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The Ag Mag Down to Earth in Florida

Volume I, Issue 12 December 2016

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Navel Oranges Memories of young ’uns and “Uncle Russell”

Christmas Tree Farming in Florida 1,000/acre 4 years to grow

The Magic of Seed Catalogs

December 2016



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Farming and Natural Wonders of the World Spider Webs


piders produce silk from their spinneret glands, located at the tip of their abdomens. Some spiders have just one pair of spinnerets, and other spiders can produce as many as eight different silks, but most spiders have three pairs of spinnerets. Each type produces a thread for a different purpose such as a safety line, sticky silk for building a web that will trap prey, or fine silk for wrapping it. The tensile strength of spider silk is greater than the same weight of steel and has much greater elasticity. Its microstructure is under investigation for potential applications in industry, including artificial tendons. Wadded-up spider webs can slow or stop bleeding. To watch an amazing video of a web being made in slow motion and then in real time, visit www.

December 2016





The Ag Mag

Contents 3 |




Masthead + Letter from The Ag Mag




10 |

Christmas Tree Farming, Florida Style by Jan Cross Cubbage

12 |

Seed Catalogs by David the Good

14 |

Citrus Magic by Jeri Baldwin

16 | AG LAW The New Administration and Agriculture by William K. Crispin, Attorney At Law 18 | SECOND NATURE Winter Wonderland in the Sunshine State by Melody Murphy 20 | Snow’s Market How a Local Rural Business Grew by Laura McCormick 22 |

Menu Planning à la Wild by Jeri Baldwin

24 |

Digging into Artichokes as an Alternative Crop by Brad Buck

25 |

Movies About Farmers compiled by Carolyn Blakeslee

27 |


34 | RECIPES Cocoon Christmas Cookies, Cranberry Relish by Clark Dougherty and Jeri Baldwin

December 2016



The Ag Mag Volume 1, Issue 12 ISSN 2471-3007

Publisher + Editor Carolyn Blakeslee Director of Programs and Events Jeri Baldwin Advertising Sales Position Open 352-286-1779 Design + Production Carolyn Blakeslee Amy Garone Contributors Chef David Bearl William K. Crispin Jan Cross Cubbage David Goodman Laura McCormick Melody Murphy Contact Us 352-286-1779 P.O. Box 770194 Ocala, FL 34477 TheAgricultureMagazine Copyright ©2016 The Ag Mag, LLC All rights reserved Covering agriculture and gardening in Florida. The magazine can be found in north central Florida feed stores, tack shops, tractor dealers, hardware stores, extension services, farm bureaus, farm-friendly banks, high school and university ag departments, trailer dealers, selected restaurants, farm-oriented real estate offices, landscape and garden centers, libraries, and theatres. MAILED SUBSCRIPTIONS: Send your name and address with a check for $24 to the address above, or order securely online at BULK SUBSCRIPTIONS: Email Carolyn at TheAgMag@ for more information.



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Letter from The Ag Mag From the Publisher: Our wonderful columnist, Jan Cross Cubbage, sent the following delightful poem to us this month when I invited our writers to contribute recipes. I can’t think of any better Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays wish, so ... heeeeeeeere’s Jan!

Carolyn Perfect Holiday Recipe 1 menorah in the window with 8 candles bright 2 oak logs in the fireplace alight 12 lb. smoked turkey, roasting slow 3 merry mares grazing in the meadow 1 yearling, 1 weanling colt snoozing in the sun 1 striped cat chasing a squirrel for fun 4 dogs sleeping through most of the day 2 BLM mustangs munching their hay 1 Zebu steer chewing cud, deep in thought 1 Christmas tree in the corner and it isn’t store bought 1 husband seated at the piano, playing “Jingle Bells” 7 Shackleford ponies racing o’er the dells Mix it all up very well and there is peace on earth. Sprinkle with friends and family sharing stories and mirth. Serve it all up warm and with wine. Holiday Greetings to The Ag Mag readers and other friends of mine! Happy Holidays from Cubbage Patch Farm Jan Cross Cubbage

The Secret of the December Cover It was a guinea fowl (gender unknown)! We thought it would be funny to place a picture of a startled bird of a different feather next to a teaser headline about “The Secret Life of Turkeys.” (A probably useless factoid: Chickens and guineas have two wattles; turkeys have one.) Winner of the free subscription: Barbara McGhee, on behalf of a student in Rhode Island who wants to be a farmer.

News Conservation Heroes


hannel 9 Cox Media Entertainment and The Trust for Public Land has awarded three conservation stewards their Cox Conservation Heroes designation for 2016. Shanta BartonStubbs of Orange County, Eric Gardze of Brevard County, and Jeri Baldwin of Marion County were selected by a panel of conservationists as finalists. Each finalist received $5,000 for the non-profit organization of their choice. Barton-Stubbs, who works with inner-city children to connect them with gardening, cooking, and exercise to encourage healthy life styles, chose the New Image Youth Center for her award. Eric Gardze volunteers much of his time to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, serving in many capacities for the health of the Refuge, chose Merritt Island to receive the conservation heroes money. Jeri Baldwin, co-founder of Crones’ Cradle Conserve in Marion County, has spent many years working to preserve land and water, and offer education in healthy food choices for more wholesome life choices. She named Crones’ Cradle Conserve as the recipient of her award.. In addition, the finalist who received the most on line votes for their project, received an additional gift of $5,000. Shanta Barton-Stubbs was awarded that prize.

Citrus Receives Good News


lorida citrus growers, poised to sustain citrus damage from Hurricane Matthew, found themselves instead faced with the good news of an estimated production increase for the 2016-2017 season. Citrus greening, which threatens the entire citrus enterprise in Florida, has been the biggest problem for the state’s growers for more than a decade. Serious weather has not threatened agriculture since 2004, when Florida sustained four hurricanes in three months, and lost millions of dollars in damages to agricultural products. The USDA anticipates production of citrus at 72 million boxes this year. That is a two-million box increase over last year. 

Horticulture Trends


he Garden Media Group has released its “Grow 365” re-

port for 2017 with a brief look at eight trends which have been identified by the horticultural industry. The underlying emphasis for each of the trends is toward green: green choices, green spaces, increased green indoor usage, and industry offerings supporting green products and outlook. The report notes the strong response to changing horticultural leanings in industry, market places, and society, particularly among younger US consumers. Younger adults with young families are paying more attention to healthy choices in lifestyle, with a resultant emphasis on people’s well-being and environmental awareness. They are demanding cleanliness in their world: clean food, clean water, clean air, clean medicines and a clean environment. Their demands are dramatically shifting buying choices. The industry is listening. “Wellness Hotspots” is one of the identified trends in the report. It has three aspects. Those hotspots include “forest bathing,” time spent solely to enjoy trees and woods; “soundscape ecology,” or conOrchard / Alfalfa Premium Alfalfa Timothy / Alfalfa

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sciously decreasing noise in one’s environment by planting shrubs and trees between their housing and noise-producing areas, such as highways, train tracks, industrial areas and city traffic. “Workplace wellness” attention is being paid to indoor work spaces, with green plants encouraged in places where workers spent lots of time within walls. Some of the other trends suggested for 2017 include “Tidy Gardens,” “Clean Gardening,” and “Buzz Off,” the movement to apply natural substances or green plants to repel and eliminate insects and other pests. “Peak Season,” and “Uberzing Gardening,” hiring someone else to plant and tend green plants. For the complete report of the 2017 “Grow 365” trends, visit American Nurseryman,

The First Environmentalists


any farmers and ranchers have quietly pointed out for years that the first, and sometimes best, environmentalists are those same farmers and ranchers. The USDA has released figures which give credibility to that claim. $1.7-billion in 2016 has been invested to protect fragile agricultural land through the CRP, or Conservation Reserve Program.   More than 1.3-million acres, double the acreage of the previous year, were enrolled in 2016, on a voluntary basis. The 24-million acres



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of grasslands, wetlands, and wildlife habitat already under safeguard bring the total acreage to 25.3-million acres for 2016.

