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October 2019 | Volume 44 | Number 10 Debra Davis | Editor Marlee Moore | Associate Editor Laura Unger | Graphic Designer ALABAMA FARMERS FEDERATION Paul Pinyan | Executive Director Jeff Helms | Director of Communications FEDERATION OFFICERS Jimmy Parnell | President, Stanton Rex Vaughn | Vice President | North, Huntsville Dean Wysner | Vice President | Central, Woodland George Jeffcoat | Vice President | Southeast, Gordon Jake Harper | Vice President | Southwest, Camden Steve Dunn | Secretary-Treasurer, Evergreen DIRECTORS Brian Glenn | Hillsboro Donald Hodge | New Market Donald Sewell | Southside Tim Whitley | Horton Joe Anders | Northport Phillip Hunter | Birmingham Joe Lambrecht | Wetumpka Meador Jones | Gallion Bill Cook | Montgomery Steve Stroud | Goshen Sammy Gibbs | Atmore Chris Carroll | Ariton Jo Ann B. Laney | Phenix City Garrett Dixon | Salem Neighbors (ISSN 0162-3974) is published monthly by the Alabama Farmers Federation, 2108 East South Boulevard, Montgomery, Alabama 36116 or (334) 288-3900. For information about Alabama Farmers Federation member benefits, visit the website www.alfafarmers.org. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and additional mailing offices. Printed in the U.S.A. POSTMASTER Send address changes to Neighbors P.O. Box 11000, Montgomery, Alabama 36191-0001 MEMBERSHIP AND SUBSCRIPTION CHANGES 800-392-5705, Option 4 or BWatkins@alfafarmers.org ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE Ben Shurett, (256) 997-7922 BenShurett.alfafarmers@gmail.com DISCLAIMERS: Ad­vertise­­­­­­­ments in Neighbors do not represent an endorsement by the magazine or Alabama Farmers Federation. Editorial information from sources outside the Alabama Farmers Federation is sometimes presented for our members. Such material may, or may not, coincide with official Alabama Farmers Federation policies. Publication of information does not imply an endorsement by the Alabama Farmers Federation.

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In This Issue 6 | Delicious Dips Top Cooking Contest

28 | Cozy Meals With Comfort Foods

8 | Catfish In The Classroom Serves Future Chefs

13 | Beefing Up The U.S. Market In Japan

16 | Tourists Flock To Apple Picking Attraction

13

4

On The Cover Alabama’s Farm of Distinction winner Hank Richardson, owner of Dixie Green, will compete for Southeastern Farmer of the Year at the Sunbelt Ag Expo.

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Photo By Jeff Helms

www.AlfaFarmers.org

EDQAM

A member of American Farm Bureau Federation

alfafarmers.org

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Richardson Represents Alabama At Sunbelt Expo

Southeastern Farmer of the Year judges visited Dixie Green, owned by Alabama’s Farmer of the Year Hank Richardson, right, Aug. 5. From left are judges John McKissick, long-time University of Georgia agricultural economist; David Wildey of Arkansas, the 2016 Southeastern Farmer of the Year; and Cary Lightsey of Florida, the 2009 Southeastern Farmer of the Year.

nduring challenges is nothing new E for Cherokee County farmer Hank Richardson and wife Shelia. Over

the last 45 years, their greenhouse operation, Dixie Green, survived a warehouse fire, blizzard, drought and loss of a farm partner. The Richardsons’ resilience helped them earn the 2019 Alabama Farm of Distinction Award and qualified Hank to compete for the Swisher Sweets / Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year Award. The Expo is Oct. 15-17 in Moultrie, Georgia. “Through the hardships and the good times, I’ve learned never to give up, to stay humble and to keep my eyes on the goal,” Richardson said. “While one crop is growing, we’re working on the next one. We can water, fertilize and spray our plants, but it takes God to help things grow. He is in control.” Raised on a livestock and row crop farm, Richardson and his two brothers started the greenhouse business in 1974. “We built a 28-by-96-foot greenhouse and started learning how to grow and sell plants, and we delivered them on a pickup truck with a camper shell on top,” he said. “We got a lot of support from our friends and neighbors in the community and just learned as we 4

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went along.” In 1979, the brothers merged their startup with another greenhouse operation to form Dixie Green. Today, Richardson and sons John and Daniel run the operation with 35 local employees. Dixie Green includes 12 acres of heated greenhouse space and about 8 acres of outdoor growing pads. They annually produce about 250,000 each of poinsettias and mums; 325,000 caladiums; 40,000 calla lilies; 15,000 ferns; and 735,000 assorted spring plants. “We sell our products directly to wholesale consumers and contract grow most of our production for Young’s Plant Farm in Auburn,” Richardson said. Dixie Green’s most famous customer, however, is Mickey Mouse — or Walt Disney World to be exact. Each Christmas, the magical destination is festooned with about 80,000 Dixie Green poinsettias. Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville also showcases the Richardsons’ famous holiday flowers. But perhaps the family’s favorite clients are nonprofit groups. “We are proud of our sales to schools, churches, service organizations like FFA, and clubs for their various fundraisers,” Richardson said. “Sometimes it’s a high school football or

baseball team using our locally grown flowers. They can pretty much double their money on things like spring ferns, variety baskets, fall mums and poinsettias — and we deliver what they sell.” Alabama Farmers Federation Area 3 Organization Director Kyle Hayes nominated Richardson for the contest. “I have known Hank since he started the greenhouse business many years ago and have watched how he has overcome an array of adversities and steadily grown the business through hard work and a refusal to take shortcuts,” Hayes said. “He is a man of devout faith, with an ever-present smile and a servant’s heart. I believe he is an awesome advocate for agriculture and a wonderful representative for Alabama.” As Alabama’s Farm of Distinction, the Richardsons received a John Deere Gator from AgPro, SunSouth and TriGreen dealers; a $1,000 gift certificate from Alabama Farmers Cooperative; and an engraved farm sign from Alfa Insurance. For representing Alabama in the regional contest, the family will receive $2,500 and an expenses-paid trip to the Sunbelt Ag Expo from Swisher International of Jacksonville, Florida; a $500 gift certificate from Southern States Cooperative; and a Columbia vest from Ivey’s Outdoor and Farm Supply. Richardson is eligible for $15,000 and other prizes awarded to the overall winner.

