What is the Difference?

Jehovah-Jireh Farm Chicken Grocery Store Free-range Organic Chicken
True free-range, pasture raised

Large confinement factory farm chicken house with limited or no access to the out of doors.

No Vaccinations Many vaccinations
Practically no ammonia smell in shelter Lots of ammonia vapor in the chicken house
Normal day lighting Artificial lighting 23 hours a day
Small groups (350 or less) Huge groups (10,000 or more)
Low stress in small groups High stress in large groups
Clean air Air hazy with fecal particles and ammonia
Fresh air and sunshine Limited or no access to sunshine
Plenty of exercise Limited exercise
Fresh daily salad bar (pasture) Basically no greens
Local Trucked in from out of state
Promotes family farming Promotes large corporations
Rural revitalization Promotes urban expansion
Consumer/producer relationship Consumer/producer alienation
Environmentally friendly

Same environmental impact as conventional confinement chicken houses

The difference between the two is much more than the "free-range" grocery store label implies. The "free-range" grocery store chicken is not much different from conventional chicken, except it receives organic feed and does not receive antibiotics, or arsenic (fed as a growth stimulator!). A door may be open to let a few broilers out to scratch in the dirt.

Meat is much more than a combination of nutrients that we eat. All meat is not the same. We have been conditioned to believe that all meat is the same and that the main difference is the price. That is not true. Even though the nutrients in a downed cow and the nutrients in a healthy beef may analyze in the lab basically the same, the true nutrition is NOT the same! The same is true in the way chickens are raised. Just as we need sunshine, sunshine is important for chickens too. Just as fresh green vegetables are important in our diet, so fresh green vegetables (grass, clover, etc.) are important in a chicken’s diet. It is important that we get exercise to be healthy. So it is important that the meat we eat had the proper amount of exercise to be healthy as well. It is important that we get plenty of fresh air. In the same way it is important that the chicken meat we eat was not raised in an environment where the air was hazy with with manure dust and ammonia. We are what we eat. The way that the meat that we eat was raised is important. It has an effect on our bodies. That is why we, at Jehovah-Jireh Farm, go to the extra work to produce a product that is raised in the best way possible.

Plant a Garden This Year

We encourage you to consider raising some of your own vegetables this year. You cannot eat more local than out of your own back yard or patio.The food you eat is important to your health. When we buy food in the grocery store, even organic food, we do not know the health of the soil was that it was raised in. It is difficult to be healthier than the health of the soil that our food was grown in. Supplements can help, but eating "garbage" and then taking some vitamin and supplement pills is not a good recipe for health. 

We have been learning a lot the last six months about raising nutrient dense food. Nutrient dense food is being encouraged by the Weston A. Price Foundation and others. The key is to have the proper amount of trace minerals and biological activity in the soil. You can test the plant, fruit, or vegetable with a refractometer to find the brix (sugar and mineral content) reading. The refractometer can be purchased for $35 – $50 and is very simple to use. We are realizing that what we had in the past considered to be good food, is not as good as it can be.  An example of excellent nutrient dense produce is the following excerpt from an email that was on the BrixTalk Yahoo Group recently. Imagine having tomatoes that you could keep all winter without canning them, and they wouldn’t rot! It would save a lot of time preserving them and the nutrient dense food would be much better for us.

"Last year, we decided to use lime, rock phosphate, gypsum and iron sulfate (for pH modification to 6.4) in our tubs in addition to the fertilizers we had been using in the past. We could grow tomatoes where we could get good brix levels and about 50-60 large sized tomatoes per plant in the past. The additional nutrients we added last year on ten tomato plants produced an average brix of 10 for the large sized tomatoes, but the yields per plant went to about 400 tomatoes per plant in three pickings. We found that the tomatoes in the final picking that were green, ripened at room temperature in two to three weeks. We also found that we have been able to store these tomatoes at room temperature for 5 months and the vast majority of them didn’t spoil. They do shrivel up a bit as water comes out of the tomatoes. Most of the stored tomatoes are not shriveled and have remained quite sweet. For quantities of fertilizers, I followed a book written by Dr A.F. Beddoe, one of Dr. Ream’s students.

"A couple of years ago we were able to get Yukon Gold potatoes up as high as 2 lbs. in weight with many at 1.5 lbs. The normal number of tubers per plant is about 7. We were able to get 19 per plant. We averaged about 11 lbs. of Yukon Gold potatoes from two plants in a tub. That year we were harvesting tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, and yellow crook nick squash a little under 30 days after transplanting the plants. Best Regards, Thomas Giannou"

Thomas has further information on his website:
Some other good websites are http://www.highbrixgardens.com/ and http://www.crossroads.ws/brixbook/BBook.htm
The book referenced, written by Dr. A.F. Beddoe, is titled Nourishment Home Grown, the 2004 edition. The 2004 edition is only available from Dr. Beddoe at http://www.advancedideals.org/016_book_ordering.html

