I didn't go to the Ozark Empire Fair in search of recipes but I couldn't resist picking up a handful of recipe cards at the Rose Acre Farms booth. Rose Acre farms is a fifth generation egg farm that began in southern Indiana in the 1930's. They now have farms in Indiana ,Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Georgia, and North Carolina.
It was interesting to read about the modern cage system used in egg production and the humane and ethical guidelines that are followed. Here are benefits of the cage system:
Eggs from modern cage production typically are 50-70 percent less expensive than non-cage eggs.
Modern cage systems allow for cleaner, safer eggs and provide a more stable supply to meet consumer demand.
Modern cage systems provide hens with protection from soil and litter borne diseases, resulting in fewer health problems.
Research shows that hens in modern cages do not have any greater levels of stress than free range hens.
Research shows that eggs from modern cage systems have lower shell bacteria levels than eggs from cage-free range systems. Modern cage systems allow for daily inspections and monitoring of hens for illnesses and quick treatment.
Here's the first recipe I plan to try since we have an abundance of zucchini squash from my neighbor's garden (he gave it to me):
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped zucchini
1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
2 Tablespoons chopped red onion
1) Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper in medium bowl until blended. Add cheese, zucchini, sweet pepper and onion; mix well. Spoon evenly into 12 greased muffin cups, about 1/4 cup each.
2) Bake in 350 degrees F oven until just set, about 20 to 22 minutes. Cool on rack 5 minutes. Remove from cups, serve warm.
Quick breakfast solution: Bake muffin frittatas the night before and refrigerate. Quickly re-warm in the microwave to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F in the morning.
You can find this recipe, other great egg recipes and info on the side at incredibleegg.org.
One of my favorite meetings to attend as a member of Dairy Farmers of America cooperative is the Summer Information Meeting held in Springfield, Missouri. As we left the farm this morning headed to the meeting, it was drizzling rain and overcast--perfect conditions for a farmer to leave the farm and not feel guilty about what we could be doing if it were hot and sunny!
This meeting is a mixture of fun and business with lots of children attending with their families, information booths filled with dairy farm specific information and the availability of all the milk and ice cream bars you can eat before, during and after the meeting. It's always a place of reunion with old dairy farmer friends that may or may not still be in the business.
We're proud to be one of more than 8,000 farm family members of Dairy Farmers of America Cooperative. Here are some facts about our cooperative:
We represent 1/3 of the total United States milk production.
61 billion pounds of milk are produced annually by cooperative members.
We own 31 diversified manufacturing facilities that include dairy products, food components, and ingredients.
High-quality milk is produced on all sizes of farms across America.
We are a leader in formulating and packaging shelf stable products.
After being filled with information and a delicious lunch , we topped off the party with M&M ice cream cookies and in a glorious rainy day in July, headed to the Ozark Empire Fair with our complimentary tickets to continue our party.
After spending two days in Hot Springs at the Arkansas Farm Bureau Officers and Leaders meeting this week, we made a quick stop in Little Rock before returning home to the farm. I'm thankful for the beauty all around us--whether it's the bright coneflowers around the Confederate Women's Statue at the Arkansas Capitol
I haven't found any Arkansas peaches at the local market but thanks to farmers in other states--I've had some really sweet, juicy peaches this week! Flavor rich peaches like these will be perfect in homemade ice cream--a perfect treat for celebrating National Ice Cream Month!
Combine milk and marshmallows in Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until marshmallows melt; remove from heat. Add sugar and remaining ingredients; mix well. Chill. Pour mixture into freezer container of gallon hand-turned or electric ice cream freezer. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Pack freezer with additional ice and salt, and let stand for 1 to 2 hours to ripen before serving.
Calves grow up to become the cows that produce milk, so farmers make it a priority to get them off to a healthy start. I'm thankful for all the "date nights" I have riding around on the farm with the dairy farmer checking calves and cows!
After touring the Mountain View herb garden at Arkansas Women's Blogger Conference last year, I was inspired to try a few herbs in my own garden. Even though I knew mint to be a very prolific and invasive plant, I wanted to have my own bit of mint. I now have a growing patch of mint in a small flowerbed--make that a mint bed with few flowers!
I've got plenty of mint for this tasty smoothie recipe that I found in the recipe collection at Dairy Makes Sense.
6 cubes of frozen crushed pineapple in juice*
2 cups fat-free milk
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint or basil
*Note: Use frozen crushed pineapple to chill and thicken your smoothie.
Spoon contents of a 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple in juice into two ice cube trays and freeze at least 24 hours in advance of making smoothie.
Combine all ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth. Serve in tall glasses or on-the-go drink container.
