Thursday, June 23, 2011

Local Food: Cedar Lane Farms

Terry & Monique Mierau

190 Lakeview Road, Route 715

Coles Island, New Brunswick

I was so happy when I discovered Terry Mierau of Cedar Lane Farms at the Kingston Farmer’s Market last year. I had been reading some scary things about industrially produced meat in one of my university classes and was looking for somewhere to get local meat free from all the grossness I read about. Most of our vacuum-packed meat is raised in cattle feedlots where animals stand like sardines in their own filth and are kept in such horrid conditions that they invariably get sick and must be constantly fed antibiotics. They are also fed growth hormones so they will get big and fat very fast. These antibiotics and hormones (and who knows what else) end up in our meat and milk, wreaking mysterious havoc on our bodies. Lovely!

Cedar Lane Farms is located in Cole Island, New Brunswick, where they raise chickens, turkeys, pigs and sheep. Their meat is not certified organic, which is an expensive and lengthy accreditation process they are currently undergoing, but they will attest (and show you pictures!) that their animals are kept in wide open spaces and eat grass and do normal animal things. A far cry from the cattle feedlots!

You can buy Cedar Lane Farms meat at the Kingston Farmers' market (open Saturday until 1 pm). The Mieraus sell pasture-raised chickens, organic grass-fed beef (David Burnett's farm) as well as farm-fresh eggs (also organic and free-range). They make A-MAZING home-cured double-smoked bacon and homemade sausages which are both to die for. They also provide maple syrup and fruits and vegetables when in season.

In order to score some eggs you have to get there EARLY or else they're all gone. Also, the chicken goes fast. Your best bet is to pre-order chicken (also lamb) for butchering season. Then you can be sure to get what you want. I ordered a chicken last year, which I got in July, and it was delicious and tasted so much more… chicken-y. I've ordered 3 this year and am told there are still some available! See their email address below if you are interested.

This isn't their farm specifically, but it's what I picture :)

Truthfully their products are not much more expensive than what you would find in the store, and taste much better, and not to mention healthier. Win, win, win!

More info:

For more information on their cow-share program or any of their products, email them at

Also, if you’re interested in commercial sources of meat, Fast Food Nation (the book, the movie or the website: ) will tell you all about it.

Here is another article about the threat of industrial meat production on us and our environment - prepare to be freaked out, but informed!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Make your own yogurt!

Fresh homemade yogurt is easier than you think!

**Note: This blog is still in the making, so bear with me as the format changes. Meanwhile, enjoy the recipes!

We’ve all seen the the countless yogurt commercials that sing the praises of the health benefits of yogurt (a bellydancing girl in the green hula skirt comes to mind). But if you're like me, the cost, the long list of ingredients and the plastic waste isn't so appealing. Making your own yogurt is much cheaper, better for you and more environmentally friendly.

Yogurt is an oober healthy food, especially when you make it yourself. There is good bacteria (those well-advertised probiotics!) in yogurt called Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, and Steptococcus Thermophilus, which helps to balance the chemical soup in your gut. Also, it is extra beneficial for women as these bacteria help to fight against such delights as yeast infections. However the added sugar and preservatives in store-bought yogurt are not as benefial. Here is a great alternative!

I grew up eating my mom’s homemade yogurt, which I knew was healthy but I sometimes found liquidy and a bit sour. Since moving out I’ve adapted and (I believe) improved on her methods to make a thicker, creamier yogurt. It is very versatile: I use it for cooking, baking, and for eating by itself or with granola.


Homemade Yogurt Recipe

- 1L milk, organic if you can find it (I use homogenized for creamy yogurt)

- 1 tbsp plain yogurt - this is your starter. (I find Astro Balkan-style yogurt works best to start, but once you get going you can use a tbsp of homemade yogurt)

Yes, that’s it for ingredients!



Heat up your milk in a medium-sized pot and boil for about 5 min. Let it cool until warm but you can still keep your finger in it for 10 seconds comfortably (about 108-112°). You want it warm enough to multiply the bacteria, but not hot enough to kill it. You can get yogurt makers that come with a special thermometer that will tell you the optimum temperature to add your starter.

Add one spoonful of starter to your warm milk (plain yogurt). The bacteria in the yogurt will multiply and turn the milk to yogurt! Pour into a glass bowl, container, or small portion-sized bowls and cover tightly with plastic wrap or lid. Place in your oven WITH ONLY THE LIGHT ON. Incubate for 8-10 hours and then refrigerate well. Voilà, yogurt. When ready to eat, enjoy it plain or add berries, jam, honey or maple syrup to taste.

If it doesn’t work (i.e. turn into yogurt), your milk was probably too hot or too cold when you added the starter. You can try reheating the mixture and repeating the process.

A simple way to incubate a small amount of yogurt is to pour the yogurt mixture into a thermos and cover with a tight lid. When the yogurt is ready, loosen the thermos lid before storing it in the refrigerator so the yogurt can cool rapidly.

Here is a recipe for making yogurt in a crock-pot! I haven't tried it yet, but it looks fun and great for making large quantities.