There’s nothing quite as satisfying as digging into a good ol’ fashioned shrimp boil. Veggies, shrimp and andouille sausage swimming in butter and seasonings create a hands-on feast that’s finger licking good. Our One Pan Shrimp Boil recipe brings it all together, giving you all the Cajun feels without the fuss.
The key to this recipe’s authentic flavor comes from andouille sausage, which is smoked pork blended with Creole seasonings. It’s a home-grown favorite with Southern flare. While you may know that the 1.2 million pigs raised in South Dakota annually eat a healthy diet that includes soybeans, you may not realize that shrimp and other fish enjoy soy too! In fact, a South Dakota-based company, Prairie AquaTech, uses soybeans to create protein-dense pellets to feed farm-raised fish.
Who knew soul food on the prairie could taste so good? Watch and learn how to create your own one pan shrimp boil for your next family meal. Scroll for full recipe below.
Curious about other foods that’s are grown and raised in South Dakota? Let’s take a look at a few that may surprise you.
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.
Just like you have choices when it comes to the food you buy in the grocery store, farmers have choices when it comes to the seeds they plant. There’s a reason why many of today’s corn, soybean and even some apple farmers choose to plant genetically modified seeds. They help farmers grow food safely and efficiently.
No matter what farmers choose – GMO or non-GMO – you can feel good knowing the seeds farmers plant to grow your food are safe. Many also have a sustainable story to tell. Let’s explore the technology.
More than 90 percent of all soybeans are genetically modified for herbicide resistance. Herbicides are a type of chemical that protects the soybean plants from weeds. Herbicide-tolerant soybean seeds allow farmers to apply pesticides early in the growing season without damaging the plants. In case you’re wondering, farmers typically mix about one medium coffee cup’s worth of pesticide with water and mist across an acre of land, which is about the size of a football field.
This seed technology also helps keep the soil healthy by reducing the need for tillage. Tilling soil in a field or garden helps keep weeds at bay, but too much can damage the soil. Taking care of soil is an important part of managing a sustainable family farm.
Did you know approximately 45 percent of fruits and vegetables are tossed for damage on their way to the kitchen table? The technology in Arctic® apple seeds helps them resist browning and bruising, which can help us all cut down on food waste. While South Dakota farmers don’t plant these apple seeds yet, the technology is on its way to produce shelves near you.
It’s amazing to think that pre-sliced apples will look and taste yummy days after opening the bag. This is seed technology that brings sustainability from the farm to your table.
We all know the weather in South Dakota is unpredictable. Lack of rain may turn your lawn brown, but for family farmers it can severely damage whole fields of crops. That’s why some corn seeds have built in technology to grow with less water. By tolerating drought conditions, farmers can grow a healthy and safe corn crop that allows them to invest in more sustainable improvements for their farms.
Did you know so much sustainability existed in seeds? Be sure to share what you’ve learned around your dinner table. Find out more about why local farmers choose to plant GMO seeds.
Hungry for Truth is about connecting South Dakota families with the farmers who grow your food. We love taking trips to the farm to show you how farm families care for their crops and animals and encourage conversations. It’s all part of helping you feel confident about the food you eat.
Some of our favorite stories focus on sustainability because being environmentally friendly is so important. Over the past 30 years, soybean farmers across the U.S. have increased soybean production by 46 percent while reducing energy use by 35 percent, soil loss by 47 percent and water use through irrigation by 33 percent. Read the report.
While we address how farms are becoming more sustainable, we don’t often focus on why they care about it. The why is family. Yours and theirs. Everyone thrives when our children have access to safe food and a healthy environment.
Don’t just take our word for it. Hear it straight from these South Dakota farmers.
“It’s important to me to use the best practices for our kids and the families who depend on us for food. Healthy food comes from healthy soils. We can’t deplete our resources if we want our children to continue eating safe and healthy food.”
– Jamie Johnson, farmer from Frankfort
“Sustainability is our number one priority. I’m a fourth-generation farmer, and my son is the fifth. This land is what and who we are. It is our livelihood. Protecting it from chemicals, water and soil erosion: That’s our job, and it’s one we love. As farmers, protecting the environment is our goal because we want to leave the land in better shape for the next generation.”
– Paul Casper, farmer from Lake Preston
“It’s not just better for our land, animals and the people who buy our meat. It’s also a way for our family to keep doing what we love.”
– Kristy Freeland, rancher from Rapid City
“For me, it’s such a privilege to watch my kids grow up on the farm. They are the sixth generation on our farm, and you can tell their passion for agriculture comes from within. There’s nothing more rewarding than teaching my children what has been passed down to me through the generations and see them grow to appreciate the land that provides for us.”
