Day 17 – Meet Your Meat: Local Grass-Fed Beef, Pastured Pork and Chicken

The last episode, we introduced you to terms like Grass-Fed, Pastured, Certified Humane. Where do you buy grass-fed beef? Is pastured pork worth the extra cost? How much freezer space does a half-hog take, and is the taste of grass-fed bacon really all that different?

Let’s meet your meat.


The waiter approached. ‘Would you like to see the menu?’ he said, ‘or would you like meet the Dish of the Day?’

‘Huh?’ said Ford.
‘Huh?’ said Arthur.
‘Huh?’ said Trillian.
‘That’s cool,’ said Zaphod, ‘we’ll meet the meat.’

A large dairy animal approached Zaphod Beeblebrox’s table, a large fat meaty quadruped of the bovine type with large watery eyes, small horns and what might almost have been an ingratiating smile on its lips.

‘Good evening’, it lowed and sat back heavily on its haunches, ‘I am the main Dish of the Day. May I interest you in the parts of my body?’
Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe


The Gray Family raised a litter of pigs and turkeys for Jason’s son Travis’s 4-H project. Both the kids, aged 9 and 6, were surprisingly cool about the fact the animals they raised, ran around with, scratched ears or rubbed wattles, were going to be eaten by either them or someone else.

The animals were never going to be pets. They were always going to be livestock. Food.

Still, they had names. Ainsley, the six-year-old, insisted on going along on pork deliveries to make sure each customer knew “their pig’s name” and something interesting about it.

Some of the customers were really into that. A few told Jason later they really didn’t want to know that their breakfast’s name was Ron. Although they admitted Ron was REALLY DELICIOUS.

How to Buy Local Meat Safely

So let’s say you want to dive in to the local food thing mouth first and buy your next chicken, turkey, or meat from a local farm?  What do you need to know?

It can be kind of scary, because what if they mess up? And get your family sick? After all, we always see so many beef and chicken recalls even from the big guys.

Disclaimer: Follow Your Local Laws for Meat Processing

An important thing to know is that in every state in the U.S., and every country worldwide (now that we’re starting to get more listeners from Canada, Germany, Denmark, Brazil… hey guys!) the laws for meat processing and sale are going to be a bit different.

So please, if you’re a small farm listening to this, please make sure you are carefully researching your state’s or country’s laws on processing, because we’re going to be talking in generalities and things that we know are common in Colorado.


Please subscribe to the Regenerative Dads Podcast. Click one of the easy buttons on the top of the page. Reviews at iTunes and Stitcher also help more dads find this important knowledge.


What Are the Benefits of Local Grass-Fed Beef, Pork and Chicken?

Why do you want to buy meat from a local provider?

Three big reasons, in our opinion:

  • healthier
  • tastes better
  • supports your local foodshed

Grass Fed Meat is Healthier

We’ve spent the last 16 episodes telling you some of the many ways that buying from a local, regenerative, humane farm is going to give you meat — or eggs, or veggies — that are fresher, have more micro-nutrients, and have fewer stress hormones, as well as not nearly the kinds of antibiotics, etc that you’ll find in industrially grown meats.

It was about 40 years ago or so that the larger producers started adding so many hormones, low level constant antibiotics to keep the animals from getting sick in the dense, confined environments, and even steroids to grow faster.

We’re not scientists, we just make fun of their ethics issues with funding on podcasts, but you can’t totally discard the fact that so much changed in all parts of agriculture in the last 40 to 60 years, and that was about when so many things changed in the West’s health.

Grass Fed Meat Tastes Amazing

Hopefully after Day 5 “cracking the cage-free egg myth” episode you decided to try some real local, pastured eggs. And you will know by now how amazing those taste compared to the “99 cents per dozen on sale” eggs at the grocery.

Imagine how much that will be true when you try bacon from a pastured pig that can actually run around.

After all, pork isn’t supposed to be “the other white meat.”  Pork from pigs that can run around, root, dig themselves a wallow and act happy as a pig in… well, a wallow… is a dark red meat, with a totally different texture and taste than what is raised in confined indoor buildings.

Grass-fed beef, pastured pork, pastured chicken will also have less fat on the outside of the cuts, but more marbling on the inside… which is exactly what we want for grilling, roasts, whatever manly meat prep we have planned for dinner.

It’s important to know that the taste and texture will be different. We may need to change our recipes a little or our cooking styles.  Just like super-fresh eggs are hard to peel when hard-boiled, real pork and beef need a little tweaking. Since there’s less surface fat, you need to make sure you don’t overcook it to dry it out. Jason has found that pastured bacon does best cooked in the oven rather than on the skillet.  But these simple tweaks are totally worth the effort for the amazing taste and quality difference.

Support Local Farms and Ranches

Every time you buy anything from a local business, you’re supporting your local community. But that’s even more true with farms. We need more farms distributed throughout the country. Not to get too doomsday prepper about it, but at some point, we will have a disaster that keeps the trucks from running beef or chicken or pork from far off states to our local grocery stores. It makes sense from a resilience point of view to make sure we have farms everywhere, so we can have food everywhere no matter what happens.

Also, every time you spend a dollar with a local food provider, they end up spending that dollar — sometimes more than that dollar, unfortunately — in local businesses for feed, fencing, water infrastructure, etc.


