Christmas Tree Farms Help the Environment, Cattle and Wildlife Form a Friendship, Resolutions for 09, Farm Fresh Recipe and more

American Farmland Trust


AFT's Farm Fresh News Banner December 2008

Welcome to the December edition of Farm Fresh News. This month we start, as many good things do, with a song: O Tannenbaum. Next we have a story about the amazing friendship of cows and birds. Then join us in making farm and food resolutions for 2009, dig into a farm fresh recipe, and, finally, send your warm wishes to friends and family with one of our e-cards!

How EverGREEN Are Your Branches?


‘Tis still the season for farming at 21,904 Christmas tree farms throughout the country. Christmas tree farms can help sequester carbon dioxide, prevent erosion, protect water and provide habitat for wildlife; for every tree cut down, two to three seedlings are planted. Some tree farms are taking extra steps by adopting integrated pest management or organic practices to reduce pesticide use and by planting buffers to prevent runoff. Christmas trees have always been cherished for their green branches, and the many environmental benefits of live trees give us another reason to praise “O Tannenbaum.”


The Odd Couple


Across the pastures of Southeast Texas there exists a very unusual relationship between big livestock and their egret companions. In a textbook example of symbiosis, these grazing livestock stir hidden insects out of the grass and into the open. The egrets feast on the bugs and in turn keep the pests from bothering their bovine friends. In fact, the two species are so close that it is not uncommon to see the birds perched on the backs of their farm friends—hitching a ride until their next meal!


Let’s Make a Difference in ’09

2008 was a year filled with hard work and many accomplishments, and 2009 promises to be just as busy and rewarding! This New Year, renew your commitment to the protection of farms, availability of fresh food and conservation of natural resources by helping us with our 2009 resolutions, and making a resolution of your own.  Let 2009 be the year you commit to the protection of farms, food and the environment! 

Send Some Seasons Greetings to Friends and Family

Spread the holiday cheer with our food and farmland e-cards!

Cat Standing on Post Two Sheep Tractor in Snow White Barn after Snow Storm

Farm Fresh Recipe


Located in the European-style Main Street Market in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia, Orzo Kitchen and Wine Bar prepares delicious and fresh fare with a Mediterranean flavor. Chef and co-owner Charles Roumeliotes embraces the local spirit with the restaurant's baguettes, fish and ground beef coming from the neighboring shops. His popular New York Steaks use naturally raised angus beef and are the perfect choice on a cold winter's night.

New York Steaks with Kalamata Butter

Kalamata Butter

1/4 Stick Butter
1/8 Cup Pitted Kalamata Olives
1/8 Cup Chopped Sundried Tomatoes
1 tbs Shallots
1 tsp Coarse Ground Pepper

Add all ingredients into a food processor until well blended. Remove butter and place butter on wax paper. Roll the butter in the wax paper to form a roll. Chill until firm.

4 x 10 oz Well Marbled New York Steaks
2 Red Peppers
1 Large Sweet Onion (thinly sliced)
1 tbs fresh chopped Thyme
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Rub peppers with oil and cook with skin on over an open flame or under a broiler. Turn peppers until all sides are completely black. Place peppers into a paper bag and seal the bag. Allow to cool. Under cool water, rinse the skins off. Slice peppers open, remove seeds and slice into thin strips. Using a saute pan, cook onions with olive oil over medium heat. As onions begin to sweat and turn a light brown, lower heat, add salt and pepper and fresh thyme. Onions are finished when they are completely soft and golden brown in about 15 minutes.

Salt and pepper your steaks before cooking. Grill or pan sautee steaks to your desired doneness.  Add peppers and caramelized onions and saute until hot. Finish with a good slice of the chilled Kalamata Butter.

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