Glad to be back on here! It’s been a crazy transition from 2014-2015! More about that later. In the moment, here and now, I am in New York City with my daughter and co-owner of Fields of Athenry Farm, MaryTeresa Boland. What, you might ask, are we doing in New York City? So there’s this organization of amazing women called Women Chefs and Restauranteurs, WCR! Each year, WCR holds a conference and a “Women Who Inspire” awards gala to celebrate the efforts of all the outstanding women who have been recognized by their peers as exceptional leaders in their field. I am honored and humbled to have been nominated for the “Golden Plow” award.

This morning we started our day off in gratitude and celebrated mass in Saint Patricks Cathedral.


We then came back and enjoyed delicious breakfast bites from various NY women chefs,

Katarzyna Ploszaj, Petite Oven, NY

Shannon Collins, Grace Café, NY

Erica Kulaga, Agatha Kulaga, Ovenly, NY

Katherine Thompson, Lartusi, NY

Keynote with Lidia Bastianich award-winning chef, restauranteur, TV host, educator, business partner with B&B Hospitality Group and one of the original founders of WCR, was inspirational to say the least. We are looking forward to visiting her Eataly and butcher shop here in NYC.


Lydia was followed by a great panel including;

Susan Ungaro, President of James Beard Foundation

Dana Cowin, Editor Food & Wine

Kat Kinsman, Editor-In-Chief The Tasting Table

Melissa Clark, Journalist, New York Times

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The message shared of finding power in female solidarity has been inspirational. We will keep you updated as our eventful conference unfolds. It is a joy and a privilege to be here as we continue to learn.

My Bone Broth Journey

I often say, if anyone had told me I’d be doing what I am doing today, I would have laughed right out loud. God certainly had other plans for me. In fact He had majorly different plans than what I ever dreamed I’d be doing with my life. That was my first mistake; thinking or planning the big picture as I thought it should be.

My work comes from His guidance and all that I do is attributed to the fact that He knows the what’s, where’s, when’s and how’s for me. If only I will listen better. I am not going to go all “God and be healed” on you, but I do need to give credit where credit is due, and I cannot fathom what or where I would be without Him. I simply am not capable of ever doing on my own, what I do today.

My journey from childhood to now has been amazing, ever changing, evolving, and full of learning. I have been spoiled with incredible life travels and experiences, and I have experienced devastating losses and long, tough roads. That’s life. I can always look around and see how blessed and lucky I am to live the life I live. While at the same time I can get frustrated, lose hope, and see a never ending pile of obstacles that can get pretty overwhelming. Especially when you have a child or children with an illness no one can figure out.

Being a wife and mother, allowing myself to be crippled by overwhelming thoughts really isn’t an option. While sometimes I would like to wallow in my misery, I can’t allow that behavior to last too long. I have a family. I am the personality type that says, “Pull yourself up by the boot straps, Elaine, and get to work. Do something. Anything! Think big, think out of the box and take some action.” This is easier said than done, but done it must be and relying upon the big man upstairs is the only way I have been able to get past myself and begin moving forward.

In the last 14 years I have worked consistently on two products I can call my own. Two products, whether anyone else likes them or not, I can honestly say I LOVE them! They are my life blood. They are my two labors of LOVE!

Bone Broths and Sushi Stories – Say what? Yes, Bone Broths and Sushi Stories 🙂 Today will be about “My Bone Broths.”

Bone Broths, stocks, what ever it is the experts want to call them, I’ll call them “My Bone Broths.”

Yes, I know bone broths have been made since the age of time and they are the latest and greatest trend right now. The new Starbucks, Red Bull, and Mountain Dew. Except “My Bone Broths”  are the real deal. Nutritiously dense, gelatinous and a delicious super food!

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The road to developing Bernadette’s broth was an adventure I took seriously. I knew there was no way, on Gods green earth, I would get many chances to get my daughters to drink the mystery power drink. If it was nasty, even one time, it would be game over. The road to developing a broth my children would drink like a soda pop, was indeed, a long journey – a little over two years to be exact.

It all started when Dr.’s Pete and Lolin Hilgartner explained to me that the Cushing’s tumor in my lovable, hugable, happy-go-lucky, 8 year old Bernadette, would wreak havoc on her organs, mind and body. We needed to find a way to attack the root cause and not just go after treating the symptoms caused by the over production of cortisol in her tiny, but ever enlarging, body.

