The first hints of spring bring maple sirup season to central Illinois. As the ground starts to thaw and the sap starts to run, workers at Funk’s Grove Pure Maple Sirup spring into action to collect the sap and turn it into sirup.
Mike Funk, fifth generation maple sirup producer, talks about the tradition in this week’s Farm Fresh Podcast.
For more on the sirup making process and where to find Funk’s Grove Pure Maple Sirup, check out their website or take a look at this article from the Illinois Farm Bureau® Partners magazine.
Tune in every Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. for the Farm to Table segment on WJBC radio.
As you may have noticed by the waves of amber grain disappearing from farm fields, corn and soybean harvest is rolling in full force. For farmers, harvest brings the culmination of a full year’s worth of work and then some in planning, selecting, planting & caring for their crops.
For this week’s Friday Five, I though maybe we should take a look at five things harvest means on the farm:
Long hours & hard work! Harvest is a time-sensitive task and when it’s time to go, farmers are usually in the fields from sun-up to sundown or longer as long as a) the weather’s fit b) the crop conditions are right and c) the equipment cooperates. If you have friends or family who farm, you may notice they completely disappear from social events for a couple of months in the fall, as described by this chart from Illinois Corn Growers.
Meals in the Fields: Farmers may not stop for lunch or dinner during harvest (see above), so meals are often delivered to the fields. Take a look at some creative and delicious ways farm families stay fed during harvest with ‘How to Feed a Farmer’ posted on the Watch Us Grow blog and ‘Field Meals to Go’ from Katie Pratt’s Rural Route 2 Blog.
Danger: Farming is a dangerous occupation and harvest carries many hazards. Big machinery with lots of moving parts, dry corn stalks that can catch fire from a spark and even fatigue from the long hours can lead to accidents. Do your part to help keep farmers (and yourself) safe! Slow down & pass with caution when you meet equipment on the road.Check out this advice from blogger Celeste Harned for more tips to stay safe.
Looking for the perfect pumpkin for your front step? Or maybe some mums to fill out your fall flower bed? Central Illinois has plenty to offer!
After all, when it comes to pumpkins – Illinois is the cream of the crop! Illinois farmers grow 80-85% of the world’s supply of processing pumpkins (used to make canned pumpkin puree & pie filling) and the majority of those are grown right here in the central part of the state.
Check out a few upcoming opportunities to visit the country, experience a little taste of agriculture and maybe pick up a pumpkin:
Explore local farm history with the 2015 McLean County Barn Tour Sat., Sept. 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. featuring interesting barns, antique farm equipment and more. The self-guided tour and begins at the Chenoa United Methodist Church and is sponsored by McLean County Barn Keepers.
Rader Family Farmsopens this weekend (Sept. 12). Located just west of Normal (look for the pumpkin topped silo), Rader’s offers plenty of pumpkins, a corn maze, kid-friendly activities, food & special events throughout the season.
For more pumpkin treats and festival fun, head to the Pumpkin Capital of the World for the Morton Pumpkin Festival Sept. 16-19, 2015. Sample the savory and the sweet with everything from pumpkin chili to pumpkin donuts & ice cream.
Just remember when you venture out into the country, watch out for farm equipment! Harvest is just beginning for corn & soybeans, so be alert for slow moving vehicles on the roads. Slow down, pass with caution & be safe!