Rural Living & Local Food
Columbus Signature Academy New Tech High School students learn by gardening
Piney Acres // Engelbrechtâ€™s Orchard // Falling Waters Farm
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Contents December 2016
6 Continuing Education 8 Falling Waters 12 Engelbrechtâ€™s Orchard 16 Columbus Signature Academy 22 Piney Acres Farm 24 Lost Forty Tree Farm 26 Lyles Station
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30 Livestock Veterinarians 32 From the Field Columns by growers
Local Food Section 35 Column by Jolene Ketzenberger 36 Food News 38 Chef Q+A: Zachari Wilks 39 Recipe: Bourbon and Vanilla Milk Punch
ON THE COVER Andrew Larson with his students from Columbus Signature Academy.
Photo by Josh Marshall
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Pipe Dreams vs. Nightmares
I rarely remember my dreams, but recently I woke from a dream during which I’d plotted and planned a book I was going to write. In my dream, I even tossed around title ideas, like “Between the Duns” or “Duns in the Oven.” The word “Duns,” if you hadn’t guessed, was supposed to be a play on the word “buns,” and for those of you who don’t know, Dun refers to Dun & Bradstreet, an American business services company that hosts a database of information on more than 235 million companies around the world. When you want to apply for grants for a business, you have to register with Dun & Bradstreet and receive, in return, a DUNS number as part of the application process. This DUNS number was something I’d never heard of prior to 2016. Apparently, Dun & Bradstreet is a pretty well-known company in the business world — understandable when you have 235 million companies in your database. But business savvy I am not, and so this D&B number, which is what it’s called in short, was news to me. A lot of things have been news to me this year, as my husband and I have officially formed our small farm business. I now affectionately (and sometimes not so affectionately) refer to 2016 as the year of lessons. I’ve stumbled my way through a series of steps and missteps to
Farm Indiana // december 2016
establish ourselves in the small business world. We needed to form an LLC, register for an Employer Identification Number, establish wholesale accounts to buy products for our farm store, build out a retail store, market ourselves online, certify our crops with the Farm Service Agency, etc. My list could go on, but I won’t do that to you here. There’s so much to know when starting a new business, and much of it a beginning farmer likely wouldn’t know. Thus, the many lessons my husband and I have learned over the past year prompted the idea to write it all out, to document the multitude of tasks we had to tackle. Maybe, I reasoned, our painful learning curve might ease someone else’s pain. To be honest, I don’t need, nor have time, for another project right now, and so this idea is going to stay as I was when I first found it — dormant. But the biggest lesson for me this year might be the larger one I’ve learned about the all-encompassing life of a farmer. Farming is about so much more than planting, weeding, harvesting, feeding, birthing and milking. Farmers farm,
yes, but they also build and manage businesses. They tend to marketing, bookkeeping, filing, tax paying, networking, market watching and more. Luck be the farmer who earns enough on his harvests to pay someone to manage all of those details. Usually, as it has been in our case, farmers grow their businesses in small steps, with whatever dollars and cents (and good sense) they have between them. When you read the stories in Farm Indiana, recognize that there simply isn’t enough space to tell the entire story. There is an uglier side to farming — a side you don’t see when reading publications like Farm Indiana or visiting the Christmas tree farm to pick your annual tree. There are taxes to be paid, insurances to be bought, lawyers to hire and invoices to settle. Family feuds and unexpected weather patterns can swiftly and profoundly darken farmers’ days. Farmers brave it all. And when all those tasks are completed? There’s a chicken coop to clean.
A monthly publication of AIM Media Indiana, Farm Indiana offers the local news and views of Indiana’s farming world, including features about local families and their farms, agriculture businesses, equipment and technological advances, educational outreach programs and more. Farm Indiana promotes and celebrates Indiana’s rich history and tradition in farming; serves as a conduit of information among growers, producers, farmers, retailers, farming organizations and local food consumers; educates readers about the nutritional, social and financial importance of local food support and consumption; and highlights Indiana local foods and agritourism.
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It’s PARP Season
By Katherine Coplen
What does PARP stand for?
And who needs PARP credits?
Anyone who applies pesticides or manure from a confined feeding operation needs to periodically re-up on their PARP certification. And when’s the best time to do this? By the looks of Purdue Extension’s December calendar: winter. Take time before the holidays to re-certify yourself as a PARP-certified applicator. Different counties offer a variety of topics in their PARP events, which we’ve listed throughout.
At this PARP certification event, topics covered include plant health fungicides, resistant weeds, dicamba systems, precision ag and a wind tunnel demonstration. Time: 8 a.m. Location: 4259 N. Purdue Road, Vincennes. Information: (812) 882-3509
Topics covered at this PARP certification class include fertilization and pest management to optimize forage production, herbicide resistant traits and stewardship requirements. Time: 9 a.m. Location: Community Building, Miami County Fairgrounds, 1079 W. Road 200N, Peru. Information: (574) 753-7750
Putnam’s PARP presents weed and herbicide management for cover crops, pest management in cover crops and a drift watch. Time: 1 p.m. Location: Putnam County Fairgrounds, 191 N. U.S. 231, Greencastle. Information: (765) 653-8411 Dec. 6
What’s up in Boone? Organizers will present an update on corn and soybean parasitic nematodes, agronomic tools and recordkeeping. Time: 10 a.m. Location: Boone County Fairgrounds, 1300 E. Road 100S, Lebanon. Information: (765) 482-0750
Farm Indiana // december 2016
This PARP program features coverage of insect pest management, update on ear rot and mycotoxin issues and pollinator protection. Time: 9 a.m. Location: Hamilton County 4-H Fairgrounds Dining Room, Noblesville. Information: (317) 116-0854 Dec. 12
Private. Applicator. Recertification. Program.
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Lawrence PARP features programs on plant health fungicides, weed control, resistance weeds, dicamba tolerant cropping system and personal protective equipment. Time: 6:30 p.m. Location: Smokin Jim’s BBQ, 1414 Bundy Lane, Bedford. Information: (812) 275-4623 Dec. 13-14
Certified Crop Adviser Conference This two-day conference features a multitude of panels on nutrient management, soil and water management, pest management, crop management and specialty sessions. Participants can follow one track or choose multiple tracks, since most sessions are offered twice; CCAs can earn up to 16 CEUs. Time: 8 a.m. Location: Indianapolis Marriott East, 7202 E. 21st St., Indianapolis. Information: (219) 324-9407 Dec. 15
On the schedule at LaGrange: Mixing and measurings, adjuvants and paraquat safety. Time: 6:30 p.m. Location: Community Building LaGrange Fairgrounds, 1030 E. Road 075N, LaGrange. Information: (260) 499-6334 Dec. 16
Topics covered at this PARP certifying event include manure management, rules and regulations, keeping nutrients in place, nutrient management plan, gypsum use and manure handling. Time: 9:30 a.m. Location: Washington Community Building, Eastside Park, 501 Burkhart Drive, Washington. Information: (812) 254-8668
Carroll County’s PARP includes lectures on sprayer cleanout, climatology and management decisions, personal protective equipment and an economic outlook. Time: 8:30 a.m. Location: Carroll County 4-H Building, Flora. Information: (574) 967-3538
Topics covered at this PARP certification event include fertilizer and pesticide management, recordkeeping using a precision ag platform, and fertilizer and pesticide recordkeeping. Time: 8:30 a.m. Location: 4-H Building, Gibson County Fairgrounds, 709 N. Embree St., Princeton. Information: (812) 385-3491
This PARP program includes a weed science update, cover crops in your rotation presentation and a cover crop insect pest management program, plus a pollinator protection chat. Time: 8:15 a.m. Location: Hancock County Library, 900 W. Mackenzie Road, Greenfield. Information: (317) 462-1113
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Falling Waters, Rising Spirits
How a sustainable fish and greens farm is thriving in an urban environment By Ed Wenck Photography by Josh Marshall
Farm Indiana // december 2016
Brian Truax, the sales and marketing manager at Falling Waters Farm in Indy, is offering me a “buzz button.” “Just pop the whole thing in your mouth,” he instructs. The “button” is a small, conical bud, yellow green and innocuous looking. It looks to me like what would happen if the petals of a dandelion could somehow become ingrown. I chomp into it. Yep, like a dandelion — wait a second. The “buzz” begins — I feel like I just pressed both points of a 9-volt battery against my tongue. That disconcerting feeling is spreading to my whole mouth now — and Brian winces empathetically. He noshed on one at the same moment. One of the people working nearby chuck-
Peppers growing vertically. Below from left, tilapia and yellow perch; rainbow chard; a young blue Nile tilapia.
Farm Indiana // december 2016
Peppers that will be transplanted into the towers
les at me. I’ve just been indoctrinated as An Official Visitor. I wipe my lips with a handkerchief. I feel as if I’m salivating like a Labrador in a steakhouse. While the “buzz button” (also called the “Szechuan button”) is hardly the primary crop at Falling Waters — the buds are used as everything from cocktail gimmicks to a folksy toothache fix — they’re a nice metaphor for this urban ag operation. Everything about Falling Waters is a surprise.
Sustainable Ag in an Urban Setting
The building that houses Falling Waters fish tanks and racks upon racks of grown-in-water veggies and herbs is a broad, bleak affair near the convergence of Massachusetts Avenue, 34th Street and Arlington. It looks nothing like a farm and everything like the engine plant that it once had been. 10
Farm Indiana // december 2016
The process Falling Waters uses to raise both fish and flora is aquaponics, “the symbiotic cultivation of vegetables and fish in a closed, recirculating water system. Our farm uses a decoupled aquaponics system with a proprietary sanitizing step between the systems,” according to fallingwatersfarm.wordpress.com. (More on that in a moment.) Like many farms, dogs are about. In the office area I’m greeted by a massive Newfoundland named Chaos. I give Chaos a pat, and I’m immediately instructed to bathe my hands at one of the many sanitizing stations throughout the complex before we head into the primary growing room. We make our way past dozens of 100-foot-long stacks of shelving, all in various stages of lighting and water. This is a massive aquaponics facility, but it’s not the really profitable part of the operation. As we walk, Truax gives me the backstory on the gent who found the farm, Jon Shope.
