Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Let’s Talk Turkey

By Sarah Correll

It’s the middle of November, and Thanksgiving is nearly here! I’m so excited to be reunited with family, appreciate what we have and, of course, eat some great food. The ladies of The Real Farmwives of America and Friends have shared some great turkey information, and I’m rounding it up here.

Marybeth of Alarm Clock Wars starts at the beginning in her series on how turkeys are raised on her friend Katie’s farm.

Leah of Beyer Beware is giving away a turkey and sharing some great recipes in this post.

Marybeth reminds us not to rinse our turkey here.

And, finally, she shares how to roast the perfect turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 7, 2014

We Are Indiana Agriculture: The Fruetches

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

Craig and Mindy Fruechte are sixth generation farmers in Adams County.  They have two children and both have jobs outside of the farming operation.  Craig has a degree in agribusiness and works for AgriStats in Fort Wayne, while Mindy has a nursing degree and is a case manager at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne.  Their 1800-acre farm produces corn, soybeans and alfalfa.  They share ownership of much of the equipment with Craig’s father and they exchange labor with him during busy times on the farm.

The Fruechtes are very active in their community, volunteering for Farm Bureau, their county fair, their county pork producer organization, Extension and their church.  Craig and Mindy are no longer in the hog business, but they wanted to give their children the opportunity to care for livestock, so they raise livestock for freezer meat and showing.  While the Fruechtes are busy with their farm and off-farm jobs and raising a family, they still manage to find time to educate their children, coworkers and the community about agriculture.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

We Are Indiana Agriculture: The Kakasuleffs

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

George Kakasuleff is the third generation to farm his family’s Hamilton County grain farm.  The farm was started by his grandfather in the 1950s.  His wife, Carly, grew up in the suburbs with no farm experience, but she feels it is very important to give their son Vince, and any future children, the opportunity to be the fourth generation to work the land.

George has a degree in agronomic business and marketing .  Carly has a degree in informatics which proves to be very helpful on their farm as technology plays an important role in the operation.  Grain monitors ensure quality in the new on-farm storage and spreadsheets help with marketing and purchase decisions.

Controlled growth is one of George’s long-term goals.  In the last few years, he has purchased acreage, increased rented acres, began custom farming, and started growing seed corn for a major Midwestern seed company.

The Kakasuleffs stay active in their community by participating in Hamilton County and Indiana Farm Bureau activities and are active in their local Kiwanis and Chamber of Commerce.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fall Comfort Food

By Sarah Correll

Fall is a time for cozy sweaters and warm food. The ladies of The Real Farmwives of America and Friends are serving up some of their favorite dishes- and sharing the recipes with us!

Creamy and warm, this Sour Cream Noodle Bake from Morgan of Stories of a First Generation Farmwife is sure to be a big hit!

This soup from A of A Latte with Ott,A is freezable and made for the crockpot!

This Pizza Casserole from Leah of BeyerBeware is kid-friendly and quick to make!

What’s your favorite fall food?

Friday, October 24, 2014

I am Indiana Agriculture: Kirk Thornburg

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life
Kirk Thornburg is a 4th generation farmer who resides in Richmond with his wife Lori and daughters, Macy and Kinzie. Kirk grew up on the family farm located near Greensburg in Decatur County and his father still farms the land today.  "I currently manage a 2,800-sow farm for Country View Family Farms located in Randolph County near Lynn.  Country View Family Farms is a division of The Clemens Food Group, and all hogs are harvested at Hatfield Quality Meats in Pennsylvania.  The pork is marketed primarily in the Northeast corridor of the U.S.   I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in 2005, and am currently enrolled at Purdue University as a graduate student and a candidate for a Master of Science degree in communications.”

Kirk is currently President of the Indiana Pork Board where he has been a member and served on several committees since 2010.  Kirk was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture as a National Pork Forum delegate in 2014.

The one thing Kirk loves most about farming is “the sense of accomplishment I get from understanding that what we do helps to feed the world, and being able to educate others as to what farmers do to feed their families and others around the world.”

“The methods we use to produce crops and livestock today, including pork, use modern technology to produce more food, more efficiently, and more environmentally friendly than ever before.This technology is allowing us to produce the most affordable, most nutritious and safest food we’ve ever produced.  I have had the pleasure of speaking to Richmond High School students on several occasions to teach them about modern pork and food production in general, as well as demonstrating how pork can be prepared.  This is truly something I enjoy."

