Posts Tagged With: food

So Much To Be Thankful For

We celebrated Thanksgiving with my family this weekend when my sister could come from Iowa.  We had it all.

Thanks 1


Thankful 3


Thankful 5

And food.

Thanks 2

Which my Dad reminded us, isn’t always the case.

Thankful 4

(Toddlers get their own table!)

A few years ago my parents invited some church members from Africa to stay at their home while they did a circuit of the area congregations.  One day my Dad took a gentleman named Sam with him to feed the cows and while they worked and the two talked about the fact that Sam’s family might be getting electricity in their home.  With Sam remarking about the very special cows my Dad commented that the thing he would miss most about not having electricity would be the refrigerator.

“Brother Gene,” Sam said.  “We do not need a refrigerator.  When we are done with a meal, there is nothing left to store.”

He indicated the grain being fed to the cows and noted, “That would feed a family in Africa for a day.”

Special cows indeed.

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When our meal was over I could hardly fit the leftovers into my triple door refrigerator and I took some of them to the basement fridge.

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When I came back upstairs I remembered to be thankful.

Thankful 7

So very, very thankful.

Categories: Family, Food | Tags: , | Leave a comment

14 Things You Need to Know This Weekend About Hot Dogs

As a farmer I feel it is my duty to bring you information regarding your food choices.  When you have all of the information you can make the decisions that are best for your family this Fourth of July weekend.

Which is why I’m sharing this highly educational hot dog etiquette video.

Dedicated to livestock farmers everywhere. 😉

Categories: Food | Tags: , | 1 Comment

What Will You Pay for Your July 4th Cookout?

I’m in the grocery store at least once a week.  And believe me, if I didn’t live 20 minutes away I’d be there a lot more often.  I’m pretty good at guestimating the total cost of my cart using nothing more than simple life experience.  Believe me, I notice when the cost of food goes up.

What does your 4th of July cookout cost?

When it comes to meat, I can’t get as much for my dollar as I used to.  I’ve notice the price of eggs is climbing steadily (although I get my eggs from the backyard) and we’ll drink $12-$15 worth of milk in a week, never mind cheese, yogurt, etc..

What’s funny is that I never really notice when prices go down.

The American Farm Bureau Federation does a pretty cool project several times a year where they send out 88 volunteers in 30 states to record food prices at the stores where they shop.  They just finished their 4th of July estimates and guess what?  If you’re buying hot dog, buns, cheeseburgers, potato salad, baked beans, corn chips, pork spare ribs, lemonade, watermelon, and chocolate milk (and who is not?!) you are likely paying 3 percent LESS than you did in July of last year!

They gather prices based on the amount of food needed to feed ten people.  The grand total for this year is $55.84, or $5.58 per person.

What does it cost to feed 10 people this 4th of July?  Less than it did last year!  Surprised?!

Last year’s total was $57.57.  What went down in cost?  Well, two big ones were the pork and dairy products. Buns and baked beans also went down; lemonade and ketchup are up.

Why are some prices declining?  Well, we’re producing more pigs, so supply and demand says pork costs are down.  Beef production is stable, so at least prices aren’t still jumping.  Another factor is fuel and energy costs, which are lower now than they were a year ago.  Keep in mind that, according to the USDA, the farmer only receives about 17 cents of each dollar you spend on food.

What does your 4th of July cookout cost you and how much of that $ does a farmer recieve?

In fact, the farmer is only a small part of the cost of food.  This graphic, also from the USDA, shows who contributes to the cost of food.

Where does your food dollar go?

So stand a little taller America.  Our country produces the cheapest, safest, most abundant food on the planet.

Now go enjoy your $6.00 cookout!

Categories: Food | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

How a Vietnamese Picnic Ties to Agriculture

This weekend I went to a Vietnamese picnic- all in the name of agriculture, of course!

Agriculture in Viet Nam

My Ag Leaders of Tomorrow (ALOT) class focuses mainly on the agriculture of Missouri, but in the global world we live in it’s really not that simple!  Every class takes a trip to DC, as well as one overseas trip at the end of the program.  My husband when to China; next year I’ll be visiting VietNam!

To prep for the trip the Vietnamese Student Association at MU put together a presentation and picnic for us!  We heard from professors, PhD candidates, and a post-doc student about the agriculture in VietNam, as well as subjects closely related, like geography and finance.  (But truly, between the accent and the topic, I have no idea what the nice professor of international finance was talking about…)

Agriculture in Viet Nam

VietNam has gone from a third world country to a developing nation in a rather short amount of time.  They still have many challenges, which is why many of the students we met were post-grad.  The country is looking for highly educated people to help move the nation forward– and ag tech is going to be huge for them.