“Jon started this business about a year-and-a-half ago. He was in real estate redevelopment, and when he retired, he wanted to become a fish farmer.” Yep, a fish farmer — in the middle of
Employees transplant germinated plants.
a hardscrabble neighborhood in landlocked Indy. So, Shope had the concept and the cubic footage, but as a believer in sustainable ag, the wanna-be tilapia tycoon had one issue left to confront: What to do with the waste? “It’s an awesome manure, a fertilizer,” says Truax, as we approach a massive room that’s completely cordoned off from the rest of the place. Before we enter this isolated tank room, another dollop of hand sanitizer is required, along with a shallow disinfectant bath for the bottoms of my shoes. I step on the mat, wipe my feet a bit and enter an incredibly loud (and incredibly humid) space full of tanks, barrels and PVC piping. These fish tanks are one part of an equation that’s about as close to a zerowaste farming operation as one could hope for, especially in the heart of an economically depressed Midwestern neighborhood.
Water, Water Everywhere
Truax directs me to a series of 12 broad, round tanks, perhaps 3 or 4 feet high. They’re full of minnow-sized baby tilapia.
Teresa Snyder-Granberry tests the water for both the fish and plants. Below, water enters the tank after being filtered through Polygeyser beads.
“We get about 20,000 of these little guys a month,” he says. The fish swim in these tanks for about eight or nine months until they’ve grown to a pound and a quarter or slightly larger. They’re then transferred into one of the 10 narrow rectangular tanks that occupy the bulk of the room. The 80-foot-long tanks each contain 15,000 gallons of constantly filtered water that sustain 40,000 fish per pool. (There are also yellow perch being raised in the room, but they’re in the minority, just 30,000 total in a single tank full of water that’s quite a bit colder than the bins of tilapia.) Each tank has its own water supply and filtration system. Should a disease enter one tank, it’ll be contained to that body of water alone. The system that’s constantly pumping and filtering water through these tanks, through both solid- and bio-filtration, pulls the fish waste out of the cycle. When it’s claimed, that waste “goes through nitrification — it becomes nitrates and
nitrites,” Truax explains. All of those nitrification byproducts are then cycled into the adjacent rooms, the ones feeding the green-growth rigs. Fish poop becomes plant food, and the lighted racks back in the veggie room are packed with a range of plants from micro-greens to bell peppers to lettuces, basil and cilantro with astonishing flavors and crunch. Those greens are shipped to distributors in Chicago, while the fish are sent east to be fileted. Some of the tilapia make it back to the Midwest; the rest are sold on the coast.
Clean Fish, Clean Greens
So maybe you’ve heard that tilapia is bad for you? “That’s not the case with our tilapia,” says Truax. “We have excellent, clean water for this fish.” He points with pride to the clarity of the water in the tanks. He notes that the big overseas fish farming operations don’t much care about the cleanliness
of that liquid: “You wouldn’t even be able to see your hand if you stuck it just below the surface.” Falling Waters’ website explains the next part of the process simply: Fish need purified clean water in order to thrive. Likewise, plants need organic nutrients in order to grow. Fish create water conditions that are naturally rich in plant nutrients. Plants, in turn, uptake nutrients, thus purifying the water for return to the fish. Biological and high-tech filtration further cleanses and sanitizes the water for re-circulation. The racks of plants are what really give Falling Waters its moniker: Liquid full of nutrients trickles down from shelf to shelf, feeding plants of every kind, each sprout nestled in its own little hole punched in Styrofoam or plastic. Those palettes of greens float in broad, shallow trays of water, under lights constructed by the staff. In fact, everything here on the greens-growing side was built by the Falling Waters crew.
Near the front of the building, a halfdozen employees are crowded around a table, transferring seedlings grown in small cups of earth to their new watery homes. Falling Waters now employs about 18 people in the USDA-certified organic operation, providing another precious commodity to the neighborhood: jobs. While the greens part of the business model is still developing, the fish-farming operation is thriving, so much so that Truax is confident they’ll soon expand that part of Falling Waters by 50 percent. Falling Waters has the livestock part of the formula cold, but Truax is first to admit that the veggie-growing side of things is a trial-and-error process. What veggies really thrive on this fertilizer? What edibles love this temperature or that amount of light? Still, though, right now everything for an incredibly healthy meal is being grown in an old factory on 34th Street in Indianapolis. That’s about as surprising as the sting on the tongue from an innocent-looking little flower. Farm Indiana // december 2016
Tim and Kristi Schulz carry the torch of Engelbrecht’s Orchard’s 97-year history By Jon Shoulders
To hear Tim and Kristi Schulz speak in detail about how they run Engelbrecht’s Orchard, a 40-acre peach and apple operation on the north side of Evansville, one might reasonably assume they are agricultural experts with many years of experience under their belts. As managers of the farm, both are well versed on key facets of orchard care — proper pruning techniques, limb spacing for optimal fruit growth and the many duties specific to the changing of seasons. Having operated the orchard for less than 12 months, however, their expertise thus far has arisen not from decades of slowly refined practice but rather as the result of an intensive short-term learning phase — and their growing passion for the orchard trade is evident. “We’re still getting familiar, but we’ve crammed a lot into the last year or so,” Tim says as he walks the many rows of trees he and Kristi, both southern Indiana natives, have become so familiar with since assuming their roles as managers of the orchard that Kristi’s father, Joe Black, purchased in 2014. “It’s been quite a challenge, especially since much of the orchard needed a little modern-
Farm Indiana // december 2016
izing and bringing up to date as far as the methods being implemented and the rootstocks being used.” In 2015 Tim and Kristi were living in Memphis as a manager at FedEx and a high school chemistry teacher, respectively, and considered relocation near the Blue Ridge Mountains but were unsure of what their next career steps might be. After purchasing the Evansville orchard from Bill Engelbrecht, whose grandfather founded the original Engelbrecht’s Orchard at a different location on the north side of Vanderburgh County almost 100 years ago, Black needed someone to handle day-to-day operations and reached out to his daughter and son-in-law. “If you would’ve asked us even three years ago, we never would’ve thought we would be doing this; it was not even a thought,” Tim says. “But our daughters were grown, and it didn’t look like they were going to come back home to Memphis, so the timing was good and we were able to do it. We had family ties here in southern Indiana, and the challenge of
working with agriculture was intriguing. So we talked about it a lot and decided to go for it.” The Schulzes moved to Evansville in July 2015 and operated the Newburghbased produce store for several months before switching to managerial duties at the orchard exclusively last winter, when the Newburgh store closed permanently. A veritable crash course in orchard cultivation followed over the next few months, including an on-site visit in the spring from Purdue horticulture professor Peter Hirst for a peach tree pruning workshop and visits to several agricultural conferences during wintertime. Tim and Kristi undertake most of the labor required at the orchard, which from February through April includes pruning more than 1,000 trees by hand. “A lot of the trees were out of shape, according to the experts we brought in, and in the spring we made some major cuts to open up the centers so they could get more light,” Tim says. “You want a funnel shape to the trees, and you don’t want limbs growing straight up.” From February through April the Schulzes prune their trees seven days a week, and during April and May they can be found on ladders thinning peach and nectarine trees, keeping around six inches between all the fruit for optimal growth. After that it’s peach picking from June through Labor Day. “The biggest thing to realize is that orchards are heavily manual, and all you’re really able to do from the tractor seat is mow and spray,” Tim says. PhotoS Provided by Tim schulz
Engelbrecht’s Orchard 16800 Old Petersburg Road, Evansville (812) 490-9559, engelbrechtsorchard.com Products: 31 varieties of peaches and 13 varieties of apples, as well as nectarines, plums, cherries, pumpkins and apple cider.
Farm Indiana // december 2016
Lengthening a Legacy
produce market that Tim and Kristi operated for several months last year before a In 1919 Bill Engelbrecht’s grandfather, collective decision was made with Black to John Engelbrecht, began growing and consolidate the business into one location selling peaches and apples on Evansat the orchard. ville’s north side, and after Under the ownership of Bill’s parents, Bob and Peg Black, a Vincennes-based Engelbrecht, expanded the “If you would’ve attorney who also co-owns business to include a second asked us even three Apple Hill Orchard in Knox orchard and produce shop years ago, we never County, the Schulzes now in Newburgh, Bill eventuwould’ve thought we tend approximately 1,400 ally took over management would be doing this; it was not even a peach trees and 600 apple duties at both locations in thought.” trees that yield 31 types of the 1970s. In 2004, after — Tim Schulz peaches and 13 apple varietthe Newburgh operation ies. “We’ve had to spruce was sold a few years earlier, the place up a bit with little Bill decided to plant a new things like putting new gates in, roping orchard that sits less than half a mile west off a parking area and setting up a canopy of Interstate 69, where Tim and Kristi cur— little things that make a difference on rently spend their lengthy workdays. At presentation,” says Kristi, adding that that time Bill also opened the Newburgh
Kristi and Tim Schulz
peaches are Engelbrecht’s biggest seller. “And we’re having to do these things on a very tight budget.” The hard work has already paid off. Tim says 2016’s crop season was the best the farm has had for more than 10 years.
The Schulzes, who met in 1984 at Oakland City University where Tim studied computer science and mathematics and Kristi studied biology, chemistry and education, see benefits to their current career that were absent in each of their
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previous professions. “I was in management at FedEx and had to get my accomplishments through others, people that I managed, and projects we worked on took 18 months to complete,” he says. “So it’s good to have your hands on things and
get a sense of accomplishment whether it’s just pruning or hanging a gate. You see something finished, and you see that it looks good and that you’ve done something tangible. It’s a lot different than the life I’ve been in for the last 25 years.”
In addition to seasonal U-pick orchard hours, Engelbrecht’s now has a constant presence at farmers markets in downtown Evansville, downtown Newburgh and Evansville’s Franklin Street Bazaar, and Tim says his caramel apples and
cider slushies have become a hit. “We’ll continue to do those markets, and we’re also looking at maybe doing a stand ourselves in the Newburgh area, more of a daily stand,” Tim says. “Over the winter we’re going to crunch some numbers and look at the pros and cons of that. We’re also looking at doing some small events and some agritourism components, and also maybe doing some baking and other things with the fruit.” Kristi hopes the orchard continues to appeal to a broad range of age groups. “We get a lot of young people and school trips out here, but we also have a large contingent of seniors, like one lady who’s 92 and picks her own apples and is a regular here,” she says. “The Engelbrecht name is still a draw to a lot of people. We love that diversity.”
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Growth through Gardening The Columbus Signature Academy New Tech High School garden is a bounty in more ways than one. At times, that bounty is weeds; at other times, it is squash, kale and tomatoes. More often than not, though, it is a bounty of discovery. By Andrew Larson Photography by josh marshall
Columbus Signature Academy New Tech High School student Jaidyn Dyette in the garden.