Florida Youth Excel at NAILE


he North American International Livestock Exposition is the world’s premier livestock show, where thousands of the best animals from across the country are exhibited in hopes of bringing home the purple banner or making the Sale of Champions. Florida not only had several teams compete in national contests there, but several youth who traveled to Louisville in November to compete with the best of the best from across the U.S. and Canada in the swine, dairy and sheep shows. In the swine show, Baleigh Oliver from DeLand in Volusia County received 8th place in Chester White Class 5A, and 5th Overall in Division IV Senior Showmanship. Jenna Girman from Ormond Beach, also in Volusia County, received 6th place in Duroc Class 9A with her market hog. The Sunshine State was also represented in the dairy shows. Connor Sutton from Sun City in Hillsborough County received 6th place in Class 3, Cady McGehee from Okeechobee in Okeechobee County received 1st place in Class 9 and Jacob McGehee also from Okeechobee received 11th place in Class 17 within the Junior Ayrshire Show. Kyle

Lay from Mulberry in Polk County received 12th place in Class 3 and 3rd place in Class 11 in the Junior Brown Swiss show. Austin Holcomb from Lithia in Hillsborough County received 8th place in Class 4, Rebecca Holcomb also from Lithia received 5th place in Class 8 and 4th place in Class 16, Hunter Fioretto also from Lithia received 10th place in Class 17, Connor Sutton also received 5th place in Class 15, Jacob McGehee also received 8th place in Class 17 and Cady McGehee also received 7th place in Class 2 in the Junior Guernsey show. The Florida State Herd was also fourth overall. Finally, Elizabeth Sutton, also from Sun City, received 16th place in Class 18 in the Junior Jersey show. Last but not least, Florida had four youth exhibiting in the sheep shows. Erin Israel from Geneva in Seminole County received 6th and 7th place in Class 15 and Brianna Edwards, also from DeLand, received 1st place in Class 22B in the Junior Hampshire Show. Chase Israel, also from Geneva, received 8th place in Class 16B in the Junior Southdown Show. Finally, Edward Maddox, also from DeLand, received 4th place in Class 3 and 1st place in Class 6 in the Junior Kathadin Show. Congratulations to each of these outstanding youth on their accomplishments and Florida looks forward to seeing their animals on the show circuit here at home! Visit the Florida Judging Connection at http:// floridajudgingconnection.

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December 2016




Christmas Tree Farming Florida Style by Jan Cross Cubbage



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f all the sights and sounds of Christmas, nothing is more stimulating to my seasonal center of excitement than a Christmas tree decorated and lit up with a myriad of blinking colored lights. Add to the senses the piney aroma of a fresh cut tree, and I experience a flashback to the days of my childhood when my sister and I went tree-hunting along the hayfield borders of our family farm, searching for the perfect cedar tree to cut and drag behind our ponies back to the farm house. I did not know it until just recently, but here in north central Florida you can pick out a tree fresh from the field of a Christmas tree farm. I wanted to hear from the voice of experience, so I paid a visit to Ann Murray, the owner and manager of Nicholas’ Christmas Tree Farm, just south of Belleview. Ann and her husband, Nicholas, planted their first Christmas trees 24 years ago. Since then the Nicholas’ Christmas tree farm has marketed thousands of Christmas trees as a chooseand-cut farm. Or, if a customer wants to purchase a potted tree for replanting after the holiday season, shovels replace handsaws. Ann gave me a tour of the six acres of trees and I was amazed to learn that 1,000 young trees fit comfortably on each of the farm’s six acres. Trees are planted with six feet of space between rows and six feet of distance between individual trees. To achieve that preferred cone shape of a

prospective indoor decorated tree, each tree needs to be trimmed into shape three times a year. This practice also helps keep the branches dense. Through her years of experience, Ann has found that three tree varieties are preferred by seekers of their perfect Christmas tree. The most popular and easy-to-grow trees are cedars, sand pines and Carolina Sapphires. Carolina Sapphire trees sport blue-green needles and I crushed a handful to enjoy the clean scent of pine aroma. This variety of tree is sold at seven dollars a foot. The beautiful six-foot tree I examined had been started here at Nicholas’s farm as a bare-root seedling only four years ago. Ann informed me that Christmas trees grow 50 percent faster in our wet, warm climate than conifer type trees up north that are dormant during winter months. Sand pines are native to our region to Florida and, of course, are the most important part of sand hill ecology locations. But, a sand hill pine needs TLC and culturing to become a Christmas tree candidate. Pines, cedars or other conifers thrive very well in poor soil lacking substantial top soil. However, newly planted bare-root stock need daily watering if rainfall is not in the forecast. Native red cedars are the fastest growing trees in our region. I can attest to that. I started three cedar seedlings in my yard seven years ago and today all three are 20 feet tall and robust. Other Christmas tree farms in our region have had success with other varieties of

author of Screaming Ponies, and a former licensed Thoroughbred trainer in six states.

trees such as Virginia pine and spruce. These trees are northern varieties that might need richer soil than our native red cedars and sand pine trees. Planting Christmas trees on your farm offers benefits to wildlife. A large cedar close to my house has been a refuge for my resident pair of mockingbirds. This spring, I again found a nest within the branches of the cedar holding two little nestlings. Cardinals like to snatch berries from the cedars when other seed foods become scarce. There are other benefits of planting conifers on the borders of yards and pastures. A row of trees offers a living privacy fence that also blocks road traffic noise and dust. And, growing and harvesting your homegrown Christmas tree is a cool way to bring a warm feeling into your living room for the holidays.

Tree Facts For a list of Christmas tree farms in Florida, visit www. Index.htm. Christmas trees are produced in all 50 states. 98 percent of all Christmas trees are grown on farms. Nationally, about 30 million real trees are used for Christmas annually. More than 85 million trees were planted this spring by Christmas tree growers to replace the 30 million trees that will be harvested this year. In Florida, Red Cedar, Virginia Pine, Sand Pine, Spruce Pine, Arizona Cypress and Leyland Cypress are grown specifically for use as Christmas trees.

Jan Cross Cubbage, a blood stock agent and Thoroughbred farm manager, is a retired high school teacher of history and science,

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s Christmas nears with bells and tinsel, Nativity scenes, and “Silent Night,” thoughts of gardening recede. And just when you’d almost forgotten about sunwarmed tomatoes … and the thirst-quenching freshness of pink watermelon flesh ... and as the New Year arrives in chilly promise of more frosts and dead grass ... a lightning bolt of color strikes your mailbox. A seed catalog. In it you find page after page of amazing vegetables discovered in wild and exotic locations like Persia, France, Siberia and Idaho. Your gardening passion rises from your turkey and eggnog-sodden soul like a green phoenix. “What if …” Be careful, friend.



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Remember last year? And the year before? I’ll give you a minute while you go dig through your seed box and look over the unopened packets printed ’06, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11, ’12, ’13, ’14, ’15 ’16. It’s hard not to succumb to the excitement and binge on seed buying, even if you’re a very serious, practical and thoughtful gardener. I’m none of those things — and I’m very, very guilty. I have found unopened seed packages in the back of desk drawers, behind my dresser, in the pantry, in the barn, in the car and under the bed. Fortunately over the years I’ve learned to dial back and make good use of my winter seed buying. Here’s my humble advice as the catalogs roll in.






1. Don’t Buy It If You Don’t Like It Zucchini, anyone? This tip seems like it’s almost too dumb to list, but the fact is, many of us do grow stuff we don’t really enjoy, sometimes just because we’ve always grown it. Mel Bartholomew, author of Square Foot Gardening, recommends looking at your grocery list as a way to narrow down your planting choices. Why waste space on something you or your kids will tire of quickly? 2. Grow Expensive Goodies Ah, so you’re a cheapskate? Me, too. And I like great vegetables. Have you always wanted to have your own organic blue potatoes? Plant them. Amazing leeks? Go for it. Endless stacks of deep red beets? Uh-huh. Fresh herbs? Yep. Exotic melons? Oh, yeah. If

there’s something you like to eat — but it’s a little pricey at the store — plant it in your garden. If you grow extra, you can sell it and buy next year’s seeds. 3. Choose Heirlooms for Replanting This is something a lot of people think about but never really pull off. Hybrid varieties can outperform the year you plant them, but next year, who knows what you’ll get from the seeds you save? If you choose heirlooms, you’ll be able to save seed from year to year and hopefully never have to buy that variety again. A note on this: if you’re planting to save seeds, watch your Latin names. Did you know butternut squash and Seminole pumpkins will interbreed? You also need to make sure you’re not growing too few of any one variety of “outbreeding” plant or you’ll end up with inbreeding depression. Best rule of thumb: grow plenty of one type of each “outbreeding” vegetable and save the seeds for next year. This limits seed catalog expenses. The book Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth is my favorite seed-saving resource. 4. Plant For Calories Is this a survival garden? Then take most of your space and devote it to plants that will feed you the most calories on the smallest amount of ground or with the smallest amount of care. Stock up on consistent producers like potatoes, sweet potatoes, true yams, yard-long

beans, squash, turnips, carrots, etc. 5. Plant For Space Restraints Some plants are total space hogs. If your gardening area is small, stay away from rambling watermelon vines and groundeating winter squash. You might still grow vining crops such as beans — but plan for them to go up a trellis to get a lot of production in a small plot. Patio versions of cucumbers and other plants might be your niche. You can also really double-down on the “grow what’s expensive” side of things and plant highvalue herbs or exotic tomatoes if you’re dealing with a really small space. Vegetables that take up very little space include radishes, lettuces, spinach, onions, garlic and carrots. I’ve also grown nice cantaloupes on a trellis. 6. Pick Plants That Require Little Input This is a good idea if you’re short on water or time. There are crops that will take off and grow with little help from the gardener. If you’re growing without irrigation or are borrowing land from someone else, you need tough stuff. Old heirloom varieties of vegetables — particularly local heirlooms — are often good at this. Believe it or not, watermelons are very good at growing with little water, as is okra, grain corn, yard-long beans, yams, turnips and southern peas. 7. Experiment a Little! Finally, since you don’t want to take all the fun out of

gardening, make sure you leave some space for experimental crops that may become new staples. We do a lot of testing every year, often to the exclusion of things we should have planted to feed ourselves. (I’m just taking a hit for the survival gardening team on your behalf — somebody has to do the Real Cool Science Stuff). I recommend you always try something new; just make sure it isn’t going to cross-breed with something you’re trying to maintain as an heirloom. Now with these tips in mind, go forth and readest thy catalogs! Hopefully you’ll save a few bucks and get some great ideas for spring. Merry Christmas! David The Good is a Florida native, a gardening expert and the author of multiple books you can find on Amazon, including Totally Crazy Easy Florida Gardening, Create Your Own Florida Food Forest, Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting and Grow or Die: The Good Guide to Survival Gardening. Find gardening inspiration at his website www. and be sure to follow his popular YouTube channel at com/user/davidthegood.

