July 15, 2012
Get your cameras out! We’re kicking off the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation’s annual photo contest. More than 1,700 photos were entered in last year’s contest, and this year we have three brand new categories to inspire our readers to get behind the lens.
For the 17th annual contest, the categories are (1) Tennessee, (2) Home and (3) Farm. Category winners each receive $100, and the grand-prize winner receives $200.
Tennessee Farm Bureau members can enter one photo in each of the three categories in our Tennessee Farm Bureau Photo Contest entry form or through our print entry form in the magazine. Entries will be accepted through Aug. 1.
August 1, 2011
Our readers’ choice winners for the 16th annual TFBF Photo Contest (2011) are now posted online here. Stay tuned for the announcement of our overall prize winners in November with the publication of our winter 2011-12 issue.
May 21, 2013
Overrun with squash and other summer staples? Try your hand at one of these easy and delicious recipes, featuring seasonal summer ingredients.
May 21, 2013
To make homemade frozen desserts, you can add almost anything you desire to a dairy or simple syrup base. This collection shows off several recipes that are uniquely Tennessee.
Summertime in this state means fresh fruits, and strawberries are first to ripen. Combine them with a refreshing mixture of lemonade and fresh herbs, and freeze for a sweet-sour crushed ice mixture or, my preference, Mexican-style ice pops known as paletas. In this simple recipe, strawberries can easily be replaced with other seasonal berries such as blueberries, blackberries or raspberries.
Our midsummer produce stands and farmers markets would lead one to believe that peaches are a top crop in Tennessee, but we’re limited by our state’s late spring frosts. So in addition to what we can find locally, we rely on our next-door neighbor, Georgia, to share her peach bounty with us.
Peaches are packed with several major nutrients, including vitamins A (beta-carotene), C and potassium. With just 38 calories in a medium-sized peach, they’re an excellent source of fiber, good for blood sugar and naturally fat free. This peaches-and-cream icebox pie pairs the ripe fruit with almonds to enter the flavor stratosphere. I took it up another notch by adding creamy vanilla and a praline crunch.
However, fresh fruit just scratches the surface of possibilities.
Our Goo Goo Cluster pie features the decadent combination of chocolate, caramel, peanuts and marshmallows found in the Nashville-based Standard Candy Co.’s most famous confection. Moon Pie fans can tweak the dessert to represent the signature flavors of the Chattanooga treat by replacing the chocolate crust with graham crackers and omitting the marshmallow.
Sorghum’s uniquely rich flavor also deserves a nod, as Tennessee (along with Kentucky) leads the nation in sorghum production.
When I first made sorghum ice cream, I used cream and eggs. This slightly lighter version uses low-fat milk but remains every bit as rich. The latte hue will keep people guessing, “What is this beautiful stuff?” (Learn more about sorghum and what distinguishes the syrupy end product of this grain crop from molasses.)
No ice cream maker? No problem. While some of us have old-fashioned hand-crank ice cream makers and others have the slick European style, a food processor or blender will do the trick. Simply pour the prepared liquid into a freezer-safe container and forget about it for a few days. Then pull it out of the freezer, puree it and place it back in the cold. It resets nicely and is ready to scoop.
Goo Goo Cluster Pie
Strawberry Lemonade Ice Pops
Peaches & Cream Freezer Pie
Sorghum Ice Cream
S’mores Ice Cream Sandwiches
Avocado Lemon Ice Cream
May 21, 2013
Grab the family and head to Hands On! Museum in Johnson City as the interactive destination celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2013.
The regional museum features more than 20 permanent exhibits suited for all ages, as well as several rotating exhibits. Explore the Ark exhibit, where you’ll find 100 different types of taxidermied wild animals from around the globe, or learn about hydro-power and the historical use of waterways for commerce and travel at the Waterplay Dam.
For more information on the museum’s exhibits and programs, visit handsonmuseum.org or call (423) 434-4263.
May 21, 2013
Tap your toes to the sweet sound of bluegrass music at the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Crafts Festival.
This annual festival began as a way to celebrate Independence Day and continues the tradition every year on the weekend closest to July 4. The two-day event features craft booths, barbecue, Southern-fried delicacies and lots of live music. Visitors are encouraged to sit back, relax and enjoy one of the best free shows around.
The festival takes place July 5-6 at the Town Square in Smithville. For more information, visit smithvillejamboree.com or call (615) 597-8500.
May 21, 2013
I have always wanted to know where my food comes from, and that’s most easily done when I grow it in my yard. While my garden has expanded over the years along with my appetite for homegrown produce, you really don’t need a huge piece of property to grow some of your food.