Alabama Farmers Federation Area 3 Organization Director Kyle Hayes, left, nominated Hank Richardson as Alabama’s Farm of Distinction. alfafarmers.org


Savory Dairy Dips Score Big At State Heritage Cooking Contest By Debra Davis

W

ith fall football in full swing and holiday gatherings just around the corner, Savory Dairy Dips were a perfect pairing for the Heritage Cooking Contest sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation. The contest was hosted by the Federation State Women’s Leadership Committee Sept. 5 in Montgomery and required dairy products be used as a primary ingredient. Twenty-nine contestants from across the state entered the competition. All were

Brooke Burks of The Buttered Home food blog spoke during the contest judging. 6

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winners in county cooking contests held earlier this year. Barbara Whatley of Lee County won first place and $150 for her Smoked Gouda and Bacon Dip recipe. Geneva County’s Elizabeth Usery won second place and $100 with her BLT Dip. Cherokee County’s Shirley Lumsden took home third place and $50 with her Charleston Cheese Dip recipe. “I like to make this as an appetizer before family gatherings and especially for football games,” Whatley said of her winning dip. “I like the taste of Gouda cheese, and my recipe has bacon in it. Who doesn’t love bacon?” Cooking contests aren’t new to Whatley. She said she’s won several local beef cooking contests, but a statewide win had her excited and nervous. “I am so surprised,” she said. “I really like the dip I made, but I wasn’t sure what the judges would think about it. I just can’t believe I won.” Featuring French bread filled with a mixture of dairy delights, Whatley’s dip ingredients included Gouda cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, red pepper, green onions and chopped bacon. Judges for the 44th annual cooking

1st

PLACE

First Place Barbara Whatley Lee County

Smoked Gouda and Bacon Dip 1 can Pillsbury refrigerated French bread 8 ounces smoked Gouda cheese, shredded (about 2 cups) 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1/2 cup sour cream 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper 1 cup cooked chopped bacon, divided 1/4 cup sliced green onion, divided

Heat oven to 350 F. Bake French bread as directed, and cool before slicing. Spray pie plate with cooking spray. In medium bowl, mix Gouda cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream and crushed red pepper. Mix on low speed with electric mixer until well blended. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon. Stir in remaining bacon and 3 tablespoons of green onion. Transfer mixture to pie plate. Bake 20-25 minutes or until dip is heated through. Top with reserved bacon and green onions. Serve hot with sliced French bread. alfafarmers.org


contest said the Smoked Gouda and Bacon Dip hit high marks in all categories: flavor, appearance and originality. “We had a lot of great dips for the judges to consider,” said State Women’s Leadership Division Director Kim Earwood. “They had a hard job picking the top three.” Food blogger Brooke Burks of The Buttered Home spoke during the contest judging. Her friendly, down-home style resonated with members as she talked about the emotions associated with food and family. Visit her website at TheButteredHome.com. After winners were announced, contestants and guests sampled all of the state contest entries. Visit AlfaFarmers.org for all the recipes entered in the state Heritage Cooking Contest.

Winners in the 44th annual Heritage Cooking Contest are, from left: first place, Barbara Whatley, Lee County; second place, Elizabeth Usery, Geneva County; and third place, Shirley Lumsden, Cherokee County.

Second Place

Third Place

Elizabeth Usery, Geneva County

Shirley Lumsden, Cherokee County

BLT Dip

Charleston Cheese Dip

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened 8 ounces sour cream 1 package Hidden Valley dry ranch dressing mix 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided 1 cup mozzarella cheese, divided 1 cup shredded chicken (use canned chicken or rotisserie chicken) 1 1/4 cups chopped bacon, divided 1 tablespoon chopped green onion (optional)

1 cup sour cream 1 cup mayonnaise 1 pound cooked pork bacon, crumbled (reserved some for garnish) 1 cup chopped seeded tomatoes (retain some for garnish) 1 tablespoon chopped green onions for garnish (optional) Chips or crackers of your choice.

In a large bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, bacon and tomatoes. Refrigerate until serving. Garnish with onions and serve. alfafarmers.org

Mix cream cheese and sour cream together. Add the dressing mix, 1 cup cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese until well combined and smooth. Fold in shredded chicken and 1 cup chopped bacon. For a warm dip, put the dip mixture in a dish topped with 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup bacon. Bake at 350 F until the dip is heated thoroughly and bubbling. This dip can also be served at room temperature. This dip may be served in a purple cabbage and garnished with radishes, cauliflower, etc. for a more decorative dish. Serve with corn chips, crackers, vegetables, or whatever your heart desires. October 2019

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Alabama Catfish Producers State Chairman Sid Nelson delivered catfish fillets to the Tuscaloosa Career & Technology Academy (TCTA) as part of the Catfish Culinary Challenge. From left are TCTA students Shan Brown and DeAsia Tyson; Culinary Instructor Joan King; Nelson of Sumter County; and students Lartravius Jones and Brandon Dunlap.

Alabama Catfish Producers Partner With School Culinary Programs oung chefs across Alabama soon will create catfish culinary delights Y through a partnership of Alabama

ISH CULIN F T

CA

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CHALLENG

catfish farmers and state school officials. Through the inaugural Catfish Culinary Challenge, Alabama Y Catfish Producers will AR donate 600 pounds of U.S. Farm-Raised catfish to 40 Alabama high schools. Student chefs and food service worker students from those schools are part of Alabama’s Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) programs. “We are excited about the opportunity to partner with these teachers and culinary programs across the state,” said Sumter County catfish farmer Sid Nelson. “Students may be familiar with the delicious taste of U.S. Farm-Raised catfish served in restaurants, but we want them to create new catfish culinary dishes inside their classrooms. “Many of these students could become chefs and food service workers,

and they will all be consumers,” he added. “We want them to discover the delicious taste of catfish and learn the numerous ways it can be prepared.” Nelson is state committee chairman of the Alabama Catfish Producers, a division of the Alabama Farmers Federation. He said farmers will provide frozen catfish fillets to the first 40 schools that sign up through the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) program. Additionally, Nelson and other farmers will work with FCS and FCCLA programs to educate instructors and students about the safe, sustainable way U.S. Farm-Raised catfish is grown and processed. The partnership included a field trip for participating teachers to a catfish farm. The trip also incorporates discussions with a panel of catfish farmers. Additionally, the Alabama Catfish Producers will sponsor the FCCLA State Culinary Arts Competition in March. That contest is part of STAR — Students Taking Action for Recognition. Students