OK, here is one more reason to consider planting a garden this year. Yesterday, March 9, 2008 the New York Times ran the article: A Global Need For Grain That Farms Can’t Fill. It tells how the global demand for food is greater than the supply. We have been used to an abundant supply of cheap food in the grocery stores, but it may not always be that way. This is one of several articles we have seen about a global food shortage. Some are predicting that the next big crisis will be a food shortage. No one knows what will happen. We can’t grow our own gasoline, but we can grow our own food. There is a learning curve in learning how to grow vegetables successfully. By raising vegetables now, we can learn how to do it successfully and productively rather than waiting until things get more serious. And if nothing serious develops, we still have that satisfied feeling as we eat the delicious, nutritious produce that we grew ourselves. Here is the link to the NY Times article:


Happy gardening!

MSG is Being Sprayed on our Fruits and Vegetables!

    I (Myron) was shocked when I found out that free glutamic acid, the main ingredient in MSG, is being sprayed on some fruit and vegetable crops to make bigger and more attractive produce. It is also used as a pesticide. My father had problems with pain in his shoulders, and the doctor tested him and found that he had a lot of MSG in his body. My parents were surprised, because they have been careful to not use MSG in their food. What we found is that MSG is being used in food and listed under many different names other than MSG. It is in almost all processed foods. In addition, it is being sprayed on some crops such as grapes, celery, cucumbers, navy and pinto beans, green beans, peppers, Iceberg lettuce, Romaine and Butter Leaf lettuce, tomatoes and watermelons, as well as many others.

    Another thing that I found is that "organic" does not mean no MSG.  Autolyzed yeast, natural flavoring and hydrolyzed protein in organic products contain just as much processed free glutamic acid (MSG) as conventional products. Products sold, or labeled as 100 percent organic have to be 100% organic. However, products sold or labeled as organic must contain at least 95% organic material. As much as 5% of an organic product can be non-organic ingredients (most of the flavorings, etc)!

    It is thought to be cheaper or at least easier to buy our fruits and vegetables at the grocery store. However, this is one more reason why it’s time to start growing your own food or to at least purchase it from a trusted source where you know how it was raised. In addition, as more and more of our food is being imported from countries that do not have the regulations on chemical usage that we have here in the US, we become even more vulnerable in the chemical contamination of our food supply.

You may find some of these articles on MSG being sprayed on our crops interesting:




The following is from Dr. Jordan Rubin’s recent newsletter:

How to Get Sick: Eat Grocery Store Produce and Processed Foods

"What a mouthful—literally! Pesticides and herbicides are among the world’s most deadly chemical compounds. If a pesticide or herbicide kills one thing, it will probably kill, mutate, or seriously damage a whole host of other things. The problem with these compounds is that they tend to stay on the fruit, vegetable, or plant they were applied to. Toxins from our water, air, food, and buildings only make things worse."

The Importance of a BIG Breakfast

Several months ago we shared with you the account of the gigantic old-fashioned mountain breakfast of 75 years ago. I asked a number of questions: Should we change the order of the size of our meals with the largest meal at breakfast and the smallest meal in the evening? Does our body work best if it is operating off of the energy from the meal that we just ate, or does it work best refilling the body reserves with a big meal in the evening? Does eating a big meal in the evening and a small breakfast program our body to store the food we eat as fat for a reserve rather than flushing out the surplus?

We decided to try eating a big breakfast. Our whole family was pleased with the results. We found that we do not get as hungry the rest of the day, even when we do a lot of physical work like splitting firewood. We have more energy. We do not feel as much of a need for a mid-morning snack. Cathy was pleased to find she lost a little weight as well.

In researching about breakfast, I found that breakfast is an important meal of the day. Most of the food we eat passes through the stomach in about three hours and starts giving us the energy for the tasks at hand. It gives our brain energy to be able to think and function. Eating a big breakfast can help in weight control because it helps you eat fewer calories the rest of the day. When we eat a large meal in the evening and then do not exercise much, our bodies tend to store the excess food energy as fat.

Eggs are one of the best protein sources and are an important breakfast food for growing children who need protein to build strong bones and bodies. Eggs are an excellent quick breakfast food for adults as well. They have found that eggs do not contribute to cholesterol in adults like they used to say that they did. The best eggs are those from hens that are fed organic grains, have free access to the out of doors, sunlight, and can eat plenty of fresh greens. Our pasture raised eggs help you start your day right.

By the way, did you ever see how little grain is actually in a box of store bought cereal? I weighed out some wheat that was the same amount as the weight of a box of bran flakes. It only filled 1 1/2 inches in the bottom of the box! At $9.50 a bushel for wheat, the farmer would have received only about 17 cents for the food in a box of cereal! The box probably costs more than the grain.

