The Learning Center

The Unfortunate Way I Discovered Vitamin K

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Breastfeeding! What a wonderful closeness it provides for a mother and baby. However, it can be very nutritionally demanding and is not always problem-free.

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Jane, two days old.

A couple months into nursing, I noticed that my dental health was declining, despite my dedicated brushing, flossing, and tongue-cleaning regimen. Of course, the feeling that my teeth were “crumbling,” soft, and overly-sensitive was discouraging, but the new yellowness between my teeth and a few holes and dark spots in my molars were disturbing. So, of course, I dived into books and articles to find a holistic cure. I feared that my teeth were just a reflection of my bones–were they crumbling, too?

Of course, dental hygiene, teeth grinding, age, genetics, and vomiting (morning sickness…yuck!) dramatically affect the state of our teeth, but…SURPRISE! Diet has more of an effect on our oral health and our bones than most of us know. And it’s not all about sugar.

I came across some fascinating information regarding the natural synergy of minerals and fat-soluble vitamins such as….*drumroll*…calcium and vitamin K in bone metabolism:

Bad news for most:

There are 3 different kinds of vitamin K (K1, K2, and K3), yet people are commonly deficient in it [1].

Deficiency is more likely to be found in those who have digestive problems, have used antibiotics (which are also found in our water and some foods), and/or use cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) [2] [3] [18]. Unfortunately, these issues are very widespread! That’s a little alarming…

If you’re deficient in vitamin K, calcium deposits accumulate in your blood vessels. This is called “vascular calcification.” The WHO states that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of death globally, yet, it isn’t well-known that vascular calcification is a key cause of CVD and CVD-induced death [4].

But, on a positive note, The Oman Medical Journal stated in 2014 that vitamin K can actually inhibit this “vascular and soft tissue calcification,” and that it can prevent and eventually treat cardiovascular disease [5].

In other words, vitamin K is necessary in order to get calcium where it needs to be. Without it, all that calcium will just accumulate in the wrong places. There’s hope!

Calcium/vitamin D supplements alone are not enough for your bones, and too much for your heart:

I’m sure you know someone popping calcium/vitamin D supplements like they’re candy. Here’s why you shouldn’t:

“elevated consumption of calcium supplements may raise the risk for heart disease and can be connected with accelerated deposit of calcium in blood-vessel walls and soft tissues” [6].

This concern is especially relevant for vitamin K-deficient individuals. However, as I mentioned above, it’s fortunate that

“calcium in tandem with vitamin K2 may well be the solution for bringing necessary bone benefits while circumventing an increased risk for heart disease” [7].

So, if you’re going to take supplemental calcium (and vitamin D), make sure you get your fill of vitamin K! It’s absolutely essential!

It’s possible to strengthen your teeth, too:

As I’ve partly pointed out, vitamin K may serve as the missing puzzle-piece for those who suffer with osteoporosis, low bone mineral density, and even tooth decay [8] [9] [10]. 

In fact, according to the Journal of Bone and Mineral Metabolism, vitamin K “is safe in treatment for osteoporosis” [11] and it effectively prevents new fractures from occurring [15].

Therefore, one can even avoid the low bone mineral density that eventually leads to osteoporosis. And your smile doesn’t have to suffer, either. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, tooth remineralization is more than possible with a diet high in minerals and fat-soluble vitamins [10]. 

So, I guess the question is this: why wouldn’t you pay more attention to vitamin K? I’m sure glad I found out about it!

To highlight the vast actions of vitamin K, here are some other cool things it does:

1. It may have a role in preventing and/or treating Alzheimer’s Disease [14]

2. It’s being evaluated as a new treatment for lung cancer [16]

3. It suppresses cancerous cell growth in the liver [17]

Okay, now that I know how important it is, where on earth can I find it?

Author's daughter Jane

Jane, 7 months

According to Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions and Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, vitamin K is found in

organ meats (such as liver),

egg yolks,

butter,

full fat cheese,

fats from healthy animals,

properly-prepared grains (soaked or fermented),

dark leafy vegetables,

vegetables of the cabbage family,

fermented soy foods (like miso or natto),

and other fermented foods (sauerkraut, fermented carrots, real fermented pickles, et cetera) [12] [13].

However, our mineral-deficient soil and commonly malnourished animals can’t always produce products concentrated with significant amounts of vitamin K.