Friday, October 10, 2014

We Are Indiana Agriculture: Emiley Gaskill Doing What She Loves

Emiley Gaskill and her husband, Randy, live in Adams County.  They have three sons: Aaron, who works for Helena Chemical Company; Brandon, a service man for Oracle Pork; and Craig, who is a manager over 10,000-head of wean-to-finish hogs. 

Randy and Emiley are also the proud grandparents of 2-year-old Gaven who, Emiley says, “Is the apple of my eye.”  

The Gaskills are proud supporters of 4-H, having all completed 10 years in the organization.  They are also members of the National Junior Swine Association. “Our family raises and shows swine for exhibition.  We show at county, state, and national levels. We currently breed 30 sows to raise piglets to sell to other young people who want to show them. We have had success in and out of the show ring as we have built relationships with other swine exhibitors, and have gained important knowledge and life skills that have made our show pig business what it is today.”

“We follow the advice from our veterinarian on the health and well-being for our pigs and the National Pork Board’s PQA (Pork Quality Assurance) program to ensure that, on our pig farm, the pigs are kept healthy and safe,” Emiley explains.  “We care about the kind of care our pigs receive after they are sold, so we work with families on educating them on proper pig care and handling, nutrition, and want our pigs to do well for them."

Her favorite part of farming is the long nights they spend as a family in the barn when the “mama pigs” are giving birth.  “We want every pig to get off on the right start from the very moment they are born.”

Emiley also serves on the Indiana Pork Producers Association Board of Directors and is the chair for the youth show pig committee, where they hope to engage more young people in pig farming.  She also gives speaking presentations through the National Pork Board’s Operation Main Street speaker’s bureau. Emiley serves as a PQA Advisor to help other pig farmers by educating them on good production practices and getting their farms assessed for certification.

“I feel it’s very important for pig farmers to be advocates for our industry, because no one knows it better than us, and if we aren’t out there sharing how and why we do the things we do, then someone else might tell consumers things that simply are not true. We raise and feed our family the same quality of pork that consumers find in the stores, so we want to make sure it’s the very best.  I love what we do and want to share what I love with everyone!”

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Italian Wedding Soup with Cheesy Meatballs


frost close up on leaf2The temperature dropped, just after a wonderful stretch of beautiful warm weather in late September. 

Can you guess what happens next?  

If you guessed people dig out the cold weather comfort food: chili (no doubt), soups and crock pot creations, then we are on the same page.  

I thought about taking a poll to see how many people made chili that first weekend when the temperature plummeted.  I’d bet more than you realize.  Maybe I’ll ask that incredibly nice lady greeting me at my favorite grocery superstore.  

But I digress, back to comfort food, ah yes.

Sure enough at my house they requested Italian Wedding Soup with homemade cheesy meatballs.  This is a simple soup with great tasting meatballs.  It’s a pleaser for all in my household because it’s different than what is usually on the menu and my picky eaters love it as well. There is nothing worse for me than to make something that only some of us are excited about. It just gives you a great feeling to know that everyone will enjoy their dinner that evening. The recipe calls for 1 ½ pounds of ground turkey for the meatballs however, I alter my meatballs a bit by using 1 pound of ground turkey and ½ pound of sausage. It gives the meatballs a great flavor. I’m sure you will find a way to make it your own. 

  Italian Wedding Soup with Cheesy Meatballsitalian wedding soup 


1 ½ lb. ground turkey 
¾ tsp. Salt 
¼ tsp. Pepper 
3 Tbsp. freshly chopped parsley 
1 egg 
½ cup bread crumbs 
¼ tsp. hot sauce 
½ tsp. Garlic powder 
½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese 
16 oz. of small bow tie pasta 
2- 32oz. containers of Chicken stock 
1 package of baby spinach

  meatballs cooking 

Combine turkey and all ingredients except pasta, chicken stock and spinach and mix well in a large bowl. Roll into medium sized meatballs. Brown meatballs in skillet with 2 tbsp. olive oil. While meatballs are browning, pour chicken stock in large pot and bring just to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Cook pasta in separate pan to al dente. Once meatballs are browned transfer to large pot of chicken stock. Add spinach and simmer 5-10 minutes.  Lastly add cooked pasta. Serve and enjoy!