Fresh From Our Farm

Golden Beauties


Dandelion field

The beginning of May turns our farm into a field of gold – dandelion gold. And though most people who want a lush, green lawn do everything in their power to kill off the dandelion, this flower is so beneficial.

Dandelions are a source of vitamins. This is why they have been used in herbal medicines by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. They have been part of Chinese traditional medicine for over a thousand years. Dandelion tea is a gentle diuretic that can flush toxins from the liver and keep the digestive system functioning properly.

They are important to bees and other insects. Interesting enough, although the dandelion has a nectar that has been labeled the first food of the bees in spring, they do not require the bees or other insects for pollination. Dandelions have a root system that will continue to produce those beautiful golden flowers. The roots can grow as deep as 15 feet and, if the root clones are divided, one inch of root is all that is needed to start another dandelion!

The roots are beneficial if you have clay soil as they break up and aerate the ground. They pull up the calcium from the ground that could be useful to other plants. So, in a sense, dandelions can help fertilize the lawn!

Dandelion roots have been used as a coffee substitute and can be priced at over $30.00 a pound! At the table, dandelions are a powerhouse of nutrition. The leaves have more vitamin C than tomatoes and more vitamin A than spinach. They also contain potassium, iron, and calcium.

In addition to salad and tea, dandelions give cookies, jelly, and ice cream a unique flavor.

At our farm, May is dandelion picking time. We use eight cups of dandelion petals in every gallon of wine that we make.

boiling dandelions

So, don’t reach for the herbicide if you see dandelions in your yard. Pick them and enjoy them with your favorite meal as a side dish or a drink!

KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, as well as premium hay, is located in Davisburg, Michigan and is in the process of acquiring the required licenses to become a small wine maker.

STEM and the Farm


robotic_farming

What comes to mind when someone says “farm” to you? Fields of crops? Cows being milked? Chickens, pigs, goats, and other animals? Of do you think science, technology, engineering, and math? Most people do not associate technologies or math-based skills with farming. And, yes, although the farm may be tucked away from the bustling city life, the technology of the 21st century is a big part of a farmer’s life.

Science

Science plays a major role in farming. We use genetics to determine which bull will produce well-muscled calves for beef. We need to determine how much nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous is lacking in the soil. Too much will not produce a better crop. Are there weeds in the field? Which herbicide is needed to eradicate the weeds without compromising the nutritional value or even killing the crop?

Technology

Today farmers use sophisticated technologies such as robots, temperature and moisture sensors, aerial images, and GPS technology to ensure better crops and minimal impact on the ecosystem. Moisture sensors help determine when the crops are dry enough to harvest. This is important especially in our industry where wet hay creates moldy hay – unsuitable for livestock. The GPS technology helps track the movement of the tractor so that seeds or fertilizer is spread evenly with no overlapping rows. Technology can even determine the specific areas that require more or less fertilizer, areas that are too moist for planting, or too dry and require irrigation.

Engineering

Engineering is probably the most widely used but least thought about in the farming industry. Farmers need the skills of engineers to design more efficient farm machinery to creating bio-fuels. Engineers can help design effective ways to minimize erosion, how to preserve wetlands, and reduce pollution. Engineers are also valuable in designing buildings to better shelter the animals while keeping their feed, water, and mobility in mind.

Math

While the computer may assist the farmer in daily calculations, math is vital for the success of the farmer. Farmers need to look at the ratio of fertilizer required per acre as well as the mix of chemicals required for the acreage. The amount of seeds required as well as how to layout the plots require math. Knowing the amount of time, materials, and upkeep on the equipment determines the market value of the crop. And when all is said and done, the farmer needs to know if the efforts to raise the crops or livestock was profitable.

Today, many schools are promoting STEM classes as a vital part of a student’s education. From our point of view, STEM is vital for survival.

KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, as well as premium hay, is located in Davisburg, Michigan and is in the process of acquiring the required licenses to become a small wine maker.

