Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treating in the Country

Growing up on a farm, our Halloween trick-or-treating wasn't quite like that of my friends in town. 

First, my mom didn't mess around when it came to costumes. 

Back when my older sister and I were around 4 or 5 years old, she had someone make three costumes: a princess, a clown and a witch. 

Then for the next 10-plus years, my three sisters and I rotated wearing these costumes each Halloween

As you can see the clown was our favorite!

(Me and my older sister 1981)

(My older sister and younger sister 1982)

(My younger sister and me 1987)

When we outgrew those costumes, there was always a pair of my dad's coveralls and a seed cap to transform us into a "Farmer!"

Second, there was NO going door-to-door to seek out a bag full of candy!

This is how our Halloween evening usually went...

Get dressed in our costumes right after supper.

Pose for photos.

Get into the car and drive to our neighbor's house down the road.

Get out, head to their door, say "trick-or-treat" and get some candy, then sit down while my mom visited for 5-10 minutes.

Get back in the car, drive to the next house and repeat. 

Do this about 5 times and then go home.

Yes, you heard me... 6-7 houses in an hour doesn't equal that much candy, but we never had to worry if the homemade popcorn ball was safe to eat!

The fun thing about Trick-or-Treating Country Style is that history is repeating itself with my nephews and nieces now piling into the car to seek out their share of Halloween candy...

 (My nephews)

By the way...the Scooby Doo costume above has been worn by all three boys. Their grandma is extremely proud! 

Do you and your family have any special Halloween customs?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Meet A Farmer: Dairy Farmer Sam Schwoeppe

By Kim Devaney

Sam Schwoeppe
Dairy Farmer in Huntingburg, Indiana

Q: Why did you get into the dairy business?
A: I was raised on a dairy farm in Folsomville, Indiana, so you could say I was born into the dairy industry. Now I farm with my husband Darren and our sons Wyatt and Ethan in Huntingburg.

Q: How does your family ensure your cows stay comfortable?
A: For our cows, every day is like a day at the beach. Cows lay on sand in our freestall barn while the fans increase ventilation to keep them cool on those hot summer days. As dairy farmers, we depend on our cows for our livelihood, so their health and comfort is our top priority.

Q: If you weren’t a dairy farmer, what would you do?
A: If I didn’t farm, I would love to work in communications.

Q: How many generations are currently working on your farm?
A: We have three generations currently working on our dairy. Darren’s mother helps with the milking and our two sons enjoy helping with the cows and the crop work. The boys do a little of everything.

Q: What do you love most about dairy farming?
A: I love that our family can all work together on the farm. It also allows us to spend lots of time with the kids.

To learn more about the Schwoeppe’s, visit

Sam's son Wyatt poses for a quick photo with a newborn calf on our farm 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Celebrate Pumpkin Day with these Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars

Guest Post By Amy of Real Farmwives of America and Friends and A Latte with Ott, A.

This time of year when the leaves are changing I always like to go out and buy a pumpkin to sit our on front porch.  I don't think fall can officially begin until I have a pumpkin, and on a chilly morning like this one: I fondly recall a poem my grade school teacher read to us by James Whitcomb Riley, an Indiana poet, entitled "When the Frost in on the Punkin." I can only remember the first two lines; but I think about this poem every year about this time.

WHEN the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,

So in honor of that pumpkin and poem I thought I would share a recipe with you today that goes great along alongside a Latte' with Ott, A (no pun intended, but I had to work that in somehow) and calls for canned pumpkin.  Both kids and adults are sure to like this tasty treat!!!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars
1 15 oz. can of pumpkin
1 8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese
1 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs, divided
3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, divided
1 package of pound cake mix
2 T. butter, melted
1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:  In a mixing bowl beat cream cheese until fluffy.  Add pumpkin, and condensed milk and continue to beat.  Add 2 beaten eggs and 2 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice.  Set aside.