E

By Debra Davis

in the contest will prepare a meal that includes an original recipe with catfish as the main ingredient. ALSDE’s April Shrader said teachers around the state are thrilled about the opportunity to introduce catfish to their students. “Our teachers are excited about this partnership and having U.S. Farm-Raised catfish available for their students,” said Shrader, an FCS education specialist. “We are also excited about meeting farmers and talking to them about how they raise their fish. “The real winners in this partnership will be our students,” she continued. “They’ll learn about an important commodity grown by Alabama farmers, and they’ll have an opportunity to experiment and create new recipes with catfish grown by those farmers.” Teachers sign up to participate in the program through the ALSDE. Contact Shrader at ashrader@ALSDE.edu for more information. Alabama farmers produce 30% of all catfish grown in the U.S. annually, with over 100 million pounds of fish grown on 80 farms. The state’s top catfishproducing counties are Hale, Greene, Dallas and Perry. Visit USCatfish.com for recipes featuring U.S. Farm-Raised catfish. alfafarmers.org


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Crop Outlook Tour Helps Farmers Share Stories

“If you want to talk about the biggest concern in agriculture, it’s profitability,” Parnell said. “Input costs are high, margins are low — very low — and then you have the weather, which can take that small margin away from you in the blink of an eye.” Reporters attending the Crop Outlook Tour were given commodity facts, agricultural census data and story ideas. They also were provided breakfast featuring foods from local farms. According to a report compiled by Johns, the Crop Outlook Tour generated 42 mentions in the news media with a potential audience of 2.7 million people. Coverage included three television stations, two newspapers, one television talk show, two statewide news blogs and communicators from four affiliated agricultural organizations.

From left, Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell and Autauga County farmer Drew Wendland talk to reporters during the Crop Outlook Tour about irrigated and non-irrigated corn.

I

f we don’t tell our story, someone else will.” With those words, Limestone County farmer Jessie Hobbs summarized the purpose of the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Crop Outlook Tour. With stops in Montgomery Aug. 13 and at Hobbs’ Elkmont farm Aug. 16, the event invited the media to hear from farmers about crop conditions, trade and more. “We routinely receive calls from reporters about how the weather or national policy is affecting Alabama farmers,” said Federation Commodity Director Carla Hornady. “The Crop Outlook Tour gave us a chance to proactively answer those questions while giving reporters more time to visit with farmers than they typically have on a news assignment.” Hornady, who works with cotton, soybean and grain farmers, conceived the idea with Federation National Affairs Director Mitt Walker. Federation Director of News Services Mary Johns organized the events. While Hobbs said he expects good yields from his corn, soybeans and cotton, the outlook was very different 200 miles south. Autauga County farmer Drew Wendland showed reporters contrasting ears of corn as he talked about the lack of rainfall. alfafarmers.org

Limestone County farmer Jessie Hobbs discusses his soybean crop with reporters on the tour. Hobbs said his crops look good as harvest season approaches but cautioned that some areas of the state have suffered from extremely dry conditions.

“These plants came from the same type of seed and both got the same amount of fertilizer,” said Wendland, who hosted the south Alabama tour at fields just across the Alabama River in Montgomery County. “The only difference is irrigation. Without adequate water, not only do the ears not grow as large, they have fewer kernels.” Although drought conditions were worse in central Alabama, Hobbs said total rainfall across north Alabama varied more than 20 inches. His wettest and driest fields were just 3 miles apart. “You would think 3 miles is not that far, but sometimes the difference between a good crop and a bad crop is a half-inch of rain at the right time,” he said. In addition to crop conditions, reporters heard from Hobbs, Wendland and Federation President Jimmy Parnell about a variety of issues ranging from the need to recruit more young farmers to highway safety during harvest season. Parnell said one of the biggest challenges for current and future farmers is financial stability.

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Federation’s Ragland Promotes U.S. Beef In Japan

Federation Beef Division Director Brady Ragland promoted American products in Japan with the U.S. Meat Export Federation Sept. 1-7. He prepared grilled meats with first-time U.S. product consumers; promoted American product displays in retail outlets; and visited operations like Kawaguchi Wagyu Farm.

By Marlee Moore ith a new trade agreement W leveling the playing field for U.S. beef and pork in Japan, the Alabama

Farmers Federation’s Brady Ragland visited the country in September to promote American products. Ragland and 30 other members of the U.S. Meat Export Federation’s (USMEF) Heartland Team shared the tasty truth about U.S. beef and pork and soaked up Japanese agriculture Sept. 1-7. “My biggest takeaway was seeing firsthand how important export markets are to U.S. producers,” said Ragland, the Federation’s Beef Division director. “As our largest value destination for U.S. beef and pork, the Japanese market alone contributes $80.49 of value per head to fed cattle and $13.02 per head to fed hogs in the U.S.” Ragland said his favorite experience

was an urban barbecue with Japanese consumers who had never tried U.S. meat products. The group grilled ribeye steaks and pork ribs at Weber Park overlooking Tokyo Bay. “They were especially intrigued by the photos and videos we showed them from our cattle operations back in the U.S.,” said Ragland, one of just two USMEF members from the Southeast. “Afterward, they mentioned how appreciative they were to learn about U.S. meat from ‘real U.S. cowboys.’” In the heart of downtown Tokyo, the USMEF team beefed up its trip at the Tokyo Meat Market, which harvests 400 cattle and 1,000 hogs daily. At Kawaguchi Wagyu Farm, the team learned about prized A5 Wagyu cattle, which command $14,000-16,000 per head at the meat auction due to high marbling. Ragland also toured Hannan Beef Tongue Processing Plant, which imports

U.S. beef tongue. Tongue is a growing menu item in Japan with over 150 restaurants serving the product in Sendai alone. At a local restaurant, the USMEF team sampled grilled tongue, which Ragland said was “a little chewy but overall tasty.” USMEF’s team met with U.S. Embassy staffers, the Japan Meat Traders Association, U.S. packer agents and retail representatives, in addition to promoting U.S. pork and beef at consumer-focused tasting events. The U.S.-Japan trade deal was agreed to in principle in August. The agreement reduces tariffs on U.S. pork and beef, making American products more competitive with countries like Australia and Mexico. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced U.S. products from all cattle, regardless of age, can enter the Japanese market for the first time since 2003.

