The buying public seldom gets to meet the farmer of his food, and even more seldom have the opportunity of seeing the rearing conditions/environment his food is being reared in. The Falsters and their allied local farmer’s do all they can to encourage contact between the buying public and our species and produce; so they can see and enjoy the bio-diversity that promotes good health and great tastes.
In the rearing of Falling Star Brand pork the visiting customer can see our efforts at ensuring optimal living conditions for our animals. The scene below shows our young pigs being nourished on sweet grasses and red and white clovers on our Post Oak Savannah pastures. The pond affords lounging areas topped with shade provided by oak and sweet gum trees.
When consumers buy grocery store pork, they can be assured that that pork is nothing what so ever like Falster Farm’s Falling Star Brand pork. What is impressive about Falling Star Brand pigs is their gourmet taste, the result of feeding a special diet.
Factory Farms, are so unhealthy that their pigs must receive regular does of anti-biotic medications and growth hormones, which I believe are passed on to the consumer despite government approved labeling (who in their right mind can trust the government?) These big farms domicile the pig in a cage so small that the animal can hardly turn around, in an enclosed barn that stifles the olfactory.
Many Local Farms often feed large amounts of “good left over’s” and waste such as two day old bread store throw-away as well as GMO corn and wheat shorts on dirt lots.
Now, people who buy animal meat reared like this are free to do so. Bless there their hearts they have unconsciously made a decision to put their money into prescription drugs rather than quality food. Yes, we are what we eat, and eating meat is primal to the human need but eating cheap factory food is anti-primal, it is a major source contributing to the national obesity and health dysfunction.
Recognizing this, Nancy and I made the decision to rear a much better meat for our family and all those that are of like mind and consideration. Yes that means we are not feeding the world cheap nutrient worthless food. The Falster pork rearing protocol is almost unique. Read More about how we do it.
Nancy and I share this process with folks from around the world that come to intern on Falster Farm. These interns are mostly involved in the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms – WWOOF. It is an expense for us but we believe that the real hope for the planet isn’t some crap about a corporation doing “green” things; rather, real people learning and living how to implement sustainable farming practices that work in the real world, not on the TV advertisements.
There is a notion in reformed theology that a good cattleman is “thinking God’s thoughts after him.” And today was one of them – only it was a good cattlewoman: Nancy Gail Falster.
Nancy volunteered to come help me deliver and set up the big stock trailer so as to get the herd there at the Simonds Place accustomed to coming into the corral, passing by it and not hang back; so we could catch them up for moving back to Falster Farm. We drove in and I swung around, backed up, got the measurements fixed, disconnected pulled away 50-70 feet and I indicated for Nancy to start calling them up to the dairy feed she sprinkled in the feed bunkers.
To my surprise they all, except for one baby, dashed right by the trailer and into the corrals. Astonished I told Nancy to let that baby’s mama out and close the gate. Without asking way, she did it and we quickly fixed the gate to the load up end of the stock trailer. Then up comes one mama who had her calf in the catch pen, but she had lagged behind! So we had two mamas and one baby outside. No problem, we can come back and get um, I’m thinking.
Soon I attempted to pressure then into the trailer, they just went up, balked, turned back. After several attempts, Nancy said, “just watch this.” She jumped out of the corral and fetched the remaining 5 gal bucket of ration, grabbed up a feed trough – pulling it to the front of the 30′ trailer, poured ½ bucket in there, came off, snatched up one of them big ole green bushy weeds – tearing it right out of the ground – and started to whacking and yelling at those cows to load up. Surprised, they started to jump in – all but the bulls. I jumped up behind them, closed the inner doors, and commenced to pressure the bulls to load –up too. Seeing that the two of us was determine to take the cows, they jumped on board too. I closed the rear gate and we had them! Surprise, surprise! Everybody was surprised!
Nancy figured the mama (with the baby on board) would follow the trailer home, and she did. With Nancy riding on the tail end of the trailer that mama hung right in there as we slowly eased on back to the Falster corrals. The other mama followed her calf off into the woods – I’ll get her next time I hope.
I am rearranging the herds into breeding groups for 2014 Spring calves. Cibolo and his Herd will replace Stan and Rupert there on the Simonds place. Rupert will be getting his own herd now and occupy the King Place. Of course Stan will get a few more to service in his herd this year, but I’ll keep him close, here on Falster..
Sharing is Farm Caring – Sustainable Farming at its core.