So, it’s important to seek out high quality food if you want to benefit nutritionally.

If you can’t get your hands on quality organ meats, dairy, or fats from healthy, properly-fed, happy animals, I recommend finding your vitamin K in vegetable greens, fermented vegetables, and natto. If you find that you can’t take the texture and taste of natto (like many), there are natto supplements that you could invest in.

Our family takes this supplement along with our grass-fed raw dairy, organ meats, animal fats, and ferments. Please note that if you are on a blood-thinning medication such as Warfarin, vitamin K will negate the effectiveness of your medication. That and other drug interactions can be further specified here.

Back to my story…

After making some dietary changes (more on this in a later post) and increasing my vitamin K intake, my teeth recovered quickly. It took about 1.5-2 months. The first change I noticed is that the yellowness between my teeth had disappeared and they no longer feel like they’re crumbling. The dark spots have lightened, they’re not as sensitive, and I’ve even noticed significant whitening.

What a relief! Now…on with the breastfeeding we go!

Disclaimer: All information on this blog is for informational purposes only. I am not a licensed medical professional. Please discuss any dietary changes, supplements, or medical questions with your doctor.

dianes-profileDiane Stanislowski is a wife, mother, and researcher with the goal of restoring the practice of traditional holistic approaches to wellness and sharing evidence-based information with the public.

She lives in Grand Forks North Dakota with her husband and daughter Jane, and receives raw milk and pastured meats from Bartlett Farms.

 

References:

[1] http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-k

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5037517/

[3] http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/drugs-in-the-water

[4] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs317/en/

[5]  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4052396/

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4566462/

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4566462/#b54-34-39

[8] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7962444_Vitamin_K2_in_bone_metabolism_and_osteoporosis

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17287908

[10] http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/on-the-trail-of-the-elusive-x-factor-a-sixty-two-year-old-mystery-finally-solved/

[11] http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs007740050034

[12] Fallon, Sally, Mary G. Enig, Kim Murray, and Marion Dearth. Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. Brandywine, MD: NewTrends Pub, 2001. Print.

[13] Campbell-McBride, Natasha. Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia. 2nd ed. Cambridge, U.K.: Medinform Pub., 2010. Print.

[14] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19027415

[15] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10750566

[16] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12888897?dopt=Abstract

[17] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19214667

[18] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25655639

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3 Reasons Why Raw Milk is a Champion Food

Only a few months ago, my anxieties about life were at an all-time high. I just graduated from college, married my best friend in October, immediately got pregnant, and there I was…33 weeks pregnant with my first child. It all happened in what seemed to be a flash of a second. I needed to adapt — fast. How does one become a good wife and mother? What do my husband and unborn daughter need to be healthy? How do I combat my husband’s genetic predisposition to cancer and multiple sclerosis? Questions like these buzzed through my mind every single day.

One afternoon, I went to visit a friend and her children to ease my mind of its worries. Raw milk came up in our conversation as she opened her fridge, revealing a few half-gallon jars of creamy, slightly golden liquid. “RAW MILK? Unpasteurized? What about all the germs?” I thought. My at-the-time vegan-self wasn’t sure what to make of drinking milk in the first place…let alone milk that wasn’t made “safe” by pasteurization. However, knowing that my friend was a health-nut like myself, I investigated her support of unpasteurized dairy. What I found surprised me…

1. It’s SAFE

We often hear the names Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, and others in the news. People get sick, and some even die from infection. However, these three villains are nothing to worry about in the case of high-quality, properly handled, pastured raw milk. Why, you ask?

It’s self-stabilizing: Components in raw milk make it uninhabitable for pathogens. Though there are many of these components, a great example is the enzyme lactoperoxidase, which has an antibacterial and bacteriostatic (inhibits bacterial growth) effect on bacteria not naturally present in raw milk. This includes the infamous Escherichia coli. [1]

Healthy cow, healthy milk: Traditionally, cows are grass-fed. If they’re fed an alternative diet, their milk can be significantly less nutritious, and can have as little as one-fifth the amount of CLA as milk from grass-fed cows! Cows fed mainly cottonseed meal, soybeans, pearl millet, and grain also produce milk that lacks its self-protective properties, which makes pasteurization necessary. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

Proper handling: Even though raw milk from healthy cows has the ability to protect itself, it’s necessary to collect and store raw milk properly. Sterilized equipment, storage containers, and temperature controlled environments for milk storage help maintain its quality and lifespan (see Raw Milk Production Handbook).