December 2016



Citrus Magic by Jeri Baldwin


very bare-footed, savvy, southern young ’un in my family in north Florida knew, when swamp maple leaves turned red and goldenrod crowned the roadsides and fields with their brilliant old gold flowers, the first cold snap would soon follow. That cold snap would set the sweetness into the citrus. The orange trees’ waxy, dark green leaves glowed with golden ornaments of fruit. The first Saturday after the first cold snap found us driving east into the Ocala National Forest, crossing the tannin-dark, swift current of water called the Ocklawaha by the map people and the tourists — but “‘cross the river” by every resident on both sides of one of the few rivers in North America that flows north. On the shore of Lake Bryant in the Forest lived Cecil and Joan Bryant, who had the best navel orange grove anywhere around. They were also kin, so a drive out meant a good family visit. By the time we visited,



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swapped news, cuttings, recipes, and advice, then meandered through the Bryant grove to pick and choose the most beautiful fruit and gently place it into a croker sack, most of the day had passed. On the homeward journey, pungent citrus aroma wafted throughout the car. For weeks, as long as the navels lasted, my brother-inlaw (Uncle Russell to practically everyone, even sometimes his own children), drew young ’uns to wherever he settled by simply appearing with a burlap sack and a newspaper folded under his arm. He chose backyard or back steps of the old, weathered, wooden house where he and my sister raised their family for more than 50 years. He sat on the tail gate of his truck, on a log beside the river, or one of the rockers on his Mama’s front porch, wherever appetite and children gathered. He arranged an armload of golden, succulent, toothsome Florida navel oranges carefully beside

him, unfolded a section of used newspaper and spread it across his lap. His gnarled right hand slipped into his pants pocket for his knife, opened a blade, and — magic! The razor-sharp steel spilled orange peel over the blade in a long, pungent curl. His children and I, and other children lucky enough to watch, waited breathlessly as peel flowed easily over the edge of the blade and danced toward the newspaper. The peel lengthened, and silence fell, as if a sound would break the peel. The bright fruit grew whiter and whiter, the orange peel grow longer and longer — suspense built. Somehow we believed that if the peel broke, dire things would happen. Suddenly the total peel fell onto the newspaper, and a white orange waited. Cheers, loosed breaths, and excited chatter broke out as the unbroken peel lay in Uncle Russell’s lap. In all the years of my young life, the peel never broke. He draped the peel over

a lucky child’s head, then his arthritic, swollen knuckles guided the knife and picked shreds and pieces of white membrane from the orange. Finally, when every scrap lay in his lap, he laid the orange down, wiped his knife, folded it, and slid it into his pocket. He jammed both thumbs into the opening at the top of the orange and pried it in half. He picked the center stem out, laid one half on the paper, and pulled sections, or “plugs” from the half in his hand. He reached toward a lucky child and poked the plug into an eager mouth. Around the circle each child slurped a succulent plug. Faces, hands, even arms and clothes soon ran with juice. When the first orange disappeared, Uncle Russell shook his newspaper clean, then pretended to find something else to do until a wiggly tad asked for another. “Another one? How many oranges you think I’m going to peel for your little bird mouths?” He reached for another orange, performed peel magic, and repeated the navel process. That time, he frowned and looked around the circle. “Now, can’t I have a plug of this? Can all you young ’uns wait just a minute while I find out if these oranges are any good?” He directed the ritual ’round and ’round the circle with the finesse of a maestro directing his symphony. Orange plugs disappeared into open maws and excess juice splashed. When no oranges remained, he rolled the newspaper and tossed it into the fire, which flared around the paper, dried the orange remains and filled the air with tangy odors. In the evening, even though my Mama scrubbed sticky juice off my arms, face, and hands, orange taste and aroma hung around. Through the years, I expect he peeled enough navels to fill a barn loft, and the fall tradition changed only with the names in the circle. The first group of children became, over the years, their sons and daughters; ultimately then grandchildren of the first gathering took their seats in the circle. He peeled, cleaned, and “plugged” the big navels and shared their nectar. Of course tales flowed about when a peel got very thin, and the relief when it didn’t break,

of the smell of orange peel and juice soaked newspaper burning in the camp fire. Stories about who believed he really would not peel any more. Stories about falling exhausted into bed with the aroma of orange everywhere. The ritual of the navels ran into decades. Ritual became tradition, tradition became memories and stories, and memory planted fertile seeds deep into the heart, with no detail forgotten. And the magic orange circle blessed the start of the holiday season once more. Jeri Baldwin is a writer, historian, photographer, farmer, and co-founder of Crones Cradle Conserve Foundation, the 756-acre ecological preserve and education in Citra. She is Director of Programs and Events for The Ag Mag.

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11/24/15 10:54 AM

The New Administration and Agriculture by William K. Crispin, Attorney At Law


ith our national election over, we have an opportunity to review and anticipate how the new administration led by President-elect Donald Trump will impact the nation’s agriculture. From the national picture, we can assess the change of leadership’s issue focus on our area’s farmers. The exit polls suggest that rural America cast a majority of its votes for Trump. Although Trump does not have a record on agriculture policy because he has not served in public office, he has, during his campaign, vowed to keep the Farm Bill together, cut back regulations, and renegotiate trade deals. According to American Farm Bureau Federation lobbyist Mary Kay Thatcher, “When you ask farmers their biggest concern, it’s always regulation.” “Without a doubt, the rural Americans who supported Trump supported him mostly on his comments about the EPA,” said Thatcher. Those comments specifically referred to the EPA’s regulation that went into effect August 2015, the “Waters of the U.S.” rule. On its face, the Waters of the United States rule is largely a technical document, defining which rivers, streams, lakes and marshes fall under the jurisdiction of the



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Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. Trump on the campaign trail mentioned that he would eliminate the EPA. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), negotiated during the G.H.W. Bush administration and passed when Clinton was in office, has been in effect since 1994. Upending NAFTA will be a challenge from many perspectives, as it greatly benefitted major commodity groups such as corn and soybeans, but not so much the specialty, fresh market crops that are grown in the southeast, including Florida and Georgia. For instance, Mexico has become the second largest export market for corn, after Japan. Interestingly, agricultural economists performing research on the impact of NAFTA on Florida lime and tomato production found no persuasive link between NAFTA and the state’s lime industry’s demise or the shrinking tomato production. The point is, there are many spokes to the wheel of trade agreements. During the campaign, more comments were directed at the Trans-Pacific partnership (TPP), whose other 11 Pacific Rim nations have signed it, but not the United States. Typically, farmer organizations representing the larger producers of the major commodities, particularly in the great plains and Midwest, support the TPP, as it represents a trade channel for large export markets. Historically, specialty crop producers have not had the political influence to shape trade deals best suited to their markets. Another corn-based industry revolving around the production of ethanol had the support of the Trump campaign. It has little to do with Florida’s agriculture. The National Farmers Union president, Roger Johnson, worries about the new administration’s pledge to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement because it could hurt support for renewable fuels like ethanol. Johnson laments that “[Trump] is so unconventional and has broken so many of the rules of politics that who knows what he’s going to do.” In Iowa, Trump told a group at a fundraiser in Des Moines that “We are going to end this war on the American farmer.” In declaring that “Family farms are the backbone of this country,” he pointed to the EPA’s intrusion on family

farms through its regulatory enforcement. Applying those comments to Florida agriculture, we can look at the makeup of Trump’s agricultural advisory committee comprised of some 70 members considered more mainstream than radical. Many are current or former governors of states with large ag production industries; it is a list from which many expect the next Secretary of Agriculture to be plucked. From the makeup of his advisory committee, one can expect that programs such as the expanding crop insurance program will continue its direction of including more crops on the insured list while also expanding the types of insurance coverage offered, e.g., revenue production and yield guaranty. This is important for Florida’s growers. They have collectively benefitted from the crop insurance policies that provide a safety net when raising investment-heavy fresh market crops that are subject to multiple perils that abound throughout the state. Crop insurance, when first introduced, covered only the major crops of cotton, wheat, corn and soybeans. During the last three decades, it has significantly expanded to include a wide spectrum of commercially raised items from clams to orchids to cabbage and tomatoes, and includes organic farming practices. The Senate and House Agriculture Committees in charge of drafting the Farm Bill remain largely unchanged after the election, adding a degree of

confidence that current ag policy through the Farm Bill will be staying the course in the foreseeable future. Of policy-driven programs, immigration, representing a key component of agriculture’s labor force, may have the most immediate impact on Florida agriculture. Florida agriculture relies on thousands of workers every year to get their crops to market. Trump made repeated and headline-grabbing assertions on the campaign trail of a mass deportation of immigrants. Caught up in this exodus could be the roughly 1.4 million undocumented immigrants who work on U.S. farms each year, making up about 60 percent of the agricultural labor force, according to Chuck Connor, former deputy agriculture secretary under George W. Bush and current president of the National Council of Farm Cooperatives. Many farms have the land, water and experience to grow amazing crops for the consumer, but reliable labor required to do the hard physical work is a severe holdback to fulfilling potential production. Farmers who have tried soliciting American citizens to fill the labor void say that they can’t get fellow citizens to do the work. How slashing of regulations like the existing and costly H-2A guest worker visa program with major immigration round-ups can be reconciled has farm groups staying up at night. The American Farm Bureau Federation released a

