Sometimes farming and ranching can get a little sloppy, especially when spring storms dump a couple feet of snow on the ground and interrupt calving season. Good thing for quick, kid-friendly family meals like Sloppy Joes to make sure everyone has the energy to pull on their boots and keep the cows and crops healthy and safe.
Bradee Pazour, her husband Joel and their boys are big fans of any kind of beef. Sloppy Joes are a tried and true comfort food that are great for lunch or dinner and easy to freeze or reheat as leftovers. While it’s OK to get a little sloppy in the kitchen, the Pazour family and many other South Dakota farmers and ranchers are anything but messy when it comes to growing and raising food.
“Sustainability is all about improving our practices to take care of the land and water for our future because it’s the right thing to do. Farmers are constantly educating themselves and using technology to become more efficient,” said Bradee. “Thanks to the GPS capabilities in all of our equipment, precision planting, pesticide application and field mapping have helped farmers be more accurate than ever before.”
In addition to growing soybeans, corn and wheat, the Pazour family also raises cattle as part of a feedlot. The attention to detail they use to grow crops also translates to how they care for their cattle.
The Pazours work with nutritionists and veterinarians to ensure their cows are well-fed and cared for throughout their lives. It starts with a diet high in roughage like grass, hay and silage, and gradually steps up to more grain and protein-rich ingredients such as corn and soybean forage to help them thrive as they get older. They also maintain clean pens and pastures, and ensure cattle have ample water sources.
“Cows are such neat animals and play an important role in in keeping our food system balanced. They act as ‘upcyclers,’ meaning they take inedible food – grass, hay, silage – and turn it into something healthy and nutritious we can eat,” explained Bradee.
By working together as a family, the Pazours are carefully and sustainably raising healthy foods to beef up mealtimes everywhere. Get Bradee’s favorite Sloppy Joe recipe below. While it’s simmering, take a few minutes to read more about environmentally friendly cattle ranching on another South Dakota family farm.
Whether you work in a tractor or at a desk, everyone needs a quick, easy meal to ward off midday hunger. This easy Cuban slider fits the bill. Make a big batch on Sunday evening, and you’ll have delicious, hearty ham sandwiches to fill your lunchbox for the whole week.
Not only does ham provide high-quality protein, it also is one of the most sustainable meats available. Sustainability means doing what’s right for the environment and continuously improving the land. Pork farmers have done just that by reducing their carbon footprint by 35 percent in the last 50 years. Feeding pigs a nutrient-rich diet of sustainably-grown soybean meal allows farmers to raise delicious meat while leaving the land better than they found it.
Now, it’s sandwich time! Follow along with this video to see step-by-step instructions for this quick lunchtime hit. Need a dinner recipe? Try these Pork Chops With Rosemary Apple Butter.
Just a few miles north of Sioux Falls lies Lynn Boadwine’s dairy farm. Homesteaded in 1874, Boadwine Farms is home to more than 2,000 dairy cows and 2,000 acres of corn, alfalfa and sorghum. Lynn is the fourth generation to farm this land, along with his employees who keep the family-owned operation running smoothly.
Heidi Zwinger is one of those employees. She’s worked on the farm as a herd manager for 16 years, helping care for the dairy cows and managing the other farmworkers. Heidi, who grew up on a dairy farm, is passionate about producing great milk while taking great care of the animals.
“Even though I’m not the farm owner, I still call it my farm because I take pride in it,” Heidi explained. “I love working with our cows and helping them grow and produce milk. I also love working with my coworkers to make sure we’re doing what’s right for the animals.”
On farms large and small, everyone who works together is passionate about ensuring the animals are well cared for so they can create delicious, high-quality food.
“There are real, passionate people behind large farm operations,” Heidi said. “I’m a member of the Boadwine farm family and so are my coworkers, who are just as dedicated as I am.”
