Restoring The Cycles of Nature | Wild+Whole Sourced

By | November 22, 2022

After years of only cooking with the protein she hunts, Danielle is ready to expand her diet and buy farmed meat again. She visits White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Georgia to learn about regenerative farming. She discovers how this farming practice captures carbon, benefits our soil, increases biodiversity, and can even improve habitat for the game and fish we pursue. She helps to butcher the flank and skirt steak from a cow and cooks a delicious meal over an open fire for the Harris family.
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Every meal has a story to tell that is If you're willing to look for it I'm Danielle Pruitt and I started wild and Whole with the mission to reawaken our Connection to food And to empower us to develop meaningful Relationships with the ingredients on Our plate You're not just farming sustainably You're regenerating as a cook I'm driven By curiosity and my inspiration Springs From harvesting ingredients directly From its source I've spent the past Decade of my life trying to eat Consciously and believe me it's not Always easy but it's taught me the value Of our food and resources and of course It brings me so much joy in the kitchen I want to challenge your perception of What food is where it comes from and how Those two elements are woven into our Lives Because connecting to our landscape Through food means so much more than Just the calories that sustain us Welcome to Wild and whole sourced The industrialized commodity system that Feeds most of this nation was designed To make food cheap abundant and safe and It was wildly successful it made food Obscenely cheap wastefully abundant and Boringly consistent So one could say we got what we wanted But the unintended consequences of that

Fell on the backs of the welfare of the Animals the degradation of the land and Water the impoverishment of Rural America and of course climate change This is why I stopped buying Factory Farmed meat from grocery stores nearly Eight years ago and instead decided to Hunt for protein I wanted to connect to my food and know I was taking responsibility for my meat Consumption And while that has been rewarding I'm Realizing the need to support farmers Who share a common goal in regenerating Our environment for the sake of our Wildlife So I'm looking to expand my diet I'm headed to Bluffton Georgia to visit White Oak pastures White Oak pastures is A sixth generation Family Farm in Southern Georgia whose mission is to Farm with zero waste they find Innovative ways to use all parts for the 10 species of livestock and poultry Pasture raised on the property They make biodiesel compost candles Leather goods pet products and sell These items in addition to all the Different cuts of meat Nationwide I'm going to beat the farm owner will Harris to learn more about how he uses The natural rhythms of nature to improve The land and sequester carbon My entire mission in life and why I

Started wild and whole was that I wanted People to really care about what they're Eating and where it came from I used to Be a little bit against the meat Industry and the beef industry and then I I heard about regenerative Ag and Thought like this is something new this Is different something I can get behind So I'm super excited to be here this is A little bit like a dream come true well Thank you for coming what is this Ranch This Farm is Our Family Farm I'm the Fourth generation my daughter's in the Fifth generation and they're babies of The sixth the way we Farm now is much More like my great-grandfather and Grandfather farm that it is like the Industrial commoditized centralized farm That my dad and I ran for many years When you say industrial you mean like The conventional way which is Confinement feeding of grain to Ruminance cattle a lot of chemical Fertilizer a lot of pesticides a lot of Therapeutic antibiotics to the animals While hormone implants we started in the Mid 90s moving away from that model so You don't do any of those no not even Antibiotics uh we will give a sick Animal antibiotic when it comes out of Our program as far as the meat okay There's a lot of people claiming to be Regenerative AG Farmers but Worley like What is that definition what is

Regenerative AG it is quite simply Restarting the soccer's of nation I Don't know how it could be defined as Anything else in the industrial Combining system has broken the cycles Of Nature and when we restart those Cycles the land yields on abundance Regenerative agriculture describes Farming and grazing practices that among Other benefits reverse climate change by Rebuilding soil organic matter and Restoring degraded land resulting in Both carbon drawdown and improving the Water cycle Incredible amount of carbon Sequestering capacity in a well-managed Pasture every bit of carbon that my cat Will bring in used to be greenhouse gas It was all brought down through Photosynthesis and returned to that Plant tissue And that plant is just like a pump Pulling in greenhouse gases putting some Of it into this Earth Cows bite it off it starts to Slough off We've shown that we actually uh Sequester yeah three and a half pounds Of carbon dioxide equivalent of every Pound of grass-fed beef that we produce And the battle to protect the future of Meat and sustainability limiting the Environmental impact is key and as an Outdoors woman I see how this practice Improves the biodiversity of plants

Pollinators and Wildlife creating a Healthy ecosystem for the game and fish We pursue I'm so excited to cook with Your beef because I'm sure it's going to Be amazing but before I do I feel like I Have to earn it spending a day out here Working on the farm and getting a better Understanding of the operation we're Working like a branded new The Harris family prayer has always been We pray for plenty of good hard work to Do and the strength to do it Today I'm starting my day by joining Cole Scoggin the hog manager Hogs have been an important historical Contributor to the dining table in Georgia for centuries Hogs were traditionally raised in the Woods as they are the ultimate Forest Creature The White Oak pasture Hogs breed just State Farrow and live under the farm Shade trees they eat what they find as a Porridge plus peanuts that they give Them and cracked eggs from their Pasture-raised hens They're also supplemented with non-GMO Feed This is the Iberian breed oh it is yes These were shipped from Spain back in 2014. I call them the wagu Yeah they're really marbly yes very Flavorful and so their piglets just sort Of hang out over there while they eat

