FARMS Advanced Program | Kern County | Thursday, November 12th, 2020
Field Day Partner: AC Foods/AC Farming
Field Day Host Priscila Reuland- Project Coordinator Bryce Chudy- Chief Agronomist
Summary of the Day: On Thursday, November 12th, 2020, the Kern County FARMS Advanced Program from McFarland High School had a Zoom field day with AC Foods. The day before the field day, students were hand delivered kits from AC Foods that consisted of a variety of their green and red holiday grapes. Students were also given a refractometer which they used during the live meeting with the Chief Agronomist.
As the students joined the meetings, they were being introduced to our hosts Bryce Chudy and Priscila Reuland. We talked about Columbine Vineyard, AC Foods sister company. We discussed the Refractometer which is the tool used to measure the sugar content in the grapes.
The higher the number the higher the sugar content in the grape. Each variety has its own measurement, such as a red grape will have a higher sugar content than your green grapes. The measuring of sugar content in all fruit is very important. It helps determine the correct time to harvest the fruit for consumption. It was a great informational field day!!
FARMS Advanced Program | Kern County | Thursday, February 27, 2020
Location of Field Day: Red House Beef 649 Enos Ln Bakersfield, CA 93314
Field Day Host Maddie Herndon- Ranch Manager Debbie Wise- Owner
Summary of the Day: On Thursday, February 27, 2020, the Kern County FARMS Advanced Program from McFarland High School visited Redhouse Beef. We started off the day meeting with their herd manager Maddie Herndon. Maddie started off the tour by telling us the history of the company and when it began. Next, she explained all the different breeds of cattle and described each of their breed characteristics. The majority of their herd is Angus and Red Angus cattle. These two breeds are known for being the best for meat production. We learned a lot about the marbling of meat which is the fat and gives meat a lot of its flavor. We then met with the owner Debbie Wise who explained more about the beef side of the company. Debbie has a lot of knowledge about the agriculture industry and it was very interesting listening to all she had to say.
We then moved onto the grass-fed chickens they raise at Redhouse. The hens are rotated throughout the pasture along with the chicken coop on wheels. It is very impressive. These Red House hens were so pampered living a fat and happy life. There where different varieties of chickens which means they lay different colored eggs. The girls graze on bugs, clover, and grass that make their yolks a bright orange color. Everyone loved them so much that we had to take a picture with them!
Finally, we walked the orchards to look at the almond trees. They were blooming so it was great to see them in this stage. About 20% of the flowers you see on the almond trees will then turn into almonds. The weather plays a huge role in the production of the almond’s trees. Too much chill can knock off the blooms and set them back. A crucial step is the pollination of the trees. Honey bees play a major role with around 80% of the United States crop depending on them for pollination. All bees in the colony have their own jobs. We talked a little about the jobs and how crucial each bee is to the colony. The bee colonies consist of a single queen bee, hundreds of male’s drones and 20,000 plus female worker bees. It was amazing to hear how a small creature has such an important job and how their hive works.
This was an informative experience and we are grateful for our amazing hosts at Redhouse Beef. Thank you! We look forward to our next visit!
FARMS Leadership Program | Kern County | Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Location of Field Day: Perfection Pet Foods- 1111 N Miller Park Ct, Visalia, CA 93291
Field Day Host Kendre Wise Marco Mendza Deshon Young Janelle Martinez
Summary of the Day: On Tuesday, February 25, 2020 the Kern County FARMS Leadership Program from McFarland High school went on a field trip to Perfection Pet Foods in Visalia, CA. We were so thrilled to find out how our pet’s food is properly made and all the steps to making the perfect pet food. Perfection Pet Foods has been around for eight years. Western Milling is the parent company to Perfection Pet Foods. Perfection Pet foods makes sure that each bag of food or box of treats has the ingredients to meet the requirements our pets need.
We first started off the tour meeting with the staff of Perfection Pet Foods. They gave us a presentation on what we would be seeing throughout our tour of the facility. There are many regulations and rules they must follow in making the perfect pet food. They must make sure that all their pet food is safe to eat and unharmful to pets and humans.
We started the tour by suiting up in gear required to wear while touring the facility. We were ready to work! We began the tour working backwards with the finish product first and ending with the raw material. It was amazing to see rows and rows of so many pallets stacked high waiting to go out to deliver. They have thousands and thousands of pounds of food in their warehouse. The process is so fast in which they package the dog food. Making sure each seal is complete is crucial on making sure the food stays as fresh as possible. The food also goes through a metal detector to make sure no foreign objects have entered the bags so our pets are guaranteed safe products.
We watched the raw material being pushed through the extruder. Imagine Play-Doh as a kid. The extruder is the cookie cutter for the pet food. They come in all shapes and sizes such as bones, stars, circles and triangles. The food then falls out into the shape desired and then gets cooked to perfection. It then is cooled and sent onto the packaging process.
We were also able to see the biscuit factory. It smelt amazing! It was so tempting to sample one. They smelt like cookies and cooked to perfection. The biscuits came in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Fun Fact: They mentioned most variety pack of biscuits that differ in color are most likely all the same flavor. So therefore, if your pet prefers the savory red beef one he could just like the red color more so than the other colors offered. They to also have different varieties of cut outs based on customers preferences.
This was such an amazing tour. It was a real eye opener to the process that takes place when creating our pet’s food. Perfection Pet Food puts in hard work and effort for every one of their products produced. Thank you so much for letting us be a part of this amazing day!