This episode of Regen Dads is brought to you by Audible. Go to audibletrial.com/regendads to get a free audiobook from their huge selection, including great regenerative titles like Tim Young’s “The Accidental Farmer.” Plus, you help us to bring more regenerative knowledge your way with each trial subscription our listeners sign up for. Again, that’s audibletrial.com/regendads. Give it a try today.


Tips and Tricks to Buying Local Grass-Fed Meats

What do you need to know about how your local farms have to process these, and how to find, buy, and store bulk local meat?
Again, each state is going to be different. But we’ll tell you some of the possibilities.

Chicken

Generally, you can buy local chicken either as a whole processed bird that you can part up yourself or roast, or in a lot of places you can buy just drumsticks or chicken breast, just like you would in a grocery store. In areas that have good USDA-inspected processing facilities for small flock growers, or state governments who are pro-agriculture, you can even buy your boneless skinless chicken breast you’re used to from the farmers market.

Alas, we wish we could do that. In Colorado, buying real local chicken by the part is illegal because we don’t have USDA inspection for small-flock poultry. And even buying whole processed chicken only became legal in the last year or so. Each state is VERY different on these regulations.

Pork

You can buy a pound of bacon or a sampler pack of maybe as much as 10 pounds from your local pork farms. That will help you learn the difference in flavor and learn how to cook the more interesting cuts before you invest in a half hog.

Buying a half or whole hog. This is the fun part. You get “everything but the oink” off the hog, and you get to choose all the specific seasonings, whether you want thick or thin bacon, etc when your local farm sends you the “cut sheet” before the pigs go off to “freezer camp.”

Beef

Doneil and Jason actually munched on some fresh-grilled grass fed local beef from Doneil’s freezer as we prepared for this episode. The total distance from where the cow was raised to Doneil’s grill. Five miles.

Check out localharvest.com to find out local producers in your are if you don’t know any. Develop a relationship with your local meat your farms. As always, ask to visit the farm.

Go meet your meat!

Tell us in the comments below if you’ve ever tried getting a half hog, quarter cow or more, or a locally pastured chicken. How did it taste? What kind of cooking methods did you use compared to grocery store meat?

Day 15 – Sneak Some Edible Plants Into Your Garden

In an HOA with a “no front yard vegetable garden” rule?

Is Mom not willing to let you tear out her ornamentals to start your manly grilling-ready vegetable regenerative garden?

We’re giving you some “outlaw garden” quality suggestions on how to hide a garden right in the blue-haired HOA snitch’s view, without them ever noticing until they smell the awesome dinner on your grill.

You’ll also learn that there are great benefits to adding edible plants among your ornamental plants. Each plant species pulls water from different levels of the soil, different nutrients from the worm poop, etc. So you might accidentally find the next permaculture “companion plants.”

Let’s talk about herbs today guys, and what you can do to replace those useless ornamentals in your front or back lawn. There are steps you can do. Even if your wife does not believe that you can keep up with a full-on garden. They’ll add to your meals that is both awesome tasting and useful.

Gardening in an HOA Community

Even if you have an HOA ( Helping to Obliterate Agriculture), there are plants you can plant that will be useful and pleasing to the eye and to keep the blue hairs happy. Many HOAs prohibit edible plants or gardens in the front yards at all.

But what happens when you put a limit on a dad like that? We chafe. We get annoyed. We figure out a way to stick it to the man. 

Doneil put in an area of flagstone, and instead of filling the cracks with sand he planted lemon thyme. That filled the area,  and as you walked through after it had established itself, you could smell it which made it a conversation piece as well as working in the kitchen too.


Have you tried your free month and free audio-book on Audible yet? Support Regenerative Dads while getting even more knowledge dropped on ya with Audible’s huge selection of audiobooks. Go to audibletrial.com/regendads today! Thanks!


Example Plants for Your New Outlaw Garden

So what are some of the plants you can plant to get some real use out of them? (Affiliate links to get you started on your new garden)

Chives, like the ones your wife asks you to pick up from the store. They are cheap and easy to grow.

Mint. There are several kinds: spearmint, peppermint,  lemon, chocolate, etc. Be careful with these as they can really be productive. If you’re worried about them spreading, keep them in a container pot on the patio or along the walkway.

Some others are sage, saffron, Egyptian walking onions, basil, parsley, just to name a few.

Doneil is experimenting with the Asparagus pea this year. (Not to be confused with asparagus pee, after grilling up a big helping of the spring spear veggie)

They have really cool bright red small flowers that bloom all summer. It has a “draping effect” which would be cool for the hanging pots your wife usually puts out on the porch etc. But to benefit us dad and our plates, it produces a “pea” later in the season that tastes like… you guessed it… asparagus.

Veggies That Are Particularly Pretty and Ornamental

So now let’s talk veggies that you can plant that are “pretty” but practical:

  • Rainbow Swiss chard is a nice one that looks fantastic and tastes great.  Get the “Bright Lights” variety next time you order seeds or plant starts.
  • Sunchoke, aka Jerusalem Artichoke
    Sunchoke plants in a front yard setting (Courtesy listener Rob Atwood)

    Jerusalem artichoke, also known as sunchoke, is another that is great for cooking but won’t bother the blue hairs.