Farm Indiana // december 2016
Each year since our schoolâ€™s opening in 2008, classes have carried out long-term garden projects that have enriched our curriculum in ways we do not often expect. We use the opportunities for exploration that gardens provide to teach academic content standards in English, biology and environmental studies, as well as data collection, experimental design and observation skills. Whether the focus is on food security, nutrition or ecology, students play a big part in the direction that our projects go. Our goal each year is to expand our program, and we have done this almost every year. We have had authentic problems to solve along the way, which have led to authentic projects. For example, one year we had no access to an outdoor spigot (a big problem). We also were woefully lacking in storage. The solution was
From left, Shelby Nickerson, Jaidyn Dyette, Halee Medve, Andrew Larson, George Lodestein, Lauren Tracy and Robert Kanehl
to build a shed and catch rainwater from the roof, which is connected to a gravity-fed drip irrigation system. Another year, we planted an orchard. This year, students explored many topics in sustainable gardening through research projects. Many of these ideas are expensive, so a team of students wrote and submitted a grant application to fund the materials we would need to carry out these ambitious initiatives. Their effort was rewarded with over $2,600 in grant funding, which will be used to construct a greenhouse, add composting capacity and create a vertical trellis system. A separate grant for $1,900 will fund the purchase of several â€œgreen wallâ€? modular units that will allow us to experiment more extensively with indoor food production. Through the years, students who have graduated and moved on have
returned to comment on the impact that growing food and participating in this ever-giving project has made on them. We believe that learning to grow food is a fundamentally important skill that all people should have. Through our school garden, we will continue to grow, in both the literal and intellectual senses. The student submissions that follow are excerpts of student research and engagement with the garden project. Each student was challenged to find a way that they could engage with our garden passionately. Some chose beekeeping, others composting, guerrilla gardening, and more. Through this engagement, we have ensured that students will not lose sight of the lessons that they learned in this project and will carry on with the work in their remaining high school years and hopefully into their adult lives.
Farm Indiana // december 2016
Topics by Columbus Signature Academy new tech high school Students
Fertilizer By John Patton Fertilizer is almost essential for any homegrown plant. Fertilizer is what keeps soil rich, which in turn makes the plant able to grow stronger as well as faster. Fertilizer can vary greatly; it can be manure, dead animals, fruits, as well as vegetables. Fruits or vegetables used as fertilizer are commonly known as compost. There are records of Egyptians, Babylonians, Romans and early Germans manipulating minerals or manure to increase the productivity of their farms. Main variations of fertilizer The most efficient, as well as most commonly used fertilizer, is compost. Compost is not only beneficial to you and the animals around you, but also the ecosystem. The process of composting simply requires making a heap of wetted organic matter known as green wastes and waiting for the materials to break down into humus (the organic component of soil) after a period of weeks or months. You may buy fertilizer, which is definitely easier time-wise, as well as time-to-area-covered ratio-wise, but at the cost of having to spend money. Our context In the context of CSA New Tech, the students have to be fed every single day. By law, lunch requires some sort of vegetables or fruits, which in turn, is compost. I believe that if we set up some sort of compost section to throw our food away, we could be producing compost and rich soil at a fast rate, with the only limiting factor being time. This process can go even faster since we have a bin to make the compost. In our experience, we will not be using rotting twigs, branches or clippings due to the time it takes to decompose. Process The process is simple, especially due to our situation. Since we have our bin, we can teach the students what is compostable and what is not. The following items are what you should not be putting into the compost bin: meat and meat scraps; bones; fish and fish bones; plastic or synthetic fibers; oil or fat; pet or human feces; weeds that have gone to seed; diseased plants; disposable diapers; glossy paper or magazines; coal and coke ash; and cat litter. Place these items in the normal garbage. When composting, try to get all variations of fruits or vegetables in the compost pile. Every week or two we will need to turn our pile, and what turning our pile means is essentially moving the matter from inside to outside and from top to bottom. When turning your pile, attempt to break up anything that is clumped or matted. Then there is finally the process of harvesting your compost. If all goes well, you can take the compost from the bottom layer of your bin to your plants. To move the compost from the bin to your plants, all you have to do is take the compost and make a layer on the top, ensuring that you spread the compost evenly. Conclusion Compost has always had a popular use in modern farming. Compost can be difficult for a decently sized farm for one family, but in our situation, we can get compost no problem. All we have to do is get started. Composting may take a couple of weeks, but eventually, it will pay off. Our school
has a compost pile, but we do nothing with this compost. If we were to use our population as an opportunity to grow our garden, we could be growing our garden faster. All it takes is a couple seconds a day from every student.
Farm Indiana // december 2016
Columbus Signature Academy New Tech Campus By Isabel Sanchez
As a high school student, you generally do what is expected. You go to school, do homework, leave school, finish homework and repeat. However, students at Columbus Signature Academy New Tech Campus are striving to make a change in what we do as students because we have something that most schools don’t have — a garden. We have had the outdoor garden at CSA New Tech for a while, and lots of students have worked to make it the wonderful place that it is. Now the current freshmen at CSA, the graduating class of 2020, are striving to truly make this garden a friendly place for the community of Columbus. We have been working for over a month now to make this garden what it deserves to be. This garden deserves to be something amazing. The garden has been made into a project that the CSA freshmen love working on. Lots of students have so many good ideas for the garden: to make the garden organic, to feed people with the food it produces, bring our community together, see what we can and can’t grow in the Columbus, Indiana, weather, and more. There’s even a new garden club to make sure that the garden is always taken care of by people who love the garden and want to give their time to help it. The garden is definitely on a growing path as we now also have a butterfly garden, decorative flowers and fruit trees. In a few years, there can be so much more. The garden has the potential to grow to the size where we could help bring fresh and healthy produce to homeless and low-income people in our community. This garden is something that is important to CSA and the students and facilitators here. We at CSA New Tech hope that this garden becomes an inspiration to the many generations that follow the graduating class of 2020.
Corn Harvest In Indiana By Chloe Sims
The 2016 corn harvest has good yields in areas. For instance, Illinois is having really good corn yields with its rich dark soils. Corn yields are bushels of corn in a field, and by saying Illinois has rich dark soil it means its soil is high in nutrients. Here in Indiana some yields are better than others, depending if you are on well-drained soils compared to wetter soils. Corn yields have also benefited from spraying a fungicide due to all the moisture and fogs we had this summer. When you spray a fungicide, it helps the plant by keeping it healthy and protected from certain diseases, and with all the fog and moisture this summer the disease pressure was really bad. We empty the truck full of corn after its trip to the combine. As the corn is being dumped into the auger, the auger puts the corn in the unloading pit, then it goes into the grain leg. After it goes through that process it heads up into a holding bin to go into a dryer. The dryer takes the corn down to 15 percent moisture if itâ€™s above 15 percent. After that process you sell it, but you will get docked money if your corn is above 15 percent. Once all the combining process is done, the hard work of all farmers will pay off with the Indiana corn crop finishing above average.
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How and Why to Use Compost By Sydney Sluys You donâ€™t need fancy fertilizer to have a successful garden. There are many other ways to naturally fertilize your plants. One way to do this is to use compost, which is decaying plant matter, to give your crops the necessary nutrients to grow. Compost can be made out of virtually any plant or food scrap you can find. Coffee grounds, grass, potato skins and rotting fruits and vegetables are just some of the examples of items you can use in compost. Compost can be made up of one or multiples of these items and can certainly be made up of more than the ones listed. Incorporating compost is a simple task to do. All you need to incorporate compost is the selected
plant matter, a shovel, a willingness to help your plants grow, and the area youâ€™re going to plant them in. Keep in mind that you should add compost about one to two weeks before you plant. Below is a stepby-step process to incorporating compost into the soil. Start with the soil. Get your shovel and turn it over. Gather your plant matter. If it is in large chunks, break it up into smaller pieces. Place compost in the soil. Get your shovel and, with the compost in it, turn the soil so that the plant matter can decompose in the soil. Make sure to give compost time to decompose before planting. Happy growing!
Farm Indiana // december 2016
Topics by Columbus Signature Academy new tech high school Students
Gosh, Squash By Stacy Kramer “Gosh, Squash” is not really what it sounds. Squash, of course. Are we going to squash something? How about eat some squash? There it is. We are going to eat it. But first we have to grow it. Ah yes, grow it. So what does growing mean? What do we really have to do? It all starts with planting a seed in a little dirt. Not just any dirt of course, soil. Soil that will cause our little squash seeds to grow. What we did was squash them into the dirt, water them and wait for growth. While that was going on, we had time. Time for thinking about what else we could possibly do in our garden. We were told that we had to have a legacy. The 2020 Legacy, what could we possibly leave? I wanted to do something big. I wanted to fulfill that word “legacy.” As we went on, we
were told what past years had done. A water bin, to contain rainwater to quench the plants. A shed, to hold supplies for our garden, and a roof to drain off the water for the water bin. A compost box, for healthy soil to put on our plants. This was all very cool, but I couldn’t help brainstorming every possible thing I could do. A little pipe above the garden to water, and detectors in them to know when they were dying. The pipes would then go from the tube and be dropped into the dirt. The pipe would then have a little tube come down and push the seed into the dirt, so no birds would come and take it. This was all very cool in my mind, but in no way was that going to happen. It would take three months to design, let alone building and acquiring all the products. OK, I
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thought, let’s dial it down a little. I have always been interested in animal cruelty and how I can help get it stopped. So I thought maybe bring chickens to our garden? By doing this I could sell eggs and raise awareness of animal cruelty and also the hormones being put in our chicken. Once again I got shut down. Cannot have livestock within city limits. Minor setback. Had to keep brainstorming. At this point I wanted something living. Something that we could have around, and not be a hazard. As I continued thinking, I thought bees. BEES! I looked up the laws, and everything in between. I am actually allowed to have bees. So where is our first step? Research. I started researching bees and all the things they could do. How they could benefit us, and sadly I had to research the
cons as well. The only true cons that were found was that students or our facilitators could get stung. The benefits were endless: Bees could produce honey, beeswax, and improve our produce. Not only making it healthier, but more appealing. I went on researching, and sadly most beehives made in the fall do not survive the winter. So I thought I would start somewhere else, start a little smaller. I found the plants that bees are attracted to, and the best one I found was lavender. I have begun planting them in little pots at home, so when spring comes along I can plant them in the garden. To me that was not enough. Even though I planned to get bees when spring came along, I wanted to do more. Since then I have signed up for bee school, which will take place in February.
