Episode 817 – America’s Heartland

Episode 817 – America’s Heartland

America’s Heartland is made
possible by: The United Soybean Board whose “Common
Ground” program creates conversations to help
consumers get the facts about farming and food. There’s more at:
findourcommonground.com. The American Farm Bureau
Foundation for Agriculture. Dedicated to building
greater awareness and understanding of agriculture
through education and engagement. More information at:
agfoundation.org. Farm Credit – financing
agriculture and rural America since 1916. Farm Credit is cooperatively
owned by America’s farmers and ranchers. Learn more at
farmcredit.com. The Fund for Agriculture
Education – A fund created by KVIE to support America’s
Heartland programming. Contributors include the
following – ♪ Hi, I’m Sarah Gardner. Cranberries have been an
important crop here in New England since way before the
American Revolution. We’ll take you to
Massachusetts where the bright, red berries are a colorful crop
for one farm family. I’m Rob Stewart. We usually greet you from
the middle of a farm or a ranch all across the country
and this is no exception. Growing behind me inside
this warehouse are mushrooms. The mad rush for
mushrooms is on. Hi, I’m Sharon Vaknin. We’re serving up a true
American original. Summer squash is loved
by gardeners across the country. And we’ll show you a few
recipes that will bring delicious dishes
to your table. What are the institutions
in your town? The place that gave your
community its vibe or its culture. Hi I’m Jason Shoultz, coming up I’ll take you to
Kansas to find out why that place
in many small towns is the cattle sale barn   ♪ You can see it in the eyes
  of every woman and man ♪   ♪ in America’s Heartland
  living close to the land. ♪   ♪ There’s a love
  for the country ♪   ♪ and a pride in the brand ♪   ♪ in America’s Heartland
  living close, ♪   ♪close to the land ♪ ♪   Want a fruit that’s truly American? Look no further
than the cranberry. The bright red berries were
used for food and fabric dyes well before the first
European settlers arrived. Cranberries are an important
part of the history here – and the history of one
particular family. We landed with the
Mayflower in 1620, the surname Walker
came in 1635, and my mother’s family
landed in 1632. That’s hundreds of
years of a tradition. Annie Walker is the owner of
“Annie’s Crannies” cranberry farm on Massachusetts’
Cape Cod. It’s a unique farming
operation dating back before the American Revolution. This land has only been
worked by the Nobscussett Indian Tribe, the
Hall family, and the Walker Family. A number of native varieties
of cranberries grow in the wetland bogs of
Massachusetts. The state has some fourteen
thousand acres devoted to the bright red fruit. What I grow is called
Howes, H-O-W-E-S. The Howes berry was cross
pollinated and cultivated on Scargo Lake here
in Dennis in 1847. Cranberry production here is
so rooted in antiquity that even crop yields are
measured differently. No “bushels” here…think
instead of “barrels” like those found on old sailing
ships. A barrel is approximately
a hundred pounds. I think the average for
Howes is about 120 barrels an acre. And on my best year I’ve
grown over 450 barrels to the acre of Howes. There are two methods of
harvesting cranberries “wet pick” and “dry pick.” The wet pick cranberries
represent about 95 percent of all the cranberries
grown in Massachusetts. They’re ultimately going to
be used in juice, sauce, sweet and dry cranberries
– those sort of products. And it’s a three
day process. The first day they
flood the bog. Then they drive out
with harvest machines, and they literally knock the
cranberries off the vines. And they float to the
surface because they have air pockets inside of them. And then the third part of
it they corral the fruit and pump it off of the bog
and into the trucks. Annie, who prefers selling
cranberries as fresh fruit, employs the dry pick
method using a motorized, walk-behind harvester. It’s got teeth on the front,
which is like combing your hair. So, when you dry pick you
always go in the same direction around clockwise. And the paddle push the
berries up into a burlap bag. She also uses a two-handed
comb scoop for the edges of the bog. What it does it that
leaves the vine, it pulls up all the runners,
and then I go back and I hand prune this with a
pruning rake to get rid of these runners. The crop eventually makes it
way to a “separator” this one built more than a
hundred years ago. When they go in the
separator there’s bounce boards. A good dry berry bounces. They have chances to hit the