  • Dinosaur Kale
    Dinosaur Kale

    Dinosaur kale – big, curly, dark green ornamental-looking leaves. They dehydrate or bake into great kale chips. (If you haven’t tried making your own kale chips, they are a whole different beast than the cardboard crap you get at the store).

  • Sweet potato – Another great ground-cover-looking plant, with the added benefit of tubers with a lot of nutrients guys need for men’s health.
  • Scarlet empire bean – nice purple flowers and beans.
  • Tomatillo – spreads out into a nice bushy plant, and unlike regular tomatoes with their obvious fruits, tomatillo gives a nice small fruit in a husk that is not super-obvious.
  • Carrots – Carrots are the same species as Queen Anne’s Lace, so you can hide it easily in the garden anywhere the lace plant would go. Just ‘harvest’ aka ‘weed’ the garden towards the end of the season and hide the carrots. If you haven’t had organic, home-grown or small-farm grown carrots before, you’re in for a HUGE treat.   

Calls to Action!

Any other idea for pretty or easy-to-camouflage veggies, berries or fruits? Let us know in the comments!  And thanks to listener Rob of Denver, who sent us the pictures of his sunchoke plants from his own outlaw garden!

If you made it this far in the post, you should make sure you’ve subscribed to the Regenerative Dads Podcast. Do it now, on iTunes / Apple Podcast, Google Play Music, or search “regenerative dads” on your favorite podcast app. We also have the episodes streaming as audio-only ‘video’ on YouTube.

Day 14 – Organic Pesticides, and Weed Killing Flame Throwers

We’re taking the chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, whatevericides to HazMat today, and looking at RoundUp alternatives and organic pesticides. How can you get rid of weeds naturally? Sure, there’s vinegar. But we’re going Dad-style here

How can you get rid of weeds naturally? Sure, there’s vinegar, the old standby of the mommy blogs that we claimed for Dads everywhere in our episode about making laundry greener. But we’re going Dad-style here with:  FLAME WEEDING!

What can be more Clark Griswold style dad-worthy than using a weed killing flame thrower? Let me check….  umm, not much.

Alternatives to RoundUp and Other Herbicides

Roundup gets the most hate from the hipsters, but there are others that you should be dumping. Many of them are generic versions of glyphosate, the active ingredient of RoundUp.  There’s one called 2-4-D that’s in Bayer Advanced and was part of the mix called “Agent Orange” in the Vietnam War. Isoxaben is another pre-emergent herbicide.

You don’t have to resort to chemical herbicides in order to get rid of invasive weeds. Safer options exist that will work just as effectively. They may take a bit more persistence, but the benefits of organic control methods far outweigh the negative health effects of chemical pesticides.

Mulch to Kill Weeds

Mulching can make a huge difference in dealing with weeds compost, bark, wood chips, newspaper, cardboard, grass clippings, straw or most other organic matter. You can also put ground cloth around desired plants.

Any old thick material underneath a pathway made of wood chips or gravel can prevent weeds from growing through. We’ve even seen old carpet pieces used.

Solarize with Weed Tarp

Solarizing involves covering an area of weeds with a heavy plastic sheet or tarp. This works best in full sun where the heat will collect under the sheet and literally bake the weeds. Leave the sheet in place for 4 to 6 weeks. You’ll know it’s done when the weeds underneath are clearly brown and desiccated.

Flame Weeding

This involves passing a flame over a weed briefly in order to fatally heat the plant tissues. A flame weeder is typically a wand connected to a propane tank. These may be carried at your local garden center or hardware store.

Flaming will only kill the weed parts above the ground, not the roots, so you may need to flame your weeds a few times before they’re gone. Clearly, this should not be done during any dry spells when there is a risk of fire. Always follow the safety precautions that come with your flame throwing device.


This episode of Regen Dads is brought to you by Audible. Go to audibletrial.com/regendads to get a free audiobook from their huge selection, including great regenerative titles like Joel Salatin’s “Folks, this ain’t normal.” Plus, you help us to bring more regenerative knowledge your way with each trial subscription our listeners sign up for. Give it a try today.


Alternatives to Pesticides 

This is where the rubber really hits the road because these are being sprayed by both homeowners and farmers directly on stuff we eat. Sure we don’t want bug holes in our lettuce, but is that worth the impacts?

You’re Using Too Much Of It

Studies also show that homeowners, with the lawn pesticides or on their personal veggies, are using way, WAY too much. Far more than the conventional farmers are even using.

Natural alternatives:

  • Neem oil
  • BT
  • Encouraging native predators

Action steps:

Take the chemical herbicides, pesticides and fungicides to the hazmat drop off run by your local government.

Start using heavy duty weed barrier, concentrated vingar, flame weeding, and good old fashioned yanking.

Any other intersting methods you’ve used or seen your hipster nephew use? Let us know in the comments!

 

Day 13 – Is Renewable Energy Really Green?

Everyone says green and renewable energy is the way to go. But there are some trade-offs and drawbacks to green energy sources like wind, solar, geothermal, etc. Let’s drop some knowledge so you can hold your own in conversations with all the “hipster nephews” out there about whether it’s feasible or desirable to replace all our energy production with current technologies.

