Tag Archives: winter

A mug of crockpot caramel apple cider topped with whipped cream, caramel and a cinnamon stick.

Crockpot Caramel Apple Cider

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. 

Print Recipe
Crockpot Caramel Apple Cider
A mug of crockpot caramel apple cider topped with whipped cream, caramel and a cinnamon stick.
Course Snack
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 gala apples cored and quartered
  • 1 orange sliced
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • Whipped cream for topping
  • Caramel for drizzle
Course Snack
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 gala apples cored and quartered
  • 1 orange sliced
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • Whipped cream for topping
  • Caramel for drizzle
A mug of crockpot caramel apple cider topped with whipped cream, caramel and a cinnamon stick.
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into crock pot.
  2. Cook on high for 3 hours.
  3. Serve in a mug, dollop with whipped cream and drizzle caramel sauce on top. Enjoy!

Holiday Hosting Tips

The holiday season is officially here. Feeling pressure about hosting the perfect Thanksgiving meal for your family or friends? Farmer Morgan Kontz from Colman, S.D., knows a thing or two about hosting large groups and has some tips for making everything run smoothly in this guest blog post.


I am so thankful every year when this holiday rolls around because it signifies the end of a season. Harvest is complete and we have “bushels” for which to be thankful. We work hard on our farm throughout the year to grow our crops and raise our animals in a sustainable manner. To us, sustainability means farming with the future in mind. That means preserving the land so that we leave it in even better condition than when we found it.

As a mother, when it comes to food, I enjoy being a part of the farm because I know where the quality food comes from that I put on our table and feel confident feeding it to our family. I love preparing large meals for people, being a host and opening our home for fellowship. Here’s a rundown of what I do to make sure those big events go off without a hitch.

Morgan's beautiful, holiday-themed place settings.

Pumpkin pie and place settings.

Morgan with her holiday spread.

A place setting at Morgan's holiday dinner.

Morgan laughs as she prepares the dinner table.

A few weeks before the event
To get ready for big meals or occasions, my number one piece of advice is to plan ahead. I make note of everything I want to make and make a grocery list of what I need. I do my shopping a few weeks before the event, except for any fresh items. This way, in case I forgot anything, I still have time to get it all ready while avoiding panic mode.

One to two days before the event
At this point, I start making a pile of ingredients and serving dishes for each item on my counter. This helps me to visually make sure I have space for all the food and everything I need.

The day of the event
Right away in the morning, I cook as much as I can. If anything needs to be chilled, I do that the night before. I discovered that if I spend too much time cooking that day, I never have time to get myself ready. So I wake up early and get as much done as I can so I can enjoy chatting and visiting with our guests when they arrive and not be rushed.

Enjoy!
Spend time with friends and family and enjoy the fellowship. One thing we do during the month of November is talk about what we are thankful for each day. We write our blessings on leaves and add them to our blessings tree. What I love about the holiday is simply spending it as a family. After we feed our cattle, we spend the entire day together just enjoying each other’s company.

Morgan's pumpkin pie.Creative place cards for a fall event.Morgan serves up an appetizer.

Menu for the dinner.

Hungry for Truth table set for a holiday dinner.

What I’m Up to This Winter (Part Three)

Peggy smiles for a photo in front of her cattle heard in South Dakota.

Harvest is complete. The weather is getting colder, and there’s snow on the  ground.

 Although farmers aren’t out in the field every day like they are throughout the warmer months, farmers are busy running their farms the whole winter, too. To find out more about what winter looks like on a South Dakota farm, we asked Peggy Greenway, a South Dakota farmer, to share her thoughts in this guest blog.

When it comes to crops, harvest is done, so we have some extra time to get to those projects we have been putting off for awhile. My husband and our employee do a lot of maintenance on buildings, fencing and equipment, making sure everything is in good shape for planting.

This is the time of year we also sit down with our agronomist and pick out which seeds to plant for the coming year. We have a plethora of choices when it comes to choosing seed. On our farm, we choose to plant GMO soybeans and corn. GMO crops have worked best on our farm over the years, and we appreciate the benefits they bring, like not having to spray insecticides and being able to use minimum-tillage. We usually buy seed from at least two or three different companies to see which seed works best on our land.

We’ve also been busy getting all of our bookwork up to date. Since farming is a business, we do a lot of bookkeeping for taxes and to track each enterprise of the farm. We also work with a farm business management program through our local technical institute. We keep very detailed records on each field and crop. This helps us know which fields are more productive and helps us make decisions on different types of seed. We also keep detailed records for the cattle and pigs. Just like every business, tracking expenses, income, and productivity in different areas is important to the health of our farm.

Winter is a time when things aren’t as hectic on the crop side, so we have the opportunity to sit down and think about our farming operation and make decisions for the upcoming year. However, when a farm like ours is diversified, with livestock and crops, we are busy every single day, and that’s what makes it fun! Though the way we care for our animals varies a little with the weather, we are working everyday to make sure they are comfortable and healthy.

Click the following links to catch PART ONE and TWO of Peggy’s series. Have questions for her? Leave a comment to hear back from her directly.

What I’m Up to This Winter (Part Two)

Peggy on her farm in South Dakota.