Visitors to our Sustainable Farm in East Texas will frequently set at our dining room table. Of course we share our meals, planning session, entertain prospective buyers of our mini cattle, gourmet beef, gourmet pork and poultry – all raised on pasture and most of them finished on clover at our table . . . Folks get to know their farmer in no better way.
When we set down together, our visitors are impressed by the uniqueness of the table top – it is covered with paintings of our most beloved animals from the past:
This Canadian couple came to partake of our On-Farm-Consulting Services. Our Bio-Dynamic farming practices attract folks from all over the country and numerous visitors on the WWOOF program. Here is a good view of our table depicting several of our animal friends. Animal welfare is a big component of our farm/ranch. Our mini Hereford beef cattle, mini Jersey dairy cows, pigs, chickens and ducks, are all treated with respect and live in as low stress environment as can possibly be provided.
On our table or board we can see our Coat of Arms center stage, and each place has a painting of one of our beloved animal friends (personalities) of past years.
My Current Falster Coat of Arms:
In the center of the table is the Farmer Falster version of my family coat of arms – the Ancient Arms of Falster as we know it is the gold chevrons below the lion in red.
Now, in heraldry the custom was to treat/make a depiction of a man’s honor in battle on a emblazoned crest or shied – a standard.
In my personal life history: After serving in combat in Viet Nam as a US Marine (Scout Warrior with 1/!), awarded several medals for valor, I started a franchise company called Falster Knives – thus the sword.
My people come from a Danish Island named Falster Island – thus the Viking Helm.
Our efforts at farming here in Texas respect the values of the past in order to preserve the prospects of the future – thus the Valhalla type style in the lettering.
Let’s look now at those animals we honor on this broad board:
Falster’s Paint Cow Pony FOLGER:
FOLGER and his ½ brother RAZ-MA-TAZ served as my cow horses and saddle mount in reenactment parades around South Texas for many years. FOLGER is a two blue eyed registered paint gelding. He is Nancy’s horse and wants to do more work than we have for him to do now.
I say that because of the injuries I have to my bones and joins over the years of rough cowboy work on the farm.
To offset that loss of flexibility, we tried to find a suitable working dog. that would afford good companion as well as herding style.
The most beautiful dog to possess those attributes was our American Farm Collie – BELLE.
She was everything one could want in a slow moving working dog, including a loving and respectful family dog. Like RAZ-MA-TAZ she has gone on to be with the Creator, and we have her replacement with us today: KNF WOLFORD VON FALSTER – our pure blood Border Collie “Willie” shown here resting after a hard day’s work herding cows out to their Summer quarters. He is assertive almost beyond compare and lives to be at my side, or on a long outreach to fetch up our mini cattle, pigs, chickens, ducks or any thing I send him to fetch..
So what are these cows that need herding?
At the Master’s end of the table resides a portrait of the world renowned miniature Hereford herd sire KNF CIBOLO.
At my Ladies end of the board sets Nancy Gail Faster and her place s held by very 1st dairy cow and the foundation of our mini Jersey dairy line – her name was ANNA.
ANNA was the most theatrical cow one could ever meet. There simply is not enough space in this missive to tell all the tails that come to mind with most of these creatures, but ANNA is perhaps to most cunning, and comical of the lot.
Of course we have had goats, and lots of them of several wonderful breeds but the smartest and most charming was a cross between a Lamanchaand a Pigmy Goat – named Bar-B-Que. BARBE was a show goat – not a powder puff show goat but a showboat show goat that loved to travel – especially to the “old folks” homes around San Antonio.
On the farm Barbie was a rough and tumble little fella trying to hold his own amongst a large company of larger animals.
But upon entering the foyer of a building he became the persona of a gentleman goat. Riding up and down the elevator, waiting respectfully outside the patient’s room, jumping up on their bed when called – you name it, that goat could do it!
Well Now, what farm would be complete without a dynamic barn cat – Col. Gustav Hoffman. I was the Commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp in New Braunfels, Texas at the time Nancy came home with this little kitten she had picked up on a street corner, downtown San Antonio. A 16 -17 year old intern (Kenny Morris) with us at the time identified the kitten’s sex as a male, stating emphatically, “I know these things.” Thus the name. A month or two later, he was to taken and be “fixed”, but he turned out to be a he! The moniker took and she is Gustav to this day.
DUC DUCK is just one of the numerous ducks we have enjoyed over the years – this on lived (by dodging the coyotes, raccoons, opossums and the like) much longer than any other duck we have had. Each evening her would come up from the pond and sleep with the pigs. I think they enjoyed his company a good bit. Then come morning, he’d waddle back out to the pasture and eat grass, then go take a dip in the pond. What a wonderful life.
