SUNDAY, APRIL 13, 2014
Mushroom farm dream becomes reality Pickled products provided to 24 states
Finding Forest Floor Foods in Fond du Lac
Story and photos by Taima Kern
Forest Flood Foods does not have a retail outlet of their own, so their items can be found in wholesale bulk online at pickledveggies.com, or individually at the following retail locations: » Piggly Wiggly » Pick n’ Save » Festival Foods » Fleet Farm » and used at a variety of liquor stores, bars and restaurants.
Action Reporter Media
“For someone to think that one young man’s dream to be a mushroom farmer developed into all this…it was an odd dream, but if you have a dream, and the means to pursue it, it will take you to amazing places,” says Peggy Floyd, of Forest Floor Foods, in Eden. The “all this” that Peggy refers to is the premium pickle products company that she and her husband Greg Floyd, the then-young man referred to, started. “I was in the Peace Corps , in Thailand, teaching at an agriculture school,” said Greg. “I hung out with some other German men while I was there because they spoke English, and it was nice to speak English once in a while. Anyway, the Germans [as part of their Peace Corps mission] were teaching the Thais to raise mushrooms in beds of straw, under bamboo huts. It really caught my attention.” When Greg returned to the United States, he told his family that he
Varieties of veggies and more
Shirley Ernisse, left, and Jeronimo Martinez pack fresh asparagus and seasonings into jars to begin the pickling process at Forest Floor Foods.
wanted to start growing mushrooms. He leased space at the Zeigler Brewery in Beaver Dam, which had closed in the 1950s, and started growing mushrooms in the cool below-street cellars where beer had once been stored. “The temperature was
perfect for growing mushrooms,” said Greg. Eventually, the decision was made to demolish the old Zeigler Brewery and when Greg’s lease was up, he had to find somewhere else to grow his mushrooms. He went in to business with his brothers, John and
Rich Floyd, and they got a mushroom farm up and running in the countryside north of Eden. Greg and Peggy decided to go into pickling 18 years ago, and started with mushrooms. “We had three flavors,” said Peggy. “Traditional, which was in vine-
gar and salt; dark Bergamo, which was an Italian recipe; and a classic sweet, that was to be used in an Old Fashioned,” a popular regional alcoholic beverage. When they first started the business, they had
» Forest Flood Foods pickles the following items: Olives, mushrooms, cocktail onions, garlic, baby corn, red cherries, beans, Brussels sprouts, pickle spears and asparagus. » Its cocktail mixes include: A dirty Martini mix, strawberry Daiquiri/ Margarita mix, grenadine, sweetened lime juice, Margarita mix and Old Fashioned mix. » Its Bloody Mary line includes: Original and spicy Bloody Mary mixes, pickle spears, swizzle stix, peanuts, rimmer salt and seasoning mix.
See PICKLING, Page 3
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Continued from Page 2
their hands full, between running the operation and looking after four small children under the age of 6, but 18 years later, their products are distributed to 24 states, nearly half of the U.S.A. At the moment, Forest Flood Foods is pickling asparagus, just one of the many different veggies that they work with. On March 31, the company received a truckload of 7,500 pounds of California asparagus, one tenth of the total asparagus they will likely process this year. The processing for pickling asparagus includes trimming, sorting, seasoning and fitting the stalks and sprigs into jars which is done by a team of approximately 9 part-time employees, including, when avail-
At the moment, Forest Floor Foods is processing and pickling asparagus, but that is just one of many vegetables they handle every year.
able, the Floyd children. “We blanch the asparagus briefly,” said Peggy, “and pickle it all fresh, with a minimal processing method. It helps keep the veggies crisp.” Peggy adds that the items have a two-year shelf life, and “still taste like they should,” when
opened and enjoyed. Vegetables aren’t the only thing that is created at Forest Floor Foods, however. The company also has an extensive line of Bloody Mary components, among other adult beverage specialty items. Three of this year’s new products are some
Steve Gonring, left and Chet Floyd, son of Peggy and Greg Floyd, fill the jars with vinegar and other substances needed to pickle the asparagus.
of Peggy’s favorites. These items are the Bloody Mary rimmer salt, Bloody Mary seasoning and Bloody Mary swizzle stix (meat sticks). “The rimmer salt is a seasoning and salt mixture that completes our Bloody Mary line of products,” says Peggy.