Yep yep the piglets don't even are they Still drinking milk they are still Drinking milk for the first two weeks so These piglets out here are under two Weeks old So that is about 24 hours Oh my gosh Oh my gosh You're so scared my main goal when I Took over the department was to bring The stress level down as much as Possible These little pigs are born in these huts And they'll eventually move with the Rest of the herd where they're Rotationally grazed and pastures and Trees they're exposed to Sunshine and Are able to forage run jump and root in The soil The sun is coming up it's getting warm As much as I'd love to hang out and roll In the mud with these pigs there's much More to see Years here the old book Hogs she goes Some more recently so this is our Biggest Enterprise this is Scott Cleveland Scott runs it uh there's 996 Models in here along with Not including their calves and about 55 Degrees They move every single day so I move Five herds every day oh my gosh wait Every herd moves every day yes do this Process five times a day

Oh wow all right what is my job so when We open the gate we'll take one side and Pull it open and I'll pull the other one Then I'll walk back through the herd Okay In the past large herds of ruminants Like bison moved over the grasslands in Search of fresh grass and to avoid Predators These herds Gray's defecated stomped and Salivated as they moved into fresh areas And they wouldn't return until they're Fully recovered White Oak pastures uses grazing methods That mimic Nature by rotating large Herds of cows to Fresh pastures every Day Patterns of high animal impact followed By a period of rest helped to build a Microbial rich soil deepen plant roots And prevent erosion all key elements and Regenerative agriculture When I open those Gates like just like Seeing hundreds of cows behind me like Just running out that was uh that was Exhilarating I love this job there's no Other place I want to be you telling me You can get that view from office chair No I don't think so no oh We do all our slaughtering here on the Farm both red meat animals and poultry We generate about nine tons a day uh Packing plant waste we don't we don't Think I was waste we think of it as a

Nutrient stream And we take that material and compost it And then we spread it back out here so There's a lot of nutrient streams coming Here which allows us to accelerate the Regeneration a lot faster I'd like to Check out the composting let's go do That Emily I hear you are the compost Queen Here uh tell me a little bit about What's going on I definitely smell it Yeah yeah you get a little used to that After a while so this is our compost Field we get a delivery from the plant Every single day of things that they Can't use or sell and that gets added to Our compost pile and if it's mixed with Chicken litter and some sort of carbon Material so right now we're using wood Chips and then our compost sits for About two years before we put it back on The fields and that time just allows That microbial activity and all the good Bacteria to just grow it's so cool all Right well how do we get started follow Me This is our finished compost and as you Said when we walked over here like you Can kind of smell that it it's not the Greatest smelling place on the farm yeah But if you give this away if it's far More earthy yeah it smells like good Soil exactly so this is what our Finished product would look like so

You're going from visceral waist from an Animal to this beautiful stuff Mruel always talks about thinking Generations yeah and that's definitely Something that's very prevalent in the Regenerative AG space is we're not just Thinking about the next cow that you get To kill that's going to be on our plate Or anything like that we're thinking About any children that I could have and Those children and my nieces and all of That kind of stuff that's what goes in Here Watching Emily load up the organic Compost spread out on the fields I'm Impressed with the effort White Oak Pastures is putting into restarting the Cycles of nature These animals are born here they spend Their lives roaming and grazing they're Humanely processed on site their remains Are composted and then they're spread Back out into the fields that they Originally grazed on To operate this vertically integrated Zero waste model takes over 170 people They work together to accomplish a Common goal taking care of the land and Their livestock Meal for the Harris family using skirt And flank steaks lesser known cuts that Are extremely flavorful but not everyone Knows how to work with them so I'm going To visit Brian the head butcher at White

Oak pastures I take a lot of Pride and enjoyment Processing the Wild game that I hunt and I can't wait to help butcher a cow for Our dinner I love playing and skirt steak because I'm from Texas it's a it's an integral Part of Tex-Mex cooking we do a lot of That heated style flash seared meats and I really wanted to use that meatball Game but the connective tissues are so Hard that you have to get every little Bit of that off in order for it to work And then you're left with a really small Piece so I think that's like what makes Something this big special so how do you Go from here to like what's the next Step you start from the bottom yeah so What we'll do is leave this park is Hanging on that rail to tell we pretty Much get every piece off of that hook Let's hope all right Foreign Do I cut it yeah okay thank you all Right here what we're going to do we're Gonna start here We're good you're good I'm probably too slow to be working By Friday we'll be you'll be Rock and Rolling Here we go Peace I appreciate being in here and learning From you like exactly like how the pros

