Let’s Talk Turkey – Jason Diestel

Some  independent growers and processors  have removed the need for the middle man. From raising and butchering their animals to processing and shipping the finished product to stores, they have control over their product quality and supply chain and embody the essence of the farm-to-plate movement. For over 70 years and four generations, the Diestel family has been on that track, pursuing innovation in turkey farming and processing while maintaining old-fashioned values.Jason Diestel has loved food and farming since growing up working alongside his dad, Tim Diestel, and his grandpa, Jack Diestel, on the ranch he now helps run. Jason turned his attention to sustainable farming in college, where he led a humus composting project—the first of many excuses to nerd out on carbon farming and creating more nutrient-dense food, and what ultimately led to his role on the farm today. As a turkey farmer who understands the role of healthy soil in the greater food web, he knows that caring for the land is one of the most important contributions  of Diestel Family Ranch can make. Jason also leads Diestel’s gargantuan compost program, helping CSA farmers, Master Gardeners, and school gardens to be more productive and more responsible. Farm to Table Talk visits with Jason Diestel on this family’s journey from producing turkeys, to processing and marketing a successful family brand and creating an earth friendly composting program.  www.diestelturkey.com

Celebrating A Life – Jack Woolf

When a living legend passes after over a hundred years on Earth, it can truly be right to celebrate that life. That has never been truer than when that legend is Jack Woolf and his particular part of the Earth was the Central Valley of California.Jack Woolf started farming for others on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley after returning from WWII. When he and his family founded Woolf Farming in 1974, he sought to move away from the region’s traditional crop rotation of grains, cotton & melons to higher valued specialty crops and processing tomatoes and almonds. About three years ago I sat down with Jack on the occasion of his 100th birthday. It was an incredible conversation with a man I liked and admired for who he was as a Farmer, Father, Grandfather, Friend, Husband of Bernice and a true champion for Agriculture in the Central Valley of California. Jack passed away, a few weeks shy of his one hundred and third birthday. Jack’s telling of his own story is an inspiration that we share again in this podcast conversation, the first podcast with a 100 year old farming legend. In the spirit of true celebration of a remarkable life, we now turn the clock back for this visit with Jack Woolf. www.woolffarming.com

Well-Raised Meat – Diana Rodgers


“At our grocery stores and dinner tables, even the most thoughtful consumers are overwhelmed by the number of considerations to weigh when choosing what to eat—especially when it comes to meat. Guided by the noble principle of least harm, many responsible citizens resolve the ethical, environmental and nutritional conundrum by quitting meat entirely. But can a healthy, sustainable and conscientious food system exist without animals?” That’s one of many critical questions answered by Diana Rodgers: Mom, organic farmer, registered dietitian, author and film-maker. Cows get a raw deal and Diana sets the record straight in her blogs, books, film and podcasts.  In our Farm To Table Talk and the new book and film, aptly titled Sacred Cow, Diana explains why well-raised meat is good for you and good for the planet. www.sustainable dish.com www.sacredcow.info


Honey Do Biz – Matt Kollmorgen

What if you could build an online retail business around your favorite food.  Matt Kollmorgen had that idea when, as many are experiencing today, his former employment ended.  Since he loved honey from when he was a kid growing up and as a grown  up it became important to provide his family with a healthy, nutrient rich alternative to sugar, he found a way to turn his love into a business, “Bee K’onscious Artisinal Honey”.   A business plan was drafted and beekeeper partners were found who use ethical sustainable practices so pure, blockchain traceable, raw honey could be sourced, bottled, posted on line and shipped to discerning families all over. Career changes are on the horizon for many today, so opening an online store featuring a favorite artisanal food can be a solution for new entrepreneurs and consumers who love the expanding choices, from farm to table. www.bkshoney.com



Community, “Heal Thyself” – Cathryn Couch, Ceres Project

There is  good news for people who want to help people: To make a difference you don’t have to fly to a challenged part of the country or the world; just roll up your sleeves and go to work in your community. That’s what Cathryn Couch does through the Ceres Community Project that she started in the basement of her Church with some volunteer teens. Today they energisze communities by linking what we eat and how we care for each other with the health of people and planet. From their humble beginnings they have grown to provide thousands of meals that connect locally grown food with people in need. CNN recognized their founder and CEO, Cathryn Couch as one of America’s “Community Heroes”.  Beyond their local community role today they are helping train community leaders across the country and are working on regional “food as medicine” projects that recognize good nutrition trumps the costs of drugs and hospitals.  www.cerespoject.org