Dec. 8-9, 2019

98 th Annual Meeting

Renaissance Montgomery Hotel

Registration Deadline: Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019 Visit: AlfaFarmers.org alfafarmers.org

Keynote Speaker Trey Gowdy October 2019

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Pumpkin Sculpture Spices Up Botanical Attraction By Marlee Moore t the Huntsville Botanical Garden, A a medley of vibrant orange, gold, cream, gray-blue and green pumpkins aren’t just fruits of labor for farmer Jeremy Calvert. They’re an artistic medium for a slew of creative volunteers who

Cullman County farmer Jeremy Calvert grows pumpkins for the Huntsville Botanical Garden. 14

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eagerly transforms from traditional fall vegetables into 3-D masterpieces. Past handiwork resulted in a hulking dragon with sweeping wings, a watering can spewing a waterfall of gourds and a massive star. “It’s always interesting to see what the gardeners come up with,” said Calvert, who grows about 15 acres of pumpkins on his Cullman County farm. “I wouldn’t call myself an artsy person, so growing a crop for art instead of food has taken a change in mindset.” After attempting to produce their own pumpkins for several seasons, Huntsville Botanical Garden Director of Horticulture Niki Sothers turned to a professional. She formed a pumpkin partnership with Calvert four years ago through the Food Farm Collaborative. This year, thousands of visitors to the garden’s autumnal display will see pumpkins become giant, magical mushrooms. The pumpkins, grown just 65 miles south of Huntsville in Bremen, will also accent a damselfly topiary attraction and photo space. A 1949

Ford tractor and wooden wagon, along with over 500 mums, complement the exhibit. “We know that not every person who comes to the garden is interested in flowers,” Sothers said. “Our goal is to get people outside. If they come see the pumpkin sculpture, see a little bit of a garden and enjoy both, we know we’re making people happy.” The process begins in January, when Sothers selects pumpkin varieties perfect for the year’s holiday vision. By summer, over 20 types of seeds are in the ground for what Calvert said is a challenging crop. “Our summers are too hot to easily grow pumpkins. Our fall doesn’t last long and doesn’t quickly cool off, so there are lots of challenges,” he said, citing issues such as mildew and insect pressure. He said growing pumpkins for the botanical garden takes a more flexible approach than wholesale marketing. “If you’re selling to a wholesaler and the product doesn’t turn out like it alfafarmers.org


Visitors flock to the Huntsville Botanical Garden autumnal display made with a variety of pumpkins.

pumpkins filled in the dragon’s neck and legs, while larger pumpkins covered the underbelly. Sothers said the fall display, open through November, is one of many holiday-centric displays the 30-year-old garden incorporates, such as the winter Galaxy of Lights. The pumpkin display is open in October, Monday­—Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.—6 p.m. Children under 2 get in free. Adult admission is $14; admission for military personnel, students and seniors is $12.

Calvert said working with the garden is an easy, joyful experience and allowed him to grow agricultural awareness. “I want people to realize someone had to plant a seed and take care of a plant,” he said. “It’s also taken years of planning to have the land to grow these pumpkins.” Calvert sells pumpkins at his store in Dodge City 3 miles off Interstate 65 and at the Walker County Farmers Market. Follow J. Calvert Farms on Facebook or visit hsvbg.org. for more info.

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was supposed to, there’s nothing you can do about it,” Calvert said. “With the botanical garden, it’s a more mellow experience. Because it’s art, they can work with just about anything we grow.” Calvert and a passel of workers pick and pack the pumpkins, which are delivered to Huntsville. Volunteers like Steve Kennamer help the sculpture come to life. “You have in your mind what you hope the piece will be,” said Kennamer, who’s volunteered at the garden over 10 years. “It’s great to see the work and effort become a reality that people from all over see and enjoy.” Kennamer’s creative insight helped push the pumpkins — initially an exhibit to accompany the popular Scarecrow Trail — into its annual, 3-D art form. For last year’s dragon display, they repurposed a hay bale art frame. The steel rebar was welded and covered with two layers of wire. Volunteers spent more than 150 hours over four days wiring 1,000-plus pumpkins to the frame. Assorted sizes and shapes of pumpkins dictate placement. Smaller

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By Debra Davis or nearly a century, Scott’s Orchard Fpeaches of Hazel Green has grown delicious and apples along the Alabama-Tennessee state line. But three years ago, the farm discovered a new cash crop — making memories. This year marks the third season for the orchard’s pick-your-own operation, which grew significantly from its inaugural year, said Will Scott, a fifth-generation partner in the farm. “We started the pick-your-own attraction as a way to establish a family experience,”

said Scott, 26. “I view it as a way to promote agriculture and a way to let everyone enjoy our farm. I also want them to see the hard work involved and to understand that hard work can be fun and rewarding. Families make a lot of memories while they’re picking apples.” Agritourism is a growing business in Alabama. Farm entrepreneurs are cashing in on urban residents seeking to reconnect with the land and meet

the people who grow their food. Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Matthew J. Ulmer said operations like Scott’s Orchard are a significant portion of the state’s agritourism industry. Those adventures include pumpkin patches, corn mazes, hayrides and farm wedding venues, just to name a few. Agritourism helps farmers generate additional income, create part-time

Families enjoy picking fresh apples at Scott’s Orchard in Hazel Green. The farm sells 18 varieties of apples along with apple pies, caramel apples, candied apples, apple slushies —­ even apple-flavored ice cream. 16

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employment for seasonal workers and provide entertainment for families who want to enjoy a rural experience. “The most recent data indicate we have 481 agritourism attractions in Alabama,” said Ulmer, who specializes in community workforce, leadership and economic development for Extension. “Those businesses generate nearly $6.8 million in annual cash receipts for the state.”