I'm making my list and checking it twice tonight in preparation for our monthly milk testing day tomorrow. It's a kind of dairy farmer's wish list-- its a list of cow's to test for pregnancy and wishing each one will be! Finding a cow to be pregnant is always a big deal because managing the reproductive cycle is a central component on today's dairy farm. Thanks to new dairy technology, we can now check a cow's milk to determine pregnancy.
Milk pregnancy test is a great tool for the dairy farmer's tool box to assess and maintain herd health, consider reasons for the inability of a cow to get pregnant and to identify open cows early. The test is 98% accurate and can be done as early as 35 days after a breeding date. Most importantly, it is a noninvasive test that requires no additional labor and doesn't create any stress on the cow.
Our monthly milk testing provides information about each cow's milk quality and quantity and provides information about the health of each cow. All of this information is used in making management decisions to help us care for our dairy cows and provide high-quality milk. Adding the milk pregnancy test that can be done when we do our monthly milk testing is a great tool to add to our dairy farmer tool box!
In just 24 hours after we send the sample, I can't wait to see if I get my wish---
The highlight of any summer family gathering during my childhood was the experience of making homemade ice cream. The adults would fight over who would get to lick the paddle once the ice cream was made but we children fought for the right to sit on top of the bucket while the adults turned the crank!
I wouldn't trade the memories I have of hand cranked homemade ice cream but I do enjoy the ease of making ice cream with the electric freezer Ryan and I received as a joint birthday gift! Since July is National Ice Cream Month, I've decided to experiment with a few new recipes for homemade ice cream. Butter Pecan Ice Cream recipe is from one of my favorite recipe books-Jim Graham's Farm Family Cookbook for City Folks.
Butter Pecan Ice Cream
1/4 cup butter
2 cups chopped pecans
7 cups milk,divided
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups sugar
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 5.1-ounce package of vanilla instant pudding mix
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt butter in large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add pecans. Cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Drain and set aside. Combine 1 cup milk, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, and eggs in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 5 minutes, or until mixture coats back of a spoon. Cool. Stir in remaining 6 cups milk, pudding mix, and vanilla. Add pecans; stir well. Pour mixture into freezer container of a 5-quart ice-cream freezer. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Pack freezer with additional ice and rock salt. Let stand 1 hour before serving. Makes 1 gallon
Although we can't change or predict the weather, we do like to measure the rain when we receive it on the dairy farm. When the TV weatherman announced this morning that it's been three weeks since rain fell in Northwest Arkansas and mentioned the possibility of showers, I immediately felt it was necessary to hang up the new rain gauge just in case he's right.
As the farmer's wife, I've decided that it isn't always as much the amount of rain that we see in the gauge but it's the hope and encouragement we receive from the blessing of rain--whatever the amount.
Ryan's been no-till planting a Sorghum Sudan grass crop this week that will be harvested (Lord willing) late this summer or early fall. It's definitely dry and dusty but...
Everyone loves to milk Frannie, the fun loving ,friendly Benton County Farm Bureau cow! Frannie and I made the Centerton Day Celebration last weekend with a little help from my sons to transport us to the park.
Although Frannie doesn't talk much, she gives milk generously without kicking and allows us farmers to share how we work everyday to produce high-quality milk and the importance of dairy foods to a healthy diet.
If Frannie did talk, this would be her story about that delicious milk she produces:
Dairy foods are nutrient rich foods that provide essential nutrients and minerals that together help to keep the body in optimal health. Milk and other dairy foods provide nine essential nutrients that include:
Calcium: Helps build and maintain healthy bones and teeth.
Potassium: Helps to regulate the body's fluid balance and maintain normal blood pressure and muscle activity.
Phosphorus: Helps strengthen bones and generate energy in the body's cells.
Protein: The protein in milk, yogurt and cheese builds and repairs muscle tissue, and serves as a source of energy and satiety.
Vitamin D: Promotes the absorption of calcium and enhances bone strength.
Vitamin A: Helps maintain normal vision and skin and also important for bone growth.
Vitamin B-12: Helps maintain healthy red blood cells and nerve cells.
Riboflavin: Helps convert food into energy the body can use.
Niacin: Helps bodies digest carbohydrates and fatty acids.
Dairy foods provide 70 percent of the calcium in the nation's food supply and milk is the top source of potassium, phosphorus, and vitamin D in the U.S. diet. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend these daily amounts of low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products:
2 cups for children 2 to 3 years,
2.5 cups for children 4 to 8 years, and
3 cups for those 9 years and older
I'm sure Frannie would be sure to mention that you can also find more dairy information and great nutritious recipes at Dairy Makes Sense!