– John Horter, farmer from Andover
Food isn’t the only reason farmers protect the land and water. Family activities like hunting and fishing are also part of family fun. Here’s one story.
Game day is a great time to show off your snack making skills. Whip up a Serrano Popper Crescent Ring to impress football fans and foodies alike. Filled with chicken, ham, cheese and spicy peppers, this crescent roll recipe guarantees everyone is a winner. Just don’t forget the ranch and blue cheese for dipping.
While planning your football party menu, remember South Dakota soybean farmers are fans of putting healthy and safe food on your table. They also contribute to enhancing your football experience in some pretty surprising ways. Here’s a fun fact to share with your party guests: Soybeans can be used to create athletic turf. The turf in the Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium at South Dakota State University is just one example of a football field covered with innovative BioCel® technology, which is more sustainable than typical petroleum-based polymers.
Create your Serrano Popper Crescent Ring by watching the video below. We also recommend trying these past game day favorites Chef Jeni’s meatballs, prosciutto cheese bites and jalapeño bacon cheeseball.
At Hungry for Truth, we don’t just love sharing farmer stories and recipes, we also enjoy connecting with some of our biggest fans. We recently chatted with Staci Perry, a mom of two and baking blogger – Random Sweetness Baking – from Brookings. She explained how Hungry for Truth serves as a resource for her when it comes to GMOs, food labels and what really happens on today’s farms.
She sweetened up the conversation with delightful Maple Marshmallow Mash-Up Bars. We’ve shared the recipe below.
What is important when it comes to choosing food for your family?
The most important thing is that I have a choice. I choose to educate myself about farming practices. I choose to listen and seek out information on both sides of debatable topics like biotechnology (GMOs) and crop protection.
I don’t let the national media dictate what I should or shouldn’t be eating. It’s my responsibility to learn and decide. Initiatives like Hungry for Truth and local farmers are excellent resources for information about how my food is grown and raised.
Why are you a fan of Hungry for Truth?
I couldn’t bake without the work farmers do. I rely on farmers for ingredients like sugar, flour, cream cheese, eggs, milk, whipping cream and butter. Even the soybeans they grow are used in cooking oil. Try baking your family’s favorite treats without ingredients from a farm.
I also appreciate the events they host. I’ve met some amazing farmers like Peggy Greenway and learned something new at each one. It’s fun to hang out with people who are passionate about food and farming.
Have you ever had any misconceptions about farming or food?
I used to think about farms as large and corporate without the human aspect. But now I’ve toured farms and met real farm families who care about growing healthy food and protecting the environment. The technology they use to preserve the soil and care for their animals is amazing! Farmers have certainly embraced technology in ways I never thought of.
I was also completely against GMOs a few years ago due to what I read online. Now I know more about the testing GMOs goes through before they’re approved and am more open to food choices that contain the technology.
I encourage anyone who has questions or concerns about agriculture to follow Hungry for Truth and get the facts from farmers.
How have your shopping habits changed?
I pay more attention to food labels. I believed it meant something when a package of chicken breasts was labeled as “hormone free.” Or, if a package wasn’t labeled as hormone free, I thought it was not as good, or unhealthy for my family. Now I know it’s just advertising. Federal regulations don’t allow added hormones in poultry or pork.
This conversation is a great example of why South Dakota soybean farmers started the Hungry for Truth initiative, to encourage people to learn the truth about how food is grown and raised by asking farmers. Here’s a story from one of Staci’s favorite farmers, Peggy Greenway, explaining how she sustainably raises animals on her farm.
Now let’s warm up your kitchen with Staci’s gooey mash-up bars. Yum!
A new crop of farmers is growing in South Dakota. These millennials are leveraging data and adopting technology to make their operations more sustainable for the future. The great news is they aren’t the only ones going high-tech for the environment! Many South Dakota farm families use practices that protect natural resources while growing safe and healthy food.
Morgan Holler is a millennial farmer from Pierpont who’s the fifth generation to run the family farm with help from his wife, Heather, and their three daughters. For Morgan, implementing environmentally friendly farming practices means being a good neighbor and doing the right thing to feed his family and yours.
“My older daughters love riding in the tractor and the combine. I love seeing their eyes light up when they walk the fields they ‘planted’ and can’t help but stop and think about what it will be like to farm with them one day,” Morgan said. “That lays in my hands. If we don’t practice sustainable farming, we’re not only hurting the land but also ourselves.”
The 29-year-old South Dakota State University grad puts his agronomy degree to work every day. Morgan always looks for ways to use less pesticides, fertilizers and other products, while growing healthy soybeans and corn.