“The Bloody Mary seasoning is a mix of spices that can be blended with regular tomato juice and vodka to make a Bloody Mary without needing a mix. One teaspoon of seasoning per 8 ounces of tomato juice.” The third item that Peggy highlights is the
swizzle stix. Though Forest Floor Foods doesn’t process the meat themselves, it is Peggy’s recipe that is being used. “I developed a recipe that would result in a meat stick that was thinner, with less fat, so that it doesn’t solidify in the ice-cold drink. Also, when you bite in to it, it has about an eight-second delay before you feel the burn on the back of your tongue.” Another items that Peggy is proud of is her daiquiri mix and grenadine. “I noticed that most daiquiri mixes didn’t have real fruit juice in them, so when I made mine, I used pureed strawberry,” she said. Forest Flood Foods also uses real dark cherries in their grenadine. “We develop our new products from suggestions and from what we think there is a need for,” said Peggy.
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Wisconsin dominates World Cheese Championships Wisconsin cheesemakers were the gold medal leaders in this weekâ€™s World Champion Cheese Competition that wrapped up last night in Madison. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) congratulates state cheesemakers for taking home 33 gold medals in their categories. Four Wisconsin cheeses moved on to Wednesday nightâ€™s finals. â€œWeâ€™re excited to see Wisconsin quality cheeses recognized worldwide,â€? said DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel. â€œThereâ€™s a reason Wisconsin cheese production is number one in the na-
tion. It all comes back to the skill, craftsmanship and dedication of cheesemakers around the state who produce more than 600 varieties of high quality cheeses. Thank you to all Wisconsin cheesemakers for continuing to make our cheeses world renown.â€? Wisconsin topped the list of gold medal winners with 33. Switzerland was second with 7 gold medals and also won top honors with the 2014 World Championship Cheese. The Netherlands, Vermont and New York took 5 gold medals a piece, Austria and Canada each had four and California, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey
and Ohio each earned two gold medals. The four Wisconsin finalists were: Âť Marieke Gouda Super from Hollandâ€™s Family Cheese in Thorp. Âť American Grana(r) Parmesan from BelGioioso Cheese in Green Bay. Âť Evalon, a hard goatâ€™s milk cheese from LaClare Farms in Malone Âť Meadow Melody Grande, a hard mixedmilk cheese from Hidden Springs Creamery in Westby. The World Cheese Championships are held every other year in Madison and hosted by The Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association.
Runoff Risk Forecast now available for phones, tablets Just in time for the spring thaw, Wisconsin's Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast is now available in a format that is friendlier for mobile devices. The mobile device page is available at manureadvisorysystem.wi.gov/app/mobile/ rraf. It reads the user's current latitude and longitude from the phone or tablet and provides the latest runoff advisory for that area. Users can enter other locations by hand using longitude and latitude. They can bookmark the site in their phone or tablet browser,
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SUNDAY, APRIL 13, 2014
Meuer spearheads AB 746 to protect agri-tourism farms in Wisconsin Story and photos by Taima Kern Action Reporter Media
If a child is running through a field while visiting a farm, trips, falls, and breaks their arm, who is at fault? The farm, for allowing uneven terrain? The parents, for not watching their child? The child, for running? What if a cow decides to jump a fence and someone gets their foot stepped on? Now, there’s an assembly bill for that. “If a cow decides to jump a fence, no one’s stopping them,” said Dave Meuer, of Meuer Farm LLC in Chilton. These reasons are among those that caused Meuer to push to make Wisconsin the 28th state to have an agri-tourism bill to protect the farmers that sell more than $2,000 of produce from unpreventable accidents that may befall their guests and tourists (those selling less than $2,000 annually fall into a recreational variation of this bill, which was already in place). The Meuer Farm is famous for their annual corn maze, and sees more than 15,000 agri-tourists and students every year. And they aren’t alone. Every apple orchard, pumpkin patch, berry farm, cut-your-own Christmas tree farm is affected by the new bill,
Dave and Leslie Meuer, owners of Meuer Farm, LLC.