2. It’s a SUPERFOOD

Raw milk’s list of benefits is ENDLESS! I’ll share one of my favorites: conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). This cancer-fighting super-nutrient continues to capture the attention of scientists worldwide. Recognized for its anti-tumor effect and its ability to improve lipid metabolism in adults, CLA is found in high concentrations in milk from healthy pastured cows. But, anti-cancer activity is just the beginning: it can boost glutathione levels enough to benefit those with autoimmune diseases by regulating the immune system. Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease. [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

3. It’s ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS

According to my milk-fiend husband, it’s the best milk he has ever had. You can make creamy ice cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, golden-milk (more on that later), or just drink it by itself. It’s versatile and can even be consumed soured…it gets even better over time! The blogger “The Healthy Home Economist” has a fantastic idea list of things to do with soured raw milk: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/101-uses-for-soured-raw-milk/.

It’s digestible: as mentioned above, raw milk is packed with active enzymes and bacteria. These valuable little warriors break down lactose, make minerals more available for absorption (increase mineral bioavailability), kick out pathogens, and more. To add a little personal testimony…I’m slightly lactose intolerant, but raw milk has never given me any problems. It’s the only dairy milk I can drink problem-free. [12]

With science in favor of high-quality, safely-handled raw milk, it was an easy decision for our family to invest in it. What you invest in now, you automatically invest in later. We choose health!

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dianes-profileDiane Stanislowski is a wife, mother, and researcher with the goal of restoring the practice of traditional holistic approaches to wellness and sharing evidence-based information with the public.

 

References:

  1. http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/themes/documents/LPS/dairy/mpv/lactoperoxidase/faqanswer.htm
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1779073
  3. http://www.thecattlesite.com/diseaseinfo/193/rumen-acidosis
  4. http://www.realmilk.com/soy.html
  5. http://jds.fass.org/cgi/reprint/68/10/2608
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27664694
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15992797
  8. http://refhub.elsevier.com/S0308-8146%2816%2931383-8/h0080
  9. http://refhub.elsevier.com/S0308-8146%2816%2931383-8/h0190
  10. https://www.scopus.com/record/display.uri?eid=2-s2.0-0035022376&origin=inward&txGid=72CE4B10FB3EB17CAB5BBB953156E54D.wsnAw8kcdt7IPYLO0V48gA%3a7
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC19696/
  12. http://www.drdeborahmd.com/health-benefits-raw-milk

 

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What To Do With Giblets

Sarah Pope, of The Healthy Home Economist blog is a great resource for learning more on traditional foods and healthy diets. The video below is referenced from her blog on using turkey gibblets. Read the post for sure!

 
 

 Also, if you happen to have more gizzards than you know what to do with, consider using this recipe to make a delicious, and very nutritious gizzard dish. Recipe submitted by our 2017 summer intern applicant, Emmy T. 

Gizzards an’ Gravy
 
4 lbs. chicken gizzards, cut into 1 inch cubes
2-3 onions, sliced
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 c. reserved drippings
2 c. reserved gizzard broth
1/4 c. flour
1 t. celery seed
1 t. each onion powder and garlic powder
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 can (10.5 oz) cream of chicken soup
 

Place gizzards in a 6-quart crockpot with sliced onions, 1 t. salt, 1/4 t. pepper and fill halfway with water. Cook on high for 2 hours and then on low for another 2 hours. (Cook time varies with crockpots)

Drain; reserving gizzards, drippings, broth and onions (optional). Set aside gizzards and onions. Skim off 1/2 c. drippings and pour enough broth to equal 2 cups.

 

Place 1/2 c. drippings in a 12 inch skillet. Stir in flour, celery seed, onion powder, garlic powder, 1 t. salt, and 1/2 t. pepper. Cook over low heat until smooth and browned. Gradually, stir in 2 c. reserved gizzard broth and cream of chicken soup. Cook and stir constantly until mixture boils and thickens. Add to reserved gizzards and onions (can chop into small bits). Use the keep warm or low setting until ready to serve.

 
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Get Traditional with Acorn-Finished Pork

Forget ignoring how pork is finished. It’s time to appreciate acorns!

There is an interesting article posted here by an organization promoting the traditional uses of nuts.  One of those traditional uses is feeding acorns to hogs, which would be quite a chore collecting and then feeding the acorns, unless the hogs live in an oak forest like here at Bartlett Farms.  

