I’m trying to remember if I say this every year but I am so sick of winter and these cold temps.  As you can see in my photo, the rain chains I have on my house agree with me.  A fun fact on rain chains.  They are a decorative chain of metal pieces that replicate each other and allow the water to pass thru on the way to the drains at the bottom.  By looking at them you would not believe they work, but when the rain from above starts rolling down the roof and into the gutter, the water shoots straight down them like a garden house.  I couldn’t bring myself to put traditional downspouts on the house so my wife and I took a chance and added these.  I believe these are more popular out in the Northwest, think Seattle and Portland, but I’m forcing mine to bear the brunt of heavy ice during parts of the year.

We finally launched our new sister company called Bone Broth Brothers.  You probably got the email last week announcing it.  We started this new project to bring a better quality of supplements to the marketplace.  The more we looked into the supplement industry as a whole, the more shocked we were.  It’s like the wild west, with very little oversight on raw materials and some shady companies doing shady things.  We are going to start with just a basic grass-fed bone broth bulk powder but still this year we are working on capsules as well.  I’m trying to figure out how to get aronia berry powder in the mix and have it flow smoothly enough to capsule.  Ironically, my aunt and uncle raise aronia berries.  Maybe we can streamline the process, deter their deer population from gorging on them, and keep it all in the family!  Another fun fact for the day on aronia berries, aka chokeberries.  These little gems are native to Iowa and have the highest antioxidant levels than any other berry.  The best way to describe an aronia berry is if a cranberry and a blueberry had a baby.  There are some other ideas for unique capsules but I’ll save that for future emails.

As I write this, Doug is taking advantage of the cold morning frost and hauling manure out onto the new farm we are leasing.  This is probably the first time this land has seen animal manure in a while.  It’s the first step in bringing back life to the soil.  We will try to cover the whole field, work it into the soil, and then plant oats.  Once we get the oats tall enough we will work that back into the soil and plant forage sorghum.  This crop will grow all year, then we’ll harvest and ferment it, then feed it all of next winter.  Sounds pretty cool, huh?  If you recall, this is a farm we are moving back to organic, and the first step is getting life back into the soil.  Once you get the microbes cooking, they break down carbon and release copious amounts of nitrogen, which grows the forages which feed the livestock, which feed you, your family and your neighbors!

We had 22 new heifer and steer “teenagers” arrive on the farm this last Friday.  They came from cows we sold to a partner grower of ours over by Tama.  Each year he brings the load over for us to feed hay to until spring before they go back out to pasture for the summer.  I call them teenagers because they are away from “Mom” at this point, a little rambunctious, and still trying to figure out how to behave outside of the home place.

It wouldn’t be a blog without a little dreaming, so here we go.  I read an article from the Star Tribune in Minneapolis this last week.  The title was this, General Mills deal to create South Dakota’s largest organic farm–General Mills will work with Gunsmoke Farms to convert 34,000 acres.”  Now at first glance this is good news, right?  More farms to organic is great.  But then I thought, why is it that you only see these big conversions happening from behemoth companies?  This is Big Ag partnering with Big Money in San Fran to control rural America.  Where are all the small farmers and all of the customers and the supporters they have amassed?  How is it not possible to mobilize and unite to replace General Mills with a different entity?  I’ll leave you with this math example and the power of numbers..  If you have 10,000 supporters of local and organic foods contribute $1 a day for 5 years, what do you think that total is?

$18,250,000

Do you know what WE, as in a “Community of Investors for the Future”, could do with that kind of money?  This is without bowing a knee to a bank or leveraging a home or having small farmers risk bankruptcy. This is just straight up “Cash is King” power economics.  This is the small people finally making something happen for themselves, for the land , and for the farmers of real food.  I’ve created a short list below….and warning….you aren’t going to believe me at first but trust me when I say that this is all possible:

  • 100% Outright Owner of 500 Acre Organic farm
  • Grass-fed beef herd
  • Grass-fed dairy herd
  • Grass-fed sheep herd
  • Pasture-raised hogs
  • Pasture-Raised egg flock
  • Artisan Meat Processing Plant
  • Artisan Cheese Processing Plant
  • Organic Apple and Fruit Orchard
  • Organic Vegetable Farm
  • Vegetable and Fruit Processing Plant
  • Hundreds of employees doing meaningful work
  • Technology based organic teaching school
  • 20 other unique value-added business
  • I have to stop here because it’s too much for my brain to handle (in a good way)

Here is the best and absolute kicker to it all…..the original investor group of 10,000 brilliant people are all owners of this beautiful system.  It will pay physical return on their investment, either in cash or even better, in nutrient dense food.  And it pays dividends forever to your friends, family and children!

How exciting….where do I sign up?!!!