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Farm Indiana // december 2016
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Rain Barrels By Noah White
If you love to save money, then you will love rain barrels. Rain barrels are easy to build and a great way to help the environment. Rain barrels are great for many different people from different walks of life â€” if you are a gardener or an environmentalist or maybe you just want to save money. The rain barrel is a great way to save money, help the environment and give yourself a source of fresh water. There are many designs and systems that you can use for your household. There are systems ranging from 55 gallons to 1,200 gallons. The most common one for a household is a one or two barrel system. Making a barrel costs less than $15. Making a rain barrel over the average span of its lifetime will save you much more money than that. Rain barrel supplies are really easy to get. You can find a barrel on craigslist, local food distributors/bottlers, a car wash or a vineyard. The only other things you need are a spigot and screen, which all can be found at local hardware stores. Assembling a rain barrel takes less than one hour. For one hour of work your garden can have a source of water for a long time to come. If you would like to understand what I meant about environmentally friendly, listen here: Rain barrels stop runoff of water. Runoff water degrades pavement and dirt, which is very bad for the environment. Rain barrels greatly mitigate this. Rain barrels also stop water from running into the sewers. This is great because that means less water is going through sewage water treatment. Through all of this information I hope I have helped you see why rain barrels are great for you to have. Rain barrels are amazing; help yourself and your yard by getting one.
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Piney Acres focuses on making guests happy By Ryan Trares
Farm Indiana // december 2016
On a rainy November morning, everyone at Piney Acres Farm is still in the Halloween mindset. Pumpkins dot the you-pick field. A skeletonled stagecoach and other decorations from the farm’s haunts wait to be packed up and stored for the year. But owner Rex Zenor is gearing up for Christmas; boxes full of lights and bows are out, and decorations are ready to be hung. Zenor knows that in a few short weeks, the farm will be packed with families eager to cut down the season’s traditional evergreen tree. “They’re already in the mood to have fun,” he says. “You want to give them the whole package. With this experience, there’s not just one thing that makes them come out. They get the hayride, they get the traditional family time together, hot chocolate.”
In the 17 years since he founded Piney Acres Farm, southeast of Fortville in Hancock County, Zenor has worked to create a spot where families can come together to make memories throughout the holiday season. What started as a few acres of Christmas trees now includes 73 acres of 10 tree varieties, with farm workers towing guests out into the fields on a hay wagon and visitors meandering through rows of full and delicate white pines, sturdy balsam firs and fragrant Fraser firs. As a lead-in to the holiday happenings, the farm also offers autumn activities, such as a pick-yourown-pumpkin patch, a corn maze and a kids zone with a hay mountain, pedal carts and spider climbing net. “I think people come back because
they have a good time,” Zenor says. “That’s what they’re looking for.” The idea of starting a Christmas tree farm took root in the early 1980s, when Zenor was standing in a Christmas tree lot. Walking through the tent set up in a city parking lot, under the yellow bulbs, he watched how many people were having fun. “I thought, ‘Look at everyone smiling,’” he says. “Everyone was singing, having fun. I turned to my daughter and told her I wanted to start a Christmas tree farm.” But his dream needed time to blossom. Zenor didn’t grow up on a farm. Still, he remembers riding on a tractor when he was 8 years old on his uncle’s farm near Terre Haute. That experience stuck with him, incubating for years. He wanted to be a farmer. “I just remember smelling that farm, driving down the driveway. Something about it clicked,” he says. As he grew up, Zenor planned on attending Purdue University to learn agriculture. He calculated how much acreage he’d need to raise cows or pigs and worked out in his head what his farm would look like. But after graduating from high school, obstacles steered him off course.
He ended up instead learning to be a plumber, then transitioning into building houses. He started his own remodeling and home-building company in 1978. As his business grew, Zenor, who had turned 50, saw retirement approaching. He and his wife, Janice, decided it was time to look into a farm. “We more or less said that, if we don’t do it now, I’m going to be way too old to do anything,” he recalls. Piney Acres Farms opened in 1999. Tree farming was unlike anything that Zenor or his family had ever done. He and his wife studied the best varieties of trees to plant, how to care for them and the right time to harvest them. At the same time, they had to learn the best way to market and sell the trees. “The only thing I knew was to put the green side up,” Zenor says. “Today, it sounds really risky, but I’ve got a knack of doing things the right way.” After three or four years, Piney Acres Farm was selling enough trees to expand its planting. The staff also put in a corn maze and play area, opening in the autumn to serve both as an additional source of income and a boost to their tree sales. That focus on agritourism has led to the success of Piney Acres. Zenor and his staff have made a trip to the farm an experience. He wants guests to come out and sip on hot cider while picking out pumpkins. As families head out into the tree field, he wants them singing Christmas carols and huddling around hot chocolate. Making the farm a tourism destination serves as a template on how modern farmers can survive. “You can have 50 or 75 acres and make a living,” he says. “You have to do something different, and the agritourism makes it different.” The work can be hard. Cutting the grass and weeds around the trees, caring for new saplings to replace the ones cut down each year, and planting the corn PhotoS Provided by Piney Acres farm
Piney Acres Farm that will make the maze keeps Zenor and his team busy throughout the year. But every time the holiday season rolls around, he sees how the work he puts in makes visitors to his farm happy. And he thinks back to the moment when he was an 8-year-old kid with a dream to be a farmer. “If I can inspire one kid in my lifetime to be a tree farmer, or a farmer, then I will have succeeded,” he says.
Where: 1115 E. Road 1000N, Fortville Christmas season hours: Noon to 8 p.m. Sundays through Fridays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 24. You-cut available daily until 6 p.m., pre-cut lot available daily until 8 p.m. Information: pineyacresfarm. com or (317) 326-1700
Farm Indiana // december 2016
Choose the Right Tree White pine: Bluish-green in color with soft, flexible needles. White pines have good needle retention, but have little aroma. They aren’t recommended for heavy ornaments. Scotch pine: Bright green in color,
this common Christmas tree in the U.S. has an excellent survival rate, is easy to replant, keeps throughout the season and will remain fresh. Douglas fir: Dark green to blue green
in color with needles that radiate in all directions from the branch. When crushed, these needles have a sweet fragrance. Fraser fir: Good form and needle-
retention, with a dark blue-green color. The Fraser fir branches turn slightly upward and have a pleasant scent. Concolor fir: This tree’s small,
narrow needles are around 1 to 1½ inches in length and occur in rows. They have good foliage color, good needle retention and a pleasing shape and aroma. Balsam fir: This tree has a dark-
green appearance and retains its pleasing fragrance throughout the Christmas season, with needles that last a long time. Noble fir: The noble fir keeps for a long
time, and its stiff branches make it a good tree for heavy ornaments. The tree also provides excellent greenery for wreaths and garland. Colorado blue spruce: A bluishgray tree with sharp needles that are 1 to 1 ½ inches in length. It has good symmetrical form and an attractive blue foliage with good needle retention. Information from the National Christmas Tree Association
Farm Indiana // december 2016
Long Lost Love
By Jolene Ketzenberger
Thousands of people will visit Lost Forty Tree Farm in rural Hancock County this month, eager to cut down a fresh tree for Christmas. But 36 years ago, when owners Bob and Kathy Wendt first discovered the property where they would eventually build their home and business, they couldn’t even get to it. The parcel had no road access, and a longtime family feud had kept it that way for years. The land was originally settled in the 1800s, part of 160 acres granted to a settler from Pennsylvania. It was eventually split up — 40 acres to one side of the family, 120 acres to another.
“The reason it was called ‘lost 40’ is that the family that had the 120 considered this the lost 40, lost from the estate,” said Bob Wendt, who bought the 40 acres in 1986. “Everybody in the Hancock County area knew this as the lost 40, as it was the place that nobody owned, so to speak, because the owners lived out of state, and it was used as a place to coon hunt and party and burn cars and dump junk.” But that didn’t deter Wendt, a trapper, and his wife. Both have degrees from Purdue University’s veterinary program, and they wanted a remote place to put down roots. “I’ve just always liked wild things,” Wendt said. “Animals, plants, growing. It’s just natural to some people.” But remote was hard to find in central Indiana, even in 1980. “We looked and looked and looked,” he said. “And then we saw an ad in the Indianapolis paper: ‘Forty acres for sale. Cheap.’ Every week, every week. We thought, ‘What’s wrong with it? Why’s nobody buying it?’” They soon found out why. “The reason is, it was landlocked,” Wendt said. How could a parcel of land exist in central Indiana with no road leading to it? The story goes way
back, all the way to the 1800s. “The original man who came from Pennsylvania and settled here was killed by Indians and is buried across the creek on some of the high ground,” said Wendt, “but nobody knows where that is now. That grave’s been lost to time. But it’s still there somewhere.” That settler’s son, Wendt said, later split up the property, leaving 40 acres to one daughter and 120 acres to the other. “And there was a feud because of it,” he said. “I don’t know if the 120 acres was the good land or the 40 was the good land. … When we bought the 40, the lost 40, from one side of the family, the other side of the family still owned the 120, and they didn’t like anybody to have this, so they didn’t want to give an easement to it.” With no access to the property, Wendt said, there was no road. He had to negotiate with the other side of the family to gain an easement. “We agreed to build a pond, build the road in, and build a bridge for the joint use of both parties if they would agree to give us the 20-foot easement,” he said. “So that’s how we got the original 40.” But even after the improvements, Wendt said, “There were tense times. They were difficult neighbors. Finally that side of the family, mom and dad died, and they had seven kids, and with seven kids, of course, nobody could agree how to split it up, so they sold it. And we bought the other half back, so now it’s back as one piece of ground again.” It was worth all the effort, Wendt said, and he and Kathy and their 10-yearold son, Nathan, love the property, which they’ve turned into a Christmas tree farm. They also grow hardwoods, and persimmon and pawpaw trees as well. They sell the hard-to-find fruit to Indianapolis-area chefs. But it’s the Christmas trees that draw thousands of visitors each year to this remote Hancock County location. “Listen right now,” Wendt said. “You don’t hear any traffic. When the sun goes PhotoS By Jolene Ketzenberger