the farm. We also offer an operations tour (by appointment) that includes a guided wagon ride through the orchards and a tour of the packing line and cold storage facilities.” The anchor of Scott’s Orchard is its store at 2163 Scott Road in Hazel Green. It’s open June-December, MondaySaturday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m. Saturday is Scott’s

through October.” Customers can buy pre-picked peaches and apples, as well as fresh apple cider, pies, caramel apples, candied apples, apple slushies — even apple-flavored ice cream. “Our apples are popular, but customers really like our apple cider because it’s made right on the farm,” Scott said. “Every batch of cider tastes a little different since it’s made from a variety of apples, and there’s a tiny bit of pulp in the bottom that makes it taste extra fresh.” Scott’s Orchard apples are popular among thousands of school children, who enjoy the fresh fruit through Alabama’s Farm-To-School Program. Madison County and Madison city schools, Athens city schools, Limestone County schools, and Cullman city and Cullman Left: Will Scott, a fifth-generation partner of Scott’s Orchard in Hazel Green, began the farm’s pick-your-own season in 2017. He said it’s his way of providing family fun that allows the public to learn more about agriculture. Below: One of the farm’s specialities is fresh apple cider.

Before opening its orchards to the public, the Scott family had an established customer base selling apples and peaches. The farm began in 1901 on 233 acres and harvested its first crop of apples in 1927. It now spans 1,200 acres and grows 18 apple varieties, 22 peach varieties and row crops that include soybeans and corn. Offering different varieties of the fruits extends the farm’s growing season and keeps customers coming back for more, Scott said. “Children get so excited when they come to pick apples,” said Scott, who graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 2015 with a computer information systems degree. “Most of the parents will tell you they didn’t realize there was so much going on at alfafarmers.org

busiest day for apple pickers, and its hours are the same as the storefront. Admission to the orchards is $2. A half-peck of apples (5 pounds or 12 apples) is $5.50. A peck (10 pounds or 24 apples) is $8. Apples also are available in 20- and 40-pound boxes. Customers can also buy fruit through Scott’s online store at ScottsOrchard.com Last year, the orchard attracted 2,200 apple pickers and were open only on weekends. Scott said he expects more visitors this year because it’s open every day. “Fall apple season is our busiest time, and we employ up to 30 full- and part-time employees then,” Scott said. “We sell peaches from June through August and have apples from June

County schools all serve Scott’s apples. The farm also sells at farmers markets and to produce distributors from Montgomery to Nashville to Chattanooga. But Scott said he finds the on-farm experience especially rewarding. “I feel grateful I’m able to share my job and our lifestyle with people,” he said. “I hope they leave here with a better appreciation of farmers and a better understanding of where their food comes from.” October 2019

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BEEF IT UP

Our farmers help feed catfish, poultry and horses, too.

WHEAT & FEED GRAIN PRODUCERS

GrainsofTruth.net


Self-Service Corn Dispenser Offers Farmers New Marketing Option

Jason Spiller, left, and Ben Burleson, right, invented Maize Kraize to help farmers like Franklin County’s Thomas Murray, who sells corn from the automated machine. Inset photo: Tommy Murray bags corn from the Maize Kraize.

By Debra Davis ildlife feed has opened additional W markets for Alabama corn farmers, but direct marketing has its drawbacks — namely, it takes time. An innovative machine created by two high school friends, however, is helping farmers meet hunters’ needs with a self-service option. Jason Spiller and Ben Burleson, both 47, live in Guin. Both have full-time jobs — Spiller works as a systems technician at 3M manufacturing plant and Burleson, who is a Marion County Farmers Federation board member, works for BNSF Railways and farms part time. Their idea for a self-service corn dispenser, dubbed the Maize Kraize, was born when they saw their first stand-alone ice vending machine, Spiller said. “I asked Ben if he’d ever thought

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about something like that since I knew he sold corn from his farm to deer hunters,” Spiller said. “He told me a lot of reasons why it wouldn’t work, but I saw those as challenges, not obstacles. The more we talked about it, the more we looked for ways to make it happen.” Their first Maize Kraize was built and used on Burleson’s farm in 2016. After a few tweaks, the pair was ready to install their first machine when they discovered a federal law (enforced in Alabama) requires corn to be weighed on a National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) certified scale system. Always up for a challenge, Spiller said he was confident they could modify their machine to make it compliant. “Some states have similar machines that don’t have scales, but because Alabama and other states require NTEP certification to sell grain, we were determined to build a machine that could satisfy the law,” Spiller said.

After meetings with staff from the weights and measure division of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries and other agencies, the entrepreneurs mastered the NTEP certification process and added scales to their machines. Since then, they’ve sold and installed four Maize Kraize systems, which cost just under $40,000. Machine owners supply the corn and refill the storage bin as needed. Buyers can purchase 20-550 pounds and deposit money through an electronic payment system. Customers fill bags, buckets, barrels and pickup beds with corn that flows through a pipe. Franklin County Farmers Federation board member Thomas Murray bought a Maize Kraize about two years ago. His system holds 8.5 tons of corn and is on family land near the intersection of Alabama Highway 24 and Franklin County Road 77, about 10 miles from his farm in the Bethsaida community. “We’ve been selling corn off the farm to hunters for the past 15 years, and it’s a good alternative market for us,” said Murray, who also grows cotton, peanuts, soybeans and wheat with his two sons. “The Maize Kraize is a lot more convenient for customers and for me. Some customers come buy corn at midnight. The machine is always open.” Murray said he sold enough corn the first year to pay for the machine. He said he sells corn for livestock and poultry owners, too, but hunters are his best customers. “During our busiest time of the year, we have to refill the bin with corn every five days,” he said. “A new law that allows hunting over bait (including corn) will probably increase our sales even more.” Burleson said corn farmers are a natural market for the Maize Kraize but added location plays a big role in its success. “Finding the right spot where the machine is highly visible, convenient for hunters and easy for a farmer to refill is the best combination,” he said. For more information, visit MaizeKraize.com. October 2019

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We’re Beefing Up Our Farm Coverage From the stables to the fields, we’ve been helping farmers like you since 1946 by providing the

protection you need at a price you can afford. We understand no two farms are alike, so we’ll help you determine which coverages make the most sense for your farm. And now, we offer more coverages to protect what you’ve worked so hard to build.  Theft coverage for barns, outbuildings and other farm structures under construction  Debris removal, grading, compacting and bedding replacement for poultry houses in the event of a covered loss  Replacement cost loss settlement for farm machinery and equipment  Higher medical payment limits are available for farm employees