board and bounce forward. If they hit the board and
it doesn’t bounce forward, it will drop to the rotten
bins in the bottom. This looks like
a happy hive, we’ll see if they’re happy”. With bees necessary to
pollinate the cranberry crop, Annie maintains
hives all around her bogs. If the bees don’t kiss
the flowers we don’t get cranberries. It’s
that simple. In addition to established
honeybee colonies, farmers here are
attracting native bees, butterflies and other
pollinators by growing certain kinds
of wildflowers. Cause you don’t want plants
that are going to compete and be a pest on the bogs. You also don’t want them
to be in bloom when the cranberries are in bloom. The bees are
happy, we’re happy, ’cause they have to
pollinate the food source. So, if this helps get
them through the winter, they’ll stay here and
they’ll go out on the bog. “It was fun…” Annie’s niece, Molly, is
already planning to continue the farm work here. The farm’s bright berries, Perhaps a metaphor for the
future. Even when I go away to
college I’ve been studying local agriculture and how
it helps sustain and build strong communities, which I think is really
important today. The best part of this
experience is that I’m able to save something
that my grandfather, great-grandfather,
great-great-great-grandfather did and pass it on
to the next generation. The best day of the year
for me is a Labor Day party where the whole family
comes and partakes. And that, sharing it with
the family, is the best. Do you like cranberry juice? The Phytochemicals in
cranberries are a good source of healthful
anti-oxidants. But cranberry juice is no
new health food invention. Early settlers to New
England began consuming cranberry juice
in the 1600’s. And the vitamin C in fresh
and dried cranberries helped early American sailors
prevent scurvy while at sea.   Mushrooms they are wildly
popular these days mushroom sales in America top a
billion dollars a year. You know this culinary crop
is grown in very unique locations and that
includes this warehouse farm in Northern California. This is the heart of the
Capital of California downtown Sacramento. It is a bustling city …
home to a half million people. This is one the city’s
industrial parks … street after street lined with
warehouses. And we found something inside
this building on B Street that just might
catch you by surprise. When we pulled up here and I
saw this warehouse I said no way this can’t be
a mushroom farm. Urban farming. Meet Roxana Walker … a mushroom maven who turned this
ordinary warehouse into an 8,000 square foot farm. A warehouse is ideal because
you can control humidity, you can control how
much light they get, how much fresh air they get. There is a science to
every method of farming especially mushrooms. Misters keep the humidity
level high between 65-70 percent. And each of these bags
contains the materials to spawn and grow
her mushroom crop. They just pop right
up out of here? Yes, it’s sort of like the
phenomenon of your mushrooms in your yard. And so how long will
this continue to fruit? This is the third fruiting
for this particular set of baskets and basically they
continue to fruit until they have used up the
water in the bags. Every Saturday, Roxana’s
crew makes the mushroom bags from scratch. They start with recycled saw
dust … wetting it down and pumping it into
these individual bags. Then the bags are cooked –
sterilizing them with steam. Each bag is then capped with
cotton … then seeded with mycelium…
called spawn. What are these white
clumps in there? That’s the actual plant,
that’s the mycelium, and same with the brown they
give off this waste product basically that
browns up the bag. So the plant is this and
this is its fruiting body. All of this began as
a hobby for Roxana. In 2000, Roxana a chemist
by trade starting growing mushrooms in
her home to sell to the local farmers
market. They look gorgeous. I mean look at this is the
blue and it’s just velvety and huge. These are my favorites. Roxana quickly outgrew her
home mushroom farm … and in 2010, took a leap of
faith transforming her home hobby into
a career … growing more than a thousand
pounds of mushrooms a week. This box of mushrooms you
say just picked a couple hours ago? Yes this morning and we are
setting up for our farmer’s markets tomorrow. Tomorrow? Yes everything’s going out. “You like those? Then ..on the very end is everything we grow in a
combination packs. ” Roxana loves to meet her
customers selling her mushrooms at farmers
markets all across Northern California and delivering to gourmet chefs
at regional restaurants. And this guy is our
fantastic showboat for the summer it loves