Technology is a big help. Morgan uses data to determine precisely where and when to apply pesticides, plant seeds and even the types of seeds to use. The technology in equipment like tractors and sprayers ensures it’s done in the right amounts so nothing is wasted. That’s important when you grow a lot of crops.
Another sustainable practice the Hollers have implemented is minimum tillage. After they harvest their crop, they leave the plant stalks in the field to help enrich the soil. This reduces soil erosion and keeps the soil healthy for years to come.
Though Morgan knows technology helps him take better care of the land, that message doesn’t always make it to grocery stores and dinner tables. He works with a young man who recently moved to South Dakota from California to learn about agriculture.
“He’s been full of questions, which I love. He said he never realized how much thought I put into each seed,” Morgan said. “It’s been fun showing him the technology we use to feed our friends and neighbors while taking care of the land.”
Morgan and other young farmers buck the stereotype of lazy, self-obsessed millennials.
“I love coming to work every day,” he said. “Feeding people is such a rewarding way to provide for my own family. I’m proud of that.”
Want to learn more about how farmers use technology? This Hungry for Truth blog explores how farmers use data to make their family farmers more earth friendly.
Shawn and Kristy Freeland are one of the many ranch families in South Dakota who make animal care and sustainability a priority for their business. Though Shawn was the first in his family to live the ranch life, Kristy is continuing a tradition spanning multiple generations. Together, they feed and take care of more than 400 cows that have room to roam across close to 10,000 acres of land near Rapid City.
Taking care of so many cows across so many acres is challenging no matter the season, but Shawn doesn’t mind the work.
During the growing season, the Freeland’s rely on rotational grazing and daily moves. “Spending regular time with the cattle is the best way to look at each cow regularly and monitor its health,” said Shawn. This is especially important from May to December when the cows spend their days grazing away from the ranch.
At the end of haying season, Shawn sends samples of his hay crop to a lab for quality testing. This information is sent to a nutritionist to formulate a healthy mix of feed for the cows. They have access to plenty of water through natural springs and the Rapid Creek running along their property.
In December, Shawn and Kristy bring the cows home to watch them closely for nutritional requirements during the harsh winter weather and through calving. According to Shawn, cows do a pretty good job of finding shelter on their own when it snows but they also set up portable windbreaks for extra protection. Pregnant cows stay close to the barn so they can calve inside where it’s warm and safe.
For the Freelands, focusing on cow care and nutrition ensures they deliver quality meat to families through local businesses like Integrity Meats in Belle Fourche. Now they’re amping up their environmental game by planting cover crops to improve soil and animal health.
They plant a mix of cover crops including brassicas, warm season grasses, sunflowers and legumes such as soybeans to feed their cattle and protect the soil. Soybeans aren’t typically used as a cover crop, but they work well for the Freelands because they’re rich in protein, amino acids and replenish nitrogen in the soil. The plants hold moisture in the ground, reduce erosion and help the cows produce nutrient-dense meat.
“Cover crops are opening up a whole new world for us,” explained Shawn. “Raising quality meat has always been important to us. Now we can do it along with taking better care of the land and conserving water.”
They’re also reducing pasture sizes and the overall number of their herd so they aren’t grazing every acre all the time.
Kristy is excited about the future since these changes mean less labor-intensive work for Shawn so she and their girls can dig into more of the daily activities of running the ranch. “It’s not just better for our land, animals and the people who buy our meat, it’s also a way for our family to keep doing what we love.”
The Freelands aren’t the only ranchers west of the river who are doing their part to take care of the land. Get the scoop on stewardship at the Jorgensen Family Ranch.
You have one. Your mom has one. Your kids have them. The only one who doesn’t have one yet is the family dog. Fitbit® and other wearable activity trackers are everywhere you look, but what do they do besides count steps? We employ this technology to track our activity, collect data and provide advice about living healthier lives.
Similarly, farmers use all types of technology to gather data on the health of their farm and to make improvements for the future. Let’s take a look at how farm technology today is like your Fitbit.
Activity trackers have the capability to capture movement and categorize it into what it thinks you’re doing. Understanding your level of exercise gives you a more accurate depiction of the calories you burned and lets you know the types of exercise that give you the most bang for your buck. Pretty cool, huh?
In the same way, soybean farmers use yield data from harvest, along with field maps that monitor soil types and growing conditions, to evaluate which seed varieties performed the best. Once they know which seeds are the most productive and are best at resisting diseases, they can plant more of those during the next growing season and keep South Dakota in the top 10 soybean-producing states.
Activity trackers and even your smartphone track you while you sleep to evaluate the quality of your rest each night. Over time, the data shows when you’re sleeping best, when you’re not and suggests possible factors that may be affecting your sleep.
