While attending an Ag Day breakfast last Wednesday, radio broadcaster Trent Loos interviewed me on why I’m so passionate about agriculture. Bottom line: My parents made me proud of our agricultural roots. As a mother myself, I now understand that when you love something so much you want to share it with others.
My parents were both raised on farms and wanted me to gain an appreciation for how food went from field to table. There were many evenings when my dad would literally say, “We fed ourselves tonight.”
Even though my parents both worked full-time off the farm, they planted a large garden each spring – and still do. They produce everything from tomatoes and potatoes to sweet corn, strawberries and watermelon.
When I was growing up, my mom also raised broilers (meat chickens). My dad raised turkeys and enjoyed delivering a farm fresh turkey each Thanksgiving to our neighbors. My grandma kept us supplied with farm fresh eggs. My grandpa kept our freezer filled with the beef and pork that he raised. After my grandpa retired from farming, he made a large garden each spring. He and my grandma sold fresh produce at local farmers markets. They developed a reputation for growing the biggest, juiciest tomatoes.
It’s no wonder that I’m such a strong supporter of locally grown, farm fresh foods. It’s what I was raised with and it’s where my comfort level lies. I like knowing that the farmers who produce the eggs, pork or beef for my family’s table are also feeding that same protein to their own families.
Our freezer contains locally grown pork from Bartling Land & Livestock. You can learn more about this family – and fill a three-ring binder with delicious recipes – by following Kate’s blog, My Farmer’s Wife. The remainder of my freezer is filled with locally produced beef from Laura, who blogs at Life on SkyView. Laura also is a great cook, who’s passionate about healthy eating and enjoys running 5Ks every month of the year. It’s calving season now, so you can follow the antics of their newest calves Sven and Olaf on Laura’s Facebook page.
“Quick, easy and delicious” is my mantra in the kitchen. That’s why tonight, after work, I’ll use a pound of my SkyView beef to make Sloppy Joes. To balance the meal, I’ll serve with sides of oven baked sweet potato fries and fresh fruit.
COOK’S TIP: On a Saturday morning, I like to brown about 10 pounds of ground beef. Place in 1-pound containers (like Ziploc® freezer bags). Talk about a time saver! It’s really easy to thaw one pound at a time, and use it to make a quick casserole or Maidrites.
What’s your favorite weeknight meal?
1 pound hamburger
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 cup ketchup
1 cup water (add 1/4 brown sugar to water)
1 tablespoon molasses
Cook hamburger, onion and garlic until hamburger is brown and onion is soft.
Add 1 cup ketchup and 1 cup water with brown sugar.
Boil until some of the liquid has evaporated. Add 1 tablespoon of molasses. Simmer about 15 minutes.
Serve on hamburger buns. Top with cheese if so desired.