Is Food From Small Farmers Better? Why #FarmSizeDoesntMatter

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone, someone you really respect and value their opinions, but you can’t for the life of you figure out why they believe something that could not be any farther from the truth? As a mother I have experienced this with vaccinating your kids to drinking raw milk to breast feeding. We all have our beliefs and views and have done our research. And boy do we like to push our beliefs on others and even shame others who don’t agree with our train of thought. As a mother, I want to make the best possible decision for my family. I don’t want a decision I make to impact my kid’s ability to grow, learn and develop.

Kids sitting on a tractor

Which is why I think sometimes food becomes such an emotional choice for moms like me. Every single day we are putting food in our kids mouths. Every morsel can ultimately impact their growth, their health, their wellness. I get it. However, I think the fear of not doing the best for our kids has spurred a movement of scaring people from eating certain types of food that are hard to imagine.

But here is the thing when it comes to food, it all starts on a farm. Big farms. Small farms. Local farms. Foreign farms. The culture of being a farmer has evolved just like being a teacher has evolved. There are farmers who still raise heirloom tomatoes just like there are places kids learn in one room schools with multiple grades all together. In the same way there are farmers who raise hybrid tomatoes and just like there are schools that now never meet in a formal classroom but learn through online platforms. Does one situation mean it is superior to the other? I would argue that these types of farming and educational formats are what works and fits for that community and people working on those farms and in those schools.

stand for farmers

This year on our farm we aren’t just growing our regular corn and soybeans on the less than 250 acres we are farming, we are also growing pigs, a dairy calf and chickens and sweet corn. And let me be honest, the latter part of our operation is a losing operation. Losing money, that is. We hope to make some money from the sweet corn but that is if we sell the 25,000 ears of corn that come from the 25,000 seeds we are planting on one acre.

Beyer Beware's small farm #FarmSizeDoesntMatter That’s the thing with farm size, they didn’t grow larger because anyone forced it to happen. For generations farming has evolved and changed. My hens pecking around in the grass outside of my red barn is romantic. But let me tell you what isn’t romantic. Picking up 12 of the 32 chickens that have been killed in the middle of the night. Because that is a reality. Putting the chickens outside is almost more for our psyche than theirs. We literally have to to push them out the door to get them to go out. And a crazy fox or weasel and they are all goners. Hard to make money off of dead chickens. Hence why most egg laying chickens are raised in safe, secure buildings. Farmers have to have birds to pay the light bill.

We have older equipment. The equipment we are using to plant our sweet corn is 10 years older than I am. Yet, we have some the best genetics and technology packed into the seed. Equipment is expensive today. You have to have a lot of land to spread the fixed cost of equipment over. Seed however is a variable cost. We can buy more expensive seed that will require less chemicals and be more hardy to deliver a crop to us. Thus we use older equipment and newer seed technology.

old equipment new seed technology #FarmSizeDoesntMatterSo, does that mean our sweet corn is from “Big Ag” even though it is being grown on our one acre field? Or does that mean it should be better because it is from people who picked by hand by someone in our family. My point is this, regardless, of size or method of production, all farmers go home to families. These families may have incorporated their farms and the IRS may look at them as corporations, but first and foremost they are families. Buying food in your box store or at your local farmers market shouldn’t matter. The farmers grew the whole foods that went into your food. While we can debate on processing, additives and what not, that has nothing to do with farm size. Continue to ask questions and push all of us to explore the best options for all people not just your community. And when you are trying to decide what type of farm you want your food to come from, remember #FarmSizeDoesntMatter.

 

The Secret to Quick Meals on Busy Nights

You know when you have a way to save time in the kitchen, but don’t yell it from the the mountaintops because you think your friends already know it? Well, that happened to me recently. A few of us were sitting around when one of my friends said “Thank goodness someone told me about Leah’s secret of making browned meat from frozen meat in seven minutes in the microwave.” Which was no big deal until another friend said, “Yeah, and I am also glad she told me how to cook pasta in the microwave.”

