Highlights from Wise Traditions 2011 – Including Camel Milk!

. 6 min read
They're happy because they eat butter!
The Weston A. Price Foundation Motto: Eat Butter, Be Happy!

Wise Traditions is my very favorite time of year — it’s even better than Christmas. The joy that wells up inside me is so awesome. Being in a hotel full of 1,400+ like-minded people who are all on board with raw milk, grass-fed meat, small farms, fermented foods, is heartwarming and inspiring.

Jan Petersen who came all the way from Copenhagen, Denmark

If you have never been to the Weston A. Price Foundation’s Wise Traditions conference, my wish for you is that you will be able to attend next year. I’ve been going for four years now, and every year it keeps getting better.

Video Highlights from Wise Traditions 2011

(Sorry for the Google ad. They put that on the video when you use a song that’s not your own. Just click the X and it will go away.)

By the way, the song is “I Hope” by The Dixie Chicks. I chose it because even though there’s a lot of bad stuff going down (this year was a rough one with the Rawesome raids, Organic Pastures recall, Michael Schmidt’s hunger strike, etc.,) the overwhelming sentiment at the Wise Traditions conference is one of hope and optimism.

Food co-op organizers, John Moody and Kane Holbrook, awarded for their bravery by the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund

The People

I could write a month’s worth of posts just introducing you to all the wonderful people who go to the Wise Traditions conference. You meet herbalists, lawyers, naturopaths, homesteaders, scientists, farmers and chefs. These folks are so smart, so warm-hearted, so alive with energy and enthusiasm.

This is the main reason I love Wise Traditions. I’ve been looking for my “tribe” my whole life and I’ve finally found them.

Beautiful Grass Dairy Farmer, Ramy, of Texas Daily Harvest
Julia Roberts lookalike and grass dairy farmer, Ramy of Texas Daily Harvest

It’s a love fest of the coolest people you’ll ever meet, bubbling with creativity and revolutionary ideas. Kind of like a Grateful Dead concert only we get high on kombucha and raw milk. Instead of listening to music, we go to lectures about beekeeping and the health benefits of cholesterol. Instead of trying to score some drugs, we’re trying to find a source for camel milk (more on that below).

I was especially excited to visit with many new (and old) Real Food Media bloggers. It blows me away to see how fast we are growing. I started this blog in November 2007 and back then, it was tough to find any blogs about WAPF-style eating. I remember how happy I was when I finally found Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

Real Food Media bloggers -- click the photo for who's who

Now look at us! Last year we only had 8 people in the group photo, and the year before that we had 5. The year before that it was just me. This year we had 18! (Unfortunately Kimberly Hartke had just stepped away; we would have had 19.)

Kristen from Food Renegade and Jenny from Nourished Kitchen

I didn’t get any sleep at Wise Traditions. I never do. I stayed up late every night hanging out in the bar with the likes of raw milk pioneers Mark and Blaine McAfee from Organic Pastures, sustainable farming expert Chris Kerston from Chaffin Family Orchards, blogger Kelly the Kitchen Kop (she can hang with the best of them) and the fabulous and beautiful Joanna Runciman of Actual Organics.

Chris Kerston of Chaffin Family Orchards
Chris Kerston of Chaffin Family Orchards

I also got to have a drink with Peter Campbell-McBride, husband to Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, founder of the GAPS Diet and author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome

. Speaking of Peter, you’d have a tough time finding someone with a bigger heart than that man. What a generous and caring soul! He and Dr. Natasha seem to be very well matched.

And Michael Schmidt, courageous raw dairy farmer from Canada, whom I got to meet and I got a big old HUG!

Canadian Raw Milk Farmer, Michael Schmidt
Raw Milk Hero, Michael Schmidt

The Food

The food, as always was fabulous.

Lunch on the first day

I ate liver at least once and often twice a day and it was delicious.

Liverwurst!
Liverwurst!

And there was plenty of grass-fed butter and cream.

A Monster Bowl of Whipped Cream!

Chef Monica Corrado did an amazing job.

The oatmeal bar benefiting the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund was a great way to start the day. (Now that I eat breakfast every morning, I was so grateful they had it.  just wished they would keep it open past 9 am! I barely made it there each day and one day I missed it.

The Sessions

I only got to see a few snippets of sessions — some of Dave Wetzel’s talk on fermented cod liver oil, some of the Real Food Blogger Panel, and some of Matt Stone’s talk. I was too busy running around taking photos and visiting with people. I figure I can always listen to mp3s later, but I gotta get the hugs while I can!

You can look forward to my posts about the lectures soon.

If you want to see all the photos I took, click here for the Flickr set. Feel free to use them in blog posts or for whatever you like.

My Newfound Obsession with Camels and Camel Milk

As I was telling someone at the conference, you can’t go very far down the WAPF rabbit hole before you end up with livestock. Seth has finally agreed to let me get some chickens and goats. Since we moved to the desert, it makes sense to get goats, since they can handle the heat and don’t need green pastures.

I’ve also been thinking about camels. Camels are a natural for the desert.

And then at lunch one day, I sat next to Julie Matthews of Nourishing Hope, who went on and on about the health benefits of camel milk.

Me with Julie Matthews of Nourishing Hope

The next day, the last day of the conference, I sat with my friends Ricky and Cynthia Busse from Arkansas at breakfast and told them all about my fledgling preoccupation with camels.

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Me with Cynthia Busse

Later that day, Ricky showed up with camel milk! How AWESOME is that? Ask and ye shall receive.

Camel milk!

Camel milk is truly the nectar of the gods, people. In the words of Blaine McAfee (from Organic Pastures), “It tastes like crème brûlée!”

And she’s a dairy farmer. She knows her milk.

Of course, I know my crème brûlée. And she’s dead on.

I think I’m gonna have to get me some camels.

Sandrine Hahn Drinking Camel Milk
Sandrine Hahn of Nourishing Our Children enjoying the camel milk