Tag Archives: Sandor Katz

Road Kill: The Other Hunting Season


A few years ago, I attend a food conference in the backwoods of Tenn. The topics ranged from biodynamic and permaculture, to wild fermentation with author Sandor Katz (Author of Wild Fermentation), to making herbal tinctures to home beer making.

The most interesting group and radical, were the people who ate road kill. Yes, road kill. The group brought a few um…offerings to the conference including a few squirrels and a badger. They demo how to skin the squirrels, which they said they usually just throw them on a fire fur and all.

I was intrigued with the concept and figure if I was seriously considering eating road kill then idea of hunting seemed down right civilized.

Since then, I have thought about those folks and their ideas of eating, but I never ventured out to find and cook up “found food.”

But then I was driving on 14 and noticed a deer on the side of the highway. It was a few days ago and we had a bout of very cold days under 30 degrees. I figure, “the thing is completely frozen and safe.”

I figured that road kill would not have the same risk in winter as summer right?

So I called a place that processes deer and was all set to grab my fallen friend when I told Emily my plan.

Are you nuts! was the basic reply with an all out wrestle for our car keys. It is her car and she would not have a road kill deer anywhere near it. Then there is the freezer space for the meat. Our freezer is packed, so where will I fit the 40-60 Pounds of meat?

With all of this said, I am still into the idea of getting a road kill deer in winter if the weather is under freezing and it has not been out too long.

So, if there is anyone in the Ann Arbor area with a truck, and extra freezer space and who has culinary/hillbilly sense of adventure, I am offering to go in halves on a road kill deer.

See New Yorker article with Sandor Katz


Secret Food Clubs

Have you participated in a Secret Food Club? I first found out about this from the Book, The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved, by Sandor Katz.

Katz mentioned a secret food buying club that operates under the radar. It consists of a few locals who formed a food club that meets weekly and offers a variety of food products from raw milk (not pasteurized) and dairy products, home baked goods, herbal remedies, and home fermentation products. The food club operates illegally by selling food products produced in kitchens that are not inspected, and in the case of selling raw milk, is illegal to sell in most states in the US in general.

The passage of the Cottage Food Law in Michigan would make some of the products sold at such clubs legal, but this law is barely a week old and not in place through out the country.

The readers of Sally Fallons book Nourishing Tradition, and followers of the Weston Price diet are big fans of the health benefits of raw milk. I had attended a talk by Fallon in Ann Arbor, and soon joined a raw milk club in Ann Arbor.

The idea was that members purchased a Cow Share. That meant that you owned the cow (in part) with the idea that you therefore had the right to legally drink raw milk from your own cow. My share costed $20 which allowed me to purchase raw milk for pick up at $5 per galloon. They also offered raw butter, raw cream, kefir yogurt, and other products like eggs, lard and meat from the farm. We used to meet at Big Ten Party Store (now Morgan And Yorks) for pick ups.

Around that time, Me and Emily moved to  Portland, Oregon. I was surprised to see that the local coop offered raw milk. There was a label on the bottle saying “for pets only” as a way to get around the laws concerning selling raw milk for human consumption. A few weeks later, however, the milk was gone. So I did a little research, and found a farmer who sold raw milk directly on the farm, which was legal to do in Oregon. They offered both raw cow and raw goat milk.

I made my own fresh goat cheese, raw butter, buttermilk, and paneer cheese from the raw milk and cream.

These underground food clubs or direct sell raw milk farms unfortunately often experience armed raid by our federal government.

An article in The Grist talks about armed raids on farms/farmers who sell raw milk. The raw milk issue is double because it is illegal to sell in most places regardless.

I found out that the club that I belong to in Ann Arbor had experienced such a raid (See article: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1732754/posts).

It seems that the farmers take the legal brunt of these raids when they get raided. The members also lose out because they no longer have access to the farm’s offerings.

So why join or start an underground food club?

I guess the idea of being in on an underground food scene has its appeal, and in the case of raw milk, underground is usually the only option.

Until the Cottage food Bill passed, the ability to create a small food product start up was out of reach to most because of the access and expense to the a certified kitchen.

And the expanse of the reach of Farmers Markets is a relatively new thing, so small communities might have opted to start a secret food club to share locally produced food. The range of Farmers Markets is growing all of the time, and it seems that every town that can support a farmers market has/will have one.

Even if there is a Farmers Market, some still might opted to go underground and forgo the expense of renting a space, insurance, or the challenge of getting space at a popular market.

The reason for the armed cracked down (why is it armed?) is supposedly to protect willing adults members of a farm/ food club from getting sick from unregulated food products. I can see the government point. They want to keep us safe. Why they need all of those guns is beyond me…but.

Are these raid keeping us safe? I would like to see data on food illness outbreaks from secret food clubs compared to commerical food operations.

The thing is however that there are plenty of “regulated food products” produced and processed from supposedly a safe big ag system turns out unsafe.

 Today it may be peanut butter, tomorrow it can spinach, and when their is a mess up, it is big. Millions of pounds of product is recalled, and we later find out that our countries regulation arm is under staffed, and under funded, and questionably affected at times.

So am I a fan of secret food clubs?

I favor a system where small local food producers can make certain foods like baked goods in their homes without being certified, which is what we have now in Michigan. I also think that there needs to be affordable access to certified kitchens, and refrigeration, so a wider variety of food products can be produced locally to grow region specialties, and food systems.

I say why go underground when you do not have too. The reality however is that most states do not have a cottage food law, or access to affordable certified kitchens, which means people choose the underground option or not at all. Most choose not at all which results in a massive lost of opportunity.

As for raw milk, I am a big fan of raw milk, and I feel that adults should be allowed to purchase and consume raw milk from a farmer, on the farm if they are willing to take the risk, which from my research is not much of a risk at all.

My only question is why all of the arm raids? Have any of these secret foods clubs, or farm posed any armed threat or resistance.