Subscribe to the Regenerative Dads Podcast today. Get your boots on and join our bootcamp for all things green, organic and eco-thrifty — while still being men about it — today!

iTunes, Google Play Music, or just search “Regenerative Dads” in your favorite podcast app.  We’re also on YouTube with audio-only ‘videos’ now.

Maybe conservation and just reducing the amount of energy we need to use in the first place is the best bet.

To help you on the way towards reducing your appliance and device usage, we strongly recommend getting a “Kill-A-Watt,” (affiliate link) which shows you exactly how much energy — and money — a particular device is using. Doneil and Jason were both really surprised when we used these around our houses.

 

Day 12 – Why Dads Need More Fermented Foods and Probiotics

Let’s talk fermented foods today. We’re going to go from the really common stuff that just about every dad here knows and even enjoys, then we’re going to kick it up a notch all the way to the trendier stuff like — hipster alert — Kombucha!

Fermented foods and drinks are becoming so popular because so many dads, moms, and kids nowadays are facing big problems with our guts. And not just that they’re lumping over our belts a bit too much, which of course is a big problem in the developed world.

About 35 percent of American men are overweight or obese. This is a big problem because it saps our energy for our relationships with our wives (the ‘third brain’ problem from the episode), keeps us from being present for our kids, and opens us up to all kinds of health problems that may keep us from hanging out with our grandkids or great grandkids eventually.

List of Fermented Foods for the Regen Dad

Yogurt is most common of fermented foods to start with
Most American Dads already eat yogurt, but is it high-quality?

Fermented drinks and foods have been a big part of almost every culture’s cuisine going back thousands of years. Let’s look at a few, from the “ordinary” (from the American dad’s perspective) to the trendy and weird. (Again, from the American Dad point of view… other cultures’ mileage may vary).

  • Yogurt
  • Pickles (including traditional Lacto-fermented versions)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Sourdough / fermented bread doughs
  • Miso
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha
  • Kefir

Where’d All our Good Gut Bacteria Go, Anyway?

The Regen Dads team apologizes to all persons of German descent for Doneil’s terrible try at an accent in the episode.

It takes a lot of careful coordination for your stomach and intestines to process and move food one end to the other. All those nerves working together have been called your “second brain” even by Johns Hopkins, not just the hipster mommyblogs.

Antibiotics kill bacteria. We take antibiotics to kill the bad bacteria that make us sick, whether it be strep throat we catch from the kids or an infected finger after we smash it with a hammer. Unfortunately, the billions of little helper bacteria in our gut are collateral damage for even by the “smart bomb” modern antibiotics.

Also, we eat meats from animals that were fed constant low-levels of antibiotics to keep them alive in feed lots. And finally, there’s plenty of anti-bacterial soaps and wipes and sprays in our households.

We’re germ-phobic, guys. And it’s a bad thing.

Gut Bacteria Imbalance Symptoms

    • IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  It’s not just something that commercials during daytime TV talk about. This can seriously mess up your day. We think it’s interesting that the medicines used to treat IBS are similar to antidepressants for your 1st brain. Goes to show the “Second Brain” theory has merit.
    • Vitamin deficiencies – need some kind of bacteria to process the food into bioavailable for your bloodstream.  Just like your soil needs worms and bacteria to turn compost into bio-available plant food for your lawn’s roots, your helper bacteria in your gut turn last night’s steak into the vitamins and proteins you actually absorb.
    • Stress – Cortisol levels….  If your gut-brain ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Your gut can cause the release of cortisol or stress hormones into the bloodstream. Jason had issues with cortisol and adrenal hormone problems that put him in the hospital for weeks. Could better gut biome and better food quality have helped? Sadly after many thousands of dollars of doctor bills, we won’t know. 

Ready to Try Fermented Foods?

Obviously, you can buy yogurt, sourkrout, and even kombucha and kefir at your local grocery store. Are you ready to take it up a notch and start brewing or fermenting your own?

Brewing Kombucha is remarkably easy. If you can make sweet tea, have a ‘SCOBY’ and some unflavored Kombucha to start it, and a week to wait, then you have Kombucha at way cheaper than the $4 a bottle stuff at the grocery.

Amazon has great complete kits with the SCOBY, starter liquid, jars… everything you would need, for less than $50 all-in.  (Affiliate link… help us out!)

Start slow, if you don’t eat much or any fermented foods already!  Just like suddenly increasing your fiber, you can get some serious gas.  While the “pull my finger” thing is a dad right of passage, there’s only so many times that plays before you get kicked out to the couch.

Day 10 – Casting Happens, or Why You Want Worm Poop In Your Garden

Casting Happens. Worm poop (or ‘castings’ in polite conversation) are a great fertilizer and soil conditioner. You can buy it, grow it in worm compost (also called vermicompost), or let the existing worms in your soil make them for you.

We’re looking at why you would want to use this stuff and how to encourage more existing earthworm activity in your garden or lawn. We also have a cautionary point about making sure that you pack out your worms when you go fishing, because most earthworm species in your garden are not actually native to the United States, and letting them colonize the forest can actually be a very bad thing.


Support our supporters!

A Bee Friendly Company, Cheyenne Wyoming

Audibletrial.com/regendads, where you can get a free month trial and download books to listen to like Joel Salatin’s “Folks, This Ain’t Normal”

Blue Apron, which is giving Regen Dads $30 off your first order.