2015 study reporting that an enforcement-only immigration bill that boosts deportations without improving farmers’ access to immigrant labor would have a dramatic impact. Fruit and other fresh market commodities that people, not animals, eat, could drop by more than 50 percent with the collateral impact of rising food prices and decreasing farm incomes. When President Obama hosted Trump at the White House immediately after the election, the President affirmed to the President-elect directly by saying, “We now are going to want to do everything we can to help you succeed, because if you succeed, the country succeeds.” Now is the time for farmers throughout Florida to ride their message of concern on the coattails of their support of Trump, to their Congressional representatives to help Trump succeed with the state and country’s farming community. If farmers succeed, the country succeeds. William K. Crispin

December 2016



Second Nature by Melody Murphy

Winter Wonderland in the Sunshine State


hile much of the rest of the country is struggling to shovel snow and drive on ice, we here in Florida are fortunate to enjoy weather more fair than foul. Don’t get me wrong: It gets cold here. Especially in north central Florida. When the thermometer reads 28, no one can call that balmy. However, due to our fairly mild winters, we are blessed with a bountiful yearround harvest of good things. True, the occasional big freezes do real damage to our crops. I vividly remember several freezes from my childhood. There was the Christmas freeze of 1983, when I was seven and we lived in Port St. Lucie, on the cusp of central and south Florida. From my science-minded, space-fascinated father, I got a toy rocket for Christmas. I don’t recall exactly how it worked, but it required filling with wa-



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ter. The air was so cold that the water froze in falling tubes of ice as it spurted out of the backyard hosepipe. Even when we brought out hot water from the kitchen, that froze. Obviously the rocket did not go up. There was the inauguration freeze of January 1985, and another Christmas freeze — this one lasting five days — in 1989. I was 13, and we were at my grandparents’ house in Bartow for the holidays. The water froze solid in their backyard birdbath. At the Christmas Eve church service, the organ pipes wouldn’t work and the heat went out in the sanctuary. We all stayed bundled up in our coats and scarves, shivering to the sound of carols played by frozen fingers on the piano in the chilly candlelight. Those freezes had a devastating effect on the citrus industry and Florida agriculture. I felt

just sick about it as we drove past miles of dead, withered groveland. But when not suffering a severe freeze or fighting the ravages of greening, canker, or black spot (is there a nondepressing way to talk about Florida groves at present?), Florida in December is a grand place for citrus. In the winter, sunshine seems to grow on trees here in the Sunshine State. Citrus season also coincides perfectly with cold and flu season, the ideal time for copious quantities of Vitamin C. Citrus has long been a part of Christmas traditions. People everywhere have fond memories of finding an orange in their stocking on long-ago Christmas mornings. Then there’s the Southern dish of ambrosia, sometimes served as simple sweetened layers of oranges and coconut, and sometimes as a

for something heartier on a cold grey day. With cabbage, bell pepper, cauliflower, celery, mushrooms, snap beans, squash, tomatoes, and corn, it’s nutritious, delicious, and wonderfully warming. If you’re tired of cooking (and aren’t we all?) after Christmas, just simmer a big pot of soup on the back burner all day. Throw in that leftover turkey if you can’t bear another sandwich or microwaved plate of leftovers. You also can perk up leftovers with a little Southwestern spice by chopping corn, tomatoes, and peppers; sprinkling it with smoked paprika and salt; drizzling it with chipotle hot sauce and melted butter or avocado oil; and roasting it in the oven. Spoon it over turkey

and dressing, or even brussels sprouts, to wake up tired flavors. Or enjoy savory and satisfying meatless meals of eggplant parmesan or ratatouille. And for a uniquely Floridian dessert, how about strawberry-guava and cream cheese pastries with passion-fruit sauce? It’s also a great time to make your own marmalade. In many ways, ’tis the season for a winter wonderland here in Florida. Those elsewhere may be dreaming of a white Christmas, but we prefer ours in citrusy hues. Here’s hoping for a happy and healthy holiday harvest. Melody Murphy wishes you a Merry Christmas celebrating all things delightful, delicious, and divine.

Photograph by Melody Murphy

super-sweet, fluffy, creamy concoction of oranges, pineapple, coconut, marshmallows, and pecans in a cut-glass bowl. Either way, the sunshiny colors and citrusy flavors brighten winter weather and make the holiday feast even more delicious. In December, Florida citrus varieties in season include Hamlin, Navel, Pineapple, Temple, and Ambersweet oranges; Sunburst and Dancy tangerines; Orlando tangelos; and Duncan, Red, Marsh White, and Flame grapefruit. So much else is in season, too: avocados, bell peppers, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, mushrooms, radishes, snap beans, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes, carambola (starfruit), guava, passion-fruit, and strawberries. This is a feast of flavors, an infinite palette of inspiration in the kitchen. Few think in terms of “a nice Christmas salad” as part of the traditional holiday feast. But with what’s in season right now, this is the perfect time for a fresh and fabulous salad. During the holidays, after so many rich casseroles and indulgent dishes, sometimes you want something lighter and healthier. Not everything delicious has to be decadent. Imagine this festive redand-green wonder: ruby red grapefruit sections, stellar slices of starfruit, and creamy wedges of avocado atop leafy green lettuce, tossed in a citrus vinaigrette and sprinkled with crunchy chopped celery, cucumber, and the peppery bite of thinsliced radishes. Another lovely seasonal salad: strawberries, avocado, and oranges or tangerines, with or without lettuce. Vegetable soup is perfect

December 2016



Snow’s Market How a local rural business grew by Laura McCormick



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he entrance to Snow’s Country Market, located at 6976 North Lecanto Highway in Beverly Hills, is adorned with potted plants and herbs for purchase. Locally made crafts are scattered amongst fruits and veggies on the welcoming porch that doubles as the store’s front entrance. There’s a small butterfly garden by the parking lot that only adds to an already serene environment, which sits just off the busy highway. When you walk through the open door, you are greeted with big smiles from the market team and a hometown feeling that sticks with you long after you’ve hit the road home.

There’s raw honey, bananas, potatoes and pies. Roll butter, tomatoes, bacon and eggs. Block cheese, cucumbers, squash and bell peppers. Apples and pineapple and local collard greens. Customers can choose from a variety of dressings and jams, pickled products and individual wrapped candies. From peas and peanuts to Amish butter and baby carrots, you can find all sorts of food at Snow’s. They even have Coca Cola, root beer and cream soda in bottles! So, how did this little slice of heaven come to be? The owners, Georgia and Kent Snow, first moved to Florida from North Carolina in the

1980s. They worked together in sales and installation and, out of the same building they are in now, they built a thriving wallpaper and blinds store that saw plenty of success during the building boom of the 1990s. After 9/11, though, the market began to sour and many companies went out of business. The Snows began to feel the effects of the market collapsing early on, but by 2007, building new homes had come to a halt and many people were saving every dollar they could just to pay bills and survive. Unfortunately, no one was buying blinds and wallpaper anymore. Just like many other Americans in that time period, things were not easy and the couple began looking at other income options. After some consideration, they decided to start a small produce operation, modeled after the business run by the late Mr. Charlie Oliver, who had owned the store they began in. Mr. Oliver had been in business 30 years and many local residents bought produce from him. After he passed in 2008, no one was there to run the produce store anymore and things closed up. Georgia and Kent thought this could be a good place to start. They contacted the family, negotiated the rent, raised a few hundred dollars to buy their first load of food from the local market, and started selling. Many friends came to buy from them and support them on their journey, and word-of-mouth quickly spread through the community. They soon realized more people were buying fresh produce than

blinds and wallpaper, and — most of all — they were really enjoying their new careers. They opted to trade blinds for vegetables and moved across the parking lot to the store they’re in today. Fast forward several years and they still have both businesses — but clearly, one of the best things they ever did was jump into the local food industry. To keep up with demand, they travel to multiple markets almost daily. You can find them from Atlanta to Tampa picking up fresh produce for their neighborhood customers. Although not everything can be grown here in Florida, the Snows work hard to keep their business as local as possible. Area farmers back up their trucks and unload watermelons from their fields and collard greens from their gardens. The Snows host a monthly fair for local crafters and stay involved in their community as much as possible through sponsorships and seasonal events. Their market alone contributes thousands of dollars weekly to the regional agricultural community and they are proud to offer some of the freshest products around. When you ask Georgia what she loves most about what she does, her response is always “the people.” She says, “I want my customers to feel like family. They are why we do what we do. Without the support of our community, we wouldn’t be where we are today.” And for small farmers all over the country, it’s establishments like these, and people like the Snows, that help to fill in the

missing link of our local food distribution system. Looking for the perfect place to get your Christmas tree this year? Stop by Snow’s and select from hundreds of trees of all sizes, where you’re sure to find the perfect one for your home or office. Bring the whole family. Visit for updated information on specials and sales and to join their mailing list, or find them on Facebook. They are open 8am-7pm every day. Laura McCormick owns Rose Blossom Farm in Citra and operates the Florida Grub Hub with business partner Audrey Hamberger at 304 S Magnolia Ave., Ocala, http://