As it turns out, people are not the only ones who track times of rest and activity. Dairy farmers utilize activity trackers for their dairy cows. Cows wear activity trackers on their ankles that track steps, how much milk they’ve produced and how much they’ve rested. Cattle, like humans, are creatures of habit, so they generally walk the same amount and rest the same amount every day. If a cow is resting too much, she might be sick or hurt and in need of attention from a vet.
Analyzes Calories Burned
Tracking your activity is just the start. A Fitbit can also tell you how many calories you’ve burned. By monitoring your heart rate and analyzing the data you input about the food you eat, you get a good picture of your net caloric intake. This is great for those planning to shed a few pounds without sacrificing nutrition.
Just like us, crops need the right nutrition to be healthy. Plants require a steady diet of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium for a bountiful harvest. To make sure they get the nutrients they need, trained crop scouts scour fields with iPads and GPS technology to tell farmers what’s missing. Then farmers sync their equipment with the same software to precisely apply nutrients at the right rates.
Bet you didn’t realize today’s farmers are potentially as tech savvy as your kids. The best part is farmers track all that data, year after year, so they can improve how they grow and raise food on their farms, making more food with less.
Get a closer look at the precision technology used on today’s farms by taking a trip out to Arlington to visit Craig Converse.
It’s hard to believe 2017 is coming to a close. It seems like just yesterday we were toasting the new year with sparkling cider and ice cream. Cheers to you, our fans, who traveled with us, exploring the different ways farm families grow and raise food in our state.
We had some great conversations, like how farmers responsibly use pesticides to protect crops, what farm practices and technologies help preserve the environment and why GMOs are nothing to fear. They can seem like tough topics until you dig in and get the facts from farmers.
Before we kickoff 2018, let’s look back at our top five stories from 2017.
Who knew such big flavor could come from a small South Dakota town? Well, you did. That’s why this two-part series about Dimock Dairy is number five on our list. We started the journey on Marty Neugebauer’s farm to learn how milk becomes cheese and to see how he cares for his cows. Great cheese is about creating a quality product from start to finish.
Eunice McGee started helping her father farm when she was 10 years old. Nearly 90 years later, she still enjoys getting her hands dirty in her iris garden and the soybean field. With eyes on the future and knowledge of the past, she has embraced new farm technology while staying committed to being a good neighbor.
There’s no doubt: Farmers markets are a great place to connect with local farmers and talk to them about food. We talked with Cody Carper about what it’s like to prepare for market and why he’s just as passionate about growing corn and soybean on his large crop farm as he is about selling produce at the farmers market.
It’s not often we come across someone who can drive a combine and play the violin, but Moriah Gross isn’t your typical farmer. The talented musician and executive director of the Pierre Youth Orchestra makes it her mission to help students and their families get in the field to learn how their food is really grown and raised. She proves conversations about farming can and should happen anywhere.
Our number one blog for 2017 was written by Kristen Hicks, a marketing professional at Mount Mary College who farms with her husband, Nate, near Yankton. Turns out, a growing number of millennials are returning to the farm and finding ways to make it work on a smaller scale. It may not be exactly how their parents did it, but sustainability and delivering quality food to South Dakota families are priorities for farmers of all sizes.
Well, did your favorite make the list? If not, let us know which Hungry for Truth story, recipe or tip you enjoyed most in the comments below. Then make your holiday just a little bit cozier by slicing up our number one recipe: Banana Nut Bread from the kitchen of farmer John.
For many families, the Christmas season doesn’t begin until the tree is decorated. Walking in the crisp, cool air – sometimes through a foot of snow – to select the perfect tree can be a fun family adventure, especially if you cut your own at a Christmas tree farm.
At Hungry for Truth we love exploring South Dakota agriculture. We stopped by one of our local favorites, the Riverview Christmas Tree Farm near Canton, to enjoy a glass of warm cider and learn how owners Todd and Shari Gannon care for more than 15,000 fir, pine and spruce trees so they’re ready for the holidays.
Seed Sales to Tree Sales
Todd grew up on a farm and owns a business that sells soybean and corn seeds so he has experience growing safe and healthy crops. Every year, he rents 40 acres of land to test new soybean and corn varieties to see how they grow. Since many of the seeds are GMO varieties, he can use fewer pesticides to protect them.
Like most South Dakota family farms, the responsible use of pesticides is also a priority for Todd. Not just because of the people who buy them, but because of those who work for him. By the time trees are sold, they have been growing for 13-15 years old and touched by human hands more than touched 50 times.
Christmas Tree Care
That level of hands-on care and attention to safety is worth it when you find the right Christmas tree for your home. Let’s explore how the trees get from pint size to perfection.
