by Edwin Shank, May 23, 2016
Hi Family Cow folks,
You know, there's a lot going right in our world. Yes...I said it. There's a lot going right. Of course there's a lot wrong too. Especially in the political, moral and ethical worlds. That's a sad subject all of its own. But in the healing food from regenerative farming world there's a lot going right, so please don't stomp on my positive spirit this beautiful morning. Here's a bright spot...let me share it with you.
You might think I'm overly excited because Dawn and I just got back from two weeks in Cambodia mentoring Kenny and Lindsay Mathews, a newlywed farm couple setting up the very first dairy in Cambodia...overly excited because this farm, Moo Moo Farms, is a raw milk farm to boot which means that 100% of Cambodian dairymen specialize in raw milk! :)
And you would be partly right. That was exciting. The farmer mentoring was fun. Kenny introducing the local Khmer people to real, raw milk for the first time in their lives was exhilarating. Their sheer delight-smile was even familiar. It's the same smile we see every day from moms, dads and children at our farm and all over Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
But the Excitement is Not Overdone.
It's a steady, serious kind of excitement that stems from an undeniable realization that the real foods, traditional foods, healing foods revolution is not unique to our Family Cow tribe or to America. It's everywhere! Folks of all sorts are awaking from their processed-food-induced stupor and are demanding real foods. The revolution is real, it's growing fast and safe raw milk is leading the way.
Safe raw milk leads out in opening minds because it so soundly kicks The Box that no one is supposed to think out of. It works this way. Since the Box Builders have so adamantly told us for so long, and still faithfully tell us at every turn, that raw milk is undeniably dangerous,(They repeatedly insist it's like playing Russian Roulette!) they can't help but look silly when millions of folks across America and the world drink raw milk every day and instead of getting sick... get healthy! Gotta love a good Box Kicker.
And The Raw Milk Enthusiasm is Spreading.
Remember how I mentioned in Mysterious Ways that raw milk farmers everywhere are passionately interested in the safety of their raw milk? And how Dawn and I are equally committed to freely share and teach the extensive food safety procedures that we have developed over the years?
Well, I wasn't making up stories. Allow me the privilege to introduce Gena and João from Portugal!
Looks like a grass farmer's paradise to me!
A few weeks ago we received a mentorship request from Gena Pinheiro & João Mendonca, fifth generation owners on their family farm on the Azores Islands of Portugal (about 1000 miles off the coast of Portugal in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean). They asked if we'd help to set up with an on-farm raw milk laboratory for their farm and also advice in converting it to organic. Gena & João recently purchased this amazingly beautiful farm from João's father.
Of course I agreed and I sent them this pdf of the laboratory supplies and equipment they’ll need. Once they get those items, I'll do a series of phone consultations to walk them through the learning curve of running the tests and reading the results as well as any other wisdom I can share about organic farming.
It never gets really hot or cold on the Azores. The surrounding ocean moderates the temperature to kind of an eternal spring. The pictures are truly worth 1000 words so I'll let them speak.
This cow, Pantera, is just begging to get in on the attention. Pantera is Portuguese for Panther.
Pantera is a doll-of-dolls according to Gena.
The herd dog and Gena enjoying some frisky play.
Isn't this exciting! Gena is a health coach besides being a farm wife so she fully understands the health restoring effects of grass-fed raw milk.
There seems to be deep symbolism here folks.
If you research the geological development of the Azores, you'll discover something amazing. They are volcanic islands that sit at the meeting point of three major tectonic plates in the earth's crust. The North American Plate, the Eurasian Plate and the African Plate all meet right at this spot beneath the Atlantic Ocean. In geological terms it is known as a "hotspot."
I'll leave Gena and João and Kenny and Lindsay to flesh out the implications and symbolism. Maybe some of you have thoughts too. If so, I'd be glad to hear them.
But I will say that it sent the shivers up my back when I realized where Gena and João's farm is located. It's uncanny! There is only one spot in the whole world like this and there they are exactly! Family Cow is on the North American plate, Kenny and Lindsay's Moo Moo Farms is on the Eurasian plate and Gena and João's farm on the São Miguel Island of the Azores is located on the exact juncture of those two plus the African plate. Interesting. I'll have to think on this some more!
Gena and João do have a fully equipped sea side condo listed on Airbnb. (Of course on an island that's only 7.5 miles wide, one is always basically sea side!) So if you need a suggestion for an exotic vacation this summer...check it out. They even offer their "Happy Cow" farm tour FREE to Airbnb guests. I'm sure they would show you a beautiful time on their island farm. Plus if you tell them you are part of the Family Cow tribe, they might even show you an extra special time. :)
But, if a personal visit is out of the question, Gena and João would still love if you'd stop by for a virtual visit. They tell me that at times their dream of an organic raw milk farm feels a bit overwhelming for the two of them. So let's give them some affirmation. It might just be what they need to be sure of their true north!
Dawn and I would love to go over and visit Gena and João sometime too. But right now we need to stick tight here on our own farm. Cambodia was great. Many thanks to the Matthews family for gifting us that experience. We will never forget your kindness. But responsibilities here on our own farm and family keep us from making those kinds of trips too often. :)
Here is a photo journal of our raw milk teaching trip to Cambodia. Download PowerPoint (high res) or PDF. We both thoroughly enjoyed our time there and still have Kenny and Lindsay on our minds quite a bit.
Blessings to all...
Your Farmer ~ Edwin Shank
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." ~ Romans 8:28