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December 2016



Menu Planning Ă la Wild by Jeri Baldwin


cross the vast sweep of Earth, into the hinterlands, the nooks and crannies, the sweeps and crevices, into hedgerows, out to boundaries, over berms, by windbreaks, beside still waters, over crests and onto verges, through sections, townships, and ranges, tiny thread-sized components of live matter struggle toward light, water, and warmth. If their struggle succeeds, a plant germinates in the tiniest available space, depending on the light, water, and warmth, as well as a few cups of soil. That miracle of growth in all its forms, flavors, and enrichment enabled early humans to survive by foraging. They foraged plants, fruits, eggs, berries, fish and shellfish that grew abundantly wherever their feet carried them.



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Humans learned to experiment and test the growth they found, and decide what would nourish and sustain them rather than kill or disable. People walked and gathered, and kept themselves alive for millennia by relying on bounty which grew for the harvesting. Thousands of years passed, and folks drifted away from foraging their foods because they learned to plant, tend, grow, and harvest food in the same place. Saving seeds and learning to grow rich soil to cultivate vegetables, fruits, and herbs gave humans the choice to forage or farm. Constant travel for food to stay alive became unnecessary. The 21st century finds people again seeking food by foraging — not that foraging is needed to stay alive, unless

the entire human system breaks down, and foraging again is needed to keep people alive. Other than the survivalist view, foraging offers quite a few satisfying reasons to don hiking shoes, sling a pack across one’s back, and set out to find what the parks, forests, waters, and woods offer for a meal. Folks forage to connect with nature, to satisfy their deep itch to go into the quiet and healing atmosphere of woods and waters. Many people strike out to learn where their food comes from. They wish to teach their children how food grows, what is needed to put food onto their plates if grocery markets are not near. Another reason foraging grows ever more popular is because people wish to expand their food choices. Variety is increasingly

non-existent in food markets, with but a small percentage of kinds available. For example, there are about 5,000 varieties of potato that have been developed around the world, but fewer than 80 kinds are readily available to purchase for planting or grocery shopping. Other advantages of foraging include participating in the balance, harmony, and freedom offered in the outdoors. Many teachers and child behavior authorities urge parents or other adults to take their children into green spaces and clear air, warning of the irreparable harm which children, and society, will suffer if children do not have intimate acquaintance with green spaces and its resultant benefits. A most satisfying reason foragers often mention is the lovely, fresh flavor of harvested food eaten almost immediately, sitting in the sun and breeze. North Florida offers abundant foods for foraging. Wild foods foraging workshops are available in many places. Green plants as vegetables and medicinal herbs abound. Cleavers, lambs quarters, smilax, chickweed, miner’s lettuce, amaranth, native watercress, and swamp cabbage are a few of dozens and dozens. Fresh wild greens steamed offer taste indeed, as a main dish or simply as a side for a larger meal. Among berries available in our area are blackberries, dew berries, huckleberries, wild persimmon, wild plum, elderberries, beauty berry, and may haw. Fruits can be enjoyed whole or preserved as jams and jellies for use on toast or biscuits. Truly delectable wine can be brewed with berries if one’s tastes allow for adult beverages. Eggs are universally edible, so eggs found in any wild nests offer good taste and protein. They may be prepared in as many ways as chicken eggs are offered. Foraging is a wonderful test of observational skills. Foragers will never want for sustenance in the woods or wild places, physically, mentally, socially, or spiritually.

Digging Deeper into Foraging


ake a slow walk in the woods, park, or outdoors; walk with children, family, friends, etc. Do this especially if you haven’t walked outdoors very much. Do these walks until you are comfortable being outside. You will be more prepared to forage for wild foods if you are at ease in the outdoors. To learn basic Florida wild foods, order from your local bookstore or from Florida’s Edible Wild Plants, by Peggy Sias Lantz and Florida’s Incredible Wild Edibles, by Richard Deuerling. These two books are inexpensive, but will give you good beginning wild foods knowledge. If you decide wild foods aren’t for you, you have spent very little. An excellent, beautiful book which combines foraging and cooking is The New Wildcrafter Cuisine: Exploring the Exotic Gastronomy of Local Terroir, by Pascal Bauder. Many of Florida’s State Parks offer wild foods foraging walks at different times of the year. Enroll in the “Wild Foods Walk and Cookout,” at Crones’ Cradle Conserve with Lee Solomon, who has led foraging walks for 30 years. The workshop is in Spring, 2017 with 12 spots. To enroll, call 352-595-3377. Below: Dandelion greens.

Jeri Baldwin fondly remembers Euell Gibbons and considers his books about foraging to be among the best on the subject.

December 2016



Digging into Artichokes as an Alternative Crop by Brad Buck


hile California grows 99 percent of the nation’s artichokes, the edible plant high in antioxidants might get a chance to grow in the Sunshine State, if a UF/IFAS researcher gets good results from his field trials. Artichokes flourish in a cool environment, so a warm winter would present an obstacle for Florida growers. Artichokes generally require at least 250 cumulative hours cooler than 50 degrees for bud formation. Therefore, flowering must be artificially



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induced to produce artichokes in Florida. Shinsuke Agehara, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of horticultural sciences, thinks he can overcome those barriers. Based at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center in Balm, Florida, Agehara recently received a nearly $90,000 federal grant to study how to establish an artichoke system for Florida growers. Agehara tried to grow artichokes in fields at the Gulf Coast REC last winter. To overcome the chilling requirements of artichokes, he treated young plants with gibberellic acid, a plant hormone that can induce the expression of the same genes activated by cold weather. This treatment artificially induced bud formation and produced beautiful artichoke buds in early spring. He’s going to continue to study this hormone treatment and other management practices to improve the productivity of artichokes this winter. Agehara is interested in trying to help Florida farmers grow artichokes because small growers want alternative crops that are attractive and profitable. The retail price of an artichoke can be up to $5, and each plant can produce several buds, he said. Thus, the production value of artichokes is very high. Additionally, consumers like artichokes because they’re high in antioxidants and nutrients, including folate, dietary fiber and vitamins C and K. “The appeal of the artichoke in the global food market would be the high antioxidant value, as consumers are becoming more aware of health benefits of ‘functional food’ in recent years,” Agehara said. “In the local food market, the supply of locally grown artichokes will be appealing, as almost all of U.S. artichokes are produced in California, and artichokes do not have good shelf life.” He said there has been considerable interest in “locally grown artichokes by Italian restaurants in Tampa.” Brad Buck is a Science Writer at the University of Florida. He can be reached at 352-294-3303, Shinsuke Agehara can be reached at 813-633-4123,

Movies about Farmers The Astronaut Farmer, 2006 Charles Farmer is a former astronaut-in-training who had to resign from NASA in order to take of his family’s failing Texas ranch. He builds a rocket in his barn. Director: Michael Polish Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Virginia Madsen, Bruce Dern 104 minutes, PG IMDB rating: 6.3/10 Trailer: https://youtu. be/390WaPcxnFI At Any Price, 2012 A film about agribusiness. A farmer plants GMO seeds, and his son doesn’t want to join the family business but wants to race cars. Director: Ramin Bahrani Stars: Dennis Quaid, Zac Efron, Kim Dickens 105 minutes, R IMDB rating: 5.7/10 Trailer: pCejqfqoQZA Babe, 1995 Based on Dick KingSmith’s novel, Babe: The Gallant Pig, the movie is about an orphaned piglet who is given as a prize at the county fair. Learning to herd sheep becomes a skill that takes him places. Director: Chris Noonan Stars: James Cromwell, Magda Szubanski, Christine Cavanaugh 91 minutes, G IMDB rating: 6.8/10