In another bowl; mix together pound cake mix, 1 egg, 2 T. melted butter and 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice until crumbly.
In a 9" x 13" greased baking pan press cake mixture into bottom to form crust.
Next pour Pumpkin mixture on top.
Lastly, sprinkle chocolate chips on top and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  Cool for awhile then place in refrigerator to chill or at least 2 hours.  Serve chilled.
This fall dessert is sure to be a hit at your house as the chocolate and pumpkin pair together nicely for this cool treat!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

News Release: Indiana Food Donated to Habitat for Humanity Homeowner Thanks to Indiana Farmers


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 24, 2011) — On Friday, Indiana’s Family of Farmers presented almost 60 pounds of food including, beef, pork, poultry and dairy products to Habitat for Humanity homeowner, Veronica Whitehead and her two children.

Whitehead’s house, dubbed “The House that Agriculture Built,” was built in just 14 days at the 2011 State Fair with the help of 25 ag-related sponsors and hundreds of volunteers.  A deep freezer was also donated by Indiana’s Family of Farmers and will serve as storage for the frozen foods. 

“Our farm, Wilson Family Farms, is proud to be donating the 30lb of frozen beef that will go into Veronica’s freezer,” said Loran Wilson, owner of Wilson Family Farms in Orleans, Indiana.  “What we do best is grow safe, nutritious food, so what better way to help than to donate to a family who needs it most.” 

Along with the beef from Wilson Family Farms, dairy, poultry and pork products were also included in the donation and provided by farmers from around the state. 

“It’s been quite a journey with everyone who helped make this happen, and I just want to thank everyone for their support,” said Whitehead after she received her donations on Friday. “I told my friend I’m going to be cooking something new every day with all this great food. It’s just wonderful.”

During the State Fair, other fairgoers could register to win their own freezer thanks to Indiana’s Family of Farmers. The winner, Bernadette Mast from Indianapolis, was thrilled when she found out she won the freezer.

“Wow, I don’t have one yet, so this will definitely be a great asset for my home,” said Mast.


Indiana's Family of Farmers are among the nation's top producers of the grains, produce and meats you eat every day because we believe that quality farming means quality food that's good for you, your families and the environment. That's our promise. Food for your family, from our family.

For more information on Indiana’s Family of Farmers, visit

Media Contact: Megan Kuhn, or 317-614-0377

Monday, October 24, 2011

Crockpot BBQ Pork Chili - Yummy New Recipe

*NOTE: This recipe recently won two awards at a workplace Chili Cook-off: The Meatiest and Chef's Choice!

With the evenings getting cooler and the days getting shorter – it’s time for my favorite sitting around the campfire meal, Chili.  I was asked to come up with a new recipe for you all that is a little unexpected.  This chili will be made with that other white meat, Pork. 

It’s Dennis again from the Indiana Department of Agriculture and it is time to share with you what I hope will be a new and exciting chili recipe for you and your family.  I had such a great time bringing you my Buffalo Chicken Chili; I jumped at the chance to do this again.  I thought I would just make one of my conventional chili recipes and substitute the meat with Pork.  Then the more I thought this over, I decided it would not be anything out of the ordinary.  I wanted something that makes one say, “Wow, I need your recipe!”  So thinking it over and what my favorite Pork dish is, I kept coming back to barbeque pulled pork.  Then it hit me, of all the chili’s I have ever eaten or made I never had what I am about to share with you – BBQ Pulled Pork Chili.

I was surprised to find a couple of recipes did exist for BBQ Pork Chili – but they all seemed too simple and not very exciting.  So not to toot my own horn, but I feel I am a good cook and many nights I just  throw ingredients together and have enjoyed many of these great creations for dinner.  So why not do the same and create a new recipe myself? So off to the store for some of the ingredients I don’t keep in stock.

After returning from the grocery, I placed my Pork loin in a bowl to add my BBQ dry rub to it.  Then I placed it in a freezer bag, squeezed out the air and placed it in the fridge overnight.  You can use my dry rub (see recipe following), your favorite dry rub or just soak the pork loin in your favorite BBQ sauce.

The next day, I took my seasoned Pork Loin out of the fridge and cut it into pieces and browned it in the fry pan.  Since I had so much Pork, I decided to brown in two batches – the second batch I added the tomato paste and let the paste brown to bring out its natural sugars.  I placed the browned Pork into my Crockpot remembering to first add the Crockpot liner bag.  Note: If you have not used these liner bags, you need to check them out.  They make cleanup so much easier.  I then opened my cans of tomatoes, adding those and my chopped ingredients to the pot.  I added a whole bottle of my favorite BBQ sauce, Sweet Baby Rays Honey and Chipotle BBQ.  Now came my experimentation with the recipe.  I opened up my spice cabinet and went to work.  As you can see, I stayed with the normal chili style spices and I think with the spices in the canned tomatoes it all works.