Agriculture in Viet Nam

This was my favorite slide of the day.  These are pictures of their “new” technology.  Top left is a “harvester,” not even a combine.  In the pic on the top right the pole in-between the two workers is actually a tree limb.  Still, even with their ag looking like this, they are anxious for the advantages of genetically modified crops.

Agriculture in VietNam

And since food, of course, is what we’re working for in agriculture, it was an important part of our education to eat some!

Agriculture in Viet Nam

I’ll admit to being worried, but actually I loved it!  It’s not spicy like Tai food, and not as… similar as all Chinese dishes seem to me.  There were many flavors, lots of them fresh veggies with herbs like mint.  I din’t quite understand how the dishes were supposed to go together- the noodles went in a sauce which made it like soup which was for dipping the little rolls in the bottom right corner, as well as adding to the veggies in the top pic? But I loved all of it, and even braved the dessert (very center pic) which was like tapioca with coconut milk along with boiled peanuts, corn, and mushrooms.  Confession, one of my mushrooms was julienned so long and thin it looked like a worm.  I did not eat it.

Our trip is scheduled for July of 2016, so I’ve got a year to add to my Pinterest board of Vietnamese culture.  And if you want to follow me on Instagram and Twitter (both @daddystractor) I promise I’ll post lots while we’re there!

I can’t wait!

Categories: Farming | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Detox Diets and Monsanto; Why You Should Think for Yourself

I’m pretty big into helping people make choices by giving them correct information.  I spend a lot of time researching topics for people who just want to know their food is healthy and safe.  I’ve invested a lot of personal energy in debunking myths and misconceptions.  Even with all that, sometimes I fall for it too.

Detox Diets and Monsanto: Why We Should Think for Ourselves  {}

This is my juicer, bought for more money than I’d like to admit.  Another thing that’s a little hard to admit?  I purchased it as part of a fad-diet detox plan.  An unscientific, un-researched, unproven detox plan.

Because I’ve done it too.  I wanted something to be true.  I was counting on the idea that eating a special diet of veggies and whole grains could clear my body of all the pizza and pop and mini Twix bars.  I was a tired new mom and I needed this to work.

I bought the book of some guy; not a professor or scientist or nutritionist but the maker of a health food product he wanted you to buy.  I ate tofu, for which my only excuse is that it is made of soybeans.  I spent SO much money on vegetables that I ground up into juice and drank by the gallon.

Then I sugar-crashed.

And the diet I needed didn’t work.

Because I didn’t do the research.

I’m not going to present the research here because this blog isn’t about detox diets, but if you want to know, Fitness Reloaded does a great job laying out the facts.

The point I’m trying to make is that we have all believed the hype–listened to the thousands of voices selling something.  We have all forgotten to think for ourselves.

Yesterday I was on a Facebook thread with a person who stated “Monsanto is evil no matter what you think about GMOs.”  I responded with one word.


She didn’t know.  She had heard a lot of hype, so there must be something.  She just didn’t know what it was.

If you believe organic must be better for you because it just must, well, I get that.  If you want non-GMOs because “genetically modified” is scary, well, I can see that too.  But don’t let it get in the way of thinking for yourself, of finding out the facts, of knowing what you believe and why.  (But for the love of all that is good and decent, check your sources!)

And if you should still decide you want organic, hormone-free, paleo food, then go for it.

I have a juicer I can sell you.

Categories: Food, Science | Tags: , , , , | 20 Comments

Food Faith

Faith is an important part of my life. I choose to believe certain things regardless of anything you could tell me to the contrary. Even if I can’t see it. Even if it doesn’t make sense.

That’s why it’s faith.

But while I readily acknowledge faith in my God, so many are denying their faith. Not a faith of religion, but a faith of food.

The faith of food.  {}

Because faith is really all you can call most people’s belief in food.

It doesn’t matter what you tell them. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make sense. People believe what they believe about food. And that’s fine and all. Let’s just make sure we know what it is.

It is not science. It is not verified. It is not fact.

Recently the Food Babe (won’t even link) was called out by Science Babe (click at your own risk!) for her outright scare tactics. The Food Babe following is made up of consumers trying to eat right and feel better. Maybe you heard they demanded Subway remove a substance from their bread because it was a chemical also found in yoga mats. Never mind the chemical is completely fine; it’s such a disturbing thought.  And her army made such a fuss Subway actually gave in and changed their bread.