The good doctors suggestion; We know it is going to affect her organs so let’s create food medicine to help boost her organ function! She needs to eat organ meat. “HAHAHAHA Yeah Right! You fool!” was what I was thinking to myself.  Meanwhile, trying to keep a serious face and nodding my head, yes, in agreement like, “That’s such a brilliant idea doc’s!”

Dr. Pete then challenged me by involving me in my own child’s health, but at a different level: “You know Elaine, with your farm, you have the organ meats. We really need someone to develop foods with organ meats because it is seriously lacking in all of our diets. By consuming them, they help boost blood cell counts, fertility, support weakened immune systems and so much more.” Dr. Pete went on and on with detailed information that made perfect sense once I stopped and really listened to absorb the crux of what he was teaching me. No doctor had ever explained food as medicine in this way to me before, much less food as medicine alone or in combination with clinical medicine. Food as part of Bernadette’s overall medicine would quickly become part of our daily lives.

I went home scratching my head and thinking to myself, this is too much and way beyond me, but maybe I should keep reading and learning from that book, “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon Morell and Dr. Mary Enig. This great resource was given to me by that encouraging and insistent “The Healthy Habit Coach“, Tara Rayburn and now Dr.’s Pete and Lolin Hilgartner. I’ve learned in my lifetime that when the same something keeps popping up in front of you, over and over, regardless of the channel, I need to pay attention.

Pay attention I did, and playing Bone Broth Chef in my kitchen began. Two years later I had the “soda pop” my kids would drink without a bat of their eyes. In fact, my sweet Bernadette couldn’t wait to have it for her breakfast every morning before heading off to school at age 9. This really was the breakfast of champions! Today, Miss Bernadette is 18 years old – going to college, riding horses, working as a nanny and loving life. Yes, I am proud of “My Bone Broths” I have made over the years. One of my greatest joys has been in developing  “special batches” for many of you, for your family members with cancer, serious to extreme food allergies, pneumonia and more. I hope you have enjoyed them as much as I have enjoyed making them for you! I would love to hear how they have worked for you.


“I tell people that your broth is the most dense, best tasting broth I’ve had! Also, your Bernadette’s Broth is incredibly dense and full of nutrition with all the organ meat that is used.” – Dr. Pete Hilgartner

The Fearless Duo

image3 (1)MaryElaine 

 MaryElaine is our youngest  of 5 daughters – okay “MY BABY” and an employee from the get go – whether she intended to be or not.  Mary Elaine has been working on the Farm since the beginning.  She is essential to our Farm team as she helps whenever we need and with whatever we need.  On Patio Service days, you’ll find Mary Elaine in the shop making sure everyone is getting the service they deserve.  When she is hiding out from work, you’ll probably find her in the barn! She’s actively involved with the horses here on the farm including running the Fields of Athenry Equestrian Business.  She has a special, and frankly rare, quality to work hard and for that I am so grateful and proud. Not only does she work hard but she keeps everyone laughing.  Every Wednesday night after packaging has been done, as a farm family, we sit down around the table and have dinner (It’s our chance to laugh, share stories and enjoy each other’s company).  Mary Elaine is the one who always has the whole table crying with laughter! Between her stories and her comments, there’s never a dull moment! MaryElaine and Bernadette truly have a special bond.

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You may not see her working  as often in the shop, however she is the inspiration behind the Farm.  Bernadette and Mary Elaine are the youngest employees and have worked since the farms conception and are truly dedicated to our Mission.

Now that you have met the key players of our operation it’s time for Bernadette to share her personal journey. Having had her tumor removed 7 years ago, Bernadette has finally put pen to paper. She is now courageously letting us inside the depths of her Cushing’s Disease in hopes that it might help others to live each day to be the best you can be.