as well as farms that allow breakfast on the farm events and farm technology field trips. In whole, any farm that allows a number of nonemployees or non-family members to spend time on their grounds is affected. “We’ve had five years with no incidents,” said Meuer. “Then in 2013, my insurance company dropped us, saying that we had too many people coming to the farm. I needed to get new insurance, and am now paying two-three times more. Hopefully this bill will help bring insurance rates down.” As of June 2013, 23 other states had such a bill, and Meuer, alongside the Wisconsin Agri-Tourism Association (WATA),
got rolling on creating one for Wisconsin, pulling legal language from other states and perfecting it to fit Wisconsin. On February 10 of this year, Meuer received a call that he had to be in Madison by February 13 to testify on behalf of the bill. The bill was voted upon by the state assembly in March and passed 85 to 9, and then went to a senate committee, which passed it 9 to 0. On April 1, the bill was passed and it will be signed in the coming days by Governor Walker. The bill starts with the following paragraph: “This bill provides immunity from civil liability to an agricultural tourism provider for the death of or injury to a participant in an agricultural tourism activity under certain
The Meuer’s corn maze and other farm activities will soon have posted signs warning mazegoers of the potential risk of spending time on farm grounds.
circumstances. The bill defines ‘agricultural tourism provider’ to mean a person who operates, provides, or demonstrates an agricultural tourism activity. The bill defines ‘agricultural tourism activity’ to mean an educational or recreational
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activity that takes place on a farm, ranch, grove, or other place where agricultural, horticultural, or silvicultural crops are grown or farm animals or farmed fish are raised, and that allows members of the general public, whether or not for
a fee, to tour, explore, observe, learn about, participate in, or be entertained by an aspect of agricultural production, harvesting, or husbandry that occurs on the farm, ranch, grove, or other place.” For the full bill, visit docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/related/proposals/ab746 In the next 30 to 45 days, seminars will be held in the four quadrants of Wisconsin for farmers, growers and producers to learn what the bill is and how the it will affect them, how to post signage congruent with the bill to avoid liability, and other resulting adjustments that should be made, according to Meuer, who is also one of the Wisconsin Ag Tourism Association State Board Members. For more information on these sessions, visit visitdairyland.com.
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SUNDAY, APRIL 13, 2014
Sesquicentennial farms honored at Wisconsin State Fair
In the summer of 2013, during the Wisconsin State Fair, two area farms were honored. Pictured at left is the sesquicentennial Hounsell farm, located in Fond du Lac, and pictured above, at right, is a representative of the Griffiths farm, located in Rosendale. The Sesquicentennial Farm and Home Award program began in 1998 as a part of the state’s Sesquicentennial celebration. The program honors families who have had continuous ownership of their Wisconsin home or farm for 150 years or more. On Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013, the Wisconsin State Fair, Hillshire Farm recognized 30 Sesquicentennial Farm and Home families. Over 640 sesquicentennial properties have been honored since the start of the program. For more information, visit WiStateFair.com. SUBMITTED PHOTOS
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Struye family farm reaches large milestone In the summer of 2013, during the Wisconsin State Fair, one area farm was honored. The centennial farm, owned by Linda Struye, of Fond du Lac received the recognition. The Century Farm and Home Award program began in 1948, as part of Wisconsin’s Centennial Celebration. The program honors families that have had continuous ownership of their farm for 100 years. On Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013, the Wisconsin State Fair, Hillshire Farm recognized 126 Century Farm and Home families. Over 8,700 century properties have been honored since the start of the program. For more information, visit WiStateFair.com. SUBMITTED PHOTO
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WAHS students celebrates National Agriculture Week A long-standing tradition in the Waupun community is for the members of the Waupun Area FFA Chapter to participate in the "Drive Your Tractors to School Day" during National Agriculture Week March 23-29. Waupun FFA members braved the cold weather to participate in this year's event. Members include, from front left: Collin VanHise, Logan Pluim, Nate Preston, Caleb Smit, Chase Harmsen and Tristan Hoekstra. From second row, left: Tyler Tjepkema, Jordan Shaw, Coltyn Wierenga, Errick Tjepkema, Brenden Graff, Jake Bruins and Robert Woock. Back row: Dan Hansen and Jordan Wierenga. SUBMITTED PHOTO
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It’s flea and tick season: Tips to protect farm pets Statepoint News Service
Protecting dogs from fleas and ticks is an important part of responsible pet care and this season shines a light on the prevention of Lyme disease in dogs. Distressing and harmful for your pet, parasites can cause diseases that affect you and your family. Flea bites can cause skin disorders, infections and allergies, and spread tapeworms. And bacteria spread from infected tick bites can cause Lyme disease, a bacterial infection that can affect humans, dogs and cats. Lyme disease is characterized by lameness, swollen joints and fever. Ticks carrying Lyme disease don’t discrimi-
nate, so it is imperative to take a proactive stance in protecting not only your pet, but your family from this debilitating disease. Whether you suspect your pet is besieged by pests or you wish to prevent the problem in the first place, experts identify three clear steps to take -- treating your pet, treating your home and treating your yard -in that order. “The fleas and ticks on your dog are a small component of your concern,” says Caryn Stichler, vice president of marketing at Sergeants Pet Care Products. “Fleas and their eggs can live outside in grass, soil and crevices in sidewalks, and inside on rugs, carpets, floor cracks and bedding.