Here are some of the ways you can get your hands on worm castings, which also will help support Regenerative Dads by using our affiliate links.

Day 9 – Sweet Ways to Choose Local Honey

Everyone knows that local, raw honey is the best honey. But how do you find it, and is it really any different than Cheapo Chinahoney (TM)?

We’re talking about the benefits of local honey, including seasonal allergies, antioxidants, and avoiding HFCS and other less natural sweeteners.

Is Your Local Honey Really Local?

So you’re in the store… and you see all this honey on the shelves, and somewhere you heard that a lot of the honey in stores is not real or local.One of my favorite stores is selling this “local” honey that we like and I like to support local beekeepers also even though I have bees. Well come to find out if it has one drop of real local honey…then it’s considered “local” it was coming from TX,

Unfortunately, it’s true. One of Doneil’s favorite stores is selling this “local” honey that we like and of course, as Regen Dads, we like to support local beekeepers. Well, we come to find out if it has one drop of real local honey… then it’s considered “local” even if it was coming from Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Oklahoma.

How to Make Sure Your Honey Is Truly Local

Just like in Episode 1’s questions about finding out if your local farmer is really local.

  • “Where are you located?”
  • “Where are your hives located?”
  • “Can I come see them?” (don’t need to but watch how the keeper reacts)
  • “Do you feed your bees? If so how often and what do you feed them?”

Why Does Buying Local Raw Honey Matter?

Raw unfiltered honey can bring TONS of great benefits that we hear of from others.  One example is Doneil’s oldest son’s allergy issues, which seem to go away after taking several tablespoons a day. Local pollen is key here.


Now, this is a question some people, including Jason, honestly have… what is it in the local raw honey that helps with the allergies? We’re seeing pretty quick benefits, which implies that it may not be the immunological impact of small amounts of the local pollen.

So here are some things to look at just to name a few:

  • Tastes better
  • More enzymes that aren’t destroyed by hot-processing
  • Comes with more antioxidants
  • Coats the throat and relieves irritation caused by allergies / illness

Links From the Episode

http://www.mybeeline.co/en/p/how-can-we-differentiate-100-pure-honey-and-adulterated-honey

Why Does Honey Crystalize, and Does Raw Local Honey Crystalize Faster?

So what about when my honey Crystallizes? Doesn’t that mean its fake? Or more real?

Nope it’s not fake. However, not all honey always crystallizes. This is characterized by the honey becoming thick and cloudy. And more important, crystallization does not mean that your honey has gone bad.

Why does it crystallize? Because of sugary substances in it. What happens during crystallization? During the process, glucose sugar separates from water and becomes crystals, while on the hand fructose remains in a liquid form.

What happens during crystallization? During the process, glucose sugar separates from water and becomes crystals, while on the hand fructose remains in a liquid form.

How long does it take to crystallize? From a few weeks to months after buying. The time it takes to crystallize depends on hi-low temps, the type of honey such as clover honey which crystallizes faster. Processing: did you buy it straight off the comb? Has it been strained?

What happens during crystallization? During the process, glucose sugar separates from water and becomes crystals, while on the hand fructose remains in a liquid form. How long does it take to crystallize? From a few weeks to months after buying. The time it takes to crystallize depends on hi-low temps, the type of honey such as clover honey which crystallizes faster. Processing: did you buy it straight off the comb? Has it been strained?

How long does it take to crystallize? From a few weeks to months after buying. The time it takes to crystallize depends on hi-low temps, the type of honey such as clover honey which crystallizes faster. Processing: did you buy it straight off the comb? Has it been strained?

So what we’re saying is…buy from a local beekeeper and ask lots of questions?

Yup you got it!

Day 8 – Idling, “Puffing” and Warming Up Your Car

Idling your engine when waiting on the kids at school or sports practice — is it really that bad? How about “puffing” or warming up your car for a while when it’s super cold out in winter? Doneil and Jason are getting into it a bit at each other about whether this actually matters, or if you’re hurting your car either way.


If you like audio content — and obviously you do since you’re listening to podcasts — you should consider listening to books like Joel Salatin’s “Folks, This Ain’t Normal,” which was instrumental in Doneil’s and Jason’s early transition to becoming Regen Dads before Regen Dads was a thing (I know, that sounds hipster).  Audible is offering our listeners a free month trial. There’s lots and lots of other stuff on too, including great fiction works, business titles, and more.  Plus it helps support us in bringing you more regenerative knowledge! Go to Audibletrial.com/regendads today. Thanks!  (Affiliate link)


We’re opening up the comment section below for you dads to chime in on whether this is really something we should be worried about. Are you a mechanic or have experience with both carburetor and fuel injection engines? Let us know if you’re on #TeamJason or #TeamDoneil here.

Day 6 – Greening the Laundry, or “Eco-friendly Laundry Isn’t Just for Mommyblogs Any More!”

We’re marching proudly into the realm of the mommyblog on this episode: making your laundry more eco-friendly!

The laundry room uses a remarkable amount of energy and water. About 30 percent of each!

In this episode, we look at each step of the laundry process to see how we can “Regen Up” each step.