Trailer: https://youtu. be/0zHmeTeLgMY The Big Country, 1958 A New Englander arrives in the Old West, where he becomes embroiled in a feud between two families over a valuable patch of land. Director: William Wyler Stars: Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, Jean Simmons, Carroll Baker, Burl Ives 165 minutes IMDB rating: 7.9/10 Trailer: rY7PSt91TKI Charlotte’s Web, 1973 This is an animated musical film based on E. B. White’s book of the same name. Wilbur, the runt of the litter, is a pig that fears being sold and eaten for Christmas. Charlotte, a spider, devises a plan to save him. Family film. Directors: Charles A. Nichols, Iwao Takamoto Stars: Debbie Reynolds, Henry Gibson, Paul Lynde 94 minutes, G IMDB rating: 6.9/10 Trailer: https://youtu. be/63Xh4T0qb-Y 2006 remake with Dakota Fanning, Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, 97 minutes, G Country, 1984 Gilbert Ivey and his wife Jewell are farmers. They seem to be working against the odds, produc-

ing no financial surplus. Gilbert has lost hope of ever becoming prosperous, but his wife decides to fight for her family. Director: Richard Pearce Stars: Jessica Lange, Sam Shepard, Wilford Brimley, Matt Clark 105 minutes, PG IMDB rating: 6.8/10 Days of Heaven, 1978 A hot-tempered farm laborer convinces the woman he loves to marry their rich but dying boss so that they can have a claim to his fortune. Director: Terrence Malick Stars: Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Sam Shepard, Linda Manz 94 minutes, PG IMDB rating: 8.0/10 Trailer: LlZDsMCW0U4 The Egg and I, 1947 On their wedding night, Bob informs his new bride, Betty, that he has bought a chicken farm. An abandoned chicken farm, to be exact, which is obvious when the two move in. Hilarity ensues — with Ma & Pa Kettle too! Director: Chester Erskine Stars: Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray, Marjorie Main, Louise Allbritton 108 minutes IMDB rating: 7.2/10 Trailer: p8z_kOuAG0w

The Farmer’s Wife, 1928 A silent film. After his daughter weds, a middleaged widower with a profitable farm decides to remarry but finds choosing a suitable mate a problematic process. Director: Alfred Hitchcock Stars: Jameson Thomas, Lillian Hall-Davis, Gordon Harker 129 minutes IMDB rating: 6.0/10 Trailer: H2wYh6HfdQQ Field of Dreams, 1989 An Iowa corn farmer, hearing voices, interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields. He does. Crowds attend, along with some magic and life changes. The book is based on W. P. Kinsella’s novel, Shoeless Joe. Director: Phil Alden Robinson Stars: Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Amy Madigan, Burt Lancaster, Ray Liotta 107 minutes, PG IMDB rating: 7.5/10 Trailer: https://youtu. be/5Ay5GqJwHF8 Friendly Persuasion, 1956 The pacifist beliefs of a Quaker family are tested during the Civil War. Director: William Wyler Stars: Gary Cooper, Dorothy McGuire, Anthony Perkins

December 2016



137 minutes IMDB rating: 7.5/10 Trailer: https://youtu. be/-yAgPioTtjk Giant, 1956 Based on the novel by Edna Ferber, this sprawling epic covers the life of a Texas cattle rancher and his family and associates. Director: George Stevens Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Carroll Baker 201 minutes IMDB rating: 7.7/10 Trailer: https://youtu. be/-n9p6qb7kKI The Grapes of Wrath, 1940 A poor Midwest family is forced off their land. They travel to California seeking a better life, and suffer the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression. Director: John Ford Stars: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine 129 minutes IMDB rating: 8.1/10 Trailer: https://youtu. be/5ayi81QMuak The Green Promise, 1949 A stubborn old farmer won’t listen to anyone about how to improve the efficiency of his farm with modern methods. His three daughters live with him and the expected adventures ensue. Director: William D. Russell Stars: Marguerite Chapman, Walter Brennan, Natalie Wood, Robert Paige 93 minutes IMDB rating: 6.3/10 Trailer: https://youtu. be/e1W0-HR_m9s



The Horse Whisperer, 1998 The mother of a severely traumatized daughter enlists the aid of a unique horse trainer to help the girl’s equally injured horse. Director: Robert Redford Stars: Robert Redford, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sam Neill, Dianne Wiest, Scarlett Johansson 170 minutes, PG-13 IMDB rating: 6.6/10 Trailer: https://youtu. be/W_1dKoCQlxY Miles from Home, 1988 Two brothers who are forced off their farm in the debt-stricken Midwest become folk heroes when they begin robbing the banks that have been foreclosing on farmers. Director: Gary Sinise Stars: Richard Gere, Penelope Ann Miller, Brian Dennehy, Jason Campbell 108 minutes, R IMDB rating: 5.6/10 Trailer: https://youtu. be/9mx_sSSHEeM

son, Margaret O’Brien 105 minutes IMDB rating: 7.7/10 Trailer: https://youtu. be/dpESnJG2vHI Out of Africa, 1985 In 20th-century colonial Kenya, a Danish baroness/plantation owner has a passionate love affair with a free-spirited biggame hunter. Director: Sydney Pollack Stars: Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Michael Kitchen 161 minutes, PG IMDB rating: 7.2/10 Trailer: https://youtu. be/5RrEv9-ks2Y

Our Idiot Brother, 2011 As restrictions on marijuana are being reconsidered nationwide, this comedy about a biodynamic pot-growing farmer is timely. Director: Jesse Perets Stars: Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel 90 minutes, R IMDB rating: 6.4/10 Trailer: https://youtu. be/vUxpKgJVT0Y

A Painted House, 2003 A young boy, his family, and the migrant workers they hire to work their cotton farm struggle against difficult odds to raise and sell the crop. Meanwhile, the boy dreams of living in better conditions. However, with this particularly tough farming season, the boy learns that his challenges guide him in discovering who he really is. Based on the novel by John Grisham. Director: Alfonso Arau Stars: Scott Glenn, Arija Bareikis, Robert Sean Leonard, Melinda Dillon 97 minutes, TV movie IMDB rating: 6.6/10 Trailer: https://youtu. be/VKL84m0ejwk

Our Vines Have Tender Grapes, 1945 Life lessons on a Wisconsin farm, seen through the eyes of a little girl. Director: Roy Rowland Stars: Edward G. Robin-

Places in the Heart, 1984 After her husband dies in an accident, Edna Spalding finds herself penniless during the Great Depression. She eventually turns the property into a profit-

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able cotton farm with the help of a few unexpected friends. Director: Robert Benton Stars: Sally Field, Amy Madigan, Danny Glover, John Malkovich, Ed Harris. 111 minutes, PG IMDB rating: 7.3/10 Trailer: https://youtu. be/TIuyj1rkRsU The River, 1984 A farming family battles severe storms, a bank is threatening to repossess their farm, and there are other hard times in a battle to save and hold onto their farm. Director: Mark Rydell Stars: Mel Gibson, Sissy Spacek, Shane Bailey, Scott Glenn, Becky Jo Lynch 122 minutes, PG-13 IMDB rating: 6.3/10 Trailer: https://youtu. be/mySVrtf_ubw Witness, 1985 John Book isn’t really a farmer, he’s a Philadelphia detective pretending to be an Amish farmer to protect a young boy who has witnessed a murder. He takes on farming duties admirably. Director: Peter Weir Stars: Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, Lukas Haas 112 minutes, R IMDB rating: 7.4/10 Trailer: https://youtu. be/9GxFab5uMPc Many of these films are available for viewing on YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. We hope you enjoy a long and restful Christmas and New Year’s holiday!

Calendar of Events EVENTS: WORKSHOPS, MEETINGS, CLASSES, CONFERENCES, ETC. Friday, December 2 Deadline for inclusion in the Growers 2017 Agriculture Directory that lists growers of fruit and fruit trees, vegetables, ornamental plants, and miscellaneous products/services (firewood, honey, peanuts, cane syrup, garden prep, tractor service) who sell directly to the public. Also livestock and hay producers. Products must be approved by the Cottage Food law or licensed through FDACS and labeled. If you were in the Directory last year, call 352-955-2402 to renew your listing. Go to to fill out the form online. December 2-4 Southern Cowboy Classic. All day. Southeastern Livestock Pavilion, 2232 NE Jacksonville Rd., Ocala, 352671-8600.

