pollo Al Chilindron

Ingredients 3lb chicken (pastured or organic) cut into small serving pieces (whole breast into four pieces, thighs in two pieces) 3 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced thin 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Spanish cured ham (prosciutto fine) 1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika 1/2 pound tomatoes, skinned, seeded and choppe [...More]


20 Ways Farmers Can Improve Their Marketing Chops
Farmers are business people, alchemists, scientists, economists, and stewards of the land. But sometimes they need help with that most basic and necessary of skills: marketing. Last week I sat in on a Cornell Agriculture extension seminar on the power of storytelling. Herewith a modest partial list of ways for farmers to craft a story around their products, personalities, and people more effectively, especially at farmers markets. Create a Narrative. The story should be real and worth rep [...More]


Swoon Over Butternut Squash Soufflé

Some Call This Dish a Casserole, Others a Souffle

Ingredients 2 butternut squash 1 medium onion 1 orange, juice and zest 4 tablespoons butter plus 1 tablespoon for onions 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves Salt and pepper to taste 2-4 tbsp. brown sugar or maple syrup Preparation Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash in half through stem end. Scoop out seeds and place cut side down in ba [...More]