I then added a spicy vegetable juice to fill the pot, put on the lid and set on High for 4 to 6 hours.  The aroma filled the house like you would not believe.  I had a hard time waiting, but it was now close to dinner time.  I pulled the Pork out of the pot and with two forks shredded the meat and added it back to the pot.  Finally, I got myself a good bowl full and crumbled a fresh corn muffin on top and some shredded cheese.  OMG, this is the best chili I have ever made!  The sweetness of the BBQ sauce along with the spices and heat of the peppers was so balanced; I could not stop at one bowl.  I thought I would miss the beans (yes, there are no bean in this chili), but with the shredded Pork, chunky tomatoes, onions & peppers – it all made perfect sense.  We are having a chili cook-off here at work and believe me – I plan on this one winning 1st place.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I am (I still have at least two more meals left on the pot).  I have already added this recipe to my quick reference library, and I am sure you will too.  So make a batch, fire up the campfire (or fireplace) and just sit enjoying the crisp autumn air and what will be your new favorite chili – Shredded BBQ Pork Chili.

BBQ Pulled Pork Chili
·       2 to 2 ½ pounds of pork loin, cut into about 1” cubes
·       2 tablespoons of Olive oil
·       1 – 6 oz. can of tomato paste
·       1 Tablespoons of Chili Powder
·       2 teaspoons of Ground Cumin
·       1 teaspoons of Garlic Powder
·       1 teaspoons of Black Pepper
·       1 teaspoons of Old Bay seasoning
·       ½ teaspoon of Chipotle Pepper powder
·       2 – 28 oz. (large cans) of diced tomatoes (I used one with Chili seasoned & onions; the other was with Chipotle)
·       1 – 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
·       1 bottle (about 18 oz.) of your favorite BBQ Sauce
·       One large chopped Onion
·       One chopped Red Bell Pepper
One chopped Poblano Pepperh
·       Vegetable Juice
Dry Rub:
Use equal portions of each of these:
·       Cajun Seasoning
·       Garlic Powder
·       Chili Powder
·       Old Bay Seasoning
·       Chipotle Chili Pepper Powder

Take your Pork loin out of the refrigerator and dice into 1’ cubes.  In a large skillet, brown the Pork cubes in hot Olive oil over medium heat.  While the pork is browning, add the tomato paste.  This will bring out the sweetness of the tomato paste. Place the pork in your Crockpot and add the remaining ingredients, leaving the Vegetable juice until the end.  Now you can add the Vegetable juice to about ½” from the top of the pot.  Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours.  Just before serving, shred the pork with a large fork.  Enjoy with your favorite fresh baked bread or corn bread muffins.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tailgating Time!

By Michelle Plummer of Winners Drink Milk

Football, Colts, Chili all scream as the Official combination of Tailgating.  Whether you are cheering on a pro team, alma mater, or child’s school team gathering with friends, ladling up some great food on a chilly weekend day equals Tailgate Party!

Keep in mind that you want foods that can be eaten out of hand or with as few utensils as possible. This keeps down the trash and clean-up factor, and will not require seating arrangements.  While this may be true for some, there are seasoned pros that before they enter the stadium they have already suited up for game day at the grill, the soup pots and the smokers!  This is truly the time to show off and make the first touchdown!
Sure crowd pleasers would include:

Wings and a variety of sauces- bring the paper boats that are sturdy and hold everything, and don’t forget the wet wipes for clean up!

Chili in all varieties, recipes, meat or vegetarian, no beans, roasted cumin, ground cumin and hot to Fire Hot, whatever your favorite this is the place to show it off and enjoy!  Be sure to bring sturdy bowls and crackers or cornbread!

Grilled Cheese your way- is a hit, have a variety of fillings, cheese, toppers and breads.  Grill them on the flat top or grill.  Wrap in foil and serve with chips, dips and other fun finger foods.