Blank stares from those who most not know about my secrets. My secret weapon more specifically.

It’s a simple little thing.

microwaving ground meatOn the nights when you have to literally throw dinner together in 15 minutes because you have soccer or ballet or chores or cross country or corn to harvest or just no energy. You need a secret weapon.

how to microwave pastaYou can microwave ground meat that is froze solid in two increments of three and a half minutes that result in browned meat.

how to microwave meatViola. Add seasoning for tacos or taco salad. Pour into spaghetti sauce for a quick spaghetti meal.

But you are still wondering on how to microwave pasta aren’t you? There is a small are to the pasta. I normally do a cup and a half of water and pasta into the large micro cooker. For most pasta I just double the cook time. So, if it takes 5-6 minutes to boil to al dente, I cook on high in the microwave for 11 minutes.

microwaved cooked pastaMost times the pasta will absorb all the water, but if not go ahead and dump the extra water out before adding the cheese, milk and butter for mac and cheese. I mean, after all what else do you make with pasta?

microwave mac and cheeseMicrowave for second intervals until the pasta and cheese is smooth.

microwaved mac and cheeseAdd bacon for that completely irresistible meal in no time flat!

Microwave mac and cheese

What are your secret tips or recipes for the nights you are on the go?

I am participating in Indiana’s Family of Farmers Table Talk Series and received a gift in exchange for my participation.

Table Talk Contributor for Indiana Family of Farmers

Microwave Mac and Cheese

Microwave Mac and Cheese

A one dish mac and cheese dish that can be made in 15 minutes in the microwave.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups uncooked pasta
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4-8 ounces of velveeta, cubed or shredded
  • salt and pepper
  • Crumbled bacon

Instructions

  1. Place pasta and water in micro cooker and cook for 4-5 minutes longer than the box stated boil time on high. Check pasta and cook longer if not cooked to al dente. Add more water if necessary.
  2. Drain any excess water. Add butter, milk and cheese and microwave in 30 second increments till cheese is melted.
  3. Add salt and pepper to your taste. Serve with crumbled bacon on top.
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My food tribute to Leontien

I know a lot of you have followed along with Leontien’s blog. I guess a day doesn’t go by that quite a few of us farmwives and friends pause to pray for her. Think of her. Text her. Smile about the gift she has been to us. I know sometimes we have all felt helpless on how to help ease her pain, both physical and emotional.

Leontien

But, as I moved a few weeks ago, a friend was helping me pack up food in my pantry. She came across a box of dark chocolate sprinkles. Seems pretty simple. But they froze me in place. I felt a lump develop in the back of my throat. Sort of like the one I have right now. It was a box of the sprinkles from that February day we drug Ms. Leontien with us to meet The Pioneer Woman. We also took her to Jungle Jim’s. And there she found her sprinkles. And ketchup. And cookies. All from home. All from The Netherlands.

There is something about food that triggers comfort. Whether it is a smell or a taste, it is crazy how food can take us back to days when we were young. And that day, as Leontien picked up a bottle of her favorite ketchup, which is actually German, we all saw that memory on her face. It was as if she was back home again.
As we all continued to walk up and down the aisles of Jungle Jim’s, she pointed out other foods she loved. Then she nonchalantly walked by what seemed like thousands of bars of chocolate and pointed to the top row where two types of chocolate sat. She looked at us and said, “This is the best chocolate.” It was as if she had let the hounds out to go hunting. We attacked that chocolate. It was as if she was the global chocolate czar. We were her minions. I am sure the checkout workers thought we were crazy.
Now, when someone makes a trip to Jungle Jim’s, I beg them to pick up a few bars for me. I smile as I savor the chocolate. I smile not because the chocolate truly is the best I have had, but I smile because God blessed us by letting us have Leontien for a while on earth.

