Farm to Fork at MooShine Ridge
Kimberly and Kevin Jepsen offer a wide variety of commodities at their home store just off Highway 82 in Langley, Okla. The Jepsens call their operation MooShine Ridge.
Starting with raw milk, the Jepsens have branched out to offer raw cow’s milk, goat milk, cheese, eggs, chicken, beef, pork and duck all packaged and ready for sale. In addition to good food, Kimberly makes goat milk soap and bath bombs.
Kevin had problems drinking milk, so Kimberly wanted to find an alternative. Many people who can’t tolerate cow’s milk can drink goat’s milk, but Kimberly also learned cow’s milk is not all alike.
“It’s the protein structure in milk,” Kimberly said. “Most Holsteins have A1 protein structure. Our Dexter cows have A2 protein which is easier to digest. Dexter milk has a smaller molecule size.” Kimberly thinks Kevin’s ability to drink Dexter milk may be breed specific as he has tried other A2 cows milk which upset his stomach.
“I sought out a dairy breed that produced A2 milk,” Kimberly said. “But I also chose Dexters for their temperament.”
Dexters originated in Ireland as a triple purpose breed: milk, meat and draft. They are a relatively small breed. Dexters are voracious foragers and will eat blackberry leaves, weeds and bottom leaves from tree branches. Kimberly pointed out the difference between clear pasture and tangled woods where the cows have grazed. Registered Dexters can be red, black or dun. The Jepsens butcher steers when they weigh around 1,000 pounds.
“I have a cow I’ve been milking for almost a year straight right now because we changed from fall to spring calving,” Kimberly said.
Calves are left on the cows Kimberly milks. In fact, she has one cow that is much easier to milk if the calf is nursing at the same time.
Raw milk can be sold on the farm if it’s sold from the same building where the cows are milked or from the producer’s home kitchen. That’s why the farm store is attached to the milk barn.
The goats Kimberly milks are Nubians. Goat milk is very high butterfat at 5 percent. Goat milk is also sold, as well as cheese made from both cow and goat milk.
“We save (goat) colostrum and we have people come who have orphaned kittens and puppies to raise on goat milk,” Kimberly said.
She gets a gallon of goat milk each day from milking until the kids are weaned, then she gets two gallons a day.
Right now, Kimberly is milking three cows. The milk is sold in half-gallon jars. She’s getting about six gallons a day from those three cows, even with one on the down side of her lactation. Cows are dried off eight weeks before calving.
Jepsens have changed from fall to spring calving because they believe both cows and calves do better on new spring grass. Dexter replacement bulls are raised on the farm and steers are fed and finished on grass, butchered locally and sold by whole, half, quarter or packaged to be sold by the pound in the farm store. Dexter meat is dark red with a high degree of marbling.
MooShine Ridge also raises KuneKune pigs for pork sold in the store. The native New Zealand breed is smaller than commercial hog breeds and produces darker meat with marbling. The pigs are totally raised on pasture. KuneKunes are a grazing breed with short upturned snouts making them less prone to rooting. KuneKunes have no desire to roam and will not test most any kind of fencing. The meat is gaining popularity with chefs in the U.S.
“I am a city girl, but my husband was raised on a commercial hog farm. We’ve been married nearly 20 years and there were only two things he ever told me we’d never have, hogs and black bean burgers. He said hogs stink and you can never get it off. These pigs don’t stink because they are outside. And nobody wants a black bean burger,” Kimberly said.
“We tried some other breeds but they were kinda grumpy,” Kevin said. KuneKunes are friendly and no danger to their pigs. “It’s funny cause the pigs nurse while the sow is standing up. The sow will be walking along grazing and the pigs are nursing. When she’s had enough she just lays down flat on her belly.”
The pigs are butchered at 200 pounds, which produces about 85 pounds of meat. “I think KuneKune actually means little fatty,” Kimberly said. She renders lard, which is sold in the farm store. “It’s good to cook with,” Kimberly said. “No oily after taste.”
The dairy cows are fed wheat fodder Kimberly grows in trays. She has a room to grow fodder she describes as a giant shower. Temperature and humidity are kept at 70. First the wheat seed is soaked around 12 hours until it germinates. Then the seeds are spread in trays set on metal racks.
“A $14 bag of seed makes about 280 pounds of fodder,” Kimberly said. The trays are sprayed with water twice a day. There is a drain in the middle of the sloped floor. A lactating cow is fed 140 pounds of fodder each day. Jepsens begin feeding fodder Oct. 15 and stop around April 15. “Before we built this room, I grew the fodder in our spare shower for two years,” Kimberly said. In less than two weeks the high quality wheat grass fodder is ready to feed.
The Jepsens raise Muscovy ducks. The meat is leaner than other ducks and Kimberly said it tastes a lot like roast beef.
Eggs from Americana hens are for sale in the store. They are mostly green but sometimes brown. Cheese is made at least once a week along with some cheese spreads. With the virus scare, many farmers markets are not operating, so the store has organic produce on Wednesdays and Saturdays now, grown by another local farm.http://www.ozarksfn.com/2020/06/11/farm-to-fork-at-mooshine-ridge/http://www.ozarksfn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Jepsen-1024x576.jpghttp://www.ozarksfn.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Jepsen-150x150.jpgArkansas NeighborsNeighborsA2 milk,Cattle,Dexter,Dexter milk,Goat Milk,Kevin Jepsen,Kimberly Jepsen,Langley,MooShine Ridge,Nubian Goats,OklahomaKevin Jepsen and his family operate a farm store that offers fresh-from-the-farm products.Kimberly and Kevin Jepsen offer a wide variety of commodities at their home store just off Highway 82 in Langley, Okla. The Jepsens call their operation MooShine Ridge.Starting with raw milk, the Jepsens have branched out to...Kathy Parker firstname.lastname@example.orgAuthorOzarks Farm & Neighbor Newspaper