Bernadette’s Personal Journey:

It all started in second grade when I was eight years old. My mom began to notice I was gaining weight. It wasn’t the fact that I was gaining weight, it was the odd phenomenon that the weight was fluctuating along with my face flushing beet red with little to no exertion on my part, leg and ankle pains, overall joint pains, and blinding headaches. At first we blamed it on growing pains; I would gain some weight, then I would grow a little bit, but after a few rounds of this cycle, I just stopped growing. Soon I became the shortest and roundest member of my athletic, tall, skinny, 5’8”+ sisters. My hair was thin and scratchy looking, breaking off at the top. My legs hurt to the point that I shuffled like a little old arthritic man. It was a miracle if I could ever keep up with my long-legged family. This lasted from second grade all the way through my seventh grade year. During middle school my head would hurt so badly and pulse so strongly any source of light would irritate me. When I got these headaches I would get nauseous, but nothing ever came up to relieve me of the sickening feeling. I just figured this is how it was going to be for me. I didn’t expect to feel any better because when I had gotten to my worst that was what had become my normal.


Between second and seventh grade my mom battled with different doctors trying to convince them that something was wrong. I had many visits to NIH (National Institute of Health) and overnight stays to do testing. I was a case they had had very few dealings with before. I felt like an experiment. They used me as a prop for many training doctors, poking and prodding me like a dummy in one of their college courses. Like I said, I was something they were unfamiliar with. I learned in my experience, that sometimes when doctors can’t solve something, they jump to conclusions which lead to making irrational diagnoses.

Doctors blamed my wacky body levels on my mom giving me drugs or body creams to make me the way I was. They also insinuated that I wasn’t eating properly or exercising enough. Specifically from one doctor, “Could your daughter be taking your birth control pills?” I was only in 7th grade at this point, and being strong practicing Catholics, my mother did not take birth control.


Let me tell you what family I am a part of. First off, I lived/live on a working farm with horses to ride, creeks to play in, and woods to explore. There are multiple Olympic level athletes on my mom’s side of the family, who if they didn’t eat and exercise well wouldn’t be in the shape or condition necessary to compete on the international level. We would tell the doctors this, but they continued to blame it on me not eating well or eating too much and not exercising enough. After a few years of nothing but dead ends my family and I went to “visit” Grandma in Arizona. This trip was indeed a trip to visit my grandmother but it was mainly a trip for me to see an old retired family doctor friend, Dr. Tawfik Rizkallah, who with one glance at my full heavy body and constant rosy red cheeks diagnosed me with Cushing’s disease. I had all the classic signs but no proof to show for it. None of the fancy machines that hospitals have could find any tumor growth that linked my outward bodily signs to the imbalances within my body. This was about fifth grade.


By the time I reached seventh grade in 2008, my mother had had enough of me feeling the way I did. She took my health reports and asked her adult endocrinologist (Dr. Howard Lando) to take a look at them. He denied the papers at first saying he only deals with adults and that my mom needed to take me to a child endocrinologist because the child to adult system is so different. Mom did and it led us nowhere again. Mom pushed back and told Dr. Lando she needed him to take a look at my reports. Dr. Lando finally agreed and within a few weeks he had me sent to have an MRI. The hospital said they only wanted to do a scan of my adrenals when Dr. Lando sent the order in to be of both my adrenals and brain. He was furious when he heard the MRI team wasn’t going to listen to his order. He personally called them up directly and before I knew it, the MRI team agreed to his orders, put the rose smelling liquid into my veins and into the tube I went, listening to the clicking and clacking noises like horse hooves hitting pavement. A month later, October, 2008, I was scheduled to have brain surgery with none other than Dr. Joe Watson, a man who reminded me of a very tall and sophisticated “Bill Nye the Science Guy” who had a different pair of glasses on at each appointment. I was one of twenty kids in the U.S. he had ever removed a pituitary brain tumor from for Cushing’s Disease.

Now let me rewind a bit to early fall 2006, the time Drs. Pete and Lolin Hilgartner and Tara Rayburn were brought into my life. These are the people that I refer to as my miracle workers. Tara Rayburn is the woman who pushed my mom to make a product that would help make people feel the best that they have ever felt. She encouraged my mom to study the ways of how people used to raise their animals and how they made their broths and how they lived. She’s the woman who introduced my mom to the Weston A Price Foundation and Essential Oils, both of which help in healing and attitude in ways that I cannot even begin to explain. She’s the woman who introduced me and my mom to Drs. Pete and Lolin who have helped me heal and stay healthy since my surgery in 2008. Dr. Pete is a chiropractor who takes a different look on how to adjust the body, but he’s not just that. He’s a life coach. He has helped me stay strong through teaching me how the body works and giving different perspectives on how to look at things that I go through. He has taught me the power of saying no so I don’t wear myself out and drain my system of the things we have worked so hard to build up again. Dr. Lolin is the nutritionist. She has taught me and guided me to eat well and be well. She’s always telling me to surround myself with happy things; happy books, happy movies, happy people, because it’s amazing how much our body is drained when we are surrounded by negative news, negative people, and bad food. She’s the one who has helped me feel as close to a normal teenager that I can feel. These are the people that I really credit for my post surgery success.