Bastiaan and Leontien

Girl, you are such a blessing. You have given so much more than we have been able to give to you. We cherish what we have learned from you. We bask in the rays of your light you give this world. We are all better people because of you. Love you, Sweetie.

 

Lady in Red, A Red Carhartt

Fall is here. It didn’t feel much like fall in Indiana this past week, but at least it still smells like it! The perk to live surrounded by corn.

When Carhartt sent me this quarter zip hooded sweatshirt, I fell in love.  Thankful Carhartt has come out with a women’s line that is, dare I say, cute farm chick gear. It is so much more stylish than the brown coveralls that all of us farm kids grew up wearing on cold days. I even have had them on my little farm kids. I almost cried when I found this picture of my little Princess in her first pair of Carhartt coveralls.


To showoff my new red sweatshirt, I asked my Boo to take a few pictures of me when I wore it. When I was out checking out how our soybeans were fairing, he thought he would take a few pictures.

And the soybeans are looking semi-promising. Wishing they were about 4 inches taller!

In case you missed it a few weeks ago, Boo learned to ride his bike without training wheels. So can you guess what I am spending a lot of time doing? Yep, riding bikes. The sw

I am still trying to keep my outdoor flowers alive. A quick watering on a cool day isn’t so rushed to get back inside thanks to my Carhartt. Can you tell he caught me by surprise?

And in hopes that we will have fall-like weather, we have some pumpkins from a local farmer’s market, Bush’s Market, we have some pumpkins out on display.

And sometimes, Momma just wants a break. All that is missing is the toasty fire and the big glass of wine.

This fall is going to be a great one. Count on seeing me in my new Carhartt. It is my new favorite fall fashion statement!

If you are loving my sweatshirt, head on over to the Real Farmwives of America blog to sign up to win your own fall-ready sweatshirt.

Carhartt did provide me with this product to review but the thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

Power to the L – Love for Leontien

Cancer sucks. It has taken so many people too early in their lives. I am sure everyone has been touched by cancer through friends or family. And now cancer is hitting close to home again for one of our Real Farmwives and Friends.


I met Leontien after she moved to Indiana from the Netherlands to follow her American dream of becoming a dairy farmer. Doesn’t everyone grow up wanting to be a dairy farmer???? Learn more about her family farm over here. When I met Leontien, she had been fighting melanoma and was finishing up treatments. Her outlook on life was upbeat and refreshing.

Since meeting her, I have visited her farm many times, been introduced to some addictive chocolates and cookies, and traveled to see our blog idol. Every time I am with her, I thank the Lord that he brought her into my life. She always asks how I am doing and if I am sleeping or how the kiddos are? She is so thoughtful and loving. The type of person everyone wants to be friends with, even if we attack your house with balloons and stickers the day of your wedding.

But, to all of our heart break, her cancer is back. Melanoma is scary. There isn’t a lot of research like there is for breast cancer. The options or more limited. But, I believe that miracles happen, God heals, and love can do amazing things. 

So, I need your help today. I need your Love for Leontien. Go over to Facebook, like Love for Leontien, and leave a message, prayer, or encouragement for our girl, Leontien.

Leontien has a little secret weapon too. She finds strength through her panties. For every doctors appointment she wears skull panties. But, I think the girl will need a few more pairs of skull panties. So, if you know a good place to get some, be sure to leave a link for her over on her blog


Praying for you Leontien! Loving you too!

Who left the hose out?

I suffer from “the I can’t get the hose put up on the hose holder thingy” syndrome.

I don’t know if I am stupid, weak, or just not coordinated but I end up knocking the hose holder over, hurting myself, or cursing the hose every time I try to put the hose up.

It didn’t take long at all for me to fall in love with this “Leah Proof” hose holder from Avant Garden. I was so excited when it came in that I made Boo take it out immediately to get it ready for use.

Don’t ask me why he is wearing on winter glove. I guess he had been watching old Michael Jackson videos. I pick my battles people. Pick my battles.