Day 5 – Cage Free Eggs: Cracking Open the Myths

For crying out loud what’s with all these different egg labels? You have cage free eggs, All “natural”, Farm Fresh, No Hormones, no antibiotics, Free Range, Vegan- Diet, Omega-3, Pasture raised, Organic,  Cruelty-free… the list goes on!

Do any of them mean anything? Are all eggs the same? Click subscribe and listen in to Day 5 of your 31 Days to Regenerate Your World dad’s boot camp to find out what the Regen Dads have to say about it.


Please support our sponsor of the day, Michael “The Bee Whisperer” Jordan’s A Bee Friendly Company. His mead-making education and beekeeping training services are just as impressive as the quality of the honey you can buy from him. Check him out today and tell him the Regenerative Dads sent ya.


We took a more relaxed, conversational tone with this episode. Did you like it better than episodes 1 through 4?  Let us know in the comments!

Lisa Steele over at Fresh Eggs Daily’s great post on how to read the date codes on supermarket egg codes helped inspire this episode. Head over there and read her expose on the subject. When you buy eggs at your local farmers market (if you haven’t started at the beginning of the 31-Days and binge-listened, check out Day 1 on farmers markets), you are able to find out exactly how old the eggs you’re getting are, and what kind of conditions they are living in.

At RegenDads, we recommend a legitimate “rotationally pastured, free range” environment where the chickens can get to new grass areas, new bugs and sunshine on a nearly daily basis (weather permitting, of course). That will often mean mobile coops, sometimes called “chicken tractors.”

Back yard growers — and even small farms — will have a “coop and run” set up where the chicken will have a LOT more room to run around than a traditionally-raised egg laying chicken. However, they will very quickly turn their run into a sand pit if they are not being rotated.

As always, knowing your farmer means knowing your food.

 

Day 4 – Intro to Composting for Dads

We’ve all seen compost at Home Depot, Costco and Lowes before… what is it anyway? Let’s talk about how to get started composting. It keeps stuff out of the landfill, and cuts your fertilizer costs!

What is Compost?

Holding compost over garden, ready to use
Compost is the organic stuff that makes ‘dirt’ into ‘soil’

Compost is simply any decayed organic matter. Any plants, paper, and animal products with enough carbon and nitrogen will eventually turn into compost. 

Nature wants to turn living stuff into compost eventually. When you hear the word “biodegradable,” it’s biology turning whatever it is eventually back into compost – the dark, crumbly, earthy-smelling part of dirt.  

Forest floor composting naturally
The forest composts its own leaves all by itself… shouldn’t be too hard for Dads

That certain smell of the forest soil when you’re camping or fishing?  That’s natural compost… the bacteria and worms and whatever breaking down the pine or leaf needles, twigs, dead squirrels,  whatever is there, back into that rich dark soil.

So Why Do We Want Compost in our Lawn and Garden

There’s a few good reasons to add compost to almost all soils — flower gardens, lawns, veggie areas, even empty dirt areas or under stonework.

  • All those nutrients will slowly, gradually release into the soil for the plants. It’s an extended release capsule for fertilizer.
  • Worms love it. The bacteria on the edges of the compost particles is what the worms actually eat, and they’ll go up and down through the soil grabbing some off the surface or the top few inches, then dig down into the subsoil. Who needs a guy with a lawn aerator machine to come through when you can have the worms do it for free!
  • Here’s where the awesomest part of compost comes in, that even the hipsters forget sometimes:  compost, and the humus that it breaks down into….  absorbs and holds water.  Check this out… soil that has been amended with compost can hold TWO AND A HALF TIMES as much water as native soils.
  • Best of both worlds.  In arid, drought-prone areas… the Southwest, (Colorado!) yup, places like this, it reduces the amount of time you need to throw the sprinklers on, and when it does rain, it holds on to that water in the part of the soil where the plants can use it.
  • And on the flip-side, if you’re someplace that gets a lot of rain, or it all comes at once, adding the amount of water your soil can absorb — they call it field capacity in ag — then your soils drain better, holds together better when wet, just behaves better.  Not as much sinking into the mud, stonework going wonky, or nasty puddles.

Other benefits of compost?

  • In addition to it being really useful once it *IS* compost, it also helps deal with the landfill stuff we talked about in Day 3.
  • Like I said, anything that was once alive can be composted. So we’re talking a LOT of stuff that ends up as trash otherwise.
  • So grass clippings, veggie scraps, anything made out of paper, coffee and coffee filters are rocket fuel once composted, weeds, pruned branches, autumn leaves. Dry grass clippings before adding to the pile.  Because if you don’t it can actually have some toxic effects to your fresh compost pile.

    How Do We Start Composting?

    You can do those rolling compost tumbler things.  There are odorless indoor ones like this one at Amazon (aff link).

    Compost tumbler bin example
    Tumbler compost bins are good for easily turning compost for quick results

    There are also tumbler ones that make it much easier to “turn” your compost as you go.

    Doneil had issues with one that he had a couple of years back, that did not ventilate well.  Really, all you need is a spot of ground and pile stuff up.

    Or make a 3 x 3 box / crate/pallet  and start throwing stuff in there. There are some useful videos on making your own compost bin from a 55-gal drum on YouTube.