….and would a tailgate be proper without something barbequed?  Ribs, shoulder, brisket, chicken or portabella mushrooms---all are great slathered with your own homemade or ‘zup’d up versions for the day!

Below are links to cookbooks with helpful tips and ideas to make your next outing to Lucas Oil Stadium, Purdue University, Marian University or one of your child’s soccer games just a bit more fun!  GO TEAM!!!!

Game Day Cookbooks
The Tailgater's Cookbook
Fan Fare: A Playbook of Great Recipes for Tailgating or Watching the Game at Home
ESPN Gameday Gourmet: More Than 80 All-American Tailgate Recipes
Fox Sports Tailgating Handbook: The Gear, The Food, The Stadiums

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Flooding the City with Blue and Gold

My Photo
By Sarah K. Correll, Indiana FFA Organization
State Secretary

Your 2011-2012 FFA State Secretary is a sweet tea drinking, livestock showing, reasons loving advocate for agriculture. Sarah Correll is from Peru, Indiana and recently graduated from North Miami High School after four years of balancing class, livestock shows, judging contests, honor society, drama productions, and everything else she could get involved with. She is extremely thankful and very excited to be spending this year serving the members of Indiana FFA and helping to spread the Indiana FFA message!

Indianapolis will soon be opening its doors to more than 50,000 middle and high school students from across the nation.  These students will be from all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, but they will all be in the city to enjoy one event: the National FFA Convention.  National convention will draw in agricultural education students and FFA members to participate in a variety of activities, including sessions with impressive keynote speeches, competitions, concerts, and the career show.  Most will also be staying in the Indianapolis area for the duration of the four day event.

As an Indiana FFA State Officer, I started the week a little bit earlier than most.  Most members will be spending Wednesday, October 19 through Saturday, October 22 at convention; however, my team and I  headed to Indy on Sunday the 16th as we serve as official convention delegates.  As delegates we have the opportunity to meet with state officers and other members from all of the other states to discuss issues that are currently facing our organization.  These issues range from establishing contests for collegiate members to continuing the floriculture competition, and I am personally very excited to be on the Agriculture Experience Committee.  My committee will be discussing potential programs about production agriculture for our high school membership, which means that along with meeting FFA members from across the country, we will also get to talk about traditional agriculture and how we can get back to our agricultural roots.

Outside of committee work my team and I will also be attending the sessions to hear the National FFA Officers and other speakers speak, going to the concert, and frequenting the career show.  The career show hosts agricultural companies and colleges from across the nation and is a great place to meet people and to learn about the agricultural industry.  We will also be meeting up with the hundreds of Indiana students that will be attending the convention to see the sights and to compete.  Indiana members will be representing the state well in contests ranging from dairy cattle evaluation to prepared public speaking and from agribusiness management to beef production proficiency.  We wish every one of them good luck and hope to see them recognized on stage as a top four finalist or even as a national winner!

Indiana will also be represented by Morgan Gadd as our national officer candidate.  Miss Gadd has taken the last few months off of college to study and prepare to run for a prestigious position representing and serving the over 500,000 National FFA members as a National FFA Officer.  She will go through a variety of tests, interviews, and speaking exercises before convention officially begins, and we hope to hear her name announced as a national officer during the final session Saturday!

As a team and as Indiana FFA members, we couldn't wait to make the short trip to Indianapolis for the National FFA Convention!  Convention is an exciting time of reuniting with friends, taking care of business, competing, learning, and celebrating success, and we are all especially blessed to host it right here in Indiana.  It will surely be a week that none of us will forget!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Family Tradition: Meet the McFarlands

Growing up Barbara McFarland spent many of her autumn evenings carrying a sack of sandwiches and cookies(and maybe an apple or two) to her dad and uncle while they were in the field harvesting corn and soybeans. After moving back to the family farm nine months ago, she is seeing history repeat itself as she prepares sandwiches to take her husband as he hauls corn from the field to the grain bin.

Barbara – with her husband Kevin and daughter Jocelyn - recently moved to her family farm in Shelby County where Kevin is starting to farm in partnership with her dad and uncle. The family raises corn and soybeans on the farm that has been in Barbara’s family for more than 100 years.