 Replacement cost loss settlement for barns, outbuildings and other farm structures  Replacing or repairing damaged home equipment and systems through Farm Dwelling Systems Protection coverage  Higher aggregate limits on chemical drift liability coverage  Contaminated dairy products liability

Contact your Alfa Insurance® agent for more information on adding these coverages to your existing farm policy. All coverages are subject to policy limits. This is not an insurance policy. It is intended only to provide a general description of Alfa Insurance® and/or its product lines and services. An actual policy contains the specific details of the coverages, conditions and exclusions. 20

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I

SMALL TOWNS

’m sitting on porch steps with my cousin. We are people-watching in a town about the size of an area rug. A man is blowing leaves off his driveway. The leaf blower is filling the neighborhood with noise. They say he’s addicted to yardwork. Poor man. Miss Elvira is walking her Labrador, Webster, on the sidewalk. The dog is stronger than he looks. The leash looks like it’s about to snap in two. She waves at us. I haven’t seen Miss Elvira since I was 9. My cousin and I picked pinecones in her yard long ago while singing an anthem by the Oak Ridge Boys about her. Hi-ho, Silver, away. Peter Stepnowski is poking in his garage. He has white hair, thick glasses and wears tube socks with sandals. Lord, no matter how old I get, don’t let me wear tube socks and sandals. Four girls walk the sidewalk wearing soccer uniforms. School is out. They have backpacks on shoulders. They’re deep in conversation. Faces serious. They’re solving world problems. Life is moving slow today. That’s how it works in little places. I was in the big city last week. I rode through Atlanta’s 5-o’clock traffic, gripping my steering wheel so hard my knuckles popped. I watched a transfer truck amputate a Nissan’s side mirror. I saw two nearaccidents, 15 cop cars and a whole bucket of middle fingers.

Big places aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. My good friend Tom just left the big city and moved back to his hometown. He has a 2-year-old girl and a 5-yearold boy. His wife left him for a member of the country club. Tom swore he’d never move back. Never. Long ago, he claimed he was through living in a place where everyone knew your business. Funny how time softens people. Truth be told, he was ashamed to be moving back — which is why he hadn’t told anyone. Not even his saintly mother. But there are no secrets in small towns. Last week, his U-Haul rolled past the city-limit sign doing 35. He drove over the old bridge. Over the train tracks. He parked at his rental house. His kid pointed out the window, saying, “Who’re those guys?” Eighteen of his high-school classmates sat in the driveway. They wore work clothes and work gloves. Their wives had casseroles in the kitchen. Their kids played in the backyard. Surprise, Tom. Some folks can’t wait to get away from home. And that’s all right, I suppose. They have big places to go and big things to do. Maybe they’re tired of hearing leaf blowers. But whoever you are, I hope you know there are plenty of people who can’t wait for you to get back. ■

Columnist and novelist Sean Dietrich shares tales of common people, the human spirit, traditional regional music and life in the American South through his podcast series at SeanDietrich.com. alfafarmers.org

Bright Joins Federation As Alfa Health Manager

auren Bright, a 13-year Alfa Insurance LFederation veteran, joined the Alabama Farmers as Alfa Health manager

in August. In her new role, she’ll help members access Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama products through local Alfa Insurance offices and the Federation home office. As a third-generation member of the Alfa family, Bright said she understands the importance of the Federation and insurance company’s joint work. Her father and grandfather were both Alfa agents in Walker County. Federation Bright Executive Director Paul Pinyan said Bright shares the organizations’ commitment to service. “We are confident Lauren’s strong business background and heritage of helping others will serve Federation members well,” Pinyan said. “Blue Cross Blue Shield health and dental products are an integral part of our complete insurance offerings for our members, and I know we will continue to grow Alfa Services with her leadership.” Bright began her career as an auto underwriter after earning a business administration degree from Auburn University. Since 2008, she served as Investments Department cash manager. Bright said helping members secure the best policy for their family’s health needs is her top priority. “I’m thrilled to take on this new role,” said Bright, 35. “The health, dental and prescription plans sold through the Farmers Federation are vital to providing our members the excellent coverage they expect and deserve from our organization.” Bright and her husband, Neal, live in Montgomery. They have two daughters, Lainey, 7, and Hattie, 1. October 2019

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blue phlox purple coneflower By Lois Chaplin oes the word “wildflowers” make you think of a colorful field blowing D in the wind? How about a roadside rush

of bright flower patches in the grass? Or maybe a single, surprising blossom on a woodland trail? If you’re a gardener, it might be all three because wildflowers don’t have to be in the wild. They can be right at home in our gardens. Where can wildflowers grow at home? The plants often prefer a place similar to their natural habitat. For example, blue phlox blooms heaviest at the bright edge of the woods. Flowers for full sun such as yellow coneflower, purple coneflower and goldenrods thrive in open, sunny spots. Trilliums need the shade of a woodland path. While spring is the time folks get most excited about planting wildflowers, fall is the best time to start most of them. Seeds germinate in fall or winter to start growing roots. When the weather warms, roots are in place to feed top growth. Success with wildflower seeds can be iffy because seeds waiting to germinate are subject to washing away, being eaten by birds or being devoured by cutworms or other insects after they sprout. For this reason, inventive gardeners practice a system called winter sowing. Seeds are sown in clear containers for protection and left