How Beneficial is Wine?


glass of wine_rec

Since we are hoping to open a winery in the next year or so, I thought I would add articles on wine to this blog as well.

Winemaking is as old as civilization itself and has been a part of living. Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding feast so the host would not lose face by running out of wine!

But wine is an alcohol. Is it bad for us or as good as some of the articles want us to believe?

Wines contain antioxidants. The amount depends on the fruit, usually grapes, that the wine is made from and the age of the wine. Several antioxidants are lost as the wine ages, so, maybe the vintage wine in the cellar tastes good, but, it may not be as good for your body as a younger wine.

How quickly do these antioxidants disappear? One study reported that 90% of the anthocyanin* content is lost in the first few months. So while none of the flavor is lost, the health benefits that we are looking for could be.

Wine also contains tannins. While grapes, red grapes in particular, have the highest concentration of tannins. Tannin can also be added to a wine if the fruit does not contain a sufficient amount. In wine, the tannin adds the bitterness, astringency, and dryness to the wine. It is also a natural antioxidant, which is good for the wine and those of us who drink it!

As far as most research goes, there is no conclusive proof that wine is as good for you as we would like to believe, but, just eating grapes would not provide the same amount of tannin and other antioxidants that are contained in wine. That is because all grapes are not created equal. American grapes, regardless of how red they might be, do not have the same benefits as red wine grapes. That’s because it was bred out of them!

My philosophy is – eat a well-balanced diet and pair it with a good wine!

Na zdrowie!

* Anthocyanins are water-soluble vacuolar pigments that may appear red, purple, or blue depending on the pH.
KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, as well as premium hay, is located in Davisburg, Michigan and is in the process of acquiring the required licenses to become a small wine maker.

 

 

Storing and Keeping the Egg


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Have you ever wondered how long you can keep eggs? Or, what is the best way to store and egg?

Don’t wash fresh eggs

An experiment conducted by Mother Earth News tried different methods of storing and preserving eggs and reported that at the end of seven months, non-refrigerated, unwashed eggs stored the best followed by eggs placed in sealed container in the refrigerator.

But, aren’t we told to always refrigerate our eggs? Yes, especially if you purchase them from a store. Eggs taken right from the hen and not washed are covered with a light coating of nature’s sealant called “bloom” and this protects the contents of the egg from air and bacteria. You can see the bloom shine on the egg that the hen in the picture above is laying.

The egg shell is porous, so anything, including air, that the egg is exposed to once the bloom is washed off, can contaminate the contents.

Store in a container

The refrigerated eggs held up, but, I suspect not because they were in the refrigerator, but because they were stored in a sealed container which also protected it from bacteria.

That being said, I would not keep fresh eggs in the refrigerator door for any length of time unless you are like us and eat at least a dozen a week! A better investment would be those camping egg containers.

Point down

Whether you store your eggs in the door, a sealed egg container, or the egg carton itself, be sure that your egg point is down. There is an air sac on the wider end of the egg. This is the air the chick would breathe before hatching. This air also acts as a barrier to bacteria entering the egg – unless, of course, the egg still has its bloom. Storing the egg with the point down also keeps the yolk in the center of the egg which is a plus if you like to make deviled eggs!

So, don’t wash fresh eggs and store them in a container pointy-end down, and they will keep for you.

KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, as well as premium hay, is located in Davisburg, Michigan.

Sugar – Part of the Diet?


SONY DSC

A few days ago Skittles® made the headlines in Wisconsin and beyond. No, they were not introducing a new color or flavor. A truckload lost its load and they were dumped on the highway! So the question was, where were they going? Was someone going to eat this candy of candy that was not packaged in its traditional red bag? Why was it in the bed of that truck?

The candy were rejects – because they were missing the “S” on them – and were being sent to be part of the feed mix for cattle. Cattle? Who would give candy to cattle?

I decided to do a little research because, knowing that our horses liked a peppermint from time to time, I thought maybe I needed to get some candy for our cattle as well.