heat, Golden Oyster. And it’s cousin
the brown oyster. Roxana also teaches her
customers how to grow their own mushrooms with kits she creates at the
warehouse. Oh they’re so good,
it’s so exciting! Oh, I’m glad you’re having a
good time with it, its fun! It is a full circle moment
for the happy mushroom farmer from hobby to career to teacher of the trade. Being in the warehouse
satisfies my intellect that I can grow these but
my heart is completely satisfied by being here,
seeing people enjoy my mushrooms, coming back
week after week and buying my mushrooms. I love it. I love it. ♪ Take your pick: There are
several thousand varieties of mushrooms growing
in the United States, but only a few hundred are
thought to be “safely” edible. And a word about
“toadstools.” The word was once used
interchangeably by some cultures in identifying
certain mushrooms. Today the word
“toadstool’ is often used to describe examples of
“poisonous” mushrooms I’m Sharon Vaknin. Still ahead, we go from
Farm to Fork with colorful recipes using the
delicious summer squash. Going once, twice. Sold! I’m Jason Shoultz still
ahead I’ll take you to Kansas to see how the small
town cattle sale barn helps keep the community strong. ♪ Mom always said to eat your
veggies, and she was right! Vegetables are a no-fat,
vitamin packed food that has been shown to
improve your health. And in the store you can
find vegetables fresh, canned, frozen or even
as juice to drink! So what’s the best option? Let’s start with frozen. These vegetables get frozen
within hours of being harvested, sealing in those valuable
vitamins and nutrients. Canned vegetables
get washed, cut, prepared and canned in
preservatives soon after harvesting as well. Studies have shown that
both frozen and and canned vegetables are good
alternatives to fresh because they don’t lose
those valuable nutrients as quickly. And if you are
concerned about sodium, there are no or low sodium
canned options available. The biggest benefit of
canned and frozen the ability to eat a variety of
veggies year-round, in and out of season! Of course fresh vegetables
eaten soon after you buy them is always
a great choice! And with many grocery stores
now buying regional produce you’ll now find vegetables
that have could have been picked the day before! The bottom line… vegetables in any form can help
reduce YOUR bottom line, if
you know what I mean. And Americans generally eat
a fraction of the veggies we’re supposed to every day. So get them off the shelf,
and into your diet! ♪ Squash is one of my favorite
vegetables because well, it’s a lot more
than just zucchini. Cliff, tell me a little bit
about your squash farm. My great, great ancestors
actually started it in the 1850’s. So tell me, what’s the
growing season of squash? Squash will start production
in early May and it’ll go all the way to first frost. How big can these guys get? Well if you leave them,
they’ll get big enough they’ll tip the plant over. Personally I prefer to eat
them when they’re like that or even smaller. Which squash
varieties do you grow? Well we have the zucchinis
you’re holding there, we have the French rounds,
we have the yellow zucchini, we have the
Italian zucchini, we have yellow summer squash
and the green summer squash. Well today I want to
try as many as we can. So, for my dish, though, I’m going with the classic
zucchini and we’re going
with beef stuffed zucchini poached in a delicious
hearty tomato sauce. To get started, we’ll cut
the stem off these guys and then slice them in
half lengthwise. Now we want to carefully
scoop out the flesh. You got it? (laughs) I know I
told you carefully. Those are done. We’re going to
put them aside. Now if you would so kindly
give the flesh a good chop, we’re going to throw
it in our filling. I’ve got one pound of beef
in here so add our flesh. To finish it off, I’ll add
about a half a cup of bread crumbs. We want it to be a little
bit stickier so I won’t put as many bread crumbs
as I usually would. I’m also going
to add paprika; I have cayenne
pepper, salt, pepper. All right now we’ll
add some cilantro. And maybe while I’m doing
this you can dice the onions. I’m on the verge of tears
but the good news is our beef filling is done. I know being around
me does that to you. What I need you to do is get
your hands dirty and mix this baby up. All right, all right… And while you do that I’m
going to go ahead and dice this red bell pepper. This is also going to be a
part of our tomato sauce. Then I’m going to have you
start stuffing the zucchini and while you’re doing that
I’m going to slice some mushrooms for our sauce. And finally a couple
cloves of garlic. Those are looking good! All right I’m ready to
make my tomato sauce. Put some olive oil in this
pan to start sautéing our vegetables. So I’m just going
to add my onions. Yeah, yeah… add all of our
lovely veggies. Now we’ll sauté these
until they’re tender. Here goes the tomato sauce. It’s time we put these
guys in the tomato sauce. All right, let’s do it. So once all the zucchini
are bathing in this lovely tomato sauce, we’re going
to let them sit there and basically poach for
about 40 minutes. Let’s start your dish. Mine has all the different
varieties of squash in it and it’s going to be very
simple and we’re going to take all those different
varieties and blend them and a total new taste to them. OK. All right so I’m going to
chop up a bunch of garlic here. What can I do? And I need three quarters
of a cup of chopped onions please. Oh you’re going
to make me cry. I’ll go ahead and
start on these squash. We just want to make
nice thin slices. The little French rounds I
just cut them in half and then just… Cut them this way? Yeah, that’ll work. Now can you eat
the squash raw? You can. If you’re going
to eat them raw, I normally like the
really small ones. OK. And I’m just going to whack
up a bell pepper here. Exactly 3 cup of onion. Wonderful and now we throw
in 4 cloves of garlic that we nicely chopped up. All right. You can vary the taste all
over the place by what ingredients you add because the squash is simply
going to complement the flavor of
those other ingredients. Nice. Now lets throw that
squash, throw it all in. And we’ll just add this
to our mixture Mix it up? And mix it up really good. Then the last ingredient
that we’ve got to mix up is a little egg mixture
with mushrooms in it. All right now Sharon now if
you want to bring that over and pour it in
this bowl please. Whew, all right. And then we’re going to
throw this back in the skillet. That looks amazing and I
think these guys are also ready, so… Boy do they smell good. Let’s eat! All right! ♪ Smells so good. And then how about
some zucchini. Oh yeah. that’d be great. This looks very exciting. Yeah? Did I do the
zucchini justice? You did. The zucchini is very proud. You’ve done it proud. Yeah! And what I like about your
dish besides the fact that we used like 7 different
varieties of squash is that the squash still has
their crunch, which I absolutely love. And for me, yours
is wonderful, but being an old guy who
doesn’t like to clean up the kitchen, mine only
dirtied 2 pans. Oh.. You got me on that one. Well I think that you and I
did a pretty good job today of showing that squash can
be used in so many different ways. There’s just no end to how
many things you can do with this squash. Bon appetite! Thank you. ♪ Fredonia, Kansas is like a
lot of small towns around the Midwest. With a population of just
over 2-thousand folks the economy here is directly
linked to agriculture. That bond is on
display every Tuesday. When ranchers and farmers
come from miles around… to buy and sell cattle. ♪ This is a rural community. A hard-workin’ community. Most people are somehow
involved in farming or ranching. It’s safe to call
Fredonia, Kansas sleepy. Well, on Wednesday
through Monday. Tuesdays… it’s a little
more crowded around here. (Auction Chant) Tuesdays is sale day. And while the cattle
outnumber the people who show up, the Fredonia sale
barn is the place to be. I’ll sell between a thousand
and 14-hundred cattle today. Brad Haun owns
the sale barn, and on Tuesday’s it’s his
and auctioneer Blaine Lotz’ job to bring in the most
cash for the cattle brought here for sale. He doesn’t quit till
there’s not a nickel left. He gets it all out of the
buyers and he’s brought buyers in here
from all over. Many small towns that dot
the rural landscape don’t have a manufacturing
or industrial base. In Fredonia, the sale barn
where farmers and ranchers bring their cattle to sell is an important economic driver. So what would this town
do without this barn? It’s not a
hypothetical question. You know we went through
a period there where, when Olin Gowens the
previous owner got some age on him and he sold it. And then another guy had it
and the sale barn actually had a fire and was shut
down for two years. And during that time
period you know, it really really
hurt the community. We didn’t realize how bad
it hurt the community. The retailers
talked about it. Gas stations, nobody came,
we hauled our cattle to Parsons, which is for me
about 60 miles away from my pastures. The Haun family is familiar
with the challenges of that kind of distance
and isolation. They have been raising
cattle in the Flint Hills for generations. My great, great, granddad
came here on a wagon train, my family’s been here for
160 years and I hope my that family’s here for
another 160 years. It’s a family affair, with
Brad’s wife parents and son helping with the cattle. I think with this drought
deal the cattle are going to keep a comin’ till
we run out of cattle. After the former owner of
the barn came to them and suggested they purchase it
and get it running again after the fire, Brad
hesitantly agreed. And it’s been a tough old
road to go of it but we’re we’ve got it rolling
now and humming. And I’ll sell as many or
more cattle than any sale barn in Southeast
Kansas. This is our fifth year in
business here and for five years in a row I’ve
increased the number of cattle every year. And with only a few
dining options in town, the seats are full on
Tuesday’s at the sale barn’s restaurant, managed by
Brad’s wife Michelle. All the cowboys gather
around and sit and visit. And it’s just a nice
place to be, you know. “How’s the steak? Haven’t got there yet. Save the best for last. If you want to know about
the impact a sale barn has on small towns
like Fredonia, just ask Dan Green. He has a gas station
and tire shop in town. And if they sell in Wilson
County and they drive their trucks and their trailers
to here then in turn I sell fuel, I sell tires because they are
coming here. And that’s what makes it
great for our community. Seeing local businesses
staying alive is heartening for Brad. He’s concerned about the
future of the rural economy. People are leaving town and the kids that do grow up
here at Fredonia High school they had the smallest senior
class… You know there are there are
not many young people left here. But one young person
is sticking around. Brad’s 16 year old son
Trevor has already let him know he wants to follow
in his father’s footsteps after college. And what does he say
when you tell him “Hey, I want to do this some
day, I want to run this operation,
what does your dad say?” He wants me too. He is proud of me. And this is what I want to
do and I’m looking forward to taking it over. Until then, look for
Brad in the ring, ranchers in the seats and
hot food on the plate. Tuesday’s in Fredonia
Kansas is sale day. ♪ Thats going to do it for this
time. Thanks for traveling the
country with us as we meet such interseting
people and places. We’ll see you next time
right here on America’s Heartland. And don’t forget you can
stay in touch with us 24/7. We make it easy on you. You can find us on your
favorite sites you can also find all of our stories
and video on our website: americasheartland.org. We’ll see you next time… right here on America’s
Heartland You can purchase a DVD or Blu
Ray copy of this program. Here’s the cost: To order, just visit us online
or call 888-814-3923.   ♪ You can see it in the eyes
  of every woman and man ♪   ♪ in America’s Heartland
  living close to the land. ♪   ♪ There’s a love
  for the country ♪   ♪ and a pride in the brand ♪   ♪ in America’s Heartland
  living close, ♪   ♪close to the land ♪ ♪ “America’s Heartland
is made possible by…” The United Soybean Board
whose “Common Ground” program creates
conversations to help consumers get the facts
about farming and food. There’s more at:
findourcommonground.com. The American Farm Bureau
Foundation for Agriculture. Dedicated to building
greater awareness and understanding of agriculture
through education and engagement. More information at:
agfoundation.org. Farm Credit – financing
agriculture and rural America since 1916. Farm Credit is cooperatively
owned by America’s farmers and ranchers. Learn more at
farmcredit.com. The Fund for Agriculture
Education – A fund created by KVIE to support
America’s Heartland programming. Contributors include
the following – ♪  

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8 thoughts on “Episode 817 – America’s Heartland

  1. I have known lesbians, VERY ugly "chics", but fun, and they did have a few "lipstick" types that I nailed in a proper military manner, making America PROUD while planting the flag and turning these confused but empty vessels back into fighting for the straight side!!!


  3. These cranberry growers sure as hell don’t want any competition !!! Several years ago I wrote to over a hundred growers on both east and west coast trying to get anyone to help teach me about raising cranberries! I was a farmer if cotton and alfalfa, some veggies I just wanted to learn some befor jumping into that business!! Not one dam farm offered a single response!!! Not one!!!

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