Speaking of battles, the hubby and I battled a bit on the exact location of the beautiful pot. But since he was willing to transfer the hook up and load the hose up, I let him when that battle. This hose holder looked beautiful anywhere in our floor bed.

Now, you can guess how if this beautiful pot helps me keep the hose picked up or not. Those who know me well will most likely guess correctly:) 

If you would like to win a Decorative Hose Holder, please head over to the Real Farmwives of America & Friends Blog (www.realfarmwivesofamerica.com) and sign up for the giveaway!

Avant Garden Decor did provide me with this product to review, however the thoughts and opinions shared about this product on this blog are my own.

Gooseberry Patch Farmers’ Market Favorites Cookbook Giveaway!

I know you have been drooling over my creations from the Farmers’ Market Favorites Cookbook that Gooseberry Patch gave to me to make 10 recipes out of a few months ago.

Recipes like Bruschetta Pizza.

                                                      Source: beyerbeware.net via Leah on Pinterest

Or BLT Salad.

Then there was the Tomato Melts.

And then the sweets started. Beginning with the Just Peachy Blueberry Crisp.

Interrupted by a pan of Triple Cheese Mac.

To go right back to sweetness with Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.

Followed by some Fabulous Zucchini Brownies.

Rounded out by the Crispy Zucchini Fritters.

Now that your mouth is watering, you know you want a chance to win your very own copy of the cookbook. So, here are a few ways on how to win. Be sure to leave an individual comment for each thing you do to get additional entries.

  1. Leave a comment letting me know which recipe you are most excited to try.
  2. Follow Beyer through Google Friend Connect, RSS, or email subscription and leave a comment letting me know how you follow me.
  3. Follow Real Farmwives of America & Friends as well as Gooseberry Patch through Google Friend Connect. Leave a comment on each of their blogs while you are there so they know you are new!
  4. Become a fan of Beyer Beware on Facebook and/or follow Beyer Beware on Twitter. Leave a comment letting me know you are a fan.
  5. Become a fan of the Real Farmwives of America on Facebook and write on their wall letting them know Beyer Beware sent you.
  6. Become a fan of the Gooseberry Patch on Facebook and write on their wall letting them know Beyer Beware sent you.
  7. Follow @Realfarmwives & @GooseberryPatch on Twitter

    .   

  8.  Join the Gooseberry Patch Circle of Friends email club (http://bit.ly/GBPjoinourcircleoffriends)




Now get entering!! You have till next Sunday, August 14 at midnight to enter.



Special thanks to Gooseberry Patch for providing me with this great cookbook to try and share with you. If you would like to purchase this or other cookbooks, please visit their store. If you would like to see other great recipes, check out www.realfarmwivesofamerica.com.

Crispy Zucchini Fritters – Gooseberry Patch Recipe #10!

These pretty little crispy zucchini fritters are the tenth and final recipe out of the Gooseberry Patch Farmers’ Market Favorites Cookbook in the Real Farmwives in the kitchen project. And boy did we end with a great recipe!


I started with four medium zucchinis that I shredded in my food processor. I then put it in a strainer, salted it and let it sit as the excess liquid drained off.

Then I got my helper cracking eggs. Two eggs, some salt and pepper where whisked together.

We stirred in the zucchini and 1/2 cup of flour.

And then we went off recipe. Yep, that is grated Parmesan cheese. I dumped about 1/2 cup into the mixture.

Stir it all together.

Then add some EVOO to a skillet and warm up and spoon the mixture into the pan. Let fry on each side for about 2 minutes.

I then of course garnished with more Parmesan cheese. The kids and hubs dipped the fritters into ranch. But they dip everything in ranch dressing, so I am not sure it was necessary.

Guess what comes next???? Cookbook giveaway!!! Check back soon for the giveaway to start.

Gooseberry Patch gave me the Farmers’ Market Favorites cookbook free of charge. After I prepare 10 recipes I will have a free cookbook to give away to one of my readers.

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