STONEWALL JACKSON was Nancy’s pet rooster – a barred rock that would follow her around the farm and jump up and set on her arm chair. When she prayed out loud – at the conclusion of evoking the Deity, STONWALL would crow a joyous AMEN.
Honestly, with wonderful farm animals like these, we want to celebrate their remembrances as parts in our lives.
At times, when I travel by a factory farm I wonder if the corporate officers of that place give a damn or not about their livestock crammed in those small pens, packed on that feed lot. When I think of the shallowness of the farmers raising genetically modified malnourishing grains, I wonder if they knowingly care that what they are doing is destroying our earth, our farms, our farm animals, our families, our friends.
Well, here is my last offering, the beautiful little artist that painted these magnificent creatures for Falster Farm – Mrs. York Midge Iguchie.
All Natural Raising of meat birds (chickens) was a long time desire for my dear mother Reba Sue Bockman (she remaried after my daddy’s death. She used to tell me of a French TV Program that she saw where the French farmers raised their meat chickens on open pasture. I can recall setting at her breakfast table laughing about how to make it happen: did they round um up every evening to keep the coyote off; did they have a fence around them – you know, how did they do that? A few chickens out on pasture was one thing, but hundreds; now that posed a challenge to my thinking and design mind.
It was not until I married my long tall Texas redhead Nancy Gail that we really got serious about raising those open range meat chickens . . . enjoyed that taste so good and are so healthy for me. Yes there is a constant battle with the preditors, but the results of our success are noticeable in this here short clip . . . FALSTER FARM Red Ranger Broilers raised on pasture, finished on clover!
If you listen real close you can hear one of our Red Wattle hogs grunt in the background as it enjoys the rich clover as well. Raising livestock this way enriches their life experience and builds our soils to a self sustaining fertility level.
Next time we will discuss the power of Bio Dynamic choices in our farming practice.
In building this prototype mud oven I (Bo Frick of Sweden) have basically been following the excellent instructions by Kiko Denzer in his “Build your own earth oven” book.
This oven is being built on wheels, to enable Falster Farm to show it in burning action at different markets, baking artisan breads, pizzas and all manner of gourmet foods.
I will here give you a resumé of the building process.
Step 1: Making a concrete slab and running two iron bars through it, this to enable future movement of the oven on and off the trailer. The slab was poured onto a round piece of plywood with a 5″ tall ring of wood, securing the slab. Chicken wire was added as reinforcement. Step 2: Building a stonewall base that will house empty wine and beer bottles which will capture heat and hold it in suspension for the baking. The stones are layered with a lime mortar consisting of ¼ lime and ¾ play sand. The reason for not using concrete is that it doesn’t breathe. The lime/sand mortar becomes rock hard but allows the moisture to travel in and out of the oven, releasing the construction of stress.
Step 3: Insulating the core of the base.
Clay was mixed with sand and sawdust producing a mushy
mixture that, after drying; was light and an air-holding insulation material, with the bottles in it.
Step 4: Brick baking floor and the opening arch of the oven in place.
Step 5: Making play sand “casting dome” that the clay layers will be resting against until completed when the sand is removed, creating the oven cavity. Step 6: Laying the first dense clay layer that will exposed to the actual fire. This process had to be redone with cleaner clay, creating the right texture. The clay was mixed with sand and water and worked in a mixer.
Who said clay wasn’t fun!?
Step 7: Top plaster is applied of a clay/straw/water combination.
Step 8: The sand mold is removed leaving the Oven in a good smooth interior condition. It is much like the lost sand casting method. The moist sand once holds the clay “cob” in shape until such time as it is set-up. Then the sand is scooped out leaving the fire chamber.
The sand is all out now, a visual inspection assures the integrity of the fire chamber.
Step 9: Fire in the hole!
The oven is being dried slowly with multiple small fires, this to minimize the amount and size of cracks.
Building the Clay Oven was fun and very fulfilling. When I get back home to Sweden, I will be using theis and so much more of what I have learned on Falster Farm in my business and farming ventures – new adventures!
Some folks over in Emory, Texas called the other day saying that Falster Farm had been recommended to them to remove a bunch of honey bees they had in a non-toxic way. After a few questions I agreed it was a case we could do the owners the honey bees and the Falster’s some good. Follwing is a photo journal of the event.
I don’t recomend working honey bees on over cast days, but I’ve learned that if you cover yourself (your scent) with the Young Living ‘Calming” esential oil it will help out a lot.
