chicken care during the winter

Winter begins challenges to the small flock chicken owner.

Local Bourbon Red Turkey

2020 has been quite a year for all of us with all the changes that have been thrust upon us. This includes our farmers who supply fresh produce and meats to our local markets. With the health restrictions, many farmers had to quickly change from face-to-face market sales to online sales with delivery or pick-up. Other farmers had to quickly find new markets for their lost restaurant sales and still, others had to make changes so that customers could safely come to their farms.

Often people who have their own private water well forget how important it is to do an annual visual inspection of their well components and annual water testing.

It does not take long to do, and it might save you an expensive well repair bill.

Farming combine in background with text in foreground reading Meals in the Field

Fields are turning to browns and golds and harvest has begun. With farmers across Illinois spending long hours in the fields, they and their farm families are shifting mealtime from the kitchen table to the field.

Being in the middle of a field without kitchen conveniences like microwaves, refrigerators, and sinks requires farmers, workers, and farm families to get creative with meals and snacks.

Bag of potting soil with planer next to it

If you enjoy those sweet tender vegetables of spring, then you get another opportunity to enjoy them during the cooler temperatures of fall. The catch is that you have to plant them now during the month of August.

Why does a fall crop need to be planted in August? Daylight and temperature.

Tomato and Basil plants growing in a homemade container. Be sure to allow for drainage from any container.

Spring has sprung, the weather is gorgeous, and everyone wants to get outside. However, social distancing measures prevent many of us from being in public spaces. We can’t gather with others, but we still care about our families and our community. What a perfect time to revisit the victory garden and give a whole new meaning to the word VICTORY.

Field of sunflowers

If you love having vases full of fresh flowers around the house, but not the price tag cut flower gardening is for you! A little planning now will have your home full of unique floral arrangements all summer long.

First off, what is a cut flower? A cut flower is simply any flower or flower bud that is cut from the plant and used decoratively in fresh or dried vase displays, wreaths and garlands.

Clipper cutting tree branch in winter

One of the secrets to getting fruit out of your home orchard year after year is annual pruning during the dormant season. This early-spring task can increase fruit quality, reduce the occurrence of diseases and improve tree health in the long-term, but many people are nervous about pruning or too heavy-handed with the clippers.

Various breads spill out of a bag

Grandma’s blue-ribbon apple-pie recipe may still be winning awards and your secret ingredient

Fruit and vegetable scraps for composting

This spring has provided ample opportunity for DIY projects so here’s one more to add to the list.

Wicker basket filled with live grass, flowers, and dyed eggs

Food science is so fun! Like overmixing batter to see "tunnels" develop because of gluten. Or turning cream into butter or ice cream. And especially dyeing with food and plant pigments. Pigments are the compounds that make up the colors in food and plants.

Green tea late with foam flower in a white mug

I’m a big tea drinker – chai, green jasmine, oolong – you name it, I probably have a secret stash of loose leaf squirreled away. And just in time for St. Patrick’s Day and all things green, I’ve recently succumbed to matcha madness.

While matcha is traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies, this powdered tea has been making its way onto coffee shop menus as green tea lattes and into baked goods for color and flavor. Check out our Matcha Yogurt Bowl and a Green Tea Matcha Latte recipes below! 

Green herbs growing out of plastic tub in home hydroponic system

Hydroponics continues to be a popular topic in the horticulture industry, but usually it is on a very large greenhouse scale.  

Why is it so popular? Well, it's because your plants can grow 30% to 40% faster. And it is just pretty darn cool.

Did you know that you can build a hydroponic system at home?

This particular system you can build is a passive hydroponic system, meaning that nutrients, which are in a fluid solution, are drawn up and absorbed by the growing medium — a wick or some other device — and passed through contact to the roots.

Worried looking middle-aged caucasian male in front of tractor with hay bales

Suicide rates are higher for farmers than any other occupation

Centers for Disease Control

Think about that for a moment. 

Farm life is stressful. Most pressures are constant and uncontrollable. Machinery breaks, weather delays work and commodity prices fluctuate. The work can be isolating. And between prices and trade wars, this has been an extremely difficult few years for Illinois farmers.