When the days are short and temps are cold, flavorful warm drinks are not a want, but a need. This crockpot cider recipe pairs the comforting flavors of apple and caramel with warm spices like cinnamon to fill your mug with feel-good vibes. So grab a few apples and plug in the crockpot! It’s time to get cozy.
Fortunately, the apples you’re reaching for already have a pretty solid shelf-life, but a new variety is taking their long-lasting qualities even further. Arctic® apples are a new GMO variety with less than 10 percent of the enzymes that cause conventional apples to brown as they age. With these improved traits, Arctic apples don’t produce the unappealing discoloration that contributes to food waste. GMOs can do more than boost the lifespan of apples, though. They also help farmers be more sustainable in the field, provide improved nutritional content for crops like soybeans and even save lives through medicine.
But enough chit-chat. It’s time to give this cider a whirl. Find the full recipe below and watch the video to see the simple steps in action.
If you want another warm drink to try, check out this caramel pumpkin soy latte!
Hungry for Truth is an initiative about food and farming funded by the South Dakota soybean checkoff. The goal is to connect South Dakotans with the farmers who grow and raise their food.
For many in Sioux Falls, the average Saturday starts with a cup of coffee and a walk down to the local farmers market around 8 a.m. For local farmer Dale Hebda of Hebda Farms, preparing his stand at the market starts at 5:30 a.m. on Friday morning.
“We start with picking produce and packing it up for Saturday morning,” Dale said. “We usually finish Friday by packing our cooler with our baked goods at 11 p.m.”
Long hours are just part of the job at Hebda Farms, a produce farm in Mission Hills that started off as a 4-H project for Dale’s oldest son, Steven.
“He began with two or three acres that supplied our stand at the little farmers market in Yankton,” he said. “He bought the seed, paid for the water and paid me rent. He really took care of his finances and ran an excellent business.”
In addition to Steven’s efforts and purple ribbons accrued at the county fair, the community also provided the support Hebda Farms needed.
“Our community really came together and rallied around him to support his local business at our farmers market,” Dale said. “With Steven’s proven success and our seven younger children coming into 4-H down the road, we needed to expand our business.”
As luck would have it, a property came up for sale just as the Hebda family considered expansion. They purchased the land and went from two to three acres to 45 acres and have been growing ever since. In addition to adding products and produce to their line, they also began growing soybeans, corn and alfalfa on an annual rotation.
“We rotate crops yearly for weed control, as some weeds are more prevalent in some crops than others,” he said. “Some of the harvested crops are sold, and some are kept to feed the cattle we raise for our family.”
Introducing new products and produce is a regular occurrence for the Hebdas. Dale said they test them for about two to three years to see if they’re viable, then decide if they’ll continue growing them in future seasons. Hebda Farms also now has a commercial kitchen for pickling and canning their 36 varieties of jellies and creating delicious baked goods from scratch.
“We have about six to seven varieties of pies,” said Dale. “Our Latino workers have contributed their family recipes, so we now sell flan and other traditional Mexican foods.”
Even though there are challenges in owning a small businesses and farming, Dale enjoys growing food and connecting with South Dakota families.
“It is a fun time. At the end of the day, I don’t necessarily get satisfaction from the revenue,” he said. “I’m happy when I see happy customers leaving our farm or stand with healthy and fresh food for their families.”
You can visit Dale and the Hebda crew on Saturday and Sunday mornings at Lewis and Clark Lake in Yankton, Saturday mornings in Sioux Falls and by appointment at their farm in Mission Hills.
Farmers markets are a great place to meet with the people who grow your food. If you can’t make it out to a farmers market, ask a question in the comments, or check out our blogs below to learn more about connecting with local farmers:
This time of year, the leaves are changing and the weather is cooling. It’s time to visit a pumpkin patch, make Halloween plans and break out the cool-weather clothing. For farmers, this time of year holds a different meaning: It’s harvest time. While many of us see the equipment in the fields and know that crops are done growing for the season, there is much more that goes into soybean harvest than just driving a combine across a field. John Horter is a father of two and a farmer from Andover. He grows corn and soybeans, and raises beef cattle. We caught up with him to find out everything that goes into the soybean’s journey from field to plate.
John’s son Dane is a young farmer-in-training. He loves to share the latest “crop reports” from their farm. Here he is with a crop report on soybean harvest.
“We monitor the fields very closely,” said John. “We watch for visual signs. The leaves will turn from green to brown and start to drop. Once we think they are close, we take moisture samples. We’re looking for 13.5 percent moisture or less before we can harvest.”
Weather is Key
Dry weather is imperative to a successful harvest. If the plants are too wet, the seeds won’t be able to separate from the pods; and if the ground is too wet, equipment could get stuck in the field. Weather is a major factor in the timing of planting and the health of soybeans throughout the growing season. John said this year, Mother Nature worked in his favor.
“We are in the northwest part of the state where we had warmer, drier weather so harvest was ahead of schedule. It went very well because we didn’t have weather delays.”
The impact of weather makes a big difference in harvest conditions for farms in different regions of the state. Southern South Dakota had a lot of rain this year, which delayed planting in the spring, so their harvest began later.
The Art of Harvest
“Once soybeans show the visual signs of being ready for harvest and moisture levels are dry enough, we head out to the fields with our combine to start taking the crop out of the field,” said John. “The combine has the capability to be flexible as it goes over the ground. It’s pretty neat technology that guides the part of the combine that does the harvesting along the contours of the ground, cutting off the plants. Next, it’s fed into the big drum in the combine that separates grain from the pods with sieves that shake the pods away from the seeds. Those seeds are what we end up harvesting.”
“Even though the weather was very dry in our region during the growing season and we had some hail, we still found very good yields,” he said. “I attribute that to modern genetics and our GMO crops being able to more efficiently use moisture even in adverse conditions.”
When John is done harvesting, he will prepare his fields for next year’s crop and take care of other areas of his farm for the winter months. He’ll use the what he learned from this past season to plan for next year.
“As we harvest, we have a lot of monitors that show us how our crop did. We always think about how to improve and do things more efficiently next year,” he said. “Our goal is to make sure we use as few inputs as possible to grow a healthy crop.”
John and South Dakota farmers like him work hard to grow healthy crops. So next time you break out your jacket and head to the pumpkin patch, remember that farmers are breaking out their combines to start the process of turning their crops into the nutritious ingredients that make up the great food on our plates.
Do you have questions for John about soybean harvest or what he’s up to this time of year? Leave them in the comments.
Soybeans are one of the biggest crops in South Dakota, accounting for about 30 percent of the crops grown in the state. Those soybeans are used in food products, animal feed, oils, plastics and much more. Ever wonder how they get from seeds in the ground to harvested crops?
Earlier this spring, you probably saw tractors riding across empty fields, planting crops for the year. Soybeans are typically planted in May. At this time of year (early August), almost all soybeans in the field have bloomed. You likely can’t see it from the road, but up close you’ll see each soybean plant has little purple flowers on them to aid in reproduction. After flowers have bloomed, the plants will set pods, fill them with seeds and develop to maturity. They will be harvested in October and processed into anything from sports turf to tofu, animal feed to biodiesel.
How do you use soybeans in your everyday life? Leave a comment to let us know. Learn more about soybeans and their many uses here.
Driving by a farm this time of year, chances are you’ll see a combine moving through the field harvesting crops. Most people know that fall is harvest time, and spring is time for planting, but do you know what farmers are up to the rest of the year? Hint: It’s not lounging on a tropical beach. Check out this helpful visual to learn more, along with some fun facts about agriculture. Feel free to share this on your social network.