People often tell me they don’t have the space to grow a garden. They don’t think they have the room or time to grow good food. Gardening is easier than you think, and there are plenty of ways to get started on a small-scale garden.
I use raised beds because they make gardening easier. Unlike tilling up the soil in a large patch of land, raised beds rely on soil that you bring in, which increases plant health and decreases tasks like weeding.
Make sure that you can reach every point in your raised bed without having to step into it. I recommend a bed that is 4 by 4 feet. Western Cedar is a good choice for your lumber because it’s slow to rot.
Choose the place where the bed will go and fill it a third full with soil, add a layer of compost and organic fertilizer, and then fill the bed up to the lip with more soil.
Choose pots for container gardens based on plant requirements. Blueberries, for example, do well in large pots. I have five 10-gallon containers with three different varieties of berries (you need two varieties to get cross pollination).
When growing root vegetables or leafy greens, the combinations that can co-exist in containers are virtually endless. Plant one pot that contains several different herbs, another pot with an assortment of greens and another of ornamentals, such as coleuses and roses.
Dwarf fruit trees require more sunlight and water, and their pots will need to be larger, but you can create a decorative assortment of pots without having to dig up your lawn.
Nontraditional gardens offer plenty of ways to grow with only a small amount of space and sunlight.
In a windowsill garden, I like the look of a row of pots planted with herbs that grow well indoors, such as chives, parsley and mint. Make sure you have a good drainage system; otherwise, your plants will be susceptible to rot.
Hanging baskets are another great option, particularly if you have a fire escape. One hanging basket can grow two heads of lettuce, a slew of herbs and virtually any root vegetable. Because it stays outside, it will get plenty of sun and rain.
A pallet garden is one method I haven’t tried yet, but I’d like to. Box in four sides of a shipping pallet made of untreated wood. You can hang the pallet on the wall for a space-saving vertical garden or position it on the ground. Then fill the inside with soil, and plant your vegetables in the open spaces between the slats of wood. If you have a patio where you can hang it, a pallet garden can grow a good amount of food while taking up only a little outdoor space.
Easy Does It
In any small-space garden, I suggest intercropping, which involves combining plants in close quarters to save space. The plants you choose must have similar requirements and growing habits. For instance, deep-rooted carrots make good companions to shallow-rooted lettuce. Corn, squash and beans also do well when planted together, as the squash shades the soil while the corn provides a structure for the beans to climb. (Related: Companion Gardening: Interplanting Flowers, Fruits, Veggies and Herbs)
When you plant your seeds, choose plant sizes that can grow well together. This spring I’ll plant lettuce as a ground cover and snap peas to grow up stakes. Once the weather warms up, I’ll add tomatoes in between the snap peas. When the peas are done producing, the tomatoes will have plenty of room to grow up the stakes.
Whatever you choose, plant things that you want to eat so that your fondness for gardening continues to grow to larger pots and plots.
May 21, 2013
What’s for dinner? Breakfast!
No matter the time of day, pancakes, eggs and bacon are often on the menu at the home of Lindsay Landis of the blog Love and Olive Oil.
The Nashville blogger just released her second cookbook, Breakfast for Dinner, written with her husband, Taylor Hackbarth. The 160-page book features more than 60 breakfast dishes that have been reworked into satisfying dinner (and dessert) recipes, including Breakfast Sausage Ravioli, Sunny-Side-Up Burgers, Espresso Baked Beans, Doughnut Fudge Sundaes and Maple Bacon Cupcakes.
We’re giving away a copy of Breakfast for Dinner to one lucky reader! During the month of June, enter below to win the cookbook. Find out how to buy Landis’ cookbooks – her Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook highlights recipes using an eggless version of raw dough – and discover more of her recipes at her blog.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
May 21, 2013
Farm Family: Mark Klepper, his wife, Cindy (who keeps the books), his father, Allen, and an uncle
Farm Location: Near Baileyton in Greene County
Land Area: 1,900 acres
Livestock and Crops: Corn, soybeans, wheat, cattle and broilers (chickens raised for meat)
Farm Legacy: Mark and Cindy’s son Evan (and another son on the way) will be the fifth generation.
What on your farm makes you most proud?
When I started farming full-time, we had 100 acres and about 40 cows. Now we have 1,900 acres and a diversified mix of crops and livestock. I’m pretty proud of the growth of the farm and being able to farm on that large of a scale in East Tennessee.
What is your biggest challenge?
Finding the time to do everything I want to do, and still having quality family time with very little help on the farm.
What made you decide to continue the tradition of farming?