One way Heidi and her coworkers take care of the cows is by feeding them a high-quality diet. Dairy cows need a protein-rich diet to produce delicious, nutritious milk. The cows at Boadwine Farm are fed hay and silage grown right on the farm, supplemented with soybean and corn meal from the local grain elevator. Soybeans are a great source of protein so dairy cows across South Dakota enjoy eating approximately 18,000 tons of soybean meal annually.
“We harvest everything we plant as feed for the cows, so nothing is wasted,” Heidi said. “Our cows eat locally,” she added with a laugh.
After a long day tending to animals, there’s nothing like curling up with a hearty plate of Cheesy Tater Tot Hotdish, an upper Midwest specialty.
“For me, tater tot hotdish is an old standby, something my mom used to make. Every family does it a little differently,” Heidi said. “Ours is simple, made with browned ground beef, green beans, cream of mushroom soup and some cheese to add a little gooiness. You can mix it up by experimenting with different kinds of cheese and seeing what your family likes.”
Dig into Heidi’s cheesy tater tot hotdish! Need another classic dinner option? Try this classic meatloaf.
During snowy South Dakota winters, sometimes it just feels good to snuggle in at home with our favorite comfort foods. When blogger and designer Oksana Silchuk needs to take time for herself, she recharges by spending time in the kitchen. Cooking comforting meals, like this Potato Chicken Noodle Soup, takes her back to her Ukrainian roots and fuels cozy days at home with her husband and two toddlers.
Shopping for the ingredients for her Potato Chicken Noodle Soup reminds her of the impact farmers have on her family.
“My appreciation for farmers runs so deep,” Oksana said. “Every time I am at the grocery store, I am reminded that the produce and meat I purchase is there because of their labor and care. It’s humbling.”
That’s one of the reasons why she’s a fan of Hungry for Truth. It’s an opportunity to get to know the farm families behind the food she enjoys. Though she grew up in town, she understands the work that goes into growing crops and raising animals. Her family even raised a few chickens in their backyard.
“I recall feeding them, chasing them, taking care of them and, ultimately, my mom making us delicious meals with them,” said Oksana.
Oksana is thankful that Hungry for Truth gives her the chance to teach her children about how South Dakota farmers care for their animals, crops and the environment. Oksana’s kids even get a chance to learn about how crops like soybeans are used for so many different things like animal feed, cooking oil and even the crayons they color with. Not bad for two Sioux Falls city kids.
Who knows? Her children might get the chance to call themselves farm kids one day.
“I’ve always lived in the city but am a total farm girl at heart,” she said. “I dream of one day owning some livestock and living on a farm.”
Wherever the Silchuk family winds up, they’re sure to have many more cozy days gathered around the table, sharing soup and each other’s company.
“This is the one meal my babes can’t get enough of. They can easily gobble up a few bowls and ask for more,” Oksana said. “Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.”
Snuggle up to Oksana’s soup recipe below. Looking for more comfort food? Try this Crockpot Turkey and Edamame Chili recipe to warm your winter days.
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.
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.
Did you know October is Pork Month? We’re celebrating by making our favorite pork dishes, including Rosemary Apple Butter Pork Chops. Plus, local pig farmer and registered dietitian Charlotte Rommereim gives us the scoop on how she raises pigs, the truth about hormones in pork and the many nutritional benefits of the other white meat.
Tell us about your family farm.
My husband Steve and I are the fifth generation on our farm near Alcester. Our farm has been in my family since my great-great grandfather, Gustav Nilson, emigrated from Sweden in 1874. Our family farm has raised pigs for more than 100 years. We also grow corn and soybeans. My husband operates the farm, and I work as a registered dietitian.
How do you keep your pigs comfortable and safe?
Our farm operation uses many types of housing to keep our pigs safe and comfortable. Steve and I choose to raise our pigs indoors in a barn where we can control the environment and protect them from the weather. Our pigs have food and water available at all times, and we visit them daily to monitor them.
What do you feed your pigs to keep them healthy?