Fall is a busy time on the farm as the combine usually starts rolling in the late morning after the dew is off the field. Often it’s late at night before Kevin finishes up in the field. Add to that Barbara’s full-time job off the farm and an active 1-year-old and you get a typical busy household.

What sets the McFarland household apart from other young families is that they are fortunate to live on the farm where Kevin works. They also live within a couple miles of a handful of family which means there is usually an extra car in the driveway and an extra niece or nephew playing in the yard.

So even if Kevin has to work late, Barbara and Jocelyn can walk out of the farmhouse, where Barbara’s dad grew up and her grandparents spent all of their 65 years together, and spendsome quality time with him in the tool shed or on the tractor before Jocelyn’s bath and bedtime.

As the combines continue to roll across Indiana corn and soybean fields harvesting crops that will go to feeding their families and their neighbors, Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Marketing Council would like to honor all of the farm families –like the McFarlands – by giving away a $100 grocery gift card.

Please see the widget below to enter.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Meat Candy

October is Pork Month and bacon is meat candy.

October is National Pork Month and in celebration of this oh-so-special occasion you are granted permission to eat bacon every single day.  Whether at breakfast, lunch or dinner (or all three) be sure to include a little of this meat candy in your day because let’s face it: Everything is better with bacon.

And in honor of pork month (and all things bacon), you have the opportunity to win this super fun tee from our friends at Indiana Packers Corporation in Delphi, IN.  And be sure to check out their fun new website at

Enter to win on the widget below. Note if you are an email or feed subscriber, please visit the blog to view the widget.

Monday, October 3, 2011

What do Indiana State Fair, Hunger Action Month and Indiana Farmers have in common?


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 3, 2011) — September was Hunger Action Month, and Indiana’s Family of Farmers did their part outside of the fields this harvest to help feed the hungry.

On September 22, Indiana’s Family of Farmers (IFOF) presented a check for $3,320 to Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (FIsH) during its Hunger Action Month Luncheon.  This money will be used to purchase food – enough for 1,540 meals – to feed Indiana families. 

“The members of Indiana’s Family of Farmers are invaluable partners in the mission of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry and its 11 regional food banks to feed those in need,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, Executive Director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry.  “At a time when one is six Hoosiers is at risk of hunger, and the number of Indiana children is as high as one in four, the assistance of the agricultural community is crucial in getting food from the farm to the tables of those in our community most in need of assistance.”

This donation was made possible through the IFOF Recipe Trail at the Indiana State Fair in August. Fairgoers were asked to pick up recipes in 10 locations around the fairgrounds.  For every person who went through the trail, one pound of food was committed to FIsH and its 11 member food banks around Indiana.  This year, 2,000 people went through the trail, allowing 2,000 pounds of food to be donated.  The Feeding America network values donated poundage at $1.66 per pound, so the total amount was a donation of $3,320.

“Indiana farmers have always been active members of their communities just as the member food banks of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry help the communities they serve,” said Lynn Teel, farmer from Chalmers, Ind. and president of Indiana Soybean Alliance, an IFOF partner.  “This makes it a great partnership.  What Indiana’s Family of Farmers does best is grow safe, nutritious food, so what better way to help than to partner with an organization that is helping to feed families in need.”


Feeding Indiana's Hungry (FIsH) is the statewide association of Feeding America affiliated food banks (formerly America’s Second Harvest).  Our eleven member food banks serve more than 1,700 agencies in all 92 counties, providing emergency food assistance to Hoosiers in need.

Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, Inc. food banks statewide include:

Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, Gary
Food Bank of Northern Indiana, South Bend
Food Finders Food Bank, Inc., Lafayette
Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana, Ft. Wayne
Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana, Inc., Muncie
Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Indianapolis
Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank, Terre Haute
Hoosier Hills Food Bank, Bloomington
Tri-State Food Bank, Inc., Evansville
Dare to Care Food Bank, Louisville, KY
Freestore Foodbank, Cincinnati, OH

For more information on Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, Inc., view our website at 

Indiana's Family of Farmers are among the nation's top producers of the grains, produce and meats you eat every day because we believe that quality farming means quality food that's good for you, your families and the environment. That's our promise. Food for your family, from our family.

For more information on Indiana’s Family of Farmers, visit

Media Contact: Megan Kuhn, or 317-614-0377