    Make a rough mix of “greens” and “browns”.  Greens are things that are high in nitrogen like your fresh plant materials.  Your browns are your high-in-carbon stuff. Cardboard, newsprint, fall dead leaves, sawdust, and even shredded paper like we mentioned in the recycling episode.   You’ll see some of the hipster sites talk about really specific ratios and stuff, but in general stuff just wants to rot.

    Keep it moist if you’re in a dry climate. Throw a tarp on top if you’re in a wet climate.  (Here in Colorado and in the desert southwest it’s kind of a thing to remember to water your compost)

    Simple compost crate
    You can just put it all in one area, but you have to mix it to keep it aerated.

    And then the other thing people forget is that you have to “turn it” from time to time. Most of the bacteria that want to eat your scraps into compost for ya need oxygen and access to the hot center of the pile. So you’re gonna have to either turn it with those fancy tumbler ones, or just shovel it from one spot into the next to introduce new oxygen, make sure everything’s moist, and just kinda stir it up a bit.

    That helps it go a lot faster. If you wanted to turn it every two days, you could have garden-ready compost in a month or less and you can look up the “18 day compost method” to make it happen quicker. But if you do it every week or two, it will be ready in a few months. You *can* just let it sit, and it will be ready in a year or two. Like we said, stuff wants to rot. Life finds a way.

    It’s ready to use when it doesn’t get hot in the middle any more when you turn it.  You can’t identify any bits and pieces of stuff in it.  It’ll be dark, smell like forest soil, and be kinda crumbly in your hands.

     

    Composting In Apartments, Condos or Tiny Yards

    We’ll talk in a future episode about worm bins, which is a good solution for tight spots. Until then, some cities have yard waste bins for composting.

    If you don’t have that option, private companies will take compostable stuff to make compost. Then they’re more than happy to sell it back to you. Next time you’re in your local garden center, ask. Or next time mom drags you to the farmers market, and you’re sure you’re talking to a real local farmer like we said in Day 1, ask them if they make their own compost and if they want you to bring your stuff.

    One local farm here used to give customers those 5-gallon orange Home Depot buckets to toss stuff in.  Then they’d swap them out for a clean bucket once a week. There are a lot of options out there.

Day 3 – Up Your Recycling Game

Okay, Dads… we’re taking the recycling thing a whole ‘nother notch past the scrap paper in the blue bin at work!

Trash, compost, and recycling bins
Let’s learn the difference between separating your own recycling and single-stream

This is where you can make a big difference really quickly. But most importantly, you’ll learn that there are a lot of other men… dads… out there who are counting on people doing this right. And right now, guys… we’re really not. It’s kinda shameful.


Make sure you support our Sponsor of the Day: A Bee Friendly Company of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Michael “The Bee Whisperer” Jordan makes some of the best honey products we’ve ever sampled, and is one of the foremost mead masters in the country. Check him out and tell him The Regen Dads sent ya!


It’s totally possible to go pro-level with your recycling and waste reduction. There’s a guy on YouTube named Rob Greenfield who managed to ride his bicycle from San Francisco to Maine. He managed to recycle, compost or use zero-packaging items… and kept all his landfill-only type trash with him to throw away when he got to Maine. At the end of the 100+ day trip, it weighed a grand total of 2 pounds! Whoa!

We’re not taking things to that level, but listen to the episode to learn what’s totally easy and possible in your own home.

Action Steps For the Episode

Once you’ve listened to the show and need a refresher on the action steps you can take on this “day towards regenerating your world like a dad,” here you go:

  • First, you’re going to check your local curbside recycling’s instructions on what kind of plastics and other materials can be recycled. A lot of them are going to say “plastics 1 through 7” but make sure.
  • Second, you’re going to start giving those bottles and packaging a quick rinse, to make sure you’re not the guy that screws up a hard day’s work for a dad at the plant.
  • Third, you’re going to stop putting stuff in the curbside recycling that can’t go in there. No shopping bags, no long cords and ropes, no electronics, and no batteries. When in doubt, throw it out. Or at least figure out where it’s SUPPOSED to go.

We Need a Minute (or Three) of Your Time

If you listen to us on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play Music, can you take a quick second to give us a rating and review? We’ve been getting a kick out of reading the amusing early ones, and it may (or may not, who knows) help more dads find us.  Social media shares also help!

Day 2 – Whats the Deal With GMOs?

We’re looking at what GMOs are, but also what they aren’t. That’s just as important for a Regen Dad to understand. Then you can hold your own against your hipster nephew who won’t eat your BBQ cornish cross chicken.

It’s day 2 of our “31 Days to Regenerate Your World” dad’s boot camp series. Have you subscribed on your favorite podcast app yet?  How about a review or rating?

Transgenic Genetically Modified Organisms are not the same thing as hybrid veggies, and not what the German monks did back in the 1800s. We teach dads the difference in this episode. Then you can make your own decision and know when someone is “cheating the argument” by including hybrid veggies and deliberately bred animals in the “GMOs” term.


This episode is brought to you by A Bee Friendly Company out of Cheyenne, Wyoming.  Great honey = great mead. Check him out and tell him the Regen Dads sent ya!