Saturday, December 3 1. Cold Hardy Citrus Workshop. $10, 9:30-11:30. Suwannee Valley Ag Extension, 8202 County Rd., 417, Live Oak. 386-362-1725, http://bit. ly/2gl12UB. 2. In search of the Perfect Tomato. $5/household, 9-10:30, Orange County Extension, 6021 S. Conway Rd., Orlando, 3. Wreath Workshop. $35, 10am. Superior Landscape & Garden Center, 5300 North U.S. Hwy. 27, Ocala, 352368-6619, Monday, December 5 1. Deadine for public comment

on the draft North Florida Regional Water Supply Plan. http://bit. ly/2djisDm. 2. Pesticide Exam; testing starts promptly at 9am. Bartow. 863-519-1049, and http://bit. ly/2gIEtgQ. Tuesday, December 6 1. CRDF Soil Microbial Amendment Field Day, evaluating 5 soil microbe amendment products to promote tree health in the presence of HLB. Products include: Serenade Soil, Aliette, Quantam, BioFlourish, Ecofriendly Products. Free, 10-12, register by 12/5 at 772-462-1628. Event at Premier Citrus Capron Trail, 14885 Indrio Rd., Ft. Pierce. 2. Florida Poinsettia Industry Short Course. $50/preregistration or $60 at the door. 8:30-3:30, UF Environmental Horticulture Dept. Greenhouses, 2475 Memorial Rd., Gainesville, 3. Food Safety and Quality Program (ServSafeÂŽ), 8:30-4:30, Gainesville. 888-232-8723, http://tinyurl. com/nmdc3sc. 4. Levy Soil and Water Conservation District meeting. 6:30pm, 625 N. Hathaway Ave., Bronson, http:// 5. Springs Academy Tuesdays. Lecture theme: Springs chemistry: general, nutrients, trace contaminants, groundwater recharge, spring flows. Noon, $5. North Florida Springs Environmental Center, 99 NW 1st Ave., High Springs, 32643, http://bit. ly/2fpuk65.

December 2016



Wednesday, December 7 1. Citrus Springs Advisory Council Meeting, 9am, Citrus Springs Community Center, 1570 W. Citrus Springs Blvd., 352-465-7007. 2. Green Industries Best Management Practices, Bartow. 863-5191049, 3. Plant Clinic: Composting. 6-7:30, Orange County Extension, 6021 S. Conway Rd., Orlando, $5/household preregistration, Thursday, December 8 1. Green Industries Best Management Practices (GI-BMP). Certification program for proper fertilization, pest control, irrigation, and cultural practices for landscape and pest control professionals. $10, 7:45-4. CEUs available. Orange County Extension, 6021 S. Conway Rd., Orlando, 407-254-9214, 2. Honeybee Technical Council Public Meeting. Open to all. 1-4, Doyle Conner Bldg. Auditorium, 1911 SW 34th St., Gainesville, 352-395-4636, 3. Northwest Florida Water Management District meeting, 1pm,

District HQ, 81 Water Management Dr., Havana, FL, 4. Suwannee Valley Watermelon Institute, 10-12 Food Safety Session (optional), 1-7pm (Watermelon Inst. meeting). Educational sessions, industry trade show, dinner. No charge. Straughn IFAS Extension Professional Development Center, 2142 Shealy Dr., Gainesville, 386-362-1725. Friday, December 9 Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training Course. $95-150 includes lunch and certification. Open to fruit and vegetable growers and others interested in learning about the Food Safety Modernization Act, Produce Safety Rule, Good Agriculture Practices, etc. Dade Extension, 18710 SW 288 St., Homestead, Saturday, December 10 Crones’ Cradle Natural Foods Gala, 10-3. Chefs prepare food samples. Music, crafts, demonstrations. $2/ admission, $2/sample. Crones Cradle Conserve, 6411 NE 217 Pl., Citra, 352595-3377,

Monday, December 12 Plant Clinic. Bring your questions, plant samples, problems. 9-3, Government Annex (Sheriff), corner of Morse Blvd. and CR 466, The Villages. Every Monday. Tuesday, December 13 1. Dixie Soil and Water Conservation District Board meeting. 6:307:30, Cypress Inn Restaurant, Cross City. 2. FDACS Pesticide License Exam Session. Sumter County Extension, 7620 FL-471, #2, Bushnell, http:// Repeated Tuesday, January 10. 3. Hydroponic Leafy Greens Field Day. Crop and variety selection, production systems, crop scheduling, marketing opportunities and trends, post-harvest handling and packaging. $35 includes lunch, 10-3, Suwannee Valley Ag Extension, 8202 County Rd., 417, Live Oak. 386-362-1725, http://bit. ly/2fTQQSm. 4. Landscape U: Diagnosing Abiotic and Nutrient Deficienty. CEUs available. 8-12, Orange County Extension, 6021 S. Conway Rd., Orlando, 101 SW 57th Ave., Ocala

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407-254-9214, This class is continued with additional sessions on Feb. 21 (Diagnosing Problems of Trees, Shrubs and Groundcovers); Mar. 21 (Diagnosing Problems with Turfgrass); and Apr. 11 (specialist Update). $20 per class. 5. Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District Board meeting, 9am, USDA Ocala Service Center, 2441 NE Third St., Suite 204-2, Ocala, Information: Ann Bishop, 352-622-3971, x.112. 6. St. Johns River Water Management District Governing Board meeting, 9am, District headquarters, 4049 Reid St., Palatka. Information: Missy McDermont, 386-329-4214, Upcoming meetings (second Tuesday): Jan. 10, Feb. 14, Mar. 14, Apr. 11, May 9, June 13, July 11.

more. 8-5, Suwannee Valley Ag Extension, 8202 County Rd., 417, Live Oak. 386-362-1725,

Wednesday, December 14 1. Irrigation improvements for homeowners. 12:45, Belvedere Library, The Villages. RSVP/info: 2. Weather Seminar. Winter weather watch, freeze protection, citrus leaf freezing information, FAWN management tools, more. 2 CEUs for Certified Crop Advisors, lunch included. Held at Immokalee IFAS Center, 10-1. 863-6744092.

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Thursday, December 15 Core and Private Applicator Exam Prep ($25), and Worker Protection Standard Train the Trainer ($20). CEUs. Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, 14625 CR 672, Wimauma, 33598, 941-722-4524,

Tuesday, February 7 Springs Academy Tuesdays. Lecture theme: Springs advocacy: local, state, national. Noon, $5. North Florida Springs Environmental Center, 99 NW 1st Ave., High Springs, 32643, February 8-12 Florida Earthskills Gathering. Workshops on many pioneer skills including hide tanning and edible mushrooms. Attend for part of a day or spend several days. Prairie Creek

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Tuesday, December 20 Gilchrist Soil and Water Conservation District meeting. 6:30pm, Akins BBQ, Bell. Tuesday, January 3 Springs Academy Tuesdays. Lecture theme: Springs stresses: groundwater pumping, fertilizers, wastewater disposal, recreation. Noon, $5. North Florida Springs Environmental Center, 99 NW 1st Ave., High Springs, 32643, http:// Tuesday, January 10 Pasture and Paddock Management Workshop, 6:30pm, Extension Office in Bronson. 352-486-5131 to reserve your space. Thursday, January 19 Florida History from Palmetto Leaves to the Yearling to the River of Grass. 2pm, Betty Jean Steinhouse, Lady Lake Library, 2nd Fl., 225 W. Guava St., Lady Lake. Reservations required, 352-259-4359, January 21-24 Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition, Broward County Convention Center, Tuesday, January 31 Hydroponic Nutrient and Water Management for Protected Agriculture Systems. Plant nutrient basics, water quality and media selections, mixing fertilizer, pH, injectors,

December 2016



Lodge, Hwy. 20, Hawthorne. Information: Crones Cradle Conserve, 6411 NE 217 Pl., Citra, 352-595-3377, www. February 9-20 Florida State Fair, Tampa at I-4 and U.S. Hwy. 301. Info/813-621-7821, Box office/813-627-4360. Animals, art/ craft competitions and marketplace, batcopter rides, exhibits, fireworks, learning garden, headline concerts, horticulture, petting zoo, steam enwww. Friday, February 10 Small Scale Mushroom Production. Mushroom ID, fruiting, problems; shiitake log production; shiitake on natural logs inoculation; oyster in bag production; handling and processing; marketing. $120 before 1/20. 8:15-4:30, Suwannee Valley Ag Extension Center, 8202 Creek 417, Live Oak, 386-362-1725, Dates Vary Citrus County Extension Svc. Remote Plant Clinic Dates and Loca-

tions. Every Tuesday, 1pm: Lakes Region Library. Fourth Tuesday, 2pm: Homosassa Library; alternating Tuesdays at Extension Office. First Wednesday, 2pm: Floral City Library. Second Wednesday, 1:30pm: Central Ridge Library. Third Wednesday, 1pm, Citrus Springs Library. Second Friday: 1:30pm, Coastal Region Library. Information: Citrus County Extension Svc., 3650 W. Sovereign Path, Suite 1, Lecanto, FL 34461, 352-527-5700, www. Every Monday Plant Clinic. Bring your questions, plant samples, problems. 9-3, Government Annex (Sheriff), corner of Morse Blvd. and CR 466, The Villages. Every Wednesday Farm baskets of vegetables, jams, jellies, etc., are delivered to the Ocala Public Library every Wednesday at 2:30pm. $25-50. Reserve in advance. Crones Cradle Conserve, 6411 NE 217th Pl., Citra, 352-595-3377, www.

Every Saturday Farmstead Saturdays, 9-3. Free admission. Lunch and pastries available. Crones Cradle Conserve, 6411 NE 217 Pl., Citra, 352-595-3377, www.