This small, less than an inch, tumor caused my system to produce more than 758 milligrams of cortisol in my body daily. “Normal” people produce about 15-20 milligrams of this steroid daily. This is what helps maintain and support people’s immune systems and bodily functions when they get sick or stressed. After the removal of my tumor, my cortisol levels dropped to zero. I had absolutely no immune system. Nothing to back my system up if I had a sudden crash. I was put on hydro-cortisol for a long time and for any of you who have ever needed to be on a steroid, you know it is not a fun experience. In order to combat the steroid feeling and to help my immune system grow stronger and to help raise my levels again my mom worked on perfecting her Beef/Lamb Bone Broth, which she named Bernadette’s Broth because of the wonders it did/ does for me. This broth is made over the course of two to three days with the organ meat, marrow and soup bones, and spices to create an amazing product that results in energy boosts and immune system boosts. After drinking this broth like a cup of tea every day my levels slowly began to rise and I was on the road to recovery. 1

Between my mom’s Bernadette’s Broth, Dr. Pete’s adjustments, Dr. Lolin’s nutritional guidance, and Tara Rayburn’s guidance on which oils to use when, I have been able to work outside in the sweltering heat to the freezing cold without getting overly drained. I have been able to fall off horses and get back on without needing to be rushed to the hospital in worry that my body couldn’t heal itself after hitting the hard ground. I’m not as tired as I used to be and my joints don’t ache nearly as badly as they used to. That’s not to say that I’m magically rid of my disease because I’m not. My tumor could grow back if I don’t follow the guidance of the four people mentioned above. My tumor could still grow back even while I’m eating well and following the protocol Dr. Lando, Dr. Pete, and Dr. Lolin have set for me, but I also know that if I do follow the holistic path in combination with aids from clinical medicine that is used so often today, I have a better chance of staying strong and thriving and hopefully less of a chance of a tumor growing back. I owe my life to these people because they have kept me alive and healthy since 2008, while at the same time encouraging me to continue to grow physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I encourage everyone to take that step outside of the box of conventionality, and take control of how you eat in order to control how you feel, because I believe that the way we eat and how we treat our body has everything to do with how we live each day.Bernie side saddle jumpng Tink

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It Takes A Village… (Part 2)


IMG_3799Galin- Galin has been around the farm for a long, long time.  As one of MT‘s oldest and best friends she has been here for so many of  our family life’s precious moments, from sleepovers, to Homecoming Dances, to catching turkeys running around the barnyard.  Galin attended James Madison University and majored in Communications (which has been a huge help to us here at the Farm). After college, Galin got into the Sales world ( stayed there for 3 years) knowing it wasn’t her forever job, but that it was a good experience.  Galin and MT worked together as waitresses in Purcellville, Virginia, during the days of Main Street Wings. As destiny would have it for this dynamic duo, Galin offered her services to help MT with our farm’s  Patio Services and slowly but surely she began showing up more and more. This was a gift we will be forever grateful, she stepped up to the plate (so to speak ) gave of herself to help our small farm operation out of true friendship. In addition to volunteering here, she is following her life dream and studying to become an Elementary School teacher. Those are lucky children to have such a brilliant, fun loving women shaping their little innocent lives just as she helps shape us here at the farm with her love and fun for life. She works diligently in the shop, plates food during Patio Services, contributes to Wednesday night packaging and works with MT on our Social outreach.  She brings a tremendous help to the Farm team, offering us support by lending an extra set of hands or offering insight when a project needs to get completed. She is a true treasure, abundance of joy with that right attitude.