Here are a few of the bullet points from that article:

-> Acorn-finished pork is a centuries-old tradition that has been handed down from the Mediterranean region of Europe.

-> ..more humane for the pigs, better for the environment, and healthier for the consumer than pork produced by modern factory farms.

-> The practice of finishing pigs on acorns followed European settlers to North America and is regaining popularity today due to its many benefits..

-> ..allowing the pigs to enjoy fresh air and sunshine, as well as practice natural behaviors such as rooting and nesting.

-> spread their manure naturally, eliminating the toxic waste..manure from pastured pigs can actually improve the soil.

-> acorn-finished pork is tastier and healthier for the consumer.

-> Studies of Spanish pata negra [acorn-fed, $100 per pound] pork have found that the fat they produce is largely unsaturated, often to the point of being liquid at room temperature, and that it is extremely high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids and oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that is also known to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol. In fact, the pigs are sometimes called “olive trees on four hooves” because the health benefits are similar to olive

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Behind the scenes: Raising Turkeys

It’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. As you are thinking about turkey, we thought you might like to see a bit behind the scenes of our turkeys being raised.

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Turkeys love to forage. That means they love to peck and eat blades of grass, bugs, seeds and anything else that catches their eye. Turkeys can get around 20% of their diet from things they find on pasture. Having this variety in their diet makes their meat more flavorful, and also much more nutritious. 

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Before the turkeys are ready to go out on pasture, they are housed inside a building called a “brooder.” This building is kept at about 90 degrees using heat lamps (red colored light in photo above), and propane heaters. The poults are free to scratch and peck in the bedding, and are served finely ground grain and fresh water. Sometimes they even receive raw milk for probiotics.

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Chores for the turkeys is done about twice a day. They love to follow the person with the bucket and often eat right from the pail!

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Butchering is done using a scalding hot water loosen the feathers from the skin. Then the birds are spun inside a drum with rubber fingers to pluck the feathers from the carcass. Once complete, the birds are eviscerated by hand and chilled in cold water before inspecting for quality control and shrink wrapping. 

Watch the video to see how the feather plucker works (chickens being plucked in this case, but works the same for turkeys).

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There are many recipes out there for roasting pastured turkey. We will be posting a few as we get closer to Thanksgiving. For now, here’s a recipe for 5-minute bone broth gravy: 

http://www.raisinggenerationnourished.com/2015/11/5-minute-bone-broth-gravy/

Do you have any comments or questions? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Hidden Benefits of Happy Animals

If you’ve ever been to our farm, you’ve probably noticed how friendly the animals are. Maybe you saw the chickens roaming around the coop, a stray calf wandering up close to the farmhouse, or a curious flock of turkeys gobbling at your vehicle as you drove by. 

We believe it’s important to know how the animals are doing, and check on them frequently to make sure they have what they need to be healthy and strong.

But there’s a hidden benefit to friendly animals!

Animals that are happy live a low-stress lifestyle, which translates to more tenderness in the meat, richer flavor in the milk, and overall a more nutritious food for you and your family. 

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Here’s three ways we work to make our animals happy:

1) Check them frequently. No matter what species we’re considering, keeping an eye on them and watching closely for their needs is really is the biggest factor that contributes to happy, low-stress raising of animals. 

2) Keep up a routine. Cows relax and enjoy having a routine (don’t we all?) they can look forward to each day. They love it when they hear the clank of milking equipment coming to the barn at about the same time each day. Keeping the chore routine steady makes for happier, low-stress animals.

3) Ask the animals. Let’s say we’re experimenting with a new feed — like green fodder for chickens. How do we know if it will be a good supplement? Ask them! Put it in a feeder they can reach and let them go after it and see how they like it. Or, put two different feeds side by side and see which one they like better. By considering their likes and dislikes, we can mix and match and help them get the most out of the foods we provide them, making them happier and healthier.

Stress produces adrenaline which causes a higher acidity in the meat [1]. If a cow is raised in a manner that causes them to be stressed for much of their life, the beef will actually look bruised due to the adrenaline in the meat. 

Want to see some happy animals? Grab your kids and take a peek at this short video:

 

 

 

References:
1) http://www.grass-fed-solutions.com/cattle-stress.html

2) http://alternativedairy.org/milk-flavor.html

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Melt In Your Mouth Beef Roast Recipe

Don’t you just love meat that can be cut with a fork? We do!

