Farm Fresh Answers

Cultivating conversations about food & farming

Tag: eggs

Pesticides on Your Plate?

What does a mom who makes pesticide recommendations for farmers feed her own children? Organic. Homemade. Conventional. Store bought.  I use it all.

Yes, I sometimes bought organic baby food. I bought it for the convenience of the pouch packaging. I bought it for the unique food combinations. I did NOT buy it because I thought it was more nutritious or better than conventional.

I am somewhat particular about the country of origin of the foods I feed my children. Any food grown in the US or Canada I am completely comfortable purchasing.

I will admit that I think twice when I see produce, particularly berries, from other countries and often opt not to purchase them. Berries have soft skin that can be easily bruised during transport and I am not as comfortable with the control measures for complex pest management strategies in other countries.  But, I obviously buy foreign grown bananas because they aren’t grown in the US.

My master’s degree is in Weed Science. I studied Herbicide Physiology and lots and lots of chemistry.  My master’s thesis involved glyphosate (aka Roundup). Yes, I sprayed it myself – gasp!

I studied the chemical structures of herbicides, how they breakdown in the environment and at what speed, which products should be used in what situations, and how the herbicides fit into the entire cropping system.

I am very comfortable the pesticides used on our food in the US. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registers chemicals after review of the pesticide ingredients, crops to be used on, the amount and frequency of use, timing and also how the pesticide should be stored and disposed.  They determine the risk of potential harms to humans, wildlife, and non-target species.

The EPA also determines a pesticide tolerance – the maximum amount of pesticide residue that can legally remain in or on a particular food. It takes generally 8-10 years from discovery to registration of a herbicide.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitors and enforces pesticide tolerances in both raw and processed foods.  Meat, poultry and eggs are monitored and enforced by the USDA. Food grown domestically and imported food are both monitored for pesticide residues.

Bottom line – I trust the safety of the food I buy because I trust the science behind it.

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Broccoli Ham Cheese Strata

Breakfast, lunch, brunch or ‘brinner’ (breakfast for dinner) this tasty egg casserole will be a crowd pleaser any time of the day. A ‘strata’ is a savory bread pudding-like dish and its name comes from the fact that it’s a dish with layers. A strata is also a great way to use slightly stale or day-old bread.

One flavorful ingredient in this recipe is ham, a cured cut of pork. Curing is an ancient practice – used for thousands of years to preserve meat long before the invention of refrigeration. From ancient societies and Native American cultures to Pioneer farmsteads, things like ‘salt pork’ and smoke houses preserved protein for the winter months. For a technical look at what curing is and how it works, click here.

I think one of my favorite things about this recipe is the texture – light, fluffy & delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 12 slices bread (slightly stale is better)
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, cooked & drained
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 cup finely diced ham
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 tsp. dry mustard

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom of a 9 x 13″ baking dish.
  2. Cut circles out of the center of each slice of bread with a glass or biscuit cutter. Pinch a hole in the center of each circle to make a doughnut shape.
  3. Use scraps and crusts of bread to cover the bottom of the baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle ham, broccoli & onion evenly over bread. Sprinkle with cheese.
  5. Top with bread doughnuts.
  6. Whisk eggs and milk together until fluffy. Whisk in dry mustard.
  7. Pour liquid over casserole evenly. Flip doughnuts to make sure they are coated with egg mixture on both sides.
  8. Bake for about 50 minutes until top is golden and casserole is set (if you test with a fork, it should come out clean).
  9. Serve hot.

Note: photos show 1/3 recipe baked in a loaf pan

The Friday Five: Bacon & Eggs & Breakfast

soybean field, landscape

Bacon lovers rejoice! The object of your meat affection could be about to get even better. If you want a side of eggs with your bacon, however; it might cost you a little bit more – at least for the time being.

Here’s look at those stories plus a few other breakfast related tidbits fresh picked for this week’s Friday Five:

  1. What’s shakin’ bacon? Researchers at Kansas State University are looking at ways to improve the bacon flavor we love to savor and improve the shelf life of this marvelous meat treat, as reported by Feedstuffs newspaper. By the way, tomorrow is International Bacon Day. So fry up a few strips to celebrate!
  2. Are you scrambling to adjust your breakfast menu since eggs are more expensive? It’s the lingering effects of a deadly flu virus that devastated a large number of chickens (don’t worry it’s not a virus that humans can get). But you may be dishing out more per dozen for awhile, especially after the big breakfast announcement that hit the news this week, as CBS News reports.
  3. Like cheddar cheese on your eggs? Find out what makes cheddar cheese orange in this post from a Michigan dairy farmer on the Food Dialogues website.
  4. How about some fruit salad on the side? Be sure to thank plant breeders for your selection, as today’s fruit varieties are thanks to their efforts over hundreds of years. Check out this fun quiz to test your skills at matching modern fruits (and a few vegetables) with their plant ancestors.
  5. Like milk on your cereal? Share the love. For every share of this ‘Strength in Numbers’ image on with #milkdrive during the month of September the Great American Milk Drive will donate one gallon of milk to Feeding America food banks. Click here to share on Facebook or Twitter.

What’s your favorite breakfast food?

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