Lyme disease can be spread by ticks, and may effect pets and people. STATEPOINT NEWS SERVICE
Treat your pet first and foremost and then the animal’s environment.” Fleas and ticks multiply at an alarming rate. Treat the pet: The first step is to apply a preventative treatment
on your dog, such as PetArmor Plus IGR. PetArmor Plus IGR contains fipronil, the number one vet-recommended active ingredient that kills fleas, ticks, chewing lice -- helping to keep
Lyme disease-carrying ticks at bay. It also contains an Insect Growth Regulator that kills flea eggs and stops the reinfestation cycle. The topical can be found at grocery, mass and drug retailers nationwide. More information can be found at PetArmor .com. Treat the home: “Washing pet bedding, vacuuming carpets and treating with household insecticide sprays, powders and foggers are good first steps to ridding your home of fleas and preventing infestations,” says Stichler. Use a spray that’s pet friendly and designed to reach the hiding places of fleas -- rugs, carpets, drapes and upholstery. Treat the yard: Your yard should be a safe
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zone for pets to play, not a place to pick up parasites. Ticks, which are usually dark brown or black, have pincers and can be spotted by the naked eye. Fleas are tiny, brown insects and can be difficult to spot. So inspect your yard wearing a pair of long white socks. Secure the infested socks in a plastic bag and throw them away. Now spray your yard and around the foundation of your home to kill flea populations lurking outside. When it comes to the health of your pet and your family, be proactive. Clean your pet, home and yard regularly and use treatments year round to kill pests and prevent infestation.
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SUNDAY, APRIL 13, 2014
From farm to suburb, chicken coops are at the heart of the self-reliance movement Brandpoint News Service
Americans across the country are taking strides to be more self reliant, including growing food, composting and raising animals. While these types of activities are most often associated with people who live in the country, residents in unexpected settings are embracing aspects of this lifestyle at increasingly fast rates. From barn to backyard, raising chickens is the perfect example of how this momentum is building. Just a decade ago you may have only seen chickens while driving through rural areas, but today coops seem to
be popping up everywhere in suburban and city neighborhoods. The backyard chicken movement is thriving, providing numerous benefits to those who participate. Why consider raising chickens? It’s not necessary to have a farming background in order to raise a small flock of poultry. Chickens are inexpensive to house and feed, managing their care is surprisingly simple, and raising them is a great family-friendly activity. Chickens in return supply nutritious, tasty eggs that are always more fresh than their grocery store counterparts, plus you can use
their waste to create organic compost, an invaluable fertilizer for your garden. Additionally, chickens eat many pesky bugs, creating natural insect control on your property. If you are interested in starting your own flock, here are a few tips from the experts at Tractor Supply Company: 1. Check with your city Verify the local chicken laws and ordinances in the city where you live, plus check with your homeowner’s association if you have one. It’s a good idea to make your neighbors aware of your See CHICKENS, Page 11
Keeping chickens is a form of self-reliance that the whole family can pitch in on.