The most common problem with grass-fed beef is that it is overcooked and becomes tough — the lower fat content can dry the meat out if it’s not prepared the right way. 

Well, we have good news for you!

This week’s recipe will help you get your beef roasts done right every time. It was given to Lynn Bartlett by a close friend, has become a favorite for all of us here at the farm. We are sure that you’ll impress your family and friends with the superb flavor and fork-tender texture of grass-fed beef cooked with this recipe.

Enjoy!


Melt In Your Mouth Beef Roast

by Marci Blubaugh, 2013

You will need:

  • Grass-fed beef roast, medium sized (3-4 lbs)
  • 1 onion
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Seasoned salt
  • Crock pot

Thaw the beef roast in the refrigerator overnight, making sure it is completely thawed in the middle. Cut up the onion and five garlic cloves and layer them in the bottom of the crock pot. Lay the roast in the crock pot and sprinkle the entire crock with seasoning salt, salt and pepper. Do not add liquid to the bottom of the crock pot. Place the cover on the crock pot and turn on high. Check to see if it is tender after four hours, if not, allow to cook for an additional hour. 

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Do you have a favorite recipe to share? We’d love to feature it on an upcoming blog post! Send it to us at office@bartlettfarms.us  


 

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Interested in grass-fed beef? Check it out here and let us know if you have any questions!

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How to Deposit for Pork and Beef

You know how nice it is to have food in the house, right? Something you can pull out of the freezer and build a tasty (and nutritious) dinner around. That’s what it’s all about when it comes to ordering beef and pork in bulk. 20160621_165316

For those who’ve done it before…

You know the drill! Since you already have an account with our farm, simply log into your account and add the deposit to an order. We’ll take care of the rest. We are honored to have you as a repeat customer, and want to do everything we can to help your family get the highest quality meats we possibly can.

For the newcomers…

A little nervous about placing a bulk order? We understand and want you to know that we’re here for you every step of the ordering process. Just ask a question if there’s anything at all that you wonder about. For starters, here’s what you need to do:

1. First, take a minute to estimate how many pounds of beef or pork your family eats in a month, six months, or a year. 

2. Next, think about how that matches the quantities of beef and pork listed here:

Beef quarter = ~120 lbs of various packaged cuts (steaks, ground beef, tenderloin etc.)

Pork half = ~80 lbs of various packaged cuts (pork chops, bacon, hams, roasts etc.)

 

3. Next, create a profile with the farm and enter your complete customer information. This will ask for a credit card number for billing, as well as a preferred delivery address. Home delivery is available in Minot, Bismarck, Williston, Grand Forks and more.

4. Log into your account, and add a beef deposit or a pork deposit to match the amount you decided above and save it to your next order date.

That’s it for ordering! Your deposit will be scheduled for the date of your next order, and your credit card will be billed the day before that date.

Once your beef or hog is sent to butcher, we will send you an email with contact info for you to let the butcher know your cutting and packaging preferences. Just tell him general cutting preferences like, “lots of ground beef,” or, “do as many steaks as you can” and he will take it from there.  

Bartlett Farms will then pick up your order from the butcher and deliver it to you at a convenient date. Please watch your email for updates about your order and any changes that may happen to the delivery schedule.

Note, you may see a delivery reminder email listing your deposit as an item scheduled for delivery. If so, and your deposit is the only item listed, please disregard the email because the deposit is only a down payment and not the final order.

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You named Hailey’s calf….

Drumroll please….

We are happy to announce Hailey’s summer 2016 calf is named Ruby!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to cast a vote! We were excited to have all the responses we did on the voting — 47 votes to be exact. Whenever a calf is born it really is an exciting time for us at the farm. And we love passing along some of that excitement to you by letting you submit names and vote!

The idea came from McKenna Jensen who lives in Minot. McKenna often visits the farm with her mom and grandma, and they saw the pattern on the calf’s forehead and thought of the name. Thanks for the idea, McKenna! 

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McKenna Jensen (right) with her mom Bethany.

Check out the results in the pie graph below. Comet was a close second.

There will be another calf naming contest soon. Stay tuned for another chance to name a calf!

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Help us name the calf!

The little bouncy brown and white calf is still waiting for a name! And you can help us choose the perfect one.

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