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Alison- Alison and our youngest daughter  Mary Elaine grew up together in the 4-H Pony Club. They have been best of friend’s and together have been our worker bee’s from the very beginnings!  MaryElaine and Alison have a special friendship – what is said and shared on the farm between them – stays on the farm – no kidding these two have each others back, thick and thin. Alison helps out with everything and never complains, and I mean that, NEVER COMPLAINS no matter how late it can get, no matter how much homework may be ahead of her – especially during tough holiday schedules.  Not only is she the one that -almost always – like 99.9% of the time- hand slices our cheese into their 1/2 to 1-pound packages –  she completes the farm team for Wednesday night packaging (Along with Mary Elaine, Galin & MT), writing your names on the bags for Pre-Orders, packaging chicken to each of your personal request, to staying calm when the going gets tough.  Alison NEVER hesitates to do what needs to be done, she is an integral part to helping everything function smoothly.  You’ll see Alison around the shop on Patio Services days as well as pitching in in the Farm Shop whenever we need her. We are extremely proud to have Miss Alison on our team!

It Takes A Village…

I don’t know if you have ever had your own farming operation, but if you haven’t I will be the first to tell you, it’s not always cute little baby animals and beautiful crops. It is a lot of work. Your job doesn’t begin when you walk in the office or end when you leave. It is all the time. It’s when you wake up in the middle of the night because there is a fox attacking your mother hens. Or when you’re finally starting to thaw out from getting all the animals locked up when it is 5˚ outside and your momma ewe decides to have her baby. But, it’s in those moments of new life that you are able to sit back and appreciate all the hard work that goes into it. I wouldn’t be anywhere without the help of my awesome farm team. It has taken years to get where I am and to get a group that works so well together. I am very fortunate. Since it takes a village to keep our little farm operation running, I want to introduce you to everyone!

MTCollageMaryTeresa Boland – “MT” went to Virginia Tech and graduated with a degree in Human Development. From the beginning of our farm she has always helped with writing the newsletters, working on the website and doing as much as she could while away at school. I was thrilled when she graduated because I wanted her to come help me full time. Unfortunately she had a different idea in mind. I was very supportive of that and let her go off on her own and do her own thing. While she was working in the mortgage business for three years, I had some time to grow the farm business. I then reached a point where I needed more help. I needed someone that knew and understood what we were doing here and why. It’s not just about eating good meat; it’s about knowing what is going on in your system and how you can be the healthiest you! She got me. She got the mission behind the farm. And that’s when I knew I needed to approach her again. She has now been helping me for almost two years. She is the one that literally does everything. MT is in charge of our employees, organizing Thanksgiving Turkeys, marketing, social media, accounting, patio service… I could go on for days. MT has been a huge asset to our Farm and has given me the freedom to step away from some of the shop work so that I can work in the kitchen and grow our Bone Broths!

MikeCollageMike North – Mike is our Farm Manager. He came to us from Philadelphia about a year and a half ago and we haven’t looked back since. He is our “do-it-all” man when it comes to the operation of all our farm equipment, butcher runs, animals and more. When I mention that this job isn’t easy, just talk to Mike. This isn’t your standard job. You will never know what you are going to come into in the morning. From waking up at 3am to go on butcher runs, to cleaning out the incubator that has a rotten egg (Trust me when I say you NEVER want to smell this!) to taking care of a sick lamb; it’s not exactly easy to write up a job description. Mike begins at 3am on Wednesday mornings, coordinating with the processors, checking each package of meat we receive, and making sure the meat we are receiving is from the animals we took in. He is our liaison for our wholesale accounts as well. Mike works with the customers and quality checks each item to ensure our customers satisfaction upon delivery. The best part, Mike does it every week with a smile on! He won’t be the face you see in the shop on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday, but he is the one that makes sure all of our freshly cut meats make it back to the farm and in our fridge so you can come shop!

Stay tuned for more of our farm team!

A Blogging Farm

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As we continue to grow here at Fields of Athenry we wanted to be able to share this experience with you all more. We consider all of you friends, and we really mean that! Your love and support is what keeps us rolling and keeps the farm up and running.  Without you we wouldn’t exist or have half as much fun existing!


For us, this Blog is a way to give everyone a more in-depth look into who we are, what we do, why we do it, the fun we have, and the lessons we learn.  Our hope is that you enjoy this blog, learn from it, share it, and interact with it!  We will be sharing farm stories, events, recipes, day-to-day fun, nutritional lessons, and much more!


We’re headed on a Blogging Adventure and it’s going to be a good one! So here we go friends.. Fields of Athenry is officially a “Blogging Farm.”


Join us for our Patio Services March-October! Click here to see a calendar of events!


Photos by: Heartfelt Moments by Jean