Do it because I'm just kind of that at Home person and so I appreciate you Helping me break down some of the meat We're cooking tomorrow very good thank You so much thank you So I had a ton of fun with Brian in the Butcher room because I do like to Butcher my deer I have a lot of fun I Take a lot of pride in it so I chose to Cook tonight with skirt steak is that Something you cook with often um Skirt steaks are really cool because Yeah they used to be thought of as a Throwaway cut of beef being from Texas The Mexican Vaccaro's received this as Pay because it wouldn't sell at Market So where I'm from it's something that's Kind of celebrated so I'm not gonna Marinate it I'm a really simple salt and Pepper girl good are you okay with that All right you can help me here grab a Good pinch And we'll just sprinkle it over the meat Yeah Yeah and give it a good pepper crack So I'm going to flip them over and do The other side How do you feel about pepper oh I'm a Wiper Is there anything you don't like uh Visuals Dial it on the menu I won't judge you if You decide not to eat it thank you Help yourself

You're gonna take us take a snap yeah Look at the office lights I don't think I've ever eaten raw meat In the middle of prep this is a treat Thank you I'm not sure how lucky I don't cheat That's actually Very very good yeah it's seasoned Perfectly That was actually super tender Whoa That's something I don't do every day Oh are you okay if we cook the rest Yeah You're running for living right Okay so these are seasoned I'm gonna Move on to the next portion I want to Make strawberry shortcakes for desserts This is a biscuit recipe really we're Gonna make these biscuits using the lard Instead of any butter and lard it has a Little bit of that savory quality and It's a it's a little bit less like a Biscuit and a little bit more like a Sweetened scone and we're gonna put a Lot of strawberries because I saw I saw Y'all have a lot of strawberries out at The Farms We start by cutting the chilled lard Into the mixture of flour baking soda Baking powder and salt Goal is separate that lard into little Bitty crumbles with your fingers and so That way when it bakes it gets all those

Little flaky layers we're going to stir This milk and cream into it all right Just enough until it starts to form sort Of a ball here And then this is the fun part make a Huge mess Just turn it out onto the surface I sort of Smash It Out flat And then give it a really good coating Of some more flour and then I'm going to Do a little bit of folding so that I Create some little layers And that'll help it to rise and also be A little bit flaky Here it's your turn to fold So just flip it under and pull Perfect now just smash it flat Because I want these biscuits to be Tender and Rise really tall we're Careful not to overwork the dough I'm actually going to scoot them really Close together and this helps them to Rise up a little bit and they're done Okay so we can put these in the oven and They take about 13 minutes ago All right the biscuits can come out of The oven and we'll put them here Look at that whoa look how perfect these Are So now we're gonna make the strawberry Compote we're just gonna cut up these Strawberries put it in a pot with a Little sugar a little red wine and let It boil and that's it it's pretty easy

Okay Here we go I'm just gonna turn it up to like medium High just to kind of get the Heat going And then once it really starts boiling We'll reduce the Heat and then we're Gonna add a little bit of sugar this is What's gonna give it not just sweetness But whenever it Heats and caramelizes it Gets sort of that jam like texture Foreign This is just a blend of cornstarch and Water and that's going to help to Thicken the consistency And that's basically done we can let it Set and cool and if you want we can go Ahead and have a biscuit Strawberry Shortcake if uh if you want probably Before the family arrives and cheating Yeah To Plate this dish we layer the warm Strawberry compote onto the biscuit then Top with vanilla whipped cream fresh Strawberries and a touch of powdered Sugar All right we're gonna dig in Good good Oh I could eat this for breakfast Lunch and dinner Not so sweet it's good yeah it's not Overly sweet the fact that there's lard In the biscuits beautiful slavery in There yeah it kind of helps to counter Balance it

Sweets but this is very very good mmm I Am really happy to hear that I'm really excited to have the rest of Your family out so I can meet them and Sort of celebrate everything y'all have Created put all the breakable stuff up High Before all the guests arrived I had a Little time to make a seasonal salad With spring lettuce radishes spring Onions sourdough croutons and parmesan Cheese I'm also preparing my favorite sauce to Serve a steak it's a Verde sauce made With parsley garlic Capers lemon juice And oil I can't wait to taste the sauce On top of the meat and also on the salad As a dressing Well you guys thank you so much for Allowing me to spend time out here and Letting me be able to cook for you I I Just wanted to be able to say thank you And give back to you so I hope you all Enjoy some skirt steak so cheers We want these steaks to cook over really High heat so I burn a big pile of wood Down to a hot cool bed to accompany the Meat I toss parboiled fingerling Potatoes with Tallow or beef fat and Some Rosemary sprigs and a cast iron Skillet within minutes they were crispy On the outside and tender in the middle Yeah I also like to add a little brown Sugar to thin pieces of meat that cook

Fast like the skirt steak it yields a Really beautiful caramelization when Seared over high heat Last but not least the most important Thing to remember when working with a Cut with a strong grain line is to slice It against the grain before serving All right everyone come on over make a Plate Cooking and eating with beef humanely Raised in collaboration with the Surrounding ecosystem has been an Enlightening and educational experience And knowing that this farmed meat is Helping capture carbon and regenerate Lands that was severely depleted from Decades of industrial agriculture has Made me rethink what conscious eating Really means And a battle to protect the future of Meat and sustainability it's important To support Farmers like Will Harris And after years of hunting for my own Protein I'm ready to purchase meat again And to advocate for regenerative Ranching and small scale farming that Prioritizes the health of our ecosystem And supports local communities