My dad worked a public job and farmed on the side. He worked all the time – he worked the public job to keep the farm going. I didn’t want to work to keep the farm up; I wanted to farm for a living. I love working with animals, just love being outside, so I always knew I wanted to figure out how to make a living doing what I loved – and that meant expanding our operation. I like the challenge of being my own boss, the challenge of making the farm profitable without another income. You have to love it because it takes lots of time to do it right, but I would not be farming the way I farm if not for the Farm Bureau and the people I met through them.
You and Cindy have been involved in leadership organizations for a while. How do those groups help young farmers?
I think it is important because it not only helps you by being involved in something you believe in, but getting away from the farm and meeting people helps you share ideas, network, gain a broader appreciation for all of agriculture and gain necessary leadership skills. Young Farmers & Ranchers gives you an opportunity to be a leader, be involved, learn how an organization like Farm Bureau operates, and your voice gets to be heard. If you stay at home all the time, your voice isn’t heard, and the message doesn’t get told – and then where would we be in the future? You also get to have a lot of fun by being involved and being a leader too. Farm Bureau has become like my crop advisors – I listen to other farmers and speakers talk about what they do when I go to conferences, and I ask about what has worked or not worked. Then I try it, and now I have people who ask me because they see I have done things that work.
What advice do you have for other young farmers?
Find a mentor, start small and work your way up. Have good credit or get credit – you can’t farm without money. Don’t be afraid to try new things – look outside the box.
Do you want your children to carry on the family farm when they grow up?
I hope so. My son Evan farms as much as I do every day; his “farm” is just (using his imagination) on the floor of our house. He has his tractors, he drives the trucks, he does it all – I guess it’s in his blood. Times can change, but I hope both he and my son that’s on the way will choose farming! It will be here if they choose to farm, but they can be whatever they want to be. I want them to be able to live out their dreams like I live mine every day on the farm.
As a poultry farmer, how do you tackle the topic of animal welfare with consumers?
I try to inform them of what I do, and I don’t try to hide anything from them. I encourage people to come out on the farm to look and actually see what I do, and explain that not everything you see on the Internet and TV is true. I compare it with something they can relate to. On a cold winter day that is 30 degrees with the wind blowing (like we get so often in East Tennessee) or raining or snowing – would you want to be inside in a controlled environment or outside? I just try to explain that chickens are really no different than we are for the most part. They want to be comfortable, and on my farm we strive to keep our animals comfortable. That’s the No. 1 priority: Keep them comfortable, fed, watered and well taken care of.
May 21, 2013
Tennessee Rural Health’s resident nurse of eight years, Candace Pullen, shares simple tips for healthy senior living:
- Evaluate your social network. Who needs a Grumpy Gus around, really? Studies have shown in senior adults a strong social network of positive and equally healthy friends can contribute to your health and well-being.
- If you smoke, quit. Smoking is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, stroke and lower respiratory tract infections – all leading causes of death in those over 50 years of age.
- Eat a healthy diet. Eating a variety of foods from each food group will help you get the nutrients you need.
- Keep active. Exercising regularly is not only good for your body but also relieves stress.
- Watch your step. Most falls by the elderly involve hazards in the home. Keep walkways clear of clutter.
- Don’t forget your oral health. Gum disease may be a risk factor for stroke, heart and lung disease in older adults.
- Use sunscreen. Sun exposure is the main cause of skin damage.
For more healthy aging and living tips, visit trh.com and click on the Healthwise link on the bottom right of the page.
May 21, 2013
As I pulled in the long gravel driveway of Uncle Sid and Aunt Sadie’s farm the other day, the yellow glow of light coming from Aunt Sadie’s “Gone With the Wind” hurricane lamp in the window of their white frame house was surely a welcome sight. I knocked on the back door, but I wasn’t met by Aunt Sadie wiping her hands on her apron as usual. Instead, I heard a call from inside telling me to come on in. There, standing at the kitchen table, were Uncle Sid and Aunt Sadie looking inside a medium-sized box with USPS markings on it. I could see they had just opened the package because the table was littered with packing peanuts. The elderly couple had strange looks on their faces that told me that something quite unusual had just occurred.
I expressed my greetings and made the customary remarks about the weather but could tell they were not very interested in getting into casual talk. Neither one could take their eyes off the box, so I knew I had to find out what it contained.
I became a part of a very unusual happening by asking one simple question: “What’s in the box?”
Aunt Sadie looked at me from over her glasses and said, “It’s Sid’s cousin Sed.”
Of course, that sort of took me by surprise, and I asked another silly question: “He’s in the box?”
Uncle Sid now looked at me from over his glasses and said, “Boy, this is a very serious matter.”