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SUNDAY, APRIL 13, 2014
Continued from Page 10
plans, especially if you live in close proximity. 2. Start in the spring Every spring chicks appear at Tractor Supply stores for purchase. Chick Days is an annual spring event when you can purchase baby chicks and ducklings to start your own flock or simply visit the store to learn about backyard chickens. By working with a reputable vendor, you’ll ensure you get quality, healthy chicks. Learn more at www.tractorsupply.com/chicks. Keep in mind baby chicks need special care until they feather out and can be moved into a coop. 3. Get a coop or henhouse You’ll need some basic supplies in order to keep
Keeping chickens is an easy way to make a household more self-sustaining.
your chicks healthy so they can grow and produce eggs. Start with a secure coop that provides protection from the weather as well as from predators. Make sure it is properly ventilated but does not let in moisture which can make your chickens ill. You’ll also need a perch to encourage roosting in the henhouse. A chicken’s natural instinct is to roost on limbs at night, so a perch—such as a wooden ladder—en-
courages them to do so inside instead of out. 4. Stock supplies to encourage egg laying Depending on the breed, hens typically lay eggs once every day through spring and summer, and sometimes into fall. Hens need 12 to 14 hours of daylight to stimulate egg production, so adding a few hours of light as days shorten in fall will help extend the laying season.
In addition to the light, you’ll need plenty of nutritious feed and a continuous supply of water. Chickens can eat some table scraps, including bread, cooked meats, fruits and vegetables. You’ll also need wood shavings for litter and cushioning nesting boxes. The best way to ensure you start your flock correctly is to talk with people who are experienced in raising chickens. Your community may have groups focused on self reliance and green living, or you may want to visit your local Tractor Supply store to speak directly to the experts who work there. No matter what, keep motivated in your efforts – raising chickens, growing food and living independently is a rewarding lifestyle for the entire family whether you live in the city or country.
Gellings Implement, Inc. awarded New Holland’s highest dealer honor
Gellings Implement, Inc., in Eden, has earned membership in New Holland’s exclusive President’s Club. Membership in the President’s Club, the highest company honor that can be attained by a New Holland dealership, recognizes smart business management practices and dedication to customer service. New Holland President’s Club Award winners achieved the highest level in excellence in facilities, business management, sales, parts and service sup-
port, training and customer satisfaction. “President’s Club Award winners have worked hard to deliver exceptional service and support to their customers. We’re very proud to present this type of recognition to the best of the best. Let me assure you that anyone seeking to acquire agricultural or light construction equipment will be well served by our very nest New Holland dealers achieving these high standards,” says Abe Hughes, New Holland vice president, North America.
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ALL FOUR-WHEEL STEER SELECT SERIES TRACTORS
BALLWEG TURF & LEISURE 1749 N. SPRING ST. BEAVER DAM, WI 53916 (920) 887-2728 M-F 8:00-6:00 Sat 8:00-3:00
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ALL FOUR-WHEEL STEER SELECT SERIES TRACTORS
BALLWEG IMPLEMENT CO., INC. HWY 68 West, WAUPUN, WI (920) 324-3537 M-F 7:30-5:00 Sat 7:30- Noon On Line Store www.ballweg.biz
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BALLWEG IMPLEMENT CO., INC. HWY 68 West, WAUPUN, WI (920) 324-3537 M-F 7:30-5:00 Sat. 7:30-3:00 On Line Store www.ballweg.biz
BALLWEG TURF & LEISURE 1749 N. SPRING ST. BEAVER DAM, WI 53916 (920) 887-2728 M-F 8:00-6:00 Sat. 8:00-3:00
1 Offer valid from March 4, 2014, until July 31, 2014. Get $400 off the X304, X324 and X534 Select Series and the X734, X739 and X754 Signature Series models. Prices are suggested retail prices only and are subject to change without notice at any time. Dealer may sell for less. Taxes, setup, delivery, freight and preparation charges not included. Attachments and implements sold separately. Shown with the optional equipment not included in the price. Prices and models may vary by dealer. *The engine horsepower and torque information are provided by the engine manufacturer to be used for comparison purposes only. Actual operating horsepower and torque will be less. Refer to the engine manufacturerâ€™s website for additional information. **Hour limitations apply and vary by model. See the LIMITED WARRANTY FOR NEW JOHN DEERE TURF AND UTILITY EQUIPMENT at JohnDeere.com and JohnDeere.ca/TUwarranty for details. John Deereâ€™s green and yellow color scheme, the leaping deer symbol and JOHN DEERE are trademarks of Deere & Company.