In my formative years, my Grandpa Morgan’s neighbor was a bachelor that had a large farm full of meat pigs, running on pasture meadows. My brother Gene and I were frequently helping him – frankly as much as we were allowed to because those pigs were so much fun to be around – along with the hillside stream of pure running brook water. Those were the old time Pole-n-China meat pigs. I learned animal husbandry as much from Henry Boyd, his pigs and mules as anyone.
When Nancy wanted to add pigs to our place, I was delighted over the idea. I had come across a very attractive breed in called the Red Wattle hog being bred by a retired Air Force Sgt. Major, Ed Orr; in French Camp, Mississippi. I was very much impressed with the size and looks of this red meat breed and suggested we try those here on Falster Farm.
There are several attributes to a sustainable farming practice: picking a breed that is attractive to you, selecting breeding stock; raising that stock to critical standards; butchering that stock at the right time and in the right way; and, marketing and selling that stock at a reasonable profit.
There is a world of difference between commodity (factory farm) pork and meat quality pork. Elsewhere we have discussed the way we select and raise our stock; the point of this post is butchering our stock at the right time and in the right way, and delivery.
Over the years we have had good relationships and a bad and less than fulfilling relationship with the abattoir process and processors. The primary reason we chose not to sell beef, pork or mutton when we farmed in San Antonio area was due to the lack of a reliable local facility. Moving to North East Texas made a significant change in that situation . So we are now very much satisfied with the quality of our arrangement with Cobb’s Meat Processing in the Sumpter (Paris,) Texas area. We found they were fully certified with the Texas Regulatory agencies and they got our brand and private label certified as well.
Nothing beats a delicious cut of meat pork – so said my grandpa, and the older I get the more I’ve come to agree with that statement. But the pork we ate on the farm wasn’t like the commodity pork in today’s grocery chain – and I mean nothing like it. I was in the delicatessen business for a number of years and as a result learned a good bit about the various commercial producers and packers. When you buy commercial pork you buy a “Picnic” that has been richly injected with water . . . yes impregnated with water. Well, I’d rather not delve into that whole issue, let me say that at Falster Farm all our meats are juicy, not juiced. Just the way your family wants them.
Cobb’s Processing is family owned by Manning and Karen Cobb. They treat our tender, pampered animals gently and humanely. Processing is finished by custom hanging for an old world aging of the pork that is hard to find.
Six of our most recent Top Hogs were pre-purchased by Executive Chef Fritz Doss of the prestigious Sheraton Hotel Convention Center in Downtown Dallas. They were processed to his gourmet cut requirements and boxed ready for delivery.
Nancy Gail, our granddaughter Sydney Lane Nichols and I were additionally hired to deliver this order to their loading dock. I had rigged our Dodge 3500 dually with an insulated tonneau cover and lined the bed with 4×8 political campaign signs for insulation! Worked just great!
I was talking on the cell phone with a mini cattle customer as Nancy opened the lid to show the unloading crew the boxes of Falster Gourmet Pork.
One man jumped in and started tossing them up to his crew members.
The pork is frozen solid at the processors and was still in the same condition as the men were unloading the boxes. Quality control is important to us as growers.
We made a comment to the Purchasing Agent that we hoped he enjoyed a sample of our pork and he said he’d probably not even get to taste it! Well, don’t let that happen to you, make sure you get your order in for the next go-round so you don’t miss out.
We hunted down Chef Fritz to personally thank him for his business. This was a first for the hotel- they have not ventured into local, farm raised meats before and we hope it proves to be a successful venture for them…we know as far as tastes go, pastured pork will fit the bill!
Chef Fritz had our mouths watering as he told of his first use for his just delivered pastured, locally produced pork- Honey Lacquered Pork Belly Sliders served on a nest of Jalapeño & Fennel Slaw.
Of course, Chef Nancy is taking it all in and asking questions so she can make her own rendition, I’m looking forward to trying it at home.
We don’t get to Dallas that often so there is usually a bit of shopping to be done before we head for home.
Boy-oh-Boy, we get a bunch of different load-out opportunities of calves and cows – but one of the most challenging was a couple of cowgirls from up in Illinois – what a wonder!
Usually when a customer is coming to pick up their cattle for Live Cover Breeding by one of our Herd Sires or a purchase of live cattle, they bring a covered trailer, mostly stock trailers but occasionally a horse trailer is used, but the most interesting and difficult is a pickup truck or SUV. Yes we have had some folks come with a cardboard partition around a large dog crate and pick up their newly purchased mini calf. A mini calf in the 300 – 400 pound range is a big lift to a none trailer ride and a lift to a high lifter truck is really a big-un!