There was no research, no reality. Just a woman who started a rumor and the people who believed her.

What do you believe?  What do you know?

Having faith in God is non-negotiable to me.   When it comes to things of this world, however, I’m gonna need a little bit more to work with. I want science in the mini-van I buy. I want testing done on my kids’ car seats. And I’ll go with research when it comes to food.

Categories: Family, Food | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Everyone Who Eats Food Dies

I’m going to tell you something that has caused 100% of the people who ate it to die.  Every. single. person.  Want to know what it is?

It’s food.

Everyone who eats food dies; what you really need to know about healthy food.  {}

Organic, GMO, all natural, gluten-free, Mediterranean, vegan, Paleo, the all protien diet, the no carb diet, foods high in cholesterol, foods low in saturated fats, just all food.

The diets of the past, the diets of other cultures, the diets of today– and still we all die.  Actually today we have a longer life expectancy than any generation before us.  Which makes me wonder.

I’m not a nutritionist.  I’m not a doctor.  I’m not even an expert.  I’m just a mom who has paid attention.  I’m a farm wife looking at this big old mess with a little bit of common sense.

You can blame any food, any diet, because 100% of the people who eat it will die.

It doesn’t mean food is always to blame.

Everyone who eats food dies, what you need to know about healthy choices

In the last two months we’ve talked about gluten-free, organics, food labels, antibiotics, and GMOs.  Not one of these topics alone can account for the rise in allergies, the obesity epidemic, ADHD, or heart disease.

What if we stopped getting worked up about every little thing and started looking at the whole picture?

What I’m really saying is food is a complex issue.  Health is still something we don’t fully understand and illness is even more murky.  I don’t think it’s possible to say if we just ate organic food all our troubles would be gone. No one can say antibiotics in our meat are the culprit for all our health issues.  And despite popular opinion, gluten-free won’t bring about world peace.


Being healthy is combination of choosing good food, eating a balanced diet, being active, avoiding harmful addictions, a lot of genetics and a little bit of random luck.

What I’m really saying is let’s calm down.  Let’s look at the facts.  Let’s make wise choices for our families, our kids with our heads, not screaming at the top of our lungs.

And let’s bring knowledge to the table.

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

There Should be Something Wrong with my Cat

My goats are fine.  My chickens are healthy.  There isn’t even anything wrong with my cats.  But there should be.

Why GMOs won't kill you

If you know anything about GMOs you probably know about the study done in Europe where the mice that ate GMO corn all grew horrible, appalling tumors.  For a thousand reasons that don’t matter for this post, this study was bad science and worse journaling.  But from the sound of that article you’d expect anything that ate Genetically Modified Organisms to be dropping dead of cancer constantly.

So it might interest you to know, they are not.  Dropping dead I mean.

Happy, healthy chickens eating GMO feed  {}

Why should they be sick or dying?

Well, thanks to the Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow program (ALOT) I am now part of, I recently heard that in 2014 nearly 90% of the corn, soybeans, and cotton produced in the US is genetically engineered.  A vast majority of that corn and soybeans don’t go directly to people for eating, but to animals as feed.

Animals have been eating genetically modified feed for 20 years.

Happy, healthy chickens eating GMO feed  {}

And none of mine have tumors.

In fact, Forbes recently reported that farm animals have eaten over a trillion GMO meals.  And there are no farmers reporting an increase in tumors.  The article’s title even states that the debate about GMOs is over.  If they were harmful we would be seeing it.  And we’re not.

My guess is the debate is nowhere near finished.  The fact that the journal which originally published the previously mentioned mouse article retracted the study won’t get press.  I’m guessing you didn’t have any idea it was poor science, much less that it was torn apart until they actually had to say “never mind.”

Meanwhile, perfectly healthy animals all over the country are eating a safe, affordable food.

They’re probably even glad to have it.

Categories: Animals, Food | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

What They Mean, 12 Food Labels Revealed

Learn the secrets behind common food labels  {}

It’s bad enough that serving sizes are distorted (who drinks a third of a bottled beverage?!) and vitamin B has one hundred names, but then you must contend with things like “hormone free” chicken.  Sounds like chicken I want to buy, but did you know?  All chickens are hormone free.

That advertising was nothing but a gimmick.

So what can you believe?

Here a few common label mysteries revealed.

