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Knowing your GMOs


nutritionlabel

If you’re like me, you spend more time in the grocery store reading labels than putting groceries in the cart. We check for the amount of sugar, carbs, and fat. We check for GMO, antibiotics, and hormones. But are those labels accurate or are they sales techniques to make your think and feel that you are getting a higher quality food?

High risk GMO

Some agricultural products are high risk for GMO. This means that they are currently in production and except for yellow summer squash and zucchini, over 85% of these products are GMO. How many?

There are only nine. They are alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, soy, sugar beets, yellow summer squash and zucchini. I bet you thought there were more. Nope, just these nine. And, corn, even though we think of it as a vegetable, it really is a grain.

Canola, corn, and soy are used in the production of cooking oil. The healthier oil profiles, like high-oleic or low-linoleic levels in soy oils, are a result of GMO.

Low-risk GMO

Other agricultural products are at low risk or have a monitored status. This is because they could potentially become genetically modified. The products in this group include acorn squash, beets (table), bok choy, chard, Chinese cabbage, Siberian kale, delicata squash, patty pan, and turnips.

No long GMO

Sometimes a fruit or vegetable had genetically modified varieties, but, no longer due. This would be the tomato and the potato. It turns out the genetically modified tomatoes didn’t ship well and lost flavor. And the potatoes? They were rejected by the fast-food establishments.

Animal Products

Since animals are often fed grains (corn), they are in the high risk category for GMO. But also consider how much grain that animal has consumed. Grass fed or minimal grain fed beef will not contain as much GMO as corn-fed feed lot beef. Here it pays to know your farmer and understand what the animal has been fed.

Everything else

As I read the list, I see that our favorite vegetables – carrots and broccoli are not mentioned. Neither are peas or cauliflower. So as I read the labels in the store, unless the food falls into the first two categories, telling me it’s a non-GMO is a marketing ploy. So, don’t charge me more to keep me as a customer.

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


glass of wine_rec

Since we’ve started this new venture in making our own wine, we are often asked – isn’t this hard to do? Don’t you need a lot of special stuff? Doesn’t it take a lot of time?

Our best way to answer those questions is to use a process that everyone understands – making apple cider. Most of us have visited a cider mill and watched as the presses squeezed every drop of juice from the apples, sent the juice through a maze of tubes, and the finished product was bottled by the gallon, quart or pint.

So, how does this relate to wine?

The product

Dandelion field

The cider mill picks or purchases bushels of apples to make the cider.

As a wine maker, I have a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and flowers that I can pick for my wine in addition to the traditional grapes. Unlike the cider mill, that can only produce cider with apples are in season, a winery, such as ours, can start a batch of wine selecting from the produce that is in season.

Both are so similar – they rely on produce that is in season.

The juice

pulp

The apples in the cider mill are pressed, usually in a cloth sandwiched between wood that exerts a tremendous force on the apples. The result is the juice.

The wine process is similar. Grapes, apples, and other fruit can be pressed in order to obtain the juice for the wine. Vegetables are often cooked to release their juices, and flowers are steeped like tea. More delicate fruits, like strawberries, can be run through a juicer.

In any case, both the cider mill and the winery rely on a method of juicing the produce.

Processing

carboysandfermenters_r

Here is one area where there is a difference in the process. At the cider mill, once the juice is flowing, it goes right to bottling.

A winery needs to add sugar, other optional ingredients, and yeast to the juice of the selected produce. This is the step that transforms ordinary juice into an alcoholic beverage. The amount of sugar determines the level of alcohol in the finished product. This process typically takes four to six months to complete.

Packaging

HeavenlyPeach r

The standard containers for apple cider are plastic jugs in gallon, quart, or pint sizes.

Wine can be bottled in the standard 750 ml bottles or the one-serving 187 ml bottles. The bottles can be clear or tinted and labeled accordingly.

The products are now ready for purchase.

The wine making process is not extremely difficult and it doesn’t need a lot of “special” equipment. Yes, it does take time to process, but, we guarantee you, it’s worth the wait.

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