Swine nutritionists formulate our pigs’ diets to make sure they have the optimal nutrients for each stage of their growth. This includes eating some of the soybeans we grow on our farm. As a dietitian, I compare it to how our children’s diets change as they grow to adulthood. Pigs require different feed formulations for each stage of growth.
Do you ever use hormones to help them grow?
The truth is hormones are never allowed in raising pigs or poultry. The federal government prohibits it and actually states this on the meat packaging labeled “hormone-free” in the grocery. We never give our pigs hormones because it is against the law.
How does pork fit into a healthy diet?
Protein is a very important nutrient and many are trying to include more of it in their diets. Pork provides high quality, nutritious protein at a reasonable price that fits into a healthy dietary pattern. As a dietitian, I recommend Pork’s Slim 7, which is a list of lean pork cuts. This includes my favorite, the pork tenderloin, which is leaner than a skinless chicken breast. Pork is also an excellent source of thiamine, selenium, niacin, phosphorus and vitamin B6.
Time to sizzle up some delicious and hormone-free pork chops for dinner. Just watch this video to learn how. Looking for another pork option? We also have a pork tenderloin recipe that’s sure to please.
Did you know South Dakota farmers will join others across the U.S. this fall to harvest more than 4 billion bushels of soybeans? While most of those soybeans will be used to feed animals, they eventually end up on your table in the form of farm-fresh foods like meat, eggs, milk and cheese. South Dakota farmers David and Miriam Iverson look forward to each fall as an opportunity to continue the family tradition of sustainably harvesting food and cooking meals like Coconut Curry Chili to warm up after cool days in the field.
“I’m the fourth generation on our operation. I’ve been farming for 37 years here in northern Brookings County,” David said. “My family has been here for 120 years. My dad still actively helps out.”
It’s vital to keep things moving during busy seasons, especially on the Iverson’s 1,500-acre farm. The drought this summer has taken its toll on yields across South Dakota, and extra attention is needed to ensure the crops are harvested with care. Using sustainable practices throughout the growing season pays off when it’s time to combine.
The Iversons plant a rotation of soybeans and corn every other year. David says they rotate their crops for many reasons, but ultimately it protects their plants from being affected by plant-specific pests.
“Corn and soybeans have different weeds, diseases and insects that affect yields,” he said. “By rotating the crops, we keep those numbers low and, hopefully, our yields high.”
David uses other sustainable practices to grow food, like applying fertilizer at a rate that matches soil and plant needs, and implementing minimal and no-till practices in their fields.
“Our sustainability methods improve soil health immensely and prevent soil erosion,” he said.
With harvest just around the corner, we’ll see how their efforts pay off. Since family time can be pretty limited in the fall, meals are important to bring people together. Coconut Curry Chili is one of David and Miriam’s favorites to help warm up after a long day in the combine.
Read the Story of Soybean Harvest to learn more about what farmers are thinking this time of year.
If one thing is true about South Dakotans, we love making memories outside with our families. One of our favorite places to visit in the fall is the Country Apple Orchard in Harrisburg. Kevin Kroger, general manager, knows exactly what that’s like since he’s been working at the orchard with his own family for 12 years.
“All of my eight children pitch in, even my youngest,” said Kevin. Kevin’s stepfather and grandmother are the primary owners, making it a true family affair.
“The first year was a little sticky, but every year it gets easier,” he said. “We learn more and get better. We know we are investing in success with 100 acres of prime South Dakota farmland.”
Running a farming business has been a trial-and-error process. Kevin’s family felt that firsthand when they began maintaining their trees. “We were hit with a hard frost right off the bat. It was hardly the optimal season to start with an orchard,” he chuckled. “We almost went without enough apples that season. Now we can’t grow enough of them!”
That’s great news for Americans everywhere, who eat an average of 55 pounds of apples annually. In addition to pruning their 4,500 trees, the Country Apple Orchard sprays their apples with linseed oil before they blossom to ensure a plentiful harvest of healthy apples for families to pick and enjoy.