down, you don’t see any lights. We might as well be in the middle of Canada when the sun goes down. We can’t hear any traffic, we can’t see any street lights, we don’t hear any noise. And now I own the property both directions north and south and all the way out to the road, so we’re protected.” But once they had the property, Wendt said, they had to figure out what to do with it. In addition to being a dumping ground for all sorts of junk — which required years of cleanup — some of the land had been planted to corn and soybeans, but Wendt native, we knew he didn’t want to know that it’s grow commodity crops. had 10,000 A suggestion from his years to find father led to his first efforts Bob Wendt out it likes to at growing evergreens. grow right here in “I didn’t have any farmthis kind of weather, ing experience as far as corn in this kind of soil. We or beans, didn’t own any trachad all the ones that are in the tors, and Dad said, ‘Well, why don’t woods, and then all the ones we’ve planted you grow Christmas trees?’” by seed or seedlings are native trees, and So they did. that’s all the maples and the oaks and “And, of course, not knowing any the beech. And then, of course, we’ve got better, we planted 500 Christmas trees,” the persimmons and the pawpaws.” Wendt said. “I remember the first year we Pawpaw trees bear a sweet fruit that planted Scotch pine, and they all turned is sometimes called an Indiana banana. yellow. I mean, yellow like a banana. The tropical-looking fruit is green with And the Christmas tree people said, ‘Oh black areas when ripe, not particularly yeah, you’ve got to paint them green.’” attractive looking, and it doesn’t keep Painting his trees wasn’t what Wendt or travel well. While it’s not often availhad in mind. In fact, he said, “I thought able commercially for just those reathat sounds wacked. But if you notice, sons, chefs prize the locally raised fruit, all those Scotch pine you buy at Waland Wendt plans to grow more. Mart and so on are painted green.” But it was an interest in wildlife that It was definitely a learning experience, prompted him to grow them in the first he said. place, he said. “So that was a bust,” Wendt said of the “The way we started in pawpaws first year. “But in the meantime we were is we like wildlife, we like raccoons,” educated, and now we have spruce and firs, he said. “What country kid didn’t and we don’t grow Scotch pine anymore.” have a pet raccoon when he was a Now they grow several types of kid or a possum or something?” soft, short-needled firs, as well as vaIn fact, Wendt has a pet possum yet torieties of spruce and white pine. day. That love of wildlife led him years ago As far as hardwoods, he said, “We don’t to plant trees that would appeal to animals. grow anything that’s non-native. If it’s
“We got what’s called a wildlife packet from the state nursery,” he said, “and you can still get a wildlife packet today. And they’ll send you five persimmon trees, five pawpaw trees and some trees that have some little berries for the birds, and everybody should do it.” For less than a dollar a seedling, Wendt said, he received that selection of trees. “That’s how we started in the pawpaws,” he said. “Well, once they grew up and started to harvest fruit, we said, ‘Hey, these are pretty good.’ And now we’ve saved the seeds from the original ones, and we now field plant them in rows like people grow corn.” He’s started to ramp up the number of pawpaw trees to increase the harvest. “I’d say within a year or two, we’ll be up to 1,000 pounds,” he said, “and within five years we’ll be up to 5,000 pounds. We’ve looked around on the internet seeing what they sell for shipped, and they bring about $15 a pound.” Wendt said he doesn’t know how big the pawpaw market might be, “but we’re going to find out. And if there is no market, I think well, hey, it’s been a lot of fun, and we haven’t lost any money. I think of all the things I’ve done in my life I lost money on, and this would be kind of minor if it doesn’t work.” For more information, visit lostfortytreefarm.com. Farm Indiana // december 2016
History on Display
Indiana farming community showcased in national museum By CJ Woodring
Stanley Madison waits for the opening of Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
Farm Indiana // december 2016
Lyles Station, a small southwestern Indiana farming community, was founded by free blacks in the mid-1800s. But for nearly 200 years, most Americans — including Hoosiers — had never heard of it. The town’s sole claim to fame primarily rested on native Alonzo Fields, the first black chief butler in the White House, serving for more than two decades under Presidents Hoover through Eisenhower. All that changed in 2015, when the town’s history and artifacts were tapped for inclusion in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened in Washington, D.C., this fall. And Lyles Station, profiled in prestigious national publications, was catapulted from relative obscurity to national prominence. Stanley Madison grew up in the Gibson County community, dedicating his life to preserving ancestral history. As a fifth-generation farmer and founder/ chairman of the Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corp., Madison does more than plant crops. He instills seeds of inspiration and pride, also broadcasting annals of black history he hopes will take root in young African Americans.
Lyles Station Historic School & Museum, Princeton
PhotoS Provided by Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corporation
Farm Indiana // december 2016
“African Americans have farmed our land, starting out in the 1700s, and helped start this great nation. We’ve been successful with all the challenges we’ve had, including segregation, floods and the inability to secure bank loans, but we were never written about,” Madison says. “Commitment and pride have kept Lyles Station alive, and we’re recognized as early pioneers in a settlement that was founded prior to the 1860s and is still farming. So we’re representative not just of early Indiana settlers, but of all African American farming communities across the nation. We’re finally stepping into the spotlight and being recognized.” But, he notes, that recognition might never have been realized had it not been for Maxine Brown’s intervention. “It was a roundabout storytelling and conversation, and the right person at the right time,” Madison recounts. “I always tell Maxine I’m indebted to her forever on this one.” A Corydon native, Brown is a descendant of one of Indiana’s earliest families and a historic preservationist and historian with an emphasis on Indiana’s African American history. She is founder/ president of the Leora Brown School and founder/developer of the Indiana African-American Heritage Trail, which spans six southern Indiana counties. Brown says she contacted AnnaLisa Cox, a Harvard professor, author and Smithsonian Museum consultant. “I connected with Anna-Lisa after I learned from a regional county historian about her concentration on 19th-century race issues in the Midwest. I believe the fact some of Lyles Station’s descendants are still farming the land factored into her decision to include it (in the Smithsonian exhibit).
Farm Indiana // december 2016
“Lyles Station is significant as one Society, Lyles Station was founded in of about 100 or more early African 1849 by Joshua and Sanford Lyles, free American settlements in Indiana and, as African Americans from Virginia who such, is representative of Indiana’s rich moved to Indiana from Tennessee. Ultihistorical landscape. The community mately named for Joshua Lyles, the town is included in the developing Indiana prospered and grew, enjoying a populaAfrican American Heritage Trail, which tion of about 800 in the early 1900s. It is anticipated will become an example boasted two general stores, a post office, of a heritage tourism initiative. two churches and an elementary school. “I am delighted that the new SmithFarmers grew corn, wheat, soybeans sonian museum and a bit of rye, includes one of along with tomaIndiana’s historitoes, watermelons, cally black settlecantaloupe and oth“The community’s ments, and it is er produce, Madimy hope that the son says. Unable to spirit of generosity Lyles Station exattain bank loans and goodwill in hibit will act as a for equipment, sharing their treasured ‘tutor,’ ultimately they toiled with bringing attenhorses and mules. objects, pictures and tion to the entire A grain elevator, stories with the world, complement of established about through us, has been a early African 1870 with a spur powerful and humbling American historitrack, enabled cal settlements.” growers to ship proexperience for me.” duce to Indianapo—Paul Gardullo lis and Chicago Farming markets, while a community local sawmill fed the produced wooden country barrels. “We Located six miles were very productive,” Madison says, northwest of Princeton, Lyles Station noting that in later years, following was founded, settled and governed by two devastating floods, industry died free African Americans long before the out and only farming remained. Civil War — a phenomenon at a time Although about 50 families are still when much of the country was enslaved. tied to land ownership, just a handThe town was the Hoosier State’s ful still farm, planting corn, soybeans first black settlement and is the only and wheat. In addition, Glenn and one remaining from among several Julia Morris operate a large ranch Gibson County black farming comwith several hundred head of cattle. munities that included Algerville “Most of our owned farmland Hill, Switch and Walden, as noted is up over 1,000 acres. Others rent in “Hoosier History: This Far by out the ground and don’t really Faith: Black Hoosier Heritage.” farm it,” Madison says. “They’re not According to the Indiana Historical
true farmers, turning the soil.” Despite ongoing success and recent recognition, Madison says because of the town’s aging population — at 66, he’s one of the younger farmers — his generation probably will be the last to actually work the land. “The younger generation is just not interested in farming, and they’re not up to working 14-hour days. Those of us still hanging on to it ... most are from 65 years old up to between 75 and 80,” he says.
‘A powerful and humbling experience’
In 1915 black veterans of the Civil War first proposed a national African American museum. The project basically languished throughout apathetic administrations until 2003, when President George W. Bush appointed a commission to revisit the subject. Congress passed a law that year, authorizing the museum. Finally — after nearly four years of construction — the dream became reality. The $540 million museum opened to the public Sept. 24. Designed by British architect David Adjaye, the Smithsonian’s 19th museum covers about five square miles. More than 40,000 items, 80 percent of them donated, were meticulously curated in order to present a diverse overview of black history, “a balance between stories that are going to make you cry and those that are going to make you smile,” said Lonnie G. Bunch III, the museum’s founding director, in an interview. But history is about more than stories and objects. It is also about roots that extend deeply into the soil. It is this soil, tilled by freed slaves for generations and considered so integral to our
nation’s history, that museum representatives gathered from a patch of land first owned by Willis Greer in 1855. Now heat-treated and dried to preserve it forever, the soil was selected because it’s been farmed by the same family for the longest time. Farming tools, household goods and archival photographs are also showcased in the third-floor “Power of Place” exhibition, one of 12 inaugural exhibitions. “We are very excited about the Lyles Station story here at the museum,” says Paul Gardullo, curator of the exhibit. “The community’s spirit of generosity and goodwill in sharing their treasured objects, pictures and stories with the world, through us, has been a powerful and humbling experience for me. “We’re thrilled to use them to provide a window into the largely unknown story of free black pioneers on the American frontier and, specifically, to focus on a place where we can celebrate the community of Lyles — their bedrock pillars of farm, church and school — and the unbroken history of land ownership there in southern Indiana. “We hope to continue to shine a light on this story so that people can learn more about history — not just at the museum, but where it happened.”
Planting historic roots
The Lyles Consolidated School opened in 1919. In use until 1958 and on the verge of ruin in later years, it was converted into a 4,000-square-foot historic museum, which includes the Alonzo Fields Gallery and the Heritage Classroom, through efforts of the LSHPC and Indiana Landmarks. Field trips, programs and handson activities are offered to thousands of tri-state students each year, each
captivated by Madison’s tales of African American history, the Underground Railroad and Lyles Station’s role in the covert operation. Through his own and other educational forums, Madison hopes younger generations of African Americans will consider farming as a viable career option. “My hope is that the young people realize somewhere down the road that the occupation hasn’t just dropped to the wayside. Programs at Purdue and other universities allow them to get into farming, and they can get loans at this time, which earlier African Americans weren’t able to. That’s an open door that will teach them to toil the land and be good caretakers of that land. “Our young people don’t understand that being in the farming industry, working with your hands, is part of our history. Now that we can tell these stories about African American farmers, kids can have pride that their forefathers were part of that. To know where you are and understand where you came from, you must know that history.” That history is also now visible to global visitors to the NMAAHC, which was visited opening day by a busload of Lyles Station residents. “It’s pretty awesome that we had an opportunity to go to the Smithsonian to present Lyles Station. To be a part of that is the most awesome thing I believe a person could even imagine,” Madison says. “When we renovated the school, I thought that topped anything in my life I’d ever been involved in. But when we walked into the museum, that pretty much put everything else on the second line.”