Nancy sold two weanling bull calves to a non-profit children’s therapy group in Northern Illinois and after some negotiations they decided to send their director of the farm down to pick the two bull calves . . .
I always ask Nancy what the customer is bringing to pick up their animal with so I can make any custom panel arrangements for their comfort and a time saver for us both. As I exited the restroom on Saturday morning I asked the question. Boy was I floored when she said it would be a pick-up truck with a hand-made wooden crate in the back. “We can’t make a ramp to accommodate that high a lift in an hour’s time honey!” (and some other things that made her cry.) Well, after I apologized many many times, I went out to the corrals to survey what I could put together to make a secure ramp for these young bulls to roar up and into the back of that crate. How would we keep one in while the other was balking, was one of several questions going through my mind?
Then down the front drive I heard the whine of the Big Yellow Dodge 3500 4 wheel drive truck . . . oh my, the height was double of that on a “normal” pick-up . . . we could never ramp up to that. But I directed her to back into the 6′ gate side of the corrals.
As I looked over the situation I was perplexed as to what to do about the load up but Ms Jody had the idea that we could heft them up into the back of that rig – I could nearly cry at the thought of such a lift by myself with just a couple of girls to push. Geese what next!
But she was standing on the back of the truck and I could see the cut of her boots that she was no slacker, rather a young woman who had walked through a bunch of shit (manure). So I said, “OK, I guess we can hog tie um up and put em in the front end loader?” Her buddy Kristy suggested we get a halter on um and then we could pull them down and tie um up.
So the Mini Bull with a halter in place we were ready to open the bottom panel and drop and tie him up! Then the Rodeo began . . .
Drop him w/the rope
So, after the cowgirls rolled him out of the front end loader and rolled onto the upper deck, the other Mini Bull calf brought up and placed alongside they dropped the gate panel and untied them! Slick as a whistle and away they went up North. My daddy would have been proud of me and would have liked to meet those two girls. A real treat! Nancy did a great job taking photos so we’d have this recorded to share with y’all.
Thanks for your final payment for your pampered, premium, pastured pig.
We are down to the last few days of the 2012 crop of pastured pork. While I’ve really enjoyed raising the pigs as I always do, I’ll have to admit, I’m looking forward to a break in the twice daily routine of watering and feeding them our proprietary diet of whey and dairy ration all while on sunny pasture paddocks. I tell ya, it will seem like a vacation when we are back to just our mama sows, “Rouge” and “ Scarlet” at the feed bowl. The cacophony of sound with 16 185# piggy’s waiting (demanding) to be fed is something you have to experience to believe.
But to you our customer and friends, maybe a dedicated pork eater, we learned early, you are continuously on a quest to find the best cuts to bless that most sacred of surfaces . . . the family grill. Pork is King and as such has a earned a rightful place at backyard gatherings, holidays and a variety of special occasions. But where do we find the best quality pork nowadays? Where do we find the cuts that satisfy a dad in search of the perfect rack of ribs, a very busy mom and maybe some discriminating little appetites?
You have purchased that quality from Falster Farm’s “Falling Star Brand” Live Pork. Karl and I believe now is the time to let that best quality pork ride to the butcher shop. You know, we did a lot of research before choosing Cobbs Processing and we believe you will be as pleased (as we are) with this family run processing business. They know they stay in business by keeping customers happy and doing a good job with their desired cuts of meat. They know we are entrusting them with a lot of labor and love that has been poured into each animal that goes through their door and they will honor our efforts and bring them to completion by giving you what you ask for in custom processing.
We have set an appointment for Oct 3 to carry (transport) your pig(s) for processing in our trailer and the pigs will be butchered on the 4th and 5th
After cooling for a few days, Cobbs will begin their custom cut work for each one of our customers and we know you will get one of Falster Farm’s premium pigs, dressed just you want it.
Here is the info for you to call Cobbs Processing: 903-785-7012.
Manning Cobb or his wife Karen will take as much time as you need, answer all your questions as you complete your custom cut sheet with them over the phone.
I KNOW you will enjoy the taste and benefit from the high quality of gourmet “Falling Star Brand” pork.
Karl and I plan on having the sows bred back soon so that, Lord willing, we’ll have pork available for June, 2013.
Again, thank you for the business and your support for local, sustainable small farmers. It’s the best way to buy and eat.