It all starts in the spring when Todd and his family plant about 3,000 new trees. It takes a crew of 10 four days to plant approximately 1,000 by hand and 2,000 with the help of a mechanical planter. They hand trim the roots and tops before placing the trees in the ground. Once in place, the trees are straightened and coated with wax.
- Weed, Pest & Erosion Control
After planting, Todd gets to work controlling weeds and pests. Just like many soybean farmers in South Dakota, he uses chemicals that are safe for the trees to protect them from insects like twig aphids. He also uses Round Up to deal with weeds, but shields the trees so they’re safe.
Mixing pesticides correctly, using just the right amount of spray and applying it in early spring ensures the trees are safe to touch by the time trimming starts in June. Todd also plants a grass mixture down the center of the tree rows to prevent soil erosion and provide walking paths for employees and customers.
- Trimming & Shearing
In June, his family and members of the local FFA arrive to help him trim all of the trees. At the same time, Todd and a few trained employees shear the sides of the trees to give them their triangle shape. This can be done by hand with machetes or with electric trimmers. Either way, they use safety equipment and go slow to avoid injuries. This typically wraps up in August.
- Pulling Stumps
Once the trimming is complete, Todd pulls the stumps from the trees cut during the previous Christmas and tills the soil so it can rest during the winter and is ready for planting in the spring.
- Tagging, Selling
In the fall, Todd and crew price and hand tag 2,000 trees for sale. They leave the rest to grow for a future season. The gates open for sales the weekend before Thanksgiving and continue for four weekends. All tagged trees are sold, shaken, netted and make their way to a new home by the time they close for Christmas.
Spreading Christmas Magic
For Todd and Shari, all the effort that goes into operating the tree farm is well worth it. They get to enjoy time with their boys outdoors and spread the magic of Christmas to many South Dakota families.
“Opening day is my absolute favorite because I see all our hard work pay off. I spend a lot of time by myself working late hours, and it can get lonely. It’s worth it when we open the gates and see families excited to cut their trees,” said Todd. Santa is there to greet everyone as well as farm animals in the petting zoo.
The magic of Christmas is something he fell in love with as a child. “My friends call me Clark Griswold. I’m that guy with his house all lit up and covered with decorations,” said Todd. “I got the bug from my mom. We didn’t have much growing up, but my mom always made sure we felt special at Christmas. I love sharing that joy with others.”
Whether they’re growing Christmas trees or soybeans, South Dakota farmers do their best to grow safe and healthy crops. Learn more about how farmers hustle for healthy crops 365 days a year.
Soybeans may not be a regular part of the dinner menu, but that doesn’t mean we don’t use them every day. In fact, soy bio-products are all around us, from the vehicles we drive to the make-up we use. Sometimes they even inspire our creativity. There’s “soy” much to celebrate about the magic little bean that we decided to explore a few of its uses.
South Dakota farmers plant a new crop each year, meaning soybeans are a renewable resource. Growing them in a sustainable way is also important to family farms, making soy a greener alternative than petroleum based products. Many use technology to grow healthy and safe food with less impact on the land, air and water. One example is GMO soybean seeds, which are designed to protect themselves from pests and diseases. This allows farmers to apply less pesticides to care for them.
Since we all benefit from being more sustainable, let’s look at five ways soy enhances our lives.
Soy puts meat on our tables. Since animals outnumber people in our state, it makes sense to start with animal feed. Soybeans are considered a complete protein source because they contain all nine essential amino acids in just the right proportions. Pigs, poultry, dairy cows and even farm-raised fish munch on healthy and nutritious soy as part of their balanced diets.
Soy keeps us looking young. Many of today’s top cosmetic and family brands – L’Oréal, Aveeno, Neutrogena and The Honest Company – use soy in their products because it’s rich in vitamin E and antioxidants. These elements fight against free radicals, even skin tone, stimulate collagen and help heal scars.
Soy enhances our food. Did you know when you buy vegetable oil at the grocery store, it’s almost always made with 100% soybean oil? There’s a reason soybean oil is a top choice for cooking. It’s a heart healthy option that’s neutral in flavor and rich in unsaturated fats. It’s a great choice for sautéing meat and vegetables, and helps create our favorite sweet treats. Soybean oil contains lecithin, which binds chocolate and cocoa butter to make candy bars.
Soy fuels our diesel vehicles. South Dakotans are known for their forward thinking when it comes to biofuels. Corn ethanol led the way and now soy biodiesel is gaining popularity as another homegrown, clean-burning fuel. One bushel of soybeans equals 1.5 gallons of biodiesel so fill up your tank. It only takes about nine months to grow more.