Harvest is complete. The weather is getting colder, and there’s snow on the ground.

Although farmers aren’t out in the field every day like they are throughout the warmer months, farmers are busy running their farms the whole winter, too. To find out more about what winter looks like on a South Dakota farm, we asked Peggy Greenway, a South Dakota farmer, to share her thoughts in this guest blog.

Our pigs are housed indoors in climate-controlled barns so they are comfortable and content all year round. We used to have our pigs outside in the winter and had to spend a lot of time bedding them down with straw and cleaning things out by hand. It was very difficult to keep them dry and warm during the winter. We’re pretty darn happy they’re indoors now and knowing they’re comfortable.

Because the pigs are comfortable, we don’t need to adjust anything in their feed to give them more energy to keep warm. However, We do change their rations about every other week for the six months they’re at our farm, adjusting for their dietary needs based on weight and age.

Click the following links to read PART ONE and PART THREE of Peggy’s series. Have questions for Peggy? Leave a comment to hear back from her directly.

What I’m Up to This Winter (Part One)

Peggy holds a piglet on her farm.

Harvest is complete. The weather is getting colder, and there’s snow on the ground.

Although farmers aren’t out in the field every day like they are throughout the warmer months, farmers are busy running their farms the whole winter, too. To find out more about what winter looks like on a South Dakota farm, we asked Peggy Greenway, a South Dakota farmer, to share her thoughts in this guest blog.

On our farm, we raise pigs and cattle, and we grow corn, soybeans and wheat. Though our active crop farming is done for the season, our livestock chores remain seven days a week, 365 days a year jobs.

We keep our cattle outdoors, so the winter weather makes a big difference. Their thick coat of hair keeps them comfortable, so since corn harvest, we’ve had our cows grazing out on corn stalks. The stalks provide nutrients, and the cattle’s manure provides fertilizer for our fields. We move them from field to field, bringing them closer to home as the temperatures decrease. When we have a big snowfall, like those nine inches we had earlier this year, we supplement their grazing with hay and silage. This gives them more energy to keep warm.

Although the cattle are out grazing all winter, we provide them with shelter from the cold and snow. The tree belts and four hoop barns close to our home protect them from the wind. For the most part, they’ll stay out and meander around the pasture. If the snow gets really deep, we might scrape some snow off a big area in the lot or pasture or lay down some straw to give them a dry place to lie down.

The calves from last year have been weaned since early October and we feed them in a large lot at another farm we rent. We sell those calves in January and another farmer will feed them out to market weight. We work with an animal nutritionist to make sure we feed our calves exactly what they need to keep them happy and healthy as they grow. That ration consists of ground hay, corn silage, modified wet distillers grain and some vitamins and minerals

When the cows start calving in late February, we keep them in the closest pasture to the farm or in the lots by the buildings for extra protection and so we can easily check on them several times a day.

If it’s really cold outside, we’ll warm the calves up and dry them off in the heated barn, and then they can go back outside with their moms where they have access to hoop barns for protection.

Click the following links to read PART TWO and THREE of Peggy’s series. Have questions for Peggy? Leave a comment to hear back from her directly.

A Year in the Life of a Farmer

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.

Farmer Blog: How Cattle Keep Warm in the Winter

Morgan is a first-generation farmer along with her husband in southeastern South Dakota. They grow corn and soybeans and raise cattle on their farm. Livestock are the largest consumers of soybeans, and South Dakota’s livestock farmers always do their best to ensure the animal’s comfort. Read her guest blog to find out how cattle handle the winter weather.

This time of year, it’s hard to not get up every morning and check the temperature before getting dressed for the day. Growing up in the Midwest, it seems temperatures can change drastically overnight. We can go from a blizzard warning to 50 degrees in a matter of hours. At the coldest temperatures, a lot of people bring their pets inside to keep them warm.

When it comes to feeding hundreds of cattle, we can’t really just bring them inside and let them stay cozy in our laundry room for the night. Luckily, livestock are pretty good at preparing themselves for harsh winters. Cattle will spends months before the winter hits eating, eating and eating some more. They put on weight and will continue to do so through the wintertime. Just like humans tend to eat more during the winter, so do cattle. Not only are they putting on weight, but they are also growing thicker hair on their hides to help them keep warm.

This past year, our family had an amazing babysitter staying in one of our guest rooms while she finished her last year of college. She doesn’t come from a farming background, so she asked tons of questions while living with us and was always willing to help out when it came to checking on our cows during calving season. She loved the babies! One of the questions she asked once it started to get cold was whether the cattle get cold or not. I explained that they tend to fatten themselves up and get extra hairy, but showing her seemed like a good teachable moment, so I whipped out a few ingredients in our kitchen and proceeded to “demonstrate.”

Morgan2

To see how I showed her how cattle stay warm in the wintertime, check out my blog, Stories Of A First-Generation Farm Wife.

Learn more about Morgan and her husband in our Meet the Guest section: https://hungryfortruthsd.com/dev_flm_hft/#/page/23/topics/meet-the-guests/. Check back on the blog for more guest posts from South Dakota farmers.

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of Stories of a First-Generation Farm Wife.