Farm Indiana // december 2016
in good health Crucial connections between small-scale livestock producers and veterinarians are fraught with challenges
by Jon Shoulders
Kristi Kretzmeier considers her farm veterinarian more than a professional colleague who visits occasionally when medical problems arise among the 10 beef cows and 10 litters of pigs on her Benton County farm. She routinely engages in phone consultations or onsite visits with Dr. Amy Woods of Heartland Veterinary Services and feels strongly that the relationship she has forged with Woods is one of the primary reasons her farm is thriving. Woods’ visits to the Kretzmeier farm involve a range of issues from individual cow or pig injuries to consultations on general herd health matters as seemingly trivial as optimal temperature settings for the farm facilities. “You have to think of your food animal vet as part of your team and not a separate entity,” says Kretzmeier, who received a Woman in Agriculture award from Purdue Extension in 2009 for her work at her family’s corn, soybean and livestock farm. “You need a team of experts in different areas, and we can’t all be experts in every area so if you search out those team members that can fit into what you need for your practice, it helps the whole picture.” While Kretzmeier’s farm sits approximately 10 miles from Woods’ home, from which she operates her HVS mobile clinic, many producers in the state are located hours from the nearest production animal veterinarian. Denise Derrer, public information director for the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, says food animal vets are in short supply statewide, particularly in the southeast. “From Richmond to the south, east of I-65, there are a number of underserved areas,” she says. “Right now we’re dealing with bovine tuberculosis in Franklin, and more than 300 farms
Farm Indiana // december 2016
have to be tested. It’s been hard recruiting vets to come in and test herds.” Woods, a veterinarian of 12 years with 250 clients in Michigan, Illinois and Indiana, says the shortage results largely from geo-economical considerations. “With so many farms in remote, low-population areas, you can’t expect a food animal veterinarian to serve a community that has very few food animal clients,” she says. “They just wouldn’t stay in business very long without being willing to travel outside of that community a lot. So there are
few of us around, and we have to travel a lot. We’re teaching producers actually to do more and more themselves since we’re so far away from many of our clients. So I may teach producers things like how to necropsy dead animals, and what tissues that I want sent in to the lab.” Kretzmeier says regular phone consultations with a vet can go a long way toward herd health and prevention of the spread of disease. “Not every issue requires a visit from the vet, so if your nearest vet is a long distance away you can do phone consults and maybe just annual site visits,” she says. “That way you’re not always paying extra travel charges. You just have to stay on the front end of it and be proactive, rather than deal with issues afterwards, which is always harder.” Dr. Alex Hintz, a swine specialist with Pork Veterinary Solutions in New Palestine, says an increasing number of large-scale pork, poultry and dairy farms in Indiana are simply hiring in-house veterinary help, adding further difficulty for veterinarians who wish to establish their own practices. “People are calling us in from two and three hours away, and
we’re doing a lot of traveling to support a lot of people,” says Hintz, who currently travels out of state for about 25 percent of his clientele. “It would be nice if there were more of us out there. We do phone consultations with clients that are far out or Skype with them, and then visit their farm at least one time a year to see what’s going on. Whatever we can do to keep their costs down and keep up their level of expertise. The technology is helping us to get that done.” Since 2010, officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture have addressed vet scarcity around the country through the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program, which reimburses up to $25,000 per year for veterinary school loans belonging to veterinarians willing to ply their trade for at least three years in an area of the country experiencing a shortage. According to USDA National Institute of Food Agriculture data, 29 counties in Indiana were determined by a panel of federal and state animal health experts to have vet shortages in 2016. Andrea Whitney, co-owner of Monrovia Equine and Small Animal Clinic in Mooresville, is in the process of hiring two additional full-time practitioners for her combined ambulatory and brick-andmortar mixed animal clinic, and sees the demanding nature of the job as another reason for the limited number of food animal vets throughout the region. “We’ve been in the large-animal vet
interviewing process for just under a year, and there’s not a lot of new students coming out of the university setting for this kind of practice,” says Whitney, who also co-owns Whitney Farms, a full-service equine operation that includes training and lessons. “I think that’s because with a small-animal practice you’re staying inside of a building, you’re not out in the weather and you can work better hours. With livestock you’re battling emergency calls, farm calls, foaling and calving, at all hours of the day and night.”
To search for Indiana equine veterinarians by ZIP code within a five to 100-mile radius, go to vetlocator.com/equinevets.php. Visit minipiginfo.com/mini-pig-vets.html for a list of Indiana veterinarians who treat pigs. To learn more about the USDA Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program, visit nifa.usda.gov/program/veterinary-medicine-loan-repayment-program. For more information on the FDA Veterinary Feed Directive regulations, including links to listings of drugs transitioning from over-the-counter to VFD or prescription only, visit www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/CVMUpdates/ucm507355.htm.
Whitney noticed a lack of responding livestock veterinarians in her town for several years and opened her mixedanimal practice in 2014 in response. “A lot of producers around here have learned to be very self-sufficient because there’s been no one to respond to them, especially on an emergency basis,” she says. “I don’t think it’s hurt overall herd health with smaller things like pink eye or ringworm that they’ve learned to kind of maintain on their own, but as far as reproduction or sports medicine type things for show horses or show cows, there’s just not been anybody in the area for those kinds of things.” In response to the growing concern of antibiotic resistant bacteria, a new set of rules implemented by the Food and Drug Administration will soon require producers to obtain either a Veterinary Feed Directive — which is a written order from a licensed vet — or a prescription from a vet before purchasing feeds containing certain antibiotics that, until now, have been available over the counter. The new rules take effect on Jan. 1, and written
orders will be valid for up to six months. Kretzmeier says producers will have to work more regularly with their vets to determine the circumstances in which a VFD might be necessary. “It’s a process of getting in touch with the vet, getting the order, getting it to the feed mill, and the feed mill making the feed and then us going to get it,” she says. “It’s going to require more veterinarian involvement from some producers that haven’t worked with a veterinarian quite as close.” Woods plans to open a mixed-animal clinic in Benton County in the spring and says a strong relationship with a farm vet is crucial for producers “not only for herd health and productivity, but for seeing everything across the board. Most producers are limited to what they see on their farm or talking to a few neighbors, whereas we can see a lot of different things in a lot of different circumstances and have the industry contacts,” she says. “It’s beneficial for clients because they can ask how things are working on other farms, and we know because we’re on those farms every day.” Farm Indiana // december 2016
From the field
» The View at Nightfall
Taste of the Season By Liz Brownlee
Our Christmas cookie recipe card is handwritten, smudged and worn. A sticker with a red star indicates that my grandmother Ora’s recipe is a family favorite. I don’t want to brag, but these cream cheese cookies are pretty darn good — thick and sweet, with homemade icing. The best part about these cookies, though, may be that we only make them once each year and that we make them together in the warm kitchen on a cold December day. They’re a special treat that I look forward to that makes my mouth water and my heart glad. These Christmas cookies hint at one key to the success of local food and farms like ours: eating joyfully, with the seasons, together.
The cider was from Goley’s orchard in Now, I’ve heard friends push Madison. Nate said, “It just tastes so good,” back against the idea of eatand we talked about how lucky we are that, ing with the seasons. “Why not years ago, friends introduced us to fresh, just go to the store and buy a local cider. The taste can’t be matched by tomato in January?” they ask. grocery store cider. Fresh cider is rich and I’ve tried arguing that eatsmooth, sweet but not artificially sweet. It’s ing tomatoes (or any foods) a full flavor. “Can you imagine missing out when they are in season here on fresh cider in fall?” I asked, grateful that in Indiana is better for our we had an orchard nearby. economy (keeping dollars here I bought an extra gallon in our communiof cider the next time I went ties rather than After years past the orchard, knowing sending them away to a of gaining experience that the cider season would big company somewhere); on other be over within the month. better for the planet (lofarms, Nate That’s OK, because after cal food doesn’t burn so Brownlee and that came time for local much fossil fuel to get to his wife, Liz, Thanksgiving turkeys, then the plate); and better for moved back comes Christmas cookies health (food that’s been on to Indiana to start their own family (with local flour from Plumera truck and traveled across farm, which they named Nightfall Bowers Farmstead), then a the country loses vitamins). Farm. Here, they share stories of the many trials, tribulations, successes winter savoring our sausage But these arguments don’t and failures in running a family and lamb, onions and carseem to make much of an business. For more on Nightfall rots from other farmers, kale impact with some. Farm, visit nightfallfarm.com. and potatoes from our own So here’s my new garden, and rich salsa and answer: Eating with the spaghetti sauce we canned in the summer. seasons tastes better, plain and simple. It’s awfully convenient that eating with I realized that taste might be the key the seasons benefits our small communiinspiration for eating with the seasons ties, farmers and my health (well, all except in October. Nate and I were driving to for those cookies, I suppose). Jackson-Washington State Forest to take But perhaps just as importantly, each a hike with friends and enjoy the changing season brings special joys that connect us fall leaves. We took along a mug of apple to the land and taste incredible. cider for the drive.