Soy sparks our creativity. Soy crayons were first introduced by Prang® in 1997 and have built a reputation for their bright, smooth finish when compared to their paraffin counterparts. The oil from just one bushel of soybeans makes 2,112 crayons. Can’t find them in the store? Make your own at home using this recipe.
Soy is also used as a green product in everything from foam insulation in your house to the athletic turf in the Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium in Brookings. Learn more about how the Johnson family goes green by using sustainable practices to grow soybeans.
There’s nothing better than cozying up with a warm mug of hot chocolate after a long day out in the cold. As friends and family fill your home this winter, consider whipping up a hot chocolate bar to get everyone in a festive mood. This do-it-yourself set-up is simple, customizable and totally delicious!
Deck out your cart or tray with a few varieties of hot chocolate mix and toppings like marshmallows, peppermint sticks or whipped cream. You may also want to offer a few different types of milk to accommodate those with dairy allergies or other dietary restrictions.
Soy milk has a similar consistency to cow’s milk, making it a great ingredient for hot chocolate. It’s also a nutritional powerhouse. Soy milk is protein packed with 5-7 grams per serving and all nine essential amino acids your body needs to stay healthy. Plus, it’s a great source of calcium, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, nutrients that support bone health, protect against heart disease and may even elevate your mood.
Not only is soy good for you, it’s also grown by farmers with your family’s future in mind. South Dakota soybean farmers are some of the most proactive in the nation when it comes to sustainability. Sustainable practices like crop rotation, no-till farming and cover crops improve soil health, prevent soil erosion and reduce pesticide drift, protecting our land for future generations to enjoy.
So try our recipe below and drink up! It’s not often you can be healthy, cozy and sustainable with hot chocolate in your hands. Here’s another idea for incorporating a heart healthy soy fruit smoothie into your routine.
Skip the pie and spice up your holiday dessert table with fluffy pumpkin-apple streusel muffins. We suggest pairing with a scoop of caramel apple ice cream from our friends at Stensland Family Farms. This treat is totally worth the calories and will have your guests raving. Find the recipe and step-by-step video instructions below.
Just like other South Dakota families, farmers look forward to gathering with their loved ones to enjoy a delicious holiday meal. By this time, the soybeans, corn and other crops they spent the summer carefully nurturing have been harvested and are making their way across the state and around the world to feed animals and people. It’s time to celebrate their successes and think about ways to improve their family farms for the next growing season and beyond.
Being environmentally friendly is part of planning for the future. Farms of all sizes plant cover crops and reduce tillage to prevent soil erosion. They also carefully monitor the amount of pesticides they spray with precision technology and use just the right amount for crop protection. South Dakota farmers are especially conservation minded. They lead the nation in enrollment in the Conservation Stewardship Program with a total of 7 million acres! By making improvements now, farmers preserve their family businesses to feed your family for future generations.
There’s no doubt preparing a holiday spread filled with your family’s favorite dishes takes time, energy and money. It’s a labor of love that equates to about $50 for a 10-person meal at Thanksgiving. While that seems like a steal for comfort foods, holiday leftovers are certainly something you don’t want to waste, especially when it comes to the turkey.
Americans love turkey. We eat about 46 million on Thanksgiving day, which accounts for 20 percent of the 228 million turkeys eaten each year. South Dakota’s soybean farmers contribute to your holiday feast by raising 5 million of those turkeys—enough for six turkeys for every person in South Dakota! It’s a known fact: keeping turkeys in care and comfort is the number one goal of farmers. Dennis Thomas, CFO of Dakota Provisions, works with growers and knows that they live their . Turkeys live in an indoor facility with plenty ventilation, protecting them from predators while giving them access to fresh air.
But enough turkey talk—you can find more in our Across The Table video—it’s time to explore the safest ways to refrigerate, reheat and freeze leftovers as well as some ideas for transforming them into meals.
Start by removing food from the table within two hours of serving. It may be tempting to simply pop on the top and leave it in the serving dish, but leftovers stay safer, longer if you package them in clean, airtight containers. Help them cool quickly by packing food in shallow containers with more surface area. Avoid stacking them so heat escapes. Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for up to four days.
When reheating leftovers later, only warm up the amount you want to serve. Reheating foods multiple times contributes to loss of flavor and moisture. Use a thermometer to make sure you’re achieving the safe temp of 165 degrees F. Sauces, soups and gravies should come to a full boil and cool again before you dig in.
If you don’t eat your leftovers within a few days, it’s time to transfer them to the freezer. Hint: The sooner you make the transfer the better they taste.
Pack side dishes like stuffing and mashed potatoes in airtight freezer containers or plastic freezer bags. Leave some space at the top of the container for liquids like soup or gravy to expand. Avoid stacking containers until the food inside is frozen solid. Wrap sliced turkey meat in freezer paper or foil, then seal in plastic freezer bags. Make sure to press out all the air before sealing.