The answer was – Yes, candy not suitable for human consumption is often mixed with feed for cows – primarily dairy cows. Other livestock can also be fed candy as part of their diet. Notice, the key word here is PART – not solely, not primarily, but PART. Just like sugars are part of a human diet.

But isn’t sugar bad? For the cow or for the human? Over ten years ago fats, oils, and sugars were added to the food pyramid. I remember that because I was always watching sugar intake for both myself and my children.

It turns out the sugar, added in small amounts, is actual good for digestion. The sucrose in plain table sugar helps break down other complex sugars so your body can absorb, process, and distribute them to other parts of your body.

Similarly in cows, sugar is used to break down the healthy bacteria, fiber and protein found in the cattle’s feed. By adding the candy to their feed ration is actually helping their system to absorb the nutrients in their food. Remember – the cows are not fed pure candy any more than you would serve your child candy for dinner. It is simply used as a supplement that has a job to do.

I then checked out nutritional information for our horses. First and foremost, the horse’s digestive system is nothing like a human’s or a cow’s. Most of the simple sugars and carbs are broken down in the small intestine and absorbed. A look at the amount of simple sugar and carbs in different hay or grasses told me that they receive a substantial amount every day.

My thoughts? Skip the peppermints for the horses, but candy for the cows may be the better choice than having it go into a landfill.

KeiLin Farm, a producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, as well as premium hay, is located in Davisburg, Michigan.

How do I cook that?


beef-shank

When you buy a quarter of a steer, you get a quarter of all the cuts available from that steer. You know you get steak – porterhouse, T-bone, chuck, and ground. You get roasts – English, rump, and chuck. But what about these other packages? There are soup bones or shanks, stew meat, and short ribs! What do I do with those?

These cuts could end up being your favorites once you know how to use them.

Soups

The crock pot can be your best friend. Put the soup bones in the pot with a generous amount of water and your favorite spices. Experiment with the spices – thyme, oregano, and basil make a great Italian seasoning. Mix rosemary with black pepper, lemon zest, garlic, and salt (optional) for another great flavoring. Add some vegetables and let it cook on low for about 8 hours. The meat will fall off the bones! Dice it, add some barley if you like and cook it for another half hour. If you don’t like barley, boil some noodles and mix with the soup.

Stew

Stew is another crock pot favorite. Just like the soup, cook the meat for about eight hours on low with your choice of spices and vegetables. Thicken the broth when it’s done. Hearty meal on a cold day with little effort from you.

Fajitas

Any dish that uses small, sliced meats can also be made with the stew meat. We love fajitas. The stew meat is already chucked, so I only cut the larger pieces, stir fry and follow our favorite recipe. Done!

Short ribs

This cut also works best in a crock pot. I like to add my favorite bar-b-q sauce and let it simmer away all day. Serve with a microwave baked potato and salad for another delicious and effortless meal.

Just as a note, we’ve recently added an electric pressure pot to our kitchen. We’ve made the same meals that we made in the crock pot quickly. It’s been a life saver on the days that “someone” forgot to start the crock pot in the morning.

These are just a few ways to serve these lesser-known cuts of meat. How many have you tried? What is your favorite ways to prepare them? Let us know in the comments below.

KeiLin Farm, producer of farm fresh beef and eggs, is located in Davisburg, Michigan.

5 Fast Facts About the New FDA Antibiotics Guidelines — Facts About Beef


When it comes to healthy animals, no one cares more than farmers and ranchers. The beef that farmers and ranchers raise and sell to restaurants and supermarkets is the same beef they feed their own families, so it’s no surprise that they want the best care for their livestock to ensure everyone has safe, healthy beef.

via 5 Fast Facts About the New FDA Antibiotics Guidelines — Facts About Beef

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Contact Information

9160 Eagle Road
Davisburg, MI 48350
248.634.7276

KeiLin Farm website