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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.
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.
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.
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.
So we get this conversation goes on almost every time we say we make wine and are planning on opening a winery –
Us: Would you like to try one of the wines we made this year?
Person: You make wine? Where are your grape vines?
Us: Wine doesn’t have to be made with grapes.
Person: Really, but I thought…
And that’s what everyone, well, almost everyone thinks until they try our Dandelion, Apple Rhubarb, Pineapple, or Watermelon wine that doesn’t have a drop of grape in it.
It’s called country wine. Why country? When you grow fruit or have a neighbor who does, and there’s an overabundance, you have a few choices – can, freeze, make more jam/jelly, pies, or turn the surplus into fruit!
But country wine doesn’t stop with fruit! We’ve made carrot wine and, that apple rhubarb wine that I mentioned, rhubarb is technically a vegetable.
Even flowers, like dandelions, lilacs, and roses can be fermented into wine. Yes, we’ve done dandelion and lilac – both were quite good – and plan to try rose later this year.
Like any food based process, the outcome will only be as good as the produce you are using. So, only use fresh, firm fruit or vegetables. If they look like they are about to spoil they are not a good choice. Flowers should be in their prime. I like to gather my dandelions when they are in full bloom. It they haven’t really opened, they aren’t ready for the bucket. Likewise, if the petals are ready to drop, their sugar level and flavor has probably dropped as well. And it goes without saying, no herbicides or other chemicals should have been sprayed on this produce.
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead, open up a bottle of country wine, kick back, and enjoy!