Alabama

trillium outdoors through winter. Clear plastic berry boxes such as those in which strawberries and other small fruit are sold serve as mini-greenhouses. The containers need drainage holes and some openings on the lid to let water in. Fill the container halfway with good quality potting mix, sprinkle seeds sparsely atop the soil, water gently, close the container, and let it rest outdoors in partial shade. The seeds will germinate just as they would in the ground but are protected. It may take weeks, but once the seedlings are a few inches tall, you can open the top and fertilize lightly so they continue to grow tall. After the roots have grown enough to hold the soil around them, transplant seedlings to the garden. Another gardener’s trick is to roll a palm full of wet clay soil with a dozen or so seeds into balls (a.k.a. seed bombs)

and let them dry. Store them in the freezer until after the first fall frost. To plant, lay the balls in the area you want the seeds to grow. Winter rain will break the balls and scatter the seeds, which will germinate at their natural time in late winter or early spring. Of course, divisions from a friend’s plants or nursery-grown wildflowers are the easiest way to start new plants. These may vary in size from bare-root divisions to plants purchased in pots. Pots vary in size, too, ranging from 4-inch vessels to gallon-size or larger. Fall planting gives these plants time to establish roots before warm weather next summer. What are some good wildflowers to start now? Top choices for sun include stokesia, goldenrods, yellow coneflower, coreopsis, gaillardia and purple coneflower. Options for light shade include blue phlox, green-and-gold and Short’s aster. Full-shade sunflowers include trillium, ginger and Solomon’s seal. (I suggest starting with young plants. Growing from seed is very slow and difficult.) Besides their beauty and adaptability, native wildflowers help support many insects, birds and pollinators. For a list of wildflower choices and helpful planting information for Alabama, download Alabama Extension’s booklet, ANR-0623 Wildflowers in Alabama Landscapes, from aces.edu. Lois Chaplin is an accomplished gardener and author. Her work appears here courtesy of Alabama Farmers Cooperative.

Fall Savings Just Around The Corner E ALAFARM.COM 22

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REFERENDUM NOTICE The Alabama Sheep & Goat Checkoff will conduct a referendum on Oct. 22, 2019 to determine if the program should be continued for five more years at the current collection rate of 50 cents per head of sheep or goat sold in the state. The program funds sheep and goat research, product promotion and farmer education. Any producer of goats and/or sheep in the state of Alabama is eligible to cast a vote but must vote in person at their local Alabama Cooperative Extension System office. Producers will be able to vote between 8 a.m. and the close of business. For more information regarding the referendum, contact Brady Ragland at (334) 613-4221 or bragland@ alfafarmers.org. alfafarmers.org

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Pollinator Placement Could Boost Soybean Yields By Marlee Moore oybean farmers could soon be a-buzz about S a new way to improve

their bottom line, thanks to a pollinator research project with test plots at Dee River Ranch in Pickens County. The project, organized by Silicon Valley-based company BeeHero, placed 1.2 million honeybees near fields during the pivotal pollination period. The goal was to increase pod production, which farmer Annie Dee said is an exciting objective. “Using pollinators could raise soybean yields and, depending on the cost, improve our bottom line,” said Dee, who serves on the United Soybean Board. “It would make us more financially sustainable with just a little more input — and with help from the bees.” Twenty-four hives outfitted with BeeHero sensors made Dee River Ranch their home in late June, when the soybeans started to bloom. When BeeHero co-founder Itai Kanot visited the farm to remove the hives in early August, he said the increase in pods was incredible. Bee-pollinated soybean plants had four to five pods at each node; non-BeeHero-pollinated plants had more conventional three pods. “By bringing in the bees to help pollinate, you’re maximizing the fertilization process,” Kanot said. “You have another helper to go around the flowers and make sure they’re all being pollinated.” BeeHero sensors collect data to provide accurate insight into hive health. Kanot said it was a natural fit to combine his passion for technology and beekeeping (his father is Israel’s biggest beekeeper). “This way, we can point the beekeeper to treating his hives more efficiently at just the right time,” Kanot said. “We can get better, healthier bees that are more potent in terms of pollination abilities.” Studies show bees pollinate

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over one-third of plants in the American diet. Kanot and BeeHero partners Omer Davidi and Michal Roizman began using BeeHero sensors with crops requiring outside pollination, such as almonds, apples, blueberries and cherries. They’re now cultivating greater pollination percentages in self-pollinating crops like soybeans. When researching soybean farmers for the trials, Kanot said Dee’s name persistently popped up on Google. He connected with the farm and Dee

through Facebook earlier this year. “Annie is very progressive in her approach to farming,” he said. “Working with her was great. She understands the importance of pollination.” After this growing season, Kanot’s team will analyze results from Dee River Ranch, in addition to trials in Mississippi soybeans and Minnesota sunflowers. By connecting farmers and beekeepers, Kanot said their goal is to help efficiently feed the world’s growing population. “We want to help farmers and beekeepers produce more food with less land,” he said. “Getting more output from each acre is key.”

Pickens County farmer Annie Dee participated in a pollination project where more than 1 million honeybees were placed in the farm’s soybean fields to increase pod production.

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Fall Flea Control By Maggie Lawrence t’s time to tackle flea control. Dr. Ientomologist, Xing Ping Hu, an Alabama Extension said fleas are worst

during the fall. “Fleas occur year-round but may go dormant during an extremely hot summer or cold winter,” Hu said. “Fleas thrive with increased precipitation, moderate temperatures and an increase in leaf piles.”

Fleas Indoors

Fleas enter homes mostly by hitching a ride on pets. Common sites for the pests include pet sleeping mats, carpet and rugs, upholstered furniture, floor cracks and tile joints. Adult fleas feed on blood within minutes of jumping on an animal. Mating and egg laying occur within 48 hours. A female flea lays an average of 20 eggs per day and can produce up to 500 eggs during a lifetime. The eggs are laid in pet fur but soon fall off into carpeting, under furniture cushions and where pets rest, sleep or spend time. Flea control includes treating the

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pet and the environment — indoors and outdoors.

Treating Pets

Adult fleas spend most of their time on an animal. Treating pets is an essential step in ridding a home of fleas. Pets can be treated by a veterinarian or the pet owner. Oral medications and topical solutions are available, as well as sprays, collars and shampoos. Topical solutions involve applying a few drops of pest suppressant along the pet’s back or between the shoulder blades. Oral or chewable tablets work within hours of ingestion. Read the product label carefully to purchase the correct formulation and dosage for pets. Consult a veterinarian for appropriate treatment.

Rid Your Home Of Fleas

Remove pet beds, toys and other items from floors and under beds so all areas can be treated. Pet bedding should be washed or dry-cleaned. Vacuum carpet, upholstery, rugs and mats daily.

Seal the vacuum bag, and dispose of it outside the house. Many different products are available for home flea treatment. The most effective formulations contain an insect suppressant (such as permethrin), which is effective against the biting adult stage and larval stage, and an insect growth regulator (IGR) like methoprene or pyriproxyfen, which inhibits the insect’s life cycle. IGR products are most common for indoor treatment because of their safety and high efficacy.

