Everyday Mom's Meals: Meet The Kuehnerts, An Indiana Farming Family {Indiana Dairy Association}

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Meet The Kuehnerts, An Indiana Farming Family {Indiana Dairy Association}

I am so excited to be the Dairy Association's Ambassador chosen to interview an Indiana dairy farm family. 

Supporting our local farms and farmers is one of the things I am most passionate about through this food blog. If you read EMM on a regular basis, you can see this in various posts when my family is out in our community visiting our favorite orchard, pumpkin patch, or fall festival at the farm. 

Farmers are what makes this country go round. Hands down, the hardest working, most dedicated people making sure my family and yours are fed every single day. I truly believe in supporting them any way I can, rather it be buying directly from them, to promoting them any time I get the chance.

Today I'm so happy to introduce you to some local dairy farmers in my hometown! The Kuehnerts. If you remember, Adam, Alex and I visited their Fall Festival back in October and had the BEST time! 

But I actually knew about the Kuehnerts long before then. See, I went to school with one of the Kuehnert girls  and have heard many wonderful things about their farm for years. 

So without further adieu, please welcome Sarah Keuhnert to EMM~

  1. How long has your family farm existed? Is it only a dairy farm, or are other things grown too?
Established in the 1890’s, Kuehnert Dairy Farm is a 6th generation family farm. Today the fourth and fifth generations work here daily, and the sixth generation plays here every day!  
We also are grain farmers.  We farm a total of 850 acres of corn, alfalfa, soybeans, and rye.  The majority of the crops produced go to feeding the cows.
  1. How many family members are involved in the day to day operation of the farm? 

We are really proud that there are currently four generations at the farm on a daily basis. Nathan’s Grandfather Melvin, is at the farm every day and is our “do anything man”.  He performs daily tasks like driving tractors and repairing equipment, however his favorite job is giving his great-grandchildren a ride on his ATV.  My father-in-law Alan and Nathan’s uncle, Stan, manage all of the daily functions on the dairy from feeding the cows to harvesting the crops.  My mother-in-law Cindy feeds all of the baby calves every day, with the help of myself, sister-in-law Brittany, and Allie and Bryar of course! My husband’s main duty is helping to keep the cows healthy and happy by providing the proper care and administering the right medications.  He also manages our cattle reproductive program and makes the genetic decisions. My brother-in-law Andrew, is in charge of the nutrition, ensuring that the cows get a balanced diet every single day.  We are also very lucky to have a couple of young men who work with us that are like family: Austin Bridgewater, Zach VanEvery and Nick Sorg.
In addition to daily chores, I am responsible for farm advertising and social media.

  1. How many cows does the farm have on a regular basis? And how much milk is produced annually?
We milk 300 Registered Holsteins with 275 heifers under 2 years of age.  We currently are bottle feeding 30 heifer calves less than 2 months of age.  
Kuehnert Dairy Farm produces almost 7 million pounds of milk annually!

4. This past fall your farm opened itself up to the community with a Fall Festival. As someone who attended, I thought it was wonderful. Did the family feel like it was successful?

Agriculture is the backbone of America.  We at Kuehnert Dairy, know that we are very privileged to have four generations working together daily to provide consumers with nature’s most perfect food- MILK.  We are honored that God gave us this vision and desire to continue this generational family farm.  It is with this agritourism venue that the 5th generation of Kuehnert Dairy Farm can start making their way back to the farm and do their part in continuing this farming legacy.  It is our responsibility to share what we are doing, how our practice are safe and environmentally conscious and that we are being good stewards of what we have.  

The vision for the Fall Festival is to experience farm life while creating memories.  It is our goal to create a venue for families to build their own family traditions while learning about produce agriculture.  We want consumers to see what life is like as a dairy farmer, how we care for our cows and the land.  It is our passion to educate the general public, so that they know that milk comes from a cow, how a gallon of milk gets to the grocery store, and to know the importance of milk in a healthy diet.  We want to improve consumer confidence in locally grown & produced foods and we are driven to rejuvenate the importance of family time.

  1. I was told you are also a dietitian. How do you like to incorporate your farming world into that?
I work part-time off the farm as a Registered Dietitian at St. Joseph Hospital, in downtown Ft.Wayne, specializing in critical care and burn.  I also use my dietetic degree to help promote agriculture and dairy.  My husband, Nathan, and I have worked closely with MPSI and Prairie Farms in promoting the dairy industry and its nutritional importance to a balanced diet.  We also conduct many school field trips, tours and special events here on the farm where I am able to incorporate nutrition education.  It is so important to me that consumers know where their food comes from, that they know it is safe to eat, and how food nourishes their bodies.  And having grown up on a dairy farm myself, I have a special love for the dairy cow and milk, so here is my motto:

As a dairy farmer, Registered Dietitian, and a mother, I know how important it is to get at least three servings of dairy each and every day.  It all starts with milk! We drink it. We use it as an ingredient and we make a lot of other products from it. I believe it is important for people of all ages to know the importance of milk in their daily lives.  One 8-ounce glass of milk provides these minimum daily allowances:  30% Calcium, 25% Vitamin D, 24% Riboflavin, 16% Protein, 13% Vitamin B12, 11% Potassium, 10% Vitamin A, and 10% Niacin.  That’s just one 8-ounce glass of milk!  And you can get this kind of nutrition from other dairy products like yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese, chocolate milk, and ice cream.  Milk is not just a cool, nutritious, thirst-quenching drink, it is truly one of nature’s purest gifts!

6. What is your favorite dairy product? What about your kids?
My favorite dairy product is yogurt.  It is so versatile and yummy always!
Allie’s is ice cream.
Bryar’s is cottage cheese.

  1. With the upcoming holiday season, what are some of your family traditions on the farm?
You will find the ladies of Kuehnert Dairy Farm in our kitchens baking and cooking holiday goodies.  We provide all our neighbors and landlords with Christmas goodie bags as a token of our appreciation for their friendships and business relationships.  Dairy products are a guarantee in every goodie bag! My mother-in-law, Cindy, is known for her homemade Cow Pies!
On Christmas Eve, we attend the Christmas Eve church service.  We come home to enjoy homemade cheesy potato soup and little ham & cheese sandwiches.  Allie and Bryar open one gift, which is always new Christmas pajamas to sleep in.  We bake fresh chocolate chip cookies for Santa.  Of course, we have a special cookie plate and milk cup for Santa that we place just before heading off to bed.
On Christmas morning, after our morning chores we open presents from Santa. We have brunch which is always homemade quiche and cinnamon rolls!  So yummy!  
This Holiday season, we will be starting a new tradition on the farm!  Follow us on Facebook for the big revelation or drive by the farm and see it for yourself!  

I want to thank Sarah so much for talking with me today. I learned so much about the farm, and look forward to our next visit! I can't wait to see the new Christmas surprise!

If you are lucky enough to have a farm in your community please support them any way you can! Go visit them. Teach your kids where their food comes from! You won't regret it!

Disclaimer: I was compensated for this interview. All questions were my own.

No comments: