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Local foods and small farms

Prepare your bees for winter

When temperatures start getting cold in late fall, it's time to make those last-minute preparations that help your bees have the best chance of surviving the winter. Check for Varroa mites This is your last chance to treat for Varroa mites. In the late fall, your Varroa mite sampling should show less than 1 mite per 100 bees, otherwise, you need to treat. A very useful tool for determining the best strategy for managing Varroa mites is the Honey Bee Health Coalition’s (HBHC)...
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How to care for backyard chickens in winter

Winter begins challenges to the small flock chicken owner. There are issues that need to be solved: keeping the water from freezing, preventing the birds from getting frostbite, and maintaining egg production. Winterize the Coop Chickens need a dry, draft-free, and well-ventilated building to stay healthy and productive. A deep, 6 to 12-inch layer of dry bedding on the floor will provide insulation and help to keep your birds' feet warm. Keep roosts and nesting boxes clean. Check your chicken...
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Home Cook to Small Business: Start your Side Hustle as a Cottage Food Operator

Grandma’s blue-ribbon apple-pie recipe may still be winning awards and your secret ingredient BBQ sauce never has any leftovers, but shifting from being a home cook to a small business requires a leap of faith and a big financial investment not everyone can make. Luckily, Illinois’ Cottage Food laws allow entrepreneurs and foodies looking for a side hustle to test their product by selling it on a smaller scale at farmers markets. Under the law, individuals can skip prohibitive start-up costs...
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