Floating Lights in the Pasture

The next Saturday evening after Blondie’s escapade, our son Nathan and I (Myron) rode our bikes out the lane just as it was getting dark. We enjoy going out the lane at dusk and taking in the peacefulness of the evening. We saw some people in our front pasture near the road and some white lights and red lights floating across the pasture. What was going on?! The parking lot out at the road was full of vehicles. We stopped and talked with a few of the people who were in the parking lot. They were members of Mid-Atlantic Search and Rescue. It is a volunteer organization based in Rockville that searches for missing people. They were using the front pasture and surrounding woods for a training exercise for their search dogs. Several people would hide in the pasture or woods and the dogs would search for them. The dogs had a light attached to their backs so that their trainers could see the dog’s location in the dark. The effect was that the lights appeared to float above the ground as the dogs ran looking for the "missing" people. It was pretty neat. It is interesting living on park property and having a part in worthwhile organizations like Search and Rescue and the American Chestnut Foundation.  If you would like to find out more about Search and Rescue, you can check out their website at www.midatlanticdogs.org

Looking for Action on a Saturday Night

What do you do for excitement on a Saturday night if you are a cow living on a farm in what seems like the middle of nowhere? Your only companions are one other cow and a bunch of sleeping turkeys. Not very exciting! If you are like our milk cow "Blondie", you jump the electric fence and go looking for some excitement.

Sunday morning, several weeks ago, when we went out to take care of the chickens, turkeys, and other animals, we discovered that Blondie had vanished. Daisy, our other milk cow, was contentedly eating in the pasture, but Blondie was gone without a trace. Where do you find a cow when you are surrounded with uninhabited forest for a mile in almost every direction? We drove out the road looking for Blondie. It was a great opportunity to meet some of our neighbors for the first time. It was also interesting having the opportunity to drive in long lanes and see the houses that were hidden behind the trees. No one had seen Blondie. Sunday evening, on a whim, we decided to drive over to Dickerson and check with the dairy farms over there. When we asked one of the farmers if he had seen a Jersey cow, he got a funny look on his face. He said, "So that is who that cow belongs to". That morning he had received a call from Sugarloaf Mountain personnel saying that there was a cow near the entrance to Sugarloaf Mountain. He had no idea where the cow had come from. He did not know anyone else that had a Jersey milk cow in the area. The farmer had put Blondie in the pasture behind the Sugarloaf Mountain offices, and that is where we found her. She was enjoying the company of the farmer’s cows.

Blondie had hiked through the woods and over the ridge behind our house. She had hiked about a mile and a half, most of it through woods. Her udder was scratched up from going through sticker bushes, but otherwise she was fine. What a cow!

Gigantic Breakfasts

We thought that you would find the historical perspective of breakfasts in the Appalachian mountains interesting. Breakfast is an important meal. It gives us the energy we need after fasting for 12 hours or so during the night to go through the first half of our working day. The following is an excerpt from the cookbook, Mountain Country Cooking: A Gathering of the Best Recipes from the Smokies to the Blue Ridge by Mark Sohn.

"People may argue about what to serve for an old-fashioned mountain breakfast, but on one issue everyone agrees: Fifty to seventy-five years ago, mountain people ate gigantic breakfasts. Over the last seventy-five years, however, our lives and our breakfast have changed.

"I have observed three phases in the evolution of mountain country breakfasts. First, seventy-five years ago, just after the railroads pressed their steel tracks into mountain coal fields, breakfast was really big. The cook loaded the table with bacon, sausage, and pork chops – all at the same meal. If they were saving the pork chops for another day, they served ribs, back bones, fried chicken, or country ham.  With this they often ate fried potatoes or hash browns, buttermilk biscuits, breakfast sausage gravy, homemade blackberry jam, grits or hominy, and eggs, eggs, eggs. To top it off, they may have eaten apple or pumpkin pie, milk, juice, and coffee. These foods, which they called victuals, stuck to the ribs and supported outdoor labor until the mid-day lunch.

"In the 1950’s breakfasts got smaller. We traded toast for biscuits, the pie disappeared, and bacon, sausage, or ham often stood alone with eggs. Hot cereal or sweet potatoes sometimes managed a place on the table. We served milk, juice, and coffee, and perhaps hot or cold cereal."In recent years – the fat fighting  nineties – country cooks, like others, reserve eggs and bacon for special occasions. We worry about cholesterol. We cover dry cereal with skim or low-fat milk, we microwave a frozen bagel, or we lower a toaster pastry into the toaster. No time for hot cereal. No eggs. No pork chops. No cooking. It’s often an on-the-go breakfast."

After reading this account of the gigantic old-fashion mountain breakfast it got me to thinking. Should we change the order of the size of our meals with the largest meal at breakfast and the smallest meal in the evening? Does our body work best if it is operating off of the energy from the meal that we just ate, or does it work best refilling the body reserves with a big meal in the evening? Does eating a big meal in the evening and a small breakfast program our body to store the food we eat as fat for a reserve rather than flushing out the surplus? This is a subject worth researching and finding out more about it.