Treating The Yard

Rake fallen leaves regularly, and immediately bag and dispose of them in a secure trash receptacle. Clean areas where pets play, rest and sleep regularly. Focus outdoor treatments on areas where pets frequent, as well as along fences, under decks and next to the home foundation. Homeowners who lack the time to control fleas themselves or who are uncomfortable applying pesticides are encouraged to enlist a professional pest control firm, said Hu.

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Classic Baked Macaroni And Cheese Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time Servings 20 mins 6 to 8

Ingredients 2 cups milk 2 tablespoons butter Stacey’s 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt Recipe Notes d fin t n’ 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground ca u If yo a , se black pepper ee ch hoop r da ed 2 1/2 cups shredded hoop ch p ar sh t. ea gr cheese, divided k or w will 1/2 (16-ounce) package elbow macaroni, cooked

Instructions

omfort food. Those two words mean many things to different folks. C And whether your definition of comfort

food relates to nostalgia, calorie count or convenience, sometimes nothing will satisfy us quite like our favorite foods. For me, things like fried chicken, squash casserole, beef tips and rice, peach cobbler and an amazing Oreo cookie dessert my mom makes are always on the list. Whether a bad day, a chill in the air or homesickness has you craving comfort, I’ve got a superb collection of some of my favorite comforting recipes to fill your stomach and warm your heart. Now, we can’t talk about comfort foods and not talk about meatloaf. Not in my book, anyway. Meatloaf is one of my ultimate comfort classics. While I love it fresh out of the oven, the real treat for me is the meatloaf sandwiches that come the next day. A slice of warm meatloaf and some Duke’s mayo sandwiched between two slices of white bread is just about as close to heaven on earth as I can get. This version of meatloaf adds bloody mary mix for an amazing kick of flavor. I love using Zing Zang or Tony Chachere’s brand mixes because they bring tons of savory deliciousness to this dish, but you’re welcome to pick your favorite.

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October 2019

A few years back, my friends at Southern Living asked me to reinvent one of their classic recipes for my audience. The thing is, classics are classic for a reason. Keeping that in mind, I agreed and put my own little spin on their classic baked mac and cheese recipe by swapping out the cheddar cheese for good ol’ hoop cheese — among other things. The results were amazing, and I’ve not made mac and cheese another way since then. A reader once told me this was “hands down the best mac and cheese she’s ever tasted…” and I have to agree! It’s gooey, delicious, cheesy perfection! I didn’t grow up eating Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole. What seems like a staple in our lives now was just not something Mom ever made; my sweet wife, Heather, introduced me to this delicious dish. She made it as one of our first meals together, and it’s been in the menu rotation ever since. This version has some seriously amazing flavor with tons of sauce to drizzle over your rice. One of the biggest tips I can offer is to resist the urge to boil your chicken. Boiling can make the chicken incredibly tough. A very low simmer is the best way to cook it through without the meat turning into shoe leather. And no proper list of comfort food

Heat oven to 400 F. Lightly spray a 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place milk in a microwavable container and heat for 1 1/2 minutes before setting aside. Melt butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour until smooth, then cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Gradually add the warm milk and cook, whisking constantly, for 5 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Add salt, black pepper and 1 1/2 cups cheese. Whisk until smooth. Fold in pasta. Spoon mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly. is complete without a little something sweet. This Hummingbird Sheet Cake is just that — and it’s so much easier than its layered counterpart. Mom has been making this cake for as long as I can remember. The delicious flavors of cinnamon, pecans, pineapple and banana are perfectly complemented by the cream cheese frosting. The only thing you’ll love more than how this cake tastes is how incredibly easy it is. Y’all enjoy! Stacey Little is a foodie, recipe developer and cookbook author whose Southern Bite blog helps families put simple, down-to-earth food on the table while preserving Southern cooking for future generations. See more recipes at southernbite.com. alfafarmers.org


Heather’s Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

Prep Time 30 mins

Cook Time 30 mins

Ingredients 3 to 4 large chicken breasts 1 (10.5-ounce) can cream of mushroom condensed soup 1 (16-ounce) container sour cream 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Servings About 6

1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1 tablespoon poppy seeds 1/4 cup butter, melted 3/4 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed Cooked white rice

Instructions
 Place chicken in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the chicken is cooked through — 15 to 20 minutes. Be careful not to boil the chicken as it has a tendency to get tough when boiled. Remove from water. Once cooled, shred chicken. Heat oven to 350 F and spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine mushroom soup, sour cream, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add chicken and about half of the poppy seeds to the bowl. Combine. Pour mixture into the prepared dish. In a medium bowl, combine melted butter, crushed crackers and the remaining poppy seeds. Sprinkle over the chicken mixture. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and heated through. Serve over white rice, if desired.

Hummingbird Sheet Cake Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time 45 mins

Servings 10 to 12

Cake Ingredients 3 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon cinnamon 3 eggs, beaten 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained 1 cup chopped pecans 2 bananas, chopped

Instructions

Secret Ingredient Meatloaf

Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time 1 hr

Ingredients 2 pounds ground beef 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon zesty bloody mary mix 1 egg

Servings About 6

1 small onion, minced 1 small bell pepper, minced 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup ketchup

Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. 
 Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add eggs and oil. Mix well. Add vanilla, pineapple, pecans and bananas. Stir gently to combine. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting Ingredients 1/2 cup butter, room temperature 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 4 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

Instructions

Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Combine breadcrumbs and 1 cup of bloody mary mix in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside until breadcrumbs have absorbed the liquid (3 to 5 minutes). In a large bowl, combine the meat, moistened breadcrumbs, egg, onion, bell pepper, garlic powder, pepper and salt. Mix until ingredients are well incorporated. Pour mixture into the baking dish and form into a loaf in the center of the dish. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup and remaining 1 tablespoon of bloody mary mix. Spread on top of the meatloaf. Bake uncovered 50 to 60 minutes or until cooked through.

Use an electric mixer to combine butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla and mix well. Gradually add powdered sugar, mixing well after each addition. Spread frosting over the cooled cake.

alfafarmers.org

October 2019

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NEIGHBORS

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Profile for Alabama Farmers Federation

Neighbors Magazine, October 2019  

Neighbors Magazine, October 2019