Leftovers can technically be kept indefinitely as long as they’re stored at 0 degrees F, but they taste best when eaten within two or three months.
Having a plan to get creative with leftovers can help them disappear quickly. Here are a few meal ideas from Sioux Falls Hy-Vee Dietitian Anna Heronimus.
- Hearty Harvest Stew: Start with leftover gravy with the fat skimmed away before making gravy as the base. Add leftover turkey and veggies. Thicken with mashed or sweet potatoes. Cook to 165°F.
- Turkey-Berry Wrap: Spread wrap with cranberry sauce, add sliced turkey and shredded greens in whole-wheat tortillas. Sprinkle in toasted pecans for satisfying crunch.
- Cranberry Smoothies: Blend cranberries, frozen yogurt and orange juice for a cool treat.
- Crunchy Turkey Salad: Combine cubed turkey, celery, apples and light mayo with shredded baby spinach for a light meal.
Want to create room in your refrigerator ahead of the holidays by throwing out foods that are past their shelf life? Here’s a guide to help you know what to keep and what to throw.
Fill your table in style this holiday season with warm comfort foods baked in a new Le Creuset Dutch oven.We’ve teamed up with Plum’s Cooking Company in Sioux Falls to give away this premium 5-1/2-quart Dutch oven, valued at $330, allowing you to go from stovetop to oven without creating more dirty cookware. Simply read the contest rules then fill out the form below to enter for your chance to win.
No matter what brand of cookware you use, it’s a safe bet that Bourbon Glazed Chicken will be a hit with your hungry crowd. When selecting chicken for this recipe, check the package for the USDA Grade A rating to make sure it’s been inspected. One thing you don’t have to look for is whether the chicken is hormone free. The FDA prohibits farmers who raise chickens from using hormones, so there’s no need to spend extra for the label on the package.
South Dakota soybean farmers help ensure you’re eating quality meat by growing the healthy crops to feed chickens and turkeys. Soybeans are rich in protein and amino acids, making them an important component in animal feed. Get the behind-the-scenes scoop on what chickens eat by reading this blog then head out to Plum’s Cooking Company and your local grocery store to pick up the ingredients for this mouthwatering Bourbon Glazed Chicken.
The holidays are a time of tradition that builds on the experiences of the past to enhance the future. If you’re looking for simple holiday hosting hacks, Addie Graham-Kramer has you covered. Addie is the creative mastermind behind many Hungry for Truth events and the owner of The Event Company in Sioux Falls. Over the years, she’s built a reputation for transforming the mundane and everyday into magical experiences. Sometimes, it just takes a few simple tweaks and a signature drink like her Blackberry Smash to amp up your traditional holiday gathering.
South Dakota farm families are a great example of how traditions can change and improve with time. Today’s soybean farmers still care about growing safe and healthy food for families just like their grandparents, but they use the latest technology to do it in more sustainable ways. This includes using iPads for soil mapping, GPS technology for planting and GMO seeds to decrease pesticide applications. Whether they grow soybeans or raise animals, farmers are making decisions with future generations in mind.
Addie has seen this work in through working with Hungry for Truth. “Being a part of the Hungry for Truth events, I have seen first-hand the pride that our local farmers have in producing food that is healthy and safe for our families. These men, women and children who are a part of family farms are incredibly passionate about sharing their story and it’s such an honor to learn all that goes into local farming operations. I feel more connected to those who feed my family.”
As you look ahead to the holidays, here are Addie’s top three hacks to try at your next event:
- Hors d’oeuvres Stations
Set up hors d’oeuvres stations throughout the house to allow for a good flow of guests and to inspire casual conversations. Feel free to dress up these stations, but allow guests to serve themselves to help them feel more at home.
- Signature Drink
Create one seasonal signature drink. This can be memorable for guests and saves you from serving different beverages all night. Pre-mix the signature drink ahead of time and leave on the beverage cart or counter for guests to serve themselves. Make your signature drink adult friendly by providing alcohol to mix.
Naming your signature drink is part of the fun. Put up a chalkboard sign or handwrite the name of the drink on a piece of colored card stock and place it near the beverage. Be sure to have copies of the drink recipe on hand for guests because they will ask for it. You can even create coasters with the recipe so guests have it at their fingertips throughout the night.
- To-Go Treats
Give guests a sweet treat to end the evening. Keep plenty of brown kraft boxes and kraft bags around your pantry to send party extras home with guests or provide them with a snack to take home. Who doesn’t want to snack on a sweet Christmas cookie or piece of fudge for the drive? Purchase treats from a local bakery, package in a small brown kraft box, tie with a holiday ribbon and finish with a sprig of evergreen.