Bending, Not Breaking & Beyond.. – Erin Fitzgerald USFRA

Farmers and ranchers should “be recognized for the the unique ways they enable the sustainable foods systems of the future and nourish our communities, natural resources, and planet”.  The US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA)  was created to accomplish that vision with a mission to co-create sustainable food systems, connecting farmers, ranchers and food makers.  The CEO of the USFRA Erin Fitzgerald explains that American agriculture is bending but not breaking from the strains of Covid 19 in this conversation with the co-hosts of a developing podcast “Beyond Your Table”.  Michael Dimock the host of Flipping the Table podcast and Rodger Wasson the host of Farm To Table Talk have joined to bring conversations from the real dirt to common ground-Beyond Your Table. www.USFRA.org

On Off Farm – Matt Brechwald

It is not unusual to hear from folks who want farming to be a foundational part of their lives.  They may have a job that requires a long commute to their office cubicle or they are living on a small farm and can’t quite make a living, with out adding some off farm income. Matt Brechwald was one of those people before he made the jump to a small farm in Idaho and started adding enterprises off farm that allowed him with his wife and daughter to live their dream.  For Matt those off farm enterprises included speaking, coaching and podcasting to help others “get in to farming and to love their lifestyle.” I literally heard of Matt when he interviewed my brother, Ron Wasson about www.barnyarddiscoveries.com.  That and loads of other informative podcasts can be found at www.offincome.com or the Off Farm Income podcasts wherever you get your podcasts.

Graze Nearby, Please — Andree Soares

Wild fires have been an annual occurrence for centuries, but the increasingly undeniable effects of climate change portends more fire disasters, more often.  One natural step to deal with the threats is responsible grazing,  in and around urban populations.  Andree Soares, President of Star Creek Land Stewards is finding that once people get used to having sheep and goats grazing around their homes, they never want to go back to the old days of vegetation control with weed eaters, poisons and mowers. Sheep production is a family tradition for Anree that goes back hundreds of years to grazing sheep in the Pyrenees mountains in Spain and France. Modern day California is far different in some ways, but the same in others: sheep and goats are still regenerative to the earth, remote mountains or crowed suburbs.  www.starcreeklandstewards.com

Sheepless in CA? – Andree Soares

Sheep and goats have a long tradition in California, a state that ranks #1 in lamb production and #2 in wool production. After years of decline from issues such as predation there has started to be encouraging increases in demand for lamb and public recognition for the important role of grazing for fire protection. Andree Soares of Star Creek Land Stewards has told us the encouraging news and now explains the existential threats to the survival of the California sheep industry. www.CAWoolGrowers.org www.starcreeklandstewards.com

Growing To Go – Kelly Tiller & Sam Jackson


The pandemic has been a nightmare for restaurants but a dream come true for curb-side, carry out and delivery. We cheer the climate friendly effects of some of our forced changes but what about all those Styrofoam and other non-recyclable packages that our encasing all of that take-out food or home deliveries? What if the packaging is grown on a farm just like the food and could also be traced back to the farm it grew on? Well that’s happening now in Tennessee where farmers are growing switchgrass that is processed in to packaging for takeout containers for a regenerative cycle. Native grasses like switchgrass are perennials that can grow to 8-10 feet high every year, without replanting. The roots go as deep as the plant is tall, building the soil and requiring minimal water. Native grasses for packaging will not typically be more valuable than major cash crops but they help make full use of fringe and marginal land on many farms across the country and may have a future in California where new water pumping regulations are expected to cause many Central Valley farms to fallow as much as a third of their acreage. Farmers in East Tennessee are being recruited by Genera to grow ag-fiber pulp like switch grass to produce compostable, fully plant –based food service products like to-go containers. Genera CEO Kelly Tiller and Vice President Sam Jackson join us to connect the dots from fields of perennial renewable grasses to a guilt free packaging of our delivered lunch. I know who grew the food. Who grew the package? www.generainc.com