Wednesday, May 28, 2014

3 Ways to Avoid Food Poisoning this Summer

By Sarah Correll

Pool parties, barbecues, sunshine, and… Food poisoning? Foodborne illnesses are much more common in the summer than any other time of year. Follow these three tips to keep your family safe this grilling season!

Keep It Clean

Be sure to clean your grill before you use it and don’t cross-contaminate your dishes by using the same plates or utensils on raw and cooked meat.

Put Leftovers Away

Be sure to pack up and cool your leftovers within two hours of serving the meal if the temperature is under 90 degrees, and within an hour if it’s 90 degrees or higher outside.

Thaw Safely and Cook Thoroughly

Thaw meat completely in the refrigerator or microwave before putting it on the grill, and make sure it’s completely cooked. That’s 165° for chicken, 160° for ground meats, and 145° for pork and beef with a three minute rest after.

Have a happy (and healthy) grilling season!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

We Are Indiana Agriculture: Fermenting a Family Business

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

Country Heritage Winery in LaOtto was started by Jeremy and Jennifer Lutter.  It is set on a family farm that has been in Jeremy’s family for over 100 years.  Jeremy and Jennifer began farming approximately 1600 acres of corn and soybeans.  They purchased a 26 acre blueberry farm in 2001 and have since then expanded it to 30 acres.  Jennifer explains that the onset of their winery came from the suggestion of fellow winemakers that they met while selling fruit.  “After much research and hard work we opened Country Heritage Winery on April 29, 2011.  We continue to raise 30 acres of blueberries and have since added 26 acres of grapes, 50 acres of sweet corn, 10 acres of melons and 10 acres of pumpkins.  All of the produce is sold in our winery.”

The winery has been thriving since opening day.   Jennifer said that, “We now employ four full-time employees and approximately 20 seasonal and part time help.  Jeremy and I are both involved with all aspects of the day-to-day decisions and processes."

Country Heritage Winery bottles approximately 20,000 gallons per year which they turn into 40 different styles and types of wine. “We produce everything from a nice dry red or white to a sweet fruit wine and everything in between.  Our wines are produced from 100 percent fruit.  White groups are brought in pressed and the wine is produced from the juice they provide,” Jennifer explains of the wine making process.  “They are fermented in stainless steel tanks.  Red grapes and all fruits are fermented on the skin to provide color and a full flavor and body.  When color and body is achieved, they are pressed and moved to stainless steel tanks to finish fermenting and to be clarified.  The whole process can take anywhere from six months to one year.  Dry red wines are then moved to oak barrels for aging that can take approximately one to three years.  Everything is then bottled and labeled for future sales.  Most of our wines are sold through the front doors of our winery.  We are moving in to the wholesale market on a small scale.”

Did you know that Traminette is Indiana’s signature grape and wine?  “Country Heritage Winery and Vineyard grows Traminette in our vineyard and produce both a sweet and dry style white wine from the grapes,” says Jennifer.  In 2013, Country Heritage Winery and Vineyard’s Traminette was named Indiana’s Traminette of the year at the Indy International Wine Competition.

If you are looking for something to do this summer, plan a trip to northeastern Indiana and visit Country Heritage Winery.  You can peruse the gift shop which carries local products and wine accessories, sample wine and fudge made in house, enjoy a glass or bottle of wine in their event room or under the gazebo overlooking the vineyard, or simply take a tour of the production facilities.  Enjoy music or special events on the weekends.  Visit their website for more details.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Get Out and Get Grilling!

By Sarah Correll

After a long, cold winter, it’s finally time to light up the grills! Whether you’re cooking for a crowd or just a couple people, for Memorial Day, race day, or the 4th of July, the Real Farmwives of America and Friends have all the recipes you need for a classic cookout!

From Leah of Beyer Beware

From Lou at Goodeness Gracious

From Leah at Beyer Beware

From Amy of Two Maids a Milking

Sugar Cream Pie (an Indiana classic!)

Not a pie fan? Try this!

From Lou at Goodeness Gracious

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I am Indiana Agriculture - Meet Dave Lowe

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

Dave Lowe farms 1200 acres of corn, soybeans and seed beans in Jay and Blackford counties. While he doesn’t raise any livestock, he fertilizes his crops with hog manure that he gets from the hog farm run by his daughter Erin. The manure adds a “natural nutrient” back to the soil. 

Dave is a fourth-generation farmer and  is currently raising the sixth generation as his 14-year-old grandson helps with the day-to-day operations on the farm. When asked what he enjoys most about farming, Dave replied, “Seeing your crop come out of the ground for the first time is exciting. Some years aren’t as exciting,” with a slight laugh. “Harvest is my favorite time, because I am able to see the reward from the fruit of my labor. I love being in the combine!”

In December, Dave was elected President of Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA). Previously, Dave served as Vice President for two years. Dave oversees the board which is made up of 24 members from 4 districts. His responsibilities are to conduct meetings, give direction, advise committee members and urge them to “think outside the box.” He also makes certain that the ISA spends checkoff dollars wisely. 

The checkoff is a pool of money that soybean farmers pay into themselves to support their industry through research to improve crops and to develop new uses for soybeans (like candle wax and crayons).

While Dave says that serving as President can be time consuming, it is also very rewarding. “Farmers are natural introverts. It is exciting for me to see farmers come on the board and when they see what we do, they become more outgoing. It is important for farmers to share their story, because people are getting the wrong story. They are just like everyone else--families going to church and doing their jobs.”

Modern agriculture is very different than it was 30 years ago. Dave explained, “We can’t farm 300 acres and support three families like we could several years ago. Today, it takes 1200 acres or more to support them. We farm in the most economical and sustainable way. “

Dave and his wife Linda have been married for 41 years and are the proud parents of three children, Erin, Justin, and Rachel. “I am a farmer and have raised crops for several years, but our kids are the best crop we have ever raised!”