“No one likes biting into an apple with insects in it,” Kevin said. “Like other farmers, we only spray pesticides when the apples need it.”
While the Kroger family doesn’t have a typical South Dakota farming background, Kevin did walk beans as a child. That means walking through soybean fields and picking weeds for Sioux Falls area farmers. It’s a chore many seasoned farmers remember, but is no longer needed on most farms thanks to technology.
“I was exposed to hard work in the older days of farming, and I didn’t think I wanted anything to do with it,” Kevin said. “Now, with technology, it’s so much easier and much more enjoyable.”
Today’s farmers use different types of technology, including GPS, drones and computer-generated soil maps to grow healthy food more efficiently. Over the past 30 years, soybean farmers grew 46 percent more soybeans using 35 percent less energy thanks to technology and more sustainable farm practices.
Being more efficient means farm families might have a little extra time to enjoy an afternoon at the Country Apple Orchard. Kevin and family pack weekdays with school field trips and weekends with festivals. Even Santa takes a break from his work at the North Pole to stop by and say hi before the busy holiday season.
“In today’s world, it can be really hard to slow things down,” he said. “Here, families go on wagon rides, pick apples and pumpkins, and enjoy delicious local foods. Slowing down to take in the outdoors makes family time more memorable.”
Cooking together is another way to create memorable moments. Try out one of these recipes with your family this fall.
Whether it’s date night at the theater or a cozy family night on the couch, movies have a way of bringing us together. When it’s warm in South Dakota, it can be fun to take the movie magic outdoors and gather under the stars. Here are our tips for planning a night that’s sure to please family and friends.
A projector, audio speakers and computer are essential technology. A free projector might be tough to track down, but they are available at most rental companies and easy to purchase. Need a portable screen? No worries. Just hang a white sheet or painter’s drop cloth. You could also skip it and project onto the side of a building if it’s clean and light colored. Don’t forget extension cords.
Pay attention to sunset and plan your festivities accordingly. You want to start the movie when it’s dark, so this could be 9 p.m. or 7:30 p.m., depending on the time of year. Starting later gives you time to host dinner and play yard games. Starting early may mean you can squeeze in two movies; family-friendly first for the kiddos and then one for the adults after they go to bed.
Comfy and Cozy
Keep your audience comfy by providing blankets and pillows for lounging or ask them to bring their own. Hang bistro lights to set the mood, segment food from the theater seating and make sure your guests can see where they’re going. Set out mosquito repellent spray and fire up citronella candles to protect your guests against bugs and other pests.
The best part of any movie night is the food. Snack stylishly by creating a buffet table out of pallets or cement blocks and plywood. Cover with a cute tablecloth and add a flower centerpiece for a touch of greenery.
When it comes to the menu, keep it simple. Finger foods like kabobs or meats and cheeses paired with crackers work well for flexible dining. A popcorn bar with butter and assorted toppings transforms the traditional snack into a bold, salty or tangy mix. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, a selection of classic movie candies or toasty s’mores are two of our favorites. In fact, we have the perfect recipe for campfire ice cream s’mores.
No matter what’s on the menu, South Dakota soybean farmers have you covered. Pigs, cows, chickens and turkeys love to eat protein-packed soybeans as part of a balanced diet. Healthy animals mean you’re serving up quality milk, eggs, cheese and meats for your guests.
Select your movie based on your guest list. The classics or a comedy are always a great bet. Depending on who’s there, it might be “Grease,” “8 Seconds” or “The Goonies.” When it comes to kids, you can’t go wrong with anything Pixar or Disney. “Jurassic Park” or “Jaws” might be fun if you’re feeling adventurous, but watch out. Your backyard may never feel the same again.
Now that you have the basics for hosting an outdoor movie night, it’s time to get the invites out and start planning the menu. Here’s a recipe for Green Chicken Souvlaki Kabobs that’s sure to please. See our recipes for more ideas.