Links and references from the episode:

  • PDF Report that Doneil mentions,  “GMO Myths and Truths” study from Earth Opensource.  It’s really long, so be prepared for a big download.  Or as Doneil says, “When Regen Dads hands out stuff, it’s FULLY LOADED, see?”
  • Non-GMO Shopping Guide App, available both in Google Play and in the iOS App Store
  • Non-GMO Project Verified logo, to help watch for GMOs in food
    Watch for this logo on your groceries

    Here’s the Non-GMO Project logo we mentioned, you’ll often find this label on foods that are GMOs-free. This isn’t the only GMOs verification program out there, but it seems to be the most popular.

 

 

Things to Know From the Episode About GMOs

The U.S. is one of only a few developed countries that allow them unlabeled in most cases

Why are people freaking out so much about it? Most developed countries do not consider them safe, and in over sixty countries they require them to be labeled.  That’s enough to make a guy go… “HMMMM… that can’t be right…”

 

What GMOs *AREN’T*

I think it’s almost as important to make sure we’re clear on what *aren’t* GMOs. One of the weird arguments we’ve seen from the companies that develop GMO plants, is that genetic modification has been going on for as long as humans have been selecting the best corn or maize to save as seed for the next year, or saving cows who give more milk to be the breeders. And they say that humanity would have starved long ago if it wasn’t for genetic modification.

Oh for crying out loud, that’s not the same as splicing algae genes into corn genes!

Look, guys. Hybrid veggies, like if you plant a tomato that’s good at fighting off blight next to one that makes really big beefsteak tomatoes good for BLT’s, to try to get seeds that grow into a plant that do both?  That’s not GMO. It’s when you get an electron scanning microscope or some crap, and use chemicals to tease the few genes out of a deep sea fish that lives in subfreezing temp water and inserting those genes in your corn D N A to protect it from frost.  THAT’s GMO.

Organic Farms Need to Stop Calling Cornish Cross Chickens GMOs or Frankenchickens!

If a mule isn’t a GMO, then a cornish cross chicken… the so-called “frankenchicken” that gets called out by the purple-flag wavers for being… I don’t even know what their problem is with ‘em…  isn’t a GMO. All we do to get those birds to grow so fast and with huge meat for grilling is have a cornish hen mate with a plymouth rooster… Totally naturally… Just put the two chickens together, maybe a little candle light, a little Marvin Gaye on the P – A.

There’s a lot more solid rants and even solid-er information for Dads who want — need — to know this stuff in the episode.

Please give us a review on your preferred podcast app. It helps a lot with the rankings and such.

Day 1  – How to Shop at Farmers Markets Like a Regenerative Dad, or “Wait, aren’t there supposed to be farmers at farmers markets?”

Today we’re talking about the farmers markets that Mom drags you and the kids to. So let’s get at it.

Thanks for joining us for Day 1 of 31 Days to Regenerate Your World. This is the “Dad’s Boot Camp” for all things green, organic and eco-thrifty, but without so much of the hipster and “mommy blog” part of the sustainability thing.

Why Are Farmers Markets So Popular?

Vendor handing off fruit over a market scale
Careful, sometimes vendors are just reselling stuff from the grocery!

The dreaded farmers market trip with the family…  better tasting, local, organic, cheaper food… with an interesting atmosphere.

Or at least that’s what it’s supposed to be. The trick is that you have all kinds of non-food vendors trying to get in on that trendy action. Also, some food vendors are trying to make you think they’re better tasting, local, and organic… but they’re trying to sell you veggies and fruit that you could have bought from the grocery store!

That should really piss you off. It did for us when we found out about this.

How to Navigate a Farmers Market Like a Dad.

We’ve seen three kinds of farmers markets:

  • Single-farm stands, which are just one company’s booth or building on the side of the road.  Sometimes they’ll be in front of that farm, but sometimes they’re just on the side of the highway for no particularly good reason. 
    • Pros: You can tell from the road pretty quick if there’s anything worth stopping for. And if there’s nothing worth getting, you don’t have to worry about getting the kids out of the car.
    • Cons: Can’t comparison shop between booths for price or quality.

 

  • So-called farmers markets that are really just craft shows or business expos, really. There’s a booth or two selling produce.  Or a few more selling — what’s called in the market biz  “value added products” —  like salsa, honey, and baked goods. However, there will be a bunch of crafters, multi-level marketing companies, and other high-pressure sales types.
    • Pros: There will be a wide range of random stuff there, so once you get your veggies, there’s other things to look at. The farms that do work these markets are usully just starting out, so you get to help out the really little guy.
    • Cons: You’ll be aggressively sold-to by every roofer, cosmetic or clothing MLM lady, and satellite TV person in the community as you walk through.

 

  • Farmers markets that actually have farmers… plural! Larger communities will usually have one or two markets that the local, regenerative farms aspire to get into. The customers get the benefit.  a few veggie people, maybe a meat guy, someone selling duck or quail eggs (yes… quail eggs!), and some local food restaurants with their prepared food.
    Lots of veg and fruit vendors with in-season food? You’re golden.
    • Pros: These will sometimes have rules in place that the farmer who is selling the produce has to be the one who grew it. Maybe they have a “grown within 50 miles (or 100, whatever)” rule.  Plenty of comparison shopping and lots of options at these markets
    • Cons: Small, local farms grow the food. So there’s no asparagus during the fall, or squash in the early spring. But we’re trying to teach you to “eat seasonally” anyway here. So that’s okay.