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Farm Indiana // december 2016
Look in the Mirror
by Katie Glick
Finally, we can take a deep breath. It’s over. The election and the political ads are over — that is, until next time. And I’m sure we have all looked in the mirror and asked ourselves how we got to this place of such bipartisan rhetoric, when, after all is said and done, we are all still American. I have had to look at myself in the mirror many times over the course of my 30 years. I have always known who I was and where I wanted to go, but it was always that middle part that got me sometimes. For example, I grew up on a farm, and when I got older I wanted to advocate for something through a marketing firm or a social cause. However, I didn’t know how I would get there exactly or what it would be. Over the years, in between where I started and where I am now, I have been slightly embarrassed about how little I knew about agriculture growing up. We lived on our family farm, in the middle of a cow pasture, and my dad worked on the farm. I
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played in the pastures, rode the tractors and showed pigs in 4-H, but while my parents provided solid roots they let me find my own wings. My job was to get an education and figure it out along the way. And when I went to Purdue University, I never expected to learn so much about an industry and a way of life that made me who I am. I left college wanting to be involved with or work in the agriculture industry in some capacity. With a short stint in politics, I now spend much of my personal and professional life educating and advocating for agriculture. I still look in the mirror sometimes and wonder why I didn’t figure it out sooner. I still ask my husband questions about cattle or agronomy issues on a daily basis. I consult my colleagues and industry representatives on agriculture technology and innovation. And I try to get to know farmers of all sizes because I don’t know much about what I don’t experience on our family farm or at work. When farming is not what you do for a living every day, it’s hard to understand. We get angry at politicians when they don’t understand our industry or issue, but have you taken the time to educate or advocate for your issue or cause? They have a job to do, to work for you. But, like all of us, they are human, not superhuman, and cannot know everything at any given time. It’s our place, with our passions and freedoms, to
educate them. I think we can all agree we need to start anew after this election and in the new year ahead of us and figure out a way that we can all sit at the table to learn and understand each other. After some personal soul-searching and many stare-downs with my mirror, I have decided to learn more about what I don’t know from experience. For example, I don’t know much about raising chickens or vegetable farming. I don’t understand what it’s like to start a farm because my family’s farms have been around for generations. In the new year, I want to get to know a diverse group of farmers, practices and policies because I want my daughter to grow up in a world that embraces diversity in agriculture and politics, among other things. After all, we are all just Americans who eat and are afforded many freedoms in the middle of where we come from and where we are going. Katie Glick grew up on her family farm in Martinsville and now lives with her husband on their family farm near Columbus, where they grow corn, soybeans and wheat, raise cattle and have a private seed company. She is a graduate of Purdue University and has worked in Indiana politics. She now works in the agriculture industry. She shares her personal, work, travel and farm life stories on her blog, Fancy in the Country.
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Farm Indiana // december 2016
From the field
While You Were Farming by Nick Carter
There are some questions that everyone knows the answers to, but nobody wants to ask them aloud. A few years ago, I was invited to be a panelist at an annual meeting for a co-op in Indiana. I decided to ask one of those questions to the audience. “By a show of hands, how many of you learned to farm from your parents?” That was an easy one. Every hand went up. “Now, keep your hands up if your son or daughter is learning to farm from you.” Talk about a mood killer. Nearly every hand went down. But it’s a question we can’t avoid asking any longer, because while you were farming, your kids were deciding that they never would. And it’s not as though what’s lost in manpower is being made up for in automation or yield gains. Between 1998 and 2012, production of feed grains in the U.S. increased a modest 2.2 percent, according to the USDA. That’s not bad considering the USDA reported we also lost over 100,000 farmers in that time. But if we are supposed to be ramping up to feed a world of 9 billion people, we had better pick up the pace. During this same period, the world population grew over 18 percent. How can there be so many new mouths to feed while our crop production remains virtually flat and the profession itself is not attracting a new generation? There is good news, however. Americans, for their part, have begun to eat much better. Fast food giants are struggling to retain market share, while farmers markets have exploded in popularity and number. According to a 2014 study by economist Stephen Bronars, consumption of fresh produce among American households increased by over 10.5 percent during that same 14-year span from 1998 to 2012. That has to be good news for farmers, right? How could it not be, considering that a 10.5 percent increase meant $4.9 billion in increased spending on fresh fruits and vegetables from the American consumer, who, mind you, endured a devastating economic recession in that time. Well, here’s how it isn’t. While the American 34
Farm Indiana // december 2016
consumer’s demand for specialty crops is seemingly insatiable and farms are flat-lining their grain production, Bronars also found that the production of those fresh fruits and vegetables, which Americans are so ravenously consuming, has increased just 1.4 percent in the U.S over that same 14-year period. That’s right. Americans upped their vegetable consumption by 10.5 percent and their vegetable production by just 1.4 percent, leaving a $4.9 billion market opportunity for our international neighbors to seize. And that number was already adjusted to production capabilities, as the researchers who wrote the study intentionally excluded figures related to fruits and vegetables that simply aren’t amenable to American soil — such as bananas and avocados. As I write this, farmers across Indiana are facing grain prices that have fallen to levels not seen since that study began in the ’90s. But even in the face of this immense economic pressure, farmers appear to be either unwilling or unable to adapt to the U.S. market’s demands. And now for another one of those questions nobody wants to ask: Why? How can we live amongst a population that’s craving fresh fruits and vegetables in ever-increasing volumes, yet we continue to produce a commodity whose price is collapsing? And, in turn, we leave those consumer dollars no other place to go but to the other nations who are supposedly “stealing our jobs.” Let me be clear: This is not an indictment on farmers. It seems as though it would be, as any savvy business person should be able to look at these numbers and determine that a field of green beans may be more profitable than a field of soybeans. But that’s an oversimplification at best. Many consumers have been too quick to accuse farms — protesting their practices, decrying “big ag” — and in so doing, they completely misunderstand the problem. Instead of asking how farmers could have missed this market opportunity, let’s start asking what other carrots — the figurative kind, of course, not the kind they should have been growing — have been placed in front of our nation’s farmers, enticing them to continue producing a product for which the market is so feeble? Ah ha! “Subsidy,” you say. Yet another voice in the crowd villainizing farm subsidies. Again, too simple. It’s not the farmer. It’s not the farm bill. The problem, unfortunately, is a combination of factors. Subsidy, yes. We can’t overlook the fact that the grain markets in the U.S. equate to a guaranteed sale
for every kernel produced. And there is a price floor, however meager. But there is also a function of marketplace infrastructure, as well. Grain is not perishable, and storage exists in every small town across the corn belt. Where are the cold storage warehouses, produce terminals and food hubs that can move a large volume of vegetables in this nation? They’ve all but disappeared over the last generation. Then there’s that scary phrase, “large volume of vegetables.” Enter the regulators. Food safety regulations make it more difficult to grow vegetables in the U.S. than to import the same product, and they create a terrifying barrier to entry for farmers who may contemplate the switch. All of these issues, and more, have taken generations to amass. Which means, if we go back to that afternoon when I sat on a stool with a microphone and asked about farmers learning their trade from their parents, I can assure you that the skills passed down did not encompass issues like GAP Certification and cold-chain management. That’s why the work of extension educators has never been more relevant to the future of farming. Farmers and industry buyers must continue to cooperate and rebuild market infrastructure. Look at the entire institution that is now our grain market — from local elevators to brokers, input suppliers, and yes, even the policies that make the venture attractive for farmers to enter. The same infrastructure will be required in the U.S. in order for our farmers to take advantage of that $4.9 billion market. It starts with each of us. If you own acres, it’s planting. If you buy groceries, it’s shopping intentionally. If you teach, it’s in the skills for food production. If you broker, it’s in finding a market for something more special than waxy corn or non-GMO soy. As for me, I’m choosing to do just one small part: creating a market. I’m asking for others to join me in their small ways at FoodCaucus.com because I can do nothing to aid farmers by building a market alone. We need co-ops and extension offices and even allies at the statehouse. While you were farming, the market changed. We have to change with it.
Nick Carter is an Indiana native, born and raised on a Howard County farm, and co-founder and CEO of FarmersMarket.com.
By Jolene Ketzenberger
Funny how something like a handful of pasta can be comforting. But that’s how I felt recently when I cooked a little bit of spaghetti and added it to a leftover pot of chili. You see, I grew up with chili made with spaghetti. My mom made her chili with ground beef, tomatoes, juice and a can of Brooks Chili Mix. And spaghetti, broken in half, boiled, drained and added to the pot. We had it fairly often in fall and winter, and it never varied. There was no vegetarian chili at my folks’ house, no turkey chili and no authentic Texas-style chili, either. And there was no macaroni in there, by the way; that would’ve turned it into chili mac. No, the chili of my childhood only included spaghetti, maybe because there was a Cincinnati influence on my mom’s Kentucky cooking. I never thought to make it any other way until I married into a no-
PhotoS By Jolene Ketzenberger
spaghetti-in-the-chili family. And since my kids seemed to take after the no-spaghetti side, I gradually adjusted my chili making over the years to suit their tastes. But last month’s election, and the divisive campaign leading up to it, had been so stressful that, not long after the results were in, I found myself in need of some culinary comfort. Something familiar and soothing. And so I heated up some leftover chili, cooked some spaghetti and stirred it all together, just for me. And not long after that, I made chicken and dumplings, another soul-soothing dish from my childhood. And then I fried some green tomatoes and made some cornbread and pinto beans — soup beans, my family called them. By this time, of course, we were getting close to Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays, and even before
but he never really liked it. Funny, but the holiday arrived I had made one of after we kids had grown up and moved my seasonal favorites: cranberry sauce. out, he seemed to develop a sweet I listened for the berries to pop as they tooth. Mom asked him once why he simmered, thinking of all the times never ate any of the cookies and other my mom had told me to listen while treats she had baked over the years. she cooked them and how I had told “Those were for the kids,” he said. my kids the same thing. Then, even So I’d better add cookies to my though we had traveled to a relative’s list of comfort foods to make for the house for the holiday, I made another holidays, and I’ll be sure to stir up Thanksgiving meal anyway, with all some no-bakes, the chocolatey oatmeal our favorites, including the boxed cookies that my kids were so fond of stuffing that the kids love and the silly when they were little. They called them marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes “Nanny cookies,” after the name they and the green bean casserole with called my mom. french-fried onions. Those easy no-bake cookies were I made all those foods because we the first thing I can remember making find comfort in them. Like my chili on my own, sitwith spaghetti, those ting perched on the foods make us feel kitchen counter next loved and cared for — I figure we can all to the stove, watching and who couldn’t use use a little more and waiting for the a little more of that, ingredients to come to especially this year. home cooking, a a boil and then quickly And especially few more of our stirring in the oats in December, as the favorite cookies, a and even more quickly holidays approach and bite of something dropping spoonfuls the year winds down, when we gather with that we haven’t had onto waxed paper. I learned to make a family and friends since childhood. lot more as time went to wish each other on, and the satisfaction Merry Christmas and and comfort that cooka Happy New Year. I ing can bring have stayed with me. figure we can all use a little more home I hope my kids remember all the cooking, a few more of our favorite foods of their childhood — the crancookies, a bite of something that we berries popping, the Nanny cookies, haven’t had since childhood. even all the oddball foods I’ve cooked So I’m going to look through my and had them try during my career as mom’s recipe boxes and my favorite old a food writer. I hope that when they’re cookbooks and find a few dishes that I grown and gone, they can find comfort haven’t made in a while. Maybe I can in difficult times from something as find something in my mom’s handsimple as a bowl of chili. writing, maybe that lemon dessert, on the recipe card where she’d written “Edward loved this” about my typically dessert-averse dad. Jolene Ketzenberger covers local The only sweet I can remember him food at EatDrinkIndy.com and enjoying was an occasional slice of hosts Eat Drink Indiana Radio on apple pie — served cold, never warm. WFYI-FM and at wfyi.org. Follow And he’d take a piece of birthday cake, her on Twitter @JKetzenberger. Farm Indiana // december 2016
FOOD NEWS By Jolene Ketzenberger
Roddy Kirschenman (left) and executive chef Layton Roberts
An Indianapolis restaurant received a fourdiamond ranking from the AAA recently, one of only a handful of restaurants in the state to make the four-diamond list. Vida, the latest restaurant from the Cunningham Group, recently found out about its fourdiamond rating. General manager Roddy Kirschenman said they had no idea that they had been evaluated by the travel organization until the restaurant got a call from the reviewer. “I was kind of shocked,” he said, “because I know that the list of four-diamond restaurants is pretty impressive.” Vida joins Joseph Decuis of Roanoke, and the La Salle Grill, Artisan and The Carriage House in Elkhart on the list of Indiana four-diamond restaurants. Kirschenman said the restaurant had had no previous contact with AAA before receiving the honor. “We never reached out to Triple A,” he said. “They do everything independently, and she was completely anonymous. We had no idea that she was in here. I even tried to look in reservations and couldn’t find it.” Vida’s executive chef Layton Roberts said the four-diamond designation was a surprise for the 8-month-old restaurant. “I was kind of taken aback,” he said, adding that the award has been especially motivating for his staff. “We’ve always talked about how awesome it would be to get a rating like this or any of the national ratings. We’ve always strived for that. We’re really excited about it for sure.” According to AAA, there are 683 restaurants throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean that received the four-diamond rating in the past year. Four-diamond restaurants account for just 2.3 percent of the more than 30,000 that the organization rates.