Fresh: Since 1998 the definition of fresh poultry means the meat has never been kept below 26*.  Since freezing is 32*, this means the meat can be frozen, but it won’t be rock-solid at that temperature.

Natural: This indicates nothing has been added, like coloring or preservatives.  It also means the product hasn’t been changed significantly, so it is much as it was when it was harvested.  A label saying “natural” should also tell you why it is natural; i.e. “no preservatives added.”  This label only applies to meat or eggs.

No Hormones: As I’ve already mentioned, the USDA prohibits the use of hormones in pork, poultry, and goats so this label isn’t allowed unless it says “federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.”  This label can be used on beef if the farmer can provide documentation to the USDA that it is true.  The same is true of No Antibiotics for all meat.

Organic: This label is made standard by the USDA.  There are products farmers are allowed to put on foods that are labeled organic, so don’t assume it means no fertilizers or pest control at all.

Free Range: This indicates that the animals lived in a building with constant access to food, water, and the outside.

Cage Free: Similar to Free Range, but without the constant access to outside.

No Chemicals: You should actually never see this label because it isn’t allowed.  Everything is made of chemicals.  Remember water– H2O?

Grass Fed: For this label cattle must get most of their diet from grass, but can be supplemented with grain.  It doesn’t have to be organic, so that would be a separate label.

Pasture Raised: This label means very little since there are no standards or certifications for it.

Humane: Again, a label that is not standard or regulated, therefore is up to the interpretation of the packaging company.

Locally Grown: Yet another non-standard label.  Look for more information, like the town, farm, or milage to verify this one.

Not all labels are equal.  While labels are monitored by the USDA, they allow for other programs with their own standards.  So if you wanted to make your own certifications for “natural” you could put that label onto food, but it would need to have your program’s name on it, like “Certified Smith Natural” or whatever.  Small farmers can also be exempt.  A neighbor with two steers can call his beef “organic grass-fed” as much as he wants to.

So be aware and Happy Shopping!

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Resolve to Learn about Organics

Organics. What are they and are really healthier?

First, organic is a term that can mean anything living or made of carbon compounds. It can refer to how something is organized, as in “growing a business organically.” But you’ll hear it most as the production of food without laboratory-made fertilizers, growth substances, antibiotics, or pesticides.

What are organics?  Resolve to learn about your food in the new year!

Here’s a piece of information you need to know, however. The USDA, (United States Department of Agriculture) is in charge of the term “organic” as it is labeled on food, just like “low in sugar” or “high in fiber.” On their website they outline what is required to be “organic.”

This document lists the fertilizers, substances, and pesticides allowed for growing organic food.

So while Webster might disagree, organic foods are grown with chemicals. I find this surprises a lot of people.

Fact two of What You Really Need to Know. Studies show that organic buyers are not healthier than non-organic buyers. Mayo Clinic, Stanford Medicine, and the University of Arizona all state that there is no scientific evidence showing organic food is more nutritious or that the difference in the level of chemicals is safer.

What are organics?  Resolve to learn about your food in the new year!

It won’t take more than a quick Google search to “disprove” these studies with a thousand articles showing organic food is safer, healthier, and will save the planet. It’s important to know all sides of an argument, so by all means, read these articles. Then check the source. I quickly found a post by Eating Well magazine, which sounds trustworthy. But the study proving organics are better was done by the Organic Center. It would be hard for them not to be biased!

The third major reason people choose organics is that they feel the practices used by organic farmers are better for the environment. While lumping a large group of people into one category is never a good idea, I’d guess many organic farmers really do care about the land, water, and air around them.

What are organics?  Resolve to learn about your food in the new year!

But that leads me to fact three. Non-organic farmers care about the land too. Okay, so that is also a stereotype, but farmers own the land. Who would benefit more from taking care of the soil than they do? And consider this. Some chemicals allowed in organic farming are not as effective as conventional ones, which means a farmer needs more of it. Every time a tractor or sprayer goes over the plants it compacts the soil, uses diesel fuel, and costs the farmer money. So sometimes conventional farming is better for the environment.

Obviously what you put in your shopping cart is your decision. If you choose organics, fine. I’m not going to stop my kids from playing with your kids. But if the price of organics deter you, or you’d prefer to spend your energy getting your kids to eat a banana rather than stressing over which bananas to buy, then put some of that mommy guilt away.

These are just the facts.


Don’t miss Resolve to Learn About Your Food in the New Year

Resolve to Learn about Antibiotics

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