At Ozark Akerz, our health focused farming practices are focused on the entire farming life-cycle. People tend to focus on the reduction of herbicides and pesticides, but toxins lurk in the most unlikely of places.
One example is water hoses. A lot of hoses contain lead and/or BPA. As the hose sits in the sun, the lead and other chemicals can leach out, not a cocktail you want to be watering fruits or vegetables with! To reduce this risk, we’ve adopted methods such as flushing our irrigation lines after watering and protecting them from the sun by burying them under mulch. We were also excited to find lead and phthalate (endocrine disruptors) free hoses, another step toward increasing the health value of our crops! One word of caution if you're planning on buying the lead and phthalate free Element hose, it kinks easily so you'll need patience to take another step towards a healthier garden!
Even if you buy organic, be sure to find out what the general farming practices are of the farms you buy from. Although organic is better for you than conventionally raised food, if the farm does not take a holistic approach to farming you may still be exposed to toxins.
Learn more about chemicals in organic food in this Mother Jones article.
There are quite a few 'Pepper Festivals' this time of year, here are just a few in North Carolina:
If you're not based in NC, click on your country to find local Pepper Festivals: USA, UK, Canada. Australia, you'll have to wait until March for your celebrations to begin!
Personalized Labels for our Hot Sauce
We are harvesting peppers in preparation for brewing our farm raised hot sauce later this month. We use Habenero and Jolokia Ghost (aka. Naga Jolokia) peppers to add a real kick to the sauce. The Jolokia Ghost pepper originates from India and is one of the hottest on record. It measures over 1 million Scoville Units, in comparison Tabasco sauce measures 3500 Scoville Units. Don't let that scare you, we use a very small amount in each batch compared to bell peppers, just enough to add some heat and some great flavor!
This year we are adding a personal touch by offering custom labels. Customers can add personalized text to a variety of labels that were designed by Farmer Mike. For more examples of available label templates, visit our Facebook page or visit our Hot Sauce page for pricing and more details.
The sample labels above can be customized with your own text at the top and bottom of the label
Why not get in the spirit of the season by listening to your favorite Red Hot Chilipeppers songs at their website. Some of our favorites include Higher Ground, Warped, Suck My Kiss, Give It Away and Can't Stop.
Sue & Mike
The recent addition of endangered Pineywoods cattle to Ozark Akerz, marks the addition of a 5th treasure from the Ark of Taste to the farm. The Ark of Taste allows consumers and chefs to seek out and celebrate their country's culinary and cultural heritage, many of which have long been forgotten or are in danger of extinction.
The rare Pineywoods cattle is one of the oldest breeds in the United States. They are decedent from the first cattle brought to America by the Spanish. Known as a Heritage Breed, Pineywoods ran wild in the Southeast of the US for 400 years. They are well suited to the heat and humidity of sub-tropical North Carolina and are naturally parasite & disease resistant and long-lived.
Our herd include 4 cows, Louise, Rosie, Tangerine and Blackberry and a bull named Rocky. They are from 2 herds, one in North Carolina and the other in Alabama. They are surprisingly curious and have quickly become used to being hand-fed a clump of grass and a few of them even tolerate a good scratch behind their ears.
Along with the Pineywoods, Ozark Akerz is proud to feature four other rarities from the Ark of Taste living catalog of distinctive foods. These include Cherokee Purple Tomatoes, Dominique Chickens, Meyer Lemons and American Pecan Trees all of which help increase our biodiversity.
The Ark of Taste catalog is maintained by the Slow Food movement. To explore distinct food flavors in your region, visit the Ark of Taste USA or the International Ark of Taste
Sue & Mike