Farm Indiana // december 2016
The growing interest in craft beer shows no signs of abating. According to the Brewers Association, small and independent craft brewers now represent 12 percent of the market of the overall beer industry. Indiana, for example, now has more than 125 breweries, and three have opened recently in the Indianapolis area. Centerpoint Brewing Co. has opened in the Circle City Industrial Complex in Indianapolis, and Cannon Ball Brewing Co. opened at 17th and Bellefontaine streets in Indianapolis. And in Fishers, Four Day Ray Brewing has opened in the Nickel Plate District. In addition to the brewery, Four Day Ray’s building also includes a restaurant open for lunch and dinner. Though a much smaller operation, Cannon Ball Brewing also will offer food. Brewery owners Mark and Tania Swartz tapped well-known Indianapolis chef Erin Kem, formerly of R bistro, to serve as the brewery’s chef. As for the beer at the small brewery, said Swartz, a former home brewer, “it’ll be all over the place. Since I’ve been brewing at home for 12 years, I have probably a couple hundred recipes. So I’m just looking forward to picking out the best ones. Just come in and brew what you feel like doing and talk with Erin and see what she wants to make and kind of do some nice pairings.” Kem said the menu at Cannon Ball will change seasonally. “I don’t want the food to be an afterthought,” she said. “I want people to come for the beer and stay for the food. I love ethnic food, so I think we’ll incorporate a lot of different ethnicities. I’m thinking about empanadas and curries and things like that that will go well with beer. Mindful matching of beer and food.”
Centerpoint Brewing Co.
PhotoS By Jolene Ketzenberger
Letts Hardware & Equipment
4987 W. County Rd. 700 S., Greensburg, IN 47240 (812) 591-2221
Speaking of new drink options, Indianapolis entrepreneur Erin Edds, formerly of Hoosier Momma and Country Mouse City Mouse, has launched a new line of hard sodas. Called Garden Party Botanical Hard Soda, the line currently includes Violet, a lemon soda infused with lavender and blackberry, and Ruby, a ginger soda with hibiscus and pomegranate. Edds and her husband, Stephen, had been working on new business concepts since leaving Hoosier Momma. “We were conceptualizing several companies,” she said, “really not putting all our eggs in one basket because we didn’t know what opportunities would present themselves.” Following the success she had in launching the Hoosier Momma line of bloody mary mixes, Edds said she had been encouraged to get back into the beverage industry. But it took a jolt of inspiration to help her hone in on a clear vision. “I was at home one day and thinking about what we were going to do next,” she said, “and I sent Stephen a text that simply said, ‘The wine cooler grows up.’ And we stopped all efforts in any other direction and immediately started developing Garden Party.” The hard sodas are 8 percent alcohol by volume and are available in four-packs for $9.99 at liquor stores and specialty markets, as well as being served at some Indianapolis-area bars and restaurants.
Farm Indiana // december 2016
Chef Q & A with
Zachari Wilks and Greg Wilson of Wilks & Wilson create handcrafted elixirs based on recipes common in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Wilks says his love for creating craft cocktails has deep familial roots, and his work today has been integral to the rise of the craft cocktail scene in Indianapolis. By Twinkle VanWinkle
Who is involved with W&W, and where did the idea start? Myself and Greg Wilson. I was a partner in Indianapolis’ first craft cocktail bar, and a lot of the ingredients we needed to execute our cocktail list either didn’t exist or there were no quality versions on the market, so we researched recipes and started making what we needed in-house.
in everything right now. I spend a lot of time working in our accounts (customers) helping them develop cocktail menus that fit with their concepts. We also have a strong private label side to our business as well, so we’ve been spending a considerable amount of time helping clients develop custom products.
realize it, but mixing cocktails was very likely our first culinary art in the United States. There was a lot of pride taken in making cocktails, and a lot of great stories and traditions come from some of the iconic cocktails that are seeing such a huge resurgence now. I think there is a lot to be said for honoring these traditions and techniques.
What is your place on the Wilks & Wilson team? We have a very small team so I kind of have my hand
What is your philosophy behind the products you create? We use the best ingredients we can get our hands on to make the best quality cocktail mixers we can. Bartenders have become a discerning group, and when someone is creating a new drink for their beverage program we want to be confident that they are reaching for the best ingredients while offering them the convenience and the consistency of using a great producer.
You were integral in creating the current cocktail scene in Indianapolis and Indiana. How did this come about? It all started with my first Sazerac (cocktail). I had already been a bartender for years, but it’s the cocktail that opened my eyes to the history of spirits and bartending. It opened up my mind to so many other ideas. I was also working at a very chef-driven restaurant at the time, and that opened up my eyes to thinking more culinarily about drink making. I like to travel, and I was seeing cocktail-focused places opening up in cities like New York, Chicago and Seattle. Then in ’08 or ’09 I was approached about opening a place on Mass Ave. (in Indianapolis) and saw it as an opportunity to do something in Indianapolis that no one here had really seen before.
Wilks & Wilson’s Sazerac
You have a passion for history. Why do you think that is important to what you create at W&W? A lot of people don’t 38
Farm Indiana // december 2016
What are your thoughts on slow food and is W&W involved with that at all? The slow food movement has definitely influenced the way we look at sourcing our ingredients and choosing the types of purveyors that we work with, and although we’re not currently involved with our Indiana chapter (Slow Food Indy), we’ve been very involved with lots of producers, restaurateurs and events whose practices and ideals are in line with the slow food movement. What are your personal philosophies regarding food? I’m very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with some of the best culinary minds in Indiana, and I think that’s where I learned the importance of using the best ingredients I could get my hands on. I also learned a lot about sustainability, supply chains and supporting local. Indianapolis’ food and beverage scene has grown so much over the last few years, and it’s awesome to see the support system that has grown around that. Where did you get your start? Believe it or not, this is my 20th year behind the bar. I’m a fourth-generation bartender, and my family has always been very involved in the spirits industry in Indianapolis. My family actually ran a speakeasy at New York and Davidson streets here in Indianapolis during Prohibition. My uncle owned a very successful local liquor store chain called United Package Liquors, so I grew up in it. When I started, there weren’t
the opportunities for training that are available today. We have a chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild that I helped start here in Indianapolis, and that has really opened up the doors to a whole world of education. We’re also very lucky to have the Indiana Academy of Spirits and Fine Service here in Indianapolis, which is a 12week intensive spirits course for beverages professionals looking to increase their knowledge and advance their careers. The opportunities that just these two programs alone have opened for me are immeasurable; they’ve literally taken me around the world to learn
about spirits production and have helped me build lifetime friendships in the industry. What’s your favorite cocktail to make? To drink? I’d have to say it’s the one that opened the door to this world for me: the Sazerac. As for me personally, and I’ll probably catch a little grief for this since I’m the cocktail guy, but an ice cold Budweiser and a shot of Redbreast Irish Whiskey. For more information visit wilksandwilson.com. PhotoS provided by Wilks & Wilson
By Twinkle VanWinkle
As the holidays approach, gatherings are planned, decorations hung, gifts wrapped and cocktails poured. And everywhere you go there is a glass of eggnog being pushed into your hand. But as much as I like a good eggnog, I like a creamy, bourbon milk punch much better. And although New Orleans may lay claim to milk punch, the history of milk punch is long, dating to pre-colonial times when brandy and milk were consumed for medicinal reasons more than for fun. There are hundreds of recipes for milk punch out there, from simple three-ingredient versions to technical ones that only a trained hand can pull off. My recipe lands somewhere in the middle, with a few extra ingredients and steps. Fortunately, the labor is worth every sip.
Bourbon and Vanilla Milk Punch Makes a little over ½ gallon of punch
½ cup Heartland Distillers gin (Indianapolis) 1½ cups Four Roses Small Batch bourbon ½ cup brandy 1 quart whole milk 2 cups heavy cream
3 tea bags of Darjeeling tea or 4 tablespoons in a tea ball 1 vanilla bean Freshly scraped nutmeg 10 drops Wilks & Wilson Storyville bitters 3 to 4 cinnamon sticks
In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat milk and cream to 100 F.
Once the milk is heated thoroughly, strain into a heated punch bowl.
Split the vanilla bean down the middle and scrape a little of the insides into the milk, then float the bean and cinnamon stick in the milk while it heats up.
Add spirits and blend well.
Stir so the vanilla gets distributed well. Add your tea bags or tea ball and let steep during the heating process.
Shake bitters into the punch. Sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg and float a few cinnamon sticks in the punch. Ladle into punch cups or mugs and serve with sprinkle of nutmeg.
Twinkle VanWinkle is an Indianapolis-based food writer and experienced chef with Southern roots. She has more than 23 years of professional cooking under her apron strings and loves to share her unique perspective on food, foodways and culture with others. Needless to say, her family is very well-fed.
Photos by Twinkle VanWinkle
Farm Indiana // december 2016
Jacobi Sales Inc. 415 StevenS Way Seymour, In 47274 812-523-5050