Learn more about how farm practices have changed during the past 90 years on one South Dakota family farm by reading Eunice’s story. Then test out your beverage-making abilities by creating this delicious signature drink.
The holidays are upon us, and with the cheer comes pressure to cook delicious meals for family gatherings. Planning menus that also appeal to little tastebuds can be challenging. We talked with Andrea Boerigter, The Speech Mom LLC founder and creative genius behind bloombox, for tips to encourage adventurous eating at the kids’ table. She also shared a recipe for mac ‘n’ cheese featuring butternut squash that might become your family’s new holiday fave.
Did you know that, without the technology behind GMOs, we might not be able to enjoy vegetables like yellow squash and zucchini? GMO varieties of these delicious garden vegetables were developed in the mid-1990s to defend against mosaic viruses that destroy crops. Though butternut squash isn’t a GMO, yellow straightneck, yellow crookneck and green zucchini squash are genetically modified and safe to eat.
In fact, there are just 10 GMO crops approved in the U.S., most with more than 20 years of proven safety. Our favorite is soybeans, of course. About 94 percent of the soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically modified to resist pests and diseases so farmers can grow healthy crops rich in protein and amino acids with less pesticides. Farmers try to make the best decisions during the growing season so South Dakota families can serve up high-quality, healthy foods throughout the year.
This is especially important during the holidays, which is a great time to introduce kids to new dishes. Andrea is an advocate of Hungry for Truth. “Hungry for Truth and its farmers are a great resource for families who have questions about food and how it’s grown and raised on South Dakota farms.”. As a mom of two, she also has developed strategies to encourage adventurous eating among her children. Here are her quick tips you can try at your gathering:
- Serve food family style. Children are more likely to try something different when they can see you and others eating it.
- Explain what’s in the dish. Let kids know if it’s hot, cold, soft or crunchy. Giving them full details helps them familiarize themselves with what they’re about to put in their mouths.
- Ask others if they enjoy it. When a cousin or grandparent thinks something is delicious, kids are more likely to try it too.
As you plan your holiday menu, consider adding Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese to the line-up. Looking for another side dish with a twist? We suggest sweet potato bites.
Farmers hosted guests from western South Dakota at Prairie Berry Winery in scenic Hill City for the second annual Harvest Social on Thursday, November 2. The warm, bright setting offered farmers and community members an opportunity to escape the chill and engage in conversations about how food is grown and raised on today’s farms and ranches.
Huron farmer Brandon Wipf welcomed the crowd and shared stories about growing soybeans, corn, wheat and hay on his fourth-generation family farm. After attendees enjoyed appetizers, desserts and beverages created exclusively for the social by Prairie Berry Winery and Miner Brewing, farmer Jerry Schmitz from Vermillion also spoke to the crowd.
He explained that, in addition to growing soybeans and corn, he and his wife Sally also care for a variety of fruit trees and keep bees to help with plant pollination. He then showed participants three apples: one came from his farm and two he purchased at a grocery store. The two from the store were different because one was grown organically and one conventionally. He invited attendees to explain three things about the apples.
This sparked a lively discussion about the use of pesticides and GMOs. A few people in the crowd knew that organic and conventional farmers use pesticides but that organic farmers cannot use synthetic pesticides.
“Just because it’s organic doesn’t mean a pesticide wasn’t used,” said Jerry.
He also explained how GMOs are bred to have specific traits that help farmers reduce their use of pesticides and still grow safe and healthy crops for people and animals. Soybeans are one of 10 crops that are genetically modified and approved for use in the U.S.
That led to questions about how farmers prevent pesticide drift, the increased use of precision technology and conservation practices on the farm.
“Everything has to be just right or we don’t spray,” said Jerry. “We don’t go out when it’s windy or the air temperature isn’t right. We mix pesticides with water according to label instructions and add an ingredient that helps them stick to the plants’ leaves. Precision technology in our sprayers also helps us apply just the right amount of pesticide according to label instructions.”
Brandon explained how using precision technology helped him take steps to make his farm more sustainable.
“By measuring every acre of my fields with precision technology, I’m able to decide where to invest most of my time in growing the best crops,” said Brandon. “The land that isn’t as productive can be converted to grass for buffer strips and habitat for pheasants. For me, sustainability is all about growing and raising quality food, while improving lives for families in South Dakota.”
Let us know if you’d like to attend a future Hungry for Truth event or have a question for a farmer by sending a note via this form. Curious to learn more about how GMOs, pesticides and sustainable farm practices contribute to safe and healthy foods? We’ve got you covered with these reads: