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Sunday, September 1, 2013

North American Agriculture is Diverse 2013

When I started this blog it was to tell people about my farm, my family...our story if you will.  By attending the AgChat Foundation's annual meeting, I have found that I have so much to learn about agriculture in America and Canada.  It is so easy for us to forget what it takes to get all of our food to our table and how different environments across North America allow different crops to thrive for the farmers that care for the land in that particular region.

One of the networking events that I enjoy is the annual Swap Meet.  Many of the attendees brought products that showcase the farm products from their state.  It really is eye opening how Diverse American Agriculture can be.

For example, this Spring, I learned right along with the class that sent Flat Aggie out into the world.  That is why I am so excited about this project...

Flat Ryan has been out learning about farming while the real Ryan from Agriculture Proud finishes up his Master's degree.  I even had a guest post about Visiting the Fair on Agriculture Proud.
My roommate for the event was Taysha who writes the blog Dirt Road Charm.  She is a cowboy boot lovin' girl from Ohio who brought some of Ohio's finest foods to share with the group.  I have to say that I am possibly addicted to Buckeye's and may have hidden them in the back of the refrigerator, so the rest of my family could not find them.  Oh. My. Goodness.  These are GOOD!  I was very excited to find Marsha's Buckeyes online and I can order them!  This may not be good for my waistline, though.

Tayasha also brought Swiss Cheese.  I did not know that Ohio makes more Swiss Cheese than any other state in America.  We don't have very many dairies near us, so getting good fresh cheese is always a plus for me.

My friend Dairy Carrie brought some amazing Wisconsin Cheese, no surprise for those of us that know her.  I don't think she travels without cheese.  I am a huge fan of Sartori Cheese ever since she introduced me to it last year.  I can't wait to make my 2 Cheese Braided Bread with the SarVecchio Parmesan and I have been grilling peaches with the Montamore on top which is delicious.

My family loves almonds, so when I was offered some good California almonds like my friends in northern California raise, I couldn't resist the offer.

My friend Wanda that writes Minnesota Farm Living who I met last year at AgChat brought her Martin County Magic Pork Seasoning with her.  This stuff is awesome on pork, and I've been told it's also good on tater tots and other meats.  If you want to try some for yourself, you can buy Martin County Magic on her page.

This cow pie from Ann Larson had the cutest card to go with it,
"Why Cow Pies?
Because carrying real cow pies on the plane would be frowned upon.
Also, Wisconsin farmers lead the country in the number of anaerobic digesters.
These tasty treats are made in Baraboo, WI by the Baraboo Candy Company."
My oldest son is learning about crops judging.  I sent out a request for seed samples that we don't grow in our area.   Ann also brought some wheat seed for his collection.  Yes!  There are different wheat types planted in different areas, planted at different times, for different end uses.

Of course, my boys were excited to see a smoked pork stick, they aren't sure about the smoked alligator, though.  I couldn't pass up the beer nuts.  I am sure TSA looked at me funny when I went through security with Peach Preserves and Honey Mustard in with my bag of liquids.  :)  I am looking for a serious coffee drinker to help me sample the sweet potato coffee.  I even took a Idaho Spud candy bar (no potatoes involved, but if you love coconut you need to find these), popcorn from a real popcorn farmer and the butter toffee peanuts==YUM!

My Ohio pig farmer friends were very generous to give a cattle rancher like me the I Love Pork measuring cup.  I got the awesome meat thermometer from my Michigan Pork friends who would like to remind you that pork only needs cooked to 145* to be considered safe to eat and it will be juicy and flavorful.

Of course, since I love to cook and share recipes, I couldn't pass up recipes and seasonings!  Stay tuned for some new recipes when I find time to cook after corn harvest.

This set of cards has to be one of my favorite ways to show ag to young boys.  They are called "Match the Species with the Feces."  On one side of the card is literally a scratch and sniff picture of an animals poop and on the other side is info about the animal.  My boys thought they were funny.

I always love a pen that looks like corn.  I also picked up some golf tees made of corn.  No, I don't play golf, but I do love to show kids all the things that can be made from corn other than livestock feed.

I have a new collection of pins to put on my jackets, bags, suitcases, etc. but the boys have laid claim to most of them.

I was lucky enough to get a copy of Michelle Payn-Knoper's book No More Food Fights.  Now I need to find some free time to read it and ponder what she others have to say about the food and farming discussion.
No farmer meeting is complete without a selection of note pads.

I will be planting some blue bonnets in my flower bed next year.

Dairy Management Services gave me this sweet cow koozie.

I got this great set of info from The American Farm Bureau Federation.  I need a few more of the maps for my Flat Aggie teachers.  The map of the United States has symbols for the commodities and where they are grown.  I did find you can order them here.

My boys favorite item that I brought home was from Kentucky.  They are huge Turtleman fans and couldn't believe that I snagged a t-shirt and an autographed picture for them.

 Sure, they were several college students
 in attendance with us, who were much
more tech savvy than I.  They are proud of their respective colleges as they should be and I was happy to have a new key chain and koozie.

I grabbed a great collection of bumper stickers.  I am in the process of trying to cover my mismatched set of filing cabinets with ag themed stickers, so these were a great addition to my office.

I hope you learned a little about North American agriculture through my swap meet items.  What product would you like to learn more about?  Maybe I could get a farmer to take Flat Aggie to teach us and the kids about their farm.

-A Kansas Farm Mom