EXHIBITS Now through January 15, 2017 Wicked Plants exhibit featuring more than 100 of the world’s most diabolical botanicals, from plants that merely smell like death to those that can actually cause it. Based on Amy Stewart’s book Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother, the exhibit opens into the garden of an abandoned Victorian house. Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesvile, www. Now through March 18 Water Ways, presented by the Smithsonian’s Traveling Exhibition Service. Images, videos, information, interactive elements. Ding Darling Wildlife Society, Oct. 29-Dec. 10, Sanibel; His-


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toric Courthouse, Okeechobee, Dec. 17-Jan. 28; Sulphur Springs Museum, Tampa, Feb. 4-Mar. 18.

FREE ONLINE CLASSES Webinar Recordings 1. Citrus Worker Training Online. If you only need to train workers (and not handlers) for the new Worker Protection Standard (WPS), a website from Iowa State University can provide this training online at no cost. The program is EPA approved and documentation of training will be provided. The website is: http:// workerprotection/. If you will need to train workers and handlers, then you will need to take the complete EPA approved WPS Train the Trainer course as offered in Bartow or Plant City. 2. Cover Crop Options for Hot and High Humidity Areas, http://bit. ly/2ahkP61. 3. Organic Seed Production webinar series. 4. Promoting Specialty Crops as

Local. Communicating with consumers. 5. Specialty Crops Program webinar series. 6. Soil Health Impacts on Pest Management. 2pm. http://bit. ly/2bMiPCe. 7. Sustainable Agricultural Research & Education (SARE) offers classes on sustainable agriculture, strategic farm planning and marketing, and more. 8. USDA topics including funding and initiatives. Upcoming and past webinars are listed; they are eventually archived and available for tuning in later.

GRANTS, SCHOLARSHIPS, OTHER FUNDING First-Come, First-Served USDA, Farmers Market Coalition free SNAP EBT equipment program. FMC will cover the costs of purchasing or renting equipment and services (set-up costs, monthly service

fees, wireless fees) for up to three years. Deadline December 8 1. Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. For organizations throughout the U.S. that train beginning farmers/ranchers through workshops, educational teams, training, technical assistance. At least 25% of the total project cost must come through non-federal funding or in-kind support. According to the USDA’s most recent Ag Census data, the number of young people entering farming continues to decline, but the number of new farmers/ranchers age 35+ continues to increase. This program is for new farmers of all ages and production choices. 2. Farm to School program. $5 million in grants each year on a competitive basis to schools, nonprofits, state and local agencies, agricultural producers, and Indian tribal organizations to increase local food procurement for school meal programs and to expand educational activities on agriculture and food. Planning grants are

December 2016



for schools or school districts just getting started on farm to school activities. Implementation grants enable schools or school districts to expand or further develop existing farm to school programs. Support service grants allow community partners such as non-profit entities, Indian tribal nations, state and local agencies, and agriculture producers to provide support to schools in their efforts to bring local products into the cafeteria and for other farm

to school activities. Training grants are intended for eligible entities to support trainings that strengthen farm to school supply chains, or trainings that provide technical assistance in the area of local procurement, food safety, culinary education, and/or integration of ag-based curriculum. All four grant types require matching funds in the form of 25 percent of the total project cost. www.

Deadline December 12 Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program. To support projects to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables among low-income consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by providing incentives at the point of purchase. Three categories of projects: (1) FINI Pilot Projects (awards not to exceed a total of $100,000 over one year); (2) Multi-year, community-based FINI Projects (awards not to exceed a total of $500,000 over no more than four years); and (3) Multi-year, FINI Large-Scale Projects (awards of $500,000 or more over no more than four years). http:// Deadline December 15 USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant funding to hep train the next generation of ag producers through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Helps fund organizations implementing programs throughout the United States that train beginning farmers and ranchers, through workshops, educational teams, training and technical assistance. Eligible applicants include collaborative state, tribal, local or regionally-based networks or partnerships of public or private entities such as state cooperative extension services, community-based organizations, colleges or universities; and other organizations providing services to beginning farmers and ranchers. http://bit. ly/2eIBxuR. Deadline December 31 Walmart Community Grants, $250-2,500. Open to nonprofits, government entities, public or private schools, church or other faith-based organization. Four core areas: Hunger relief/ healthy eating, sustainability, women’s economic empowerment, opportunity; programs don’t have to align with those areas but must be geared toward strengthening local communities. Deadline January 11 Derelict Vessel Removal Grants. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Phil Horning, 850-6179540,



The Ag Mag

Deadline January 16 Pre-prosals due for the Seeding Solutions grants. Up to $1,000,000 for research proposals addressing some of today’s most monumental food and ag challenges: food waste and loss, protein challenge, water scarcity, innovation pathways to sustainability, healthy soils/thriving farms, urban food systems, “making my plate your plate.” Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research,



ing applications to add more farmers and markets to their network. This is to encourage SNAP recipients to redeem their benefits at farmers’ markets and at farms that sell direct to consumers. Matching funds. 352-377-6355, x.125,


Deadline March 31 Grants and Guaranteed Loans for Renewable Energy Production and Energy Efficiency Improvements for farms and rural small businesses. Grants can be used to improve energy efficiency or used to assist in purchasing wind, solar, geothermal or other renewable energy systems, and to help farmers with energy audits and renewable energy plannin. http://bit. ly/2fGgtbC. No Specific Deadline 1. American Heart Association Teaching Garden Grant. Open to schools. The AHA provides the materials for planting day, garden beds, organic soil, seedlings and plants, cooking demonstrations, and other activities; Teaching Garden Took Kit including school garden manual, lesson plans, and more. 2. Fresh Access Bucks is seek-

Deadlines Vary 1. Florida Sea Grant. If you are interested in marine and coastal work, check in with the Florida Sea Grant program, as new positions are posted Please return by Efrequently. linda@farmerandranc about/jobs/ orindusfax to 941-361 2. Internships in the beef try. Many opportunities; some include housing. APPROVED AS IS internship-opportunities/ 3. UF/IFAS. Extension agents, APPROVED WITH dairy cattle assistants, water resources agents, horticulture agents, veterinary CHANGES support, professors, teaching assistants, much more. Check out the list at Signature listing/.

Deadlines Vary 1. Florida Agricultural Scholarships Online. Check this web site often for announcements of new awards. www. 2. Many scholarships connected with the Florida State Fair: http:// www.floridaagriculturescholarships. com/fairsshows.html 3. USDA grants, loans, and other support. Many programs are open to individual and family farmers, even people starting out. Microloans are fast tracked. There are other programs open to farmers’ markets, Send your agriculture- and gardeningnonprofits, and educational providers. related Calendar listings to TheAgMag@ JUNE 2016 usdahome?navid=KYF_GRANTS.


Deadline January 19 NIFA Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative. OREI funds high-priority research, education and extension projects that enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic products. Eligible entities include Land-Grant and other research universities, federal agencies, national laboratories, state agricultural experiment stations, and research foundations and other private researchers. Priority areas include biological, physical and social science research, including economics. Funded projects will aid farmers and ranchers with whole-farm planning by delivering practical research-based information and improve the ability for growers to develop the Organic System Plan required for certification.


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Cocoon Christmas Cookies by Clark Dougherty

Ingredients: 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) 1/3 cups sugar 2 tbsp pure vanilla extract 2 tbsp Amaretto, Grand Marnier, or Frangelica (or water) 1 cup very finely chopped pecans 2 cups flour (all-purpose but not self-rising)

Directions: Let butter soften to room temperature. In a large bowl, cream softened butter with sugar while adding vanilla and spirits. Blend flour slowly into batter. Add pecans, incorporating with hands to fully distribute evenly. Spread batter across sides and bottom of bowl; cover and refrigerate overnight. Pre-heat oven to 325ºF. Remove a small working portion of the batter from the refrigerated bowl; return bowl to refrigerator; repeat until the batter is depleted. Working quickly to not soften batter, roll small pieces of batter between hands or with fingertips to a cylindrical cocoon shape no longer than two inches and a half-inch thick. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet rapidly — at least 3 dozen (and with smaller cocoons as many as 6 dozen) cookies will fit on a large cookie sheet. Bake for 13-14 minutes, remove from oven, and flip over each individual cocoon on the cookie sheet so the browned side is up. Do not return cookie sheet to the oven, but leave cocoons on cookie sheet for 15 minutes or more, to bake a little further on the warm cookie sheet; then store in an airtight container until ready to dust as follows. When totally cool to the touch, roll the cocoons in 10x powdered or Confectioner’s sugar. Enjoy!



The Ag Mag

Cranberry Relish by Jeri Baldwin

Ingredients: 2 oranges, peeled, segments pulled apart 2½ cups cranberries, minced (or semi-pureed in a food-processor) 3 pkgs orange Jell-o 3 cups hot water 2 tbsp wild orange juice or lemon juice 1 cup sugar Pinch salt 1½ cups celery, finely chopped 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained 1 cup pecans, finely chopped 1 apple, finely diced

Directions: In a large bowl, combine Jell-o and hot water. Add wild orange or lemon, stir. Add sugar and salt, stir. Add orange and cranberry, stir. Add remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and allow it to set (usually several hours). FULL SERVICE GARDEN CENTER


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December 2016 "The Ag Mag"