Aunt Sadie gave me a somewhat sideways grin. “Your Uncle Sid had a cousin that was a little bit different than most folks,” she began. “When electricity first came to these parts, he would go out and stand under the transformers for hours. He was very smart, but just a little different.”
Uncle Sid now took a seat and joined in telling the story of Sed. “He enjoyed the farm here but just never fit in, and one day just left to go up north to work,” Uncle Sid said. “He said he would come back to stay on the farm for keeps one day, but you just never knew about Sed. We always heard he did real well working at a major electric company up near the Canadian border.”
Aunt Sadie chimed in. “And then this morning we get a call from the post office lady telling us there is a package there for us with postage due,” she said. “We go down there and pay the postage and bring this package home expecting some shortbread from Sid’s cousin up in Michigan. Thelma always sends some this time of the year, you know.”
“When we got home and opened the box, this is what was inside,” said Uncle Sid as he pulled a glass urn from the box. “It seems cousin Sed passed away recently and left orders to be cremated, plus to have himself mailed to us. I knew he said he would come back some day to stay on the farm, but not to stay with us forever and especially with postage due. Only Sed would mail himself back to his relatives in a USPS box.”
As I stood there looking at the two holding the ashes of cousin Sed among the remains of packing peanuts and a postage due slip, I couldn’t hold it back any longer. They too could see my expression, and the three of us burst into laughter. Cousin Sed had returned as he said he would, knowing Uncle Sid and Aunt Sadie would see that he was taken care of. I guess that is what family is all about – we accept you no matter how you arrive, even with postage due.
I went back by their house a few days later to find out what the final outcome was for their guest. Uncle Sid and Aunt Sadie had placed the urn on a special shelf by the fuse box in the utility room. They thought Sed would have enjoyed being next to something electrical.
May 21, 2013
You might say the annual Taylors of Tabernacle Kinfolk Camp Meeting is the mother of all family reunions. Every July, roughly 700 descendants of the Taylor family converge at Tabernacle United Methodist Church near Brownsville for a weeklong reunion and spiritual revival filled with laughter, tears, hugs and lots of good old-fashioned, face-to-face conversation.
“Some families go years without seeing each other, but we make a point to see each other at least once every year,” says Mac Thornton, a descendant of family patriarch Howell Taylor. “It’s in our genes. People keep coming back because they always have. It’s been passed down from generation to generation, and it’s pretty high on the priority list of things to do.”
Rev. Howell Taylor (1754-1845) moved his family from Virginia to Tennessee in 1817. The Taylors established roots in Haywood County in 1826, setting up the original family homestead and Methodist church.
Like clockwork, hundreds of Taylor’s descendants have gravitated back to their ancestral homeland near Brownsville every year since. They camp in rustic cabins at the 11-acre Tabernacle Family Campground and attend three church services daily to hear well-known evangelists speak.
“The revival part of the reunion is so powerful and has been really instrumental in the lives of people who camp,” says Susan Thornton, Taylor family historian and a Nashville general contractor. “If we were just a bunch of people wearing matching family reunion T-shirts and playing horseshoes, we’d never have lasted this long. The reunion keeps the revival going, and vice versa.”
Mac Thornton likens attending Camp Meeting to getting your batteries recharged.
“You go away refreshed. It gives you a whole new perspective on life,” he explains. “There’s still a feeling of freedom. Kids can play barefoot in the dirt. It’s a holiday for them. I still have great memories of playing with my cousins every year at Camp Meeting. Everybody there has an interesting life, and you can just walk from cabin to cabin and visit with people.”
Many family members plan their yearly vacations around the Camp Meeting. Sarah Thornton Jenks, Mac Thornton’s niece, says finding an employer who would give her that week off every July was a prerequisite for accepting her job.
“It’s hard to articulate how important Camp Meeting is to us,” says Jenks, who lives in Memphis. “It renews our spirits. It’s about growing up with a sense of purpose and belonging, and people knowing who you are.”
Jenks has attended Camp Meeting since birth, and now attends with her husband, Jeffrey, and their children, 12-year-old Madison and 9-year-old William.
“If you ask my children, they’d rather go to Camp Meeting than Disney World,” she says.
One highlight of the week is the Sunday morning “Love Feast.”
“Everybody comes to church, and they can say whatever they want. People talk about what God is doing in their lives and just unload their burdens,” Mac Thornton says. “It’s very moving.”
A christening service is also held Sunday to baptize or dedicate any babies born that year. A memorial service follows, in remembrance of family members who died since the last Camp Meeting.
Between church services, there are games (softball, pingpong and “Who Sir, Me Sir” are favorites), a Heritage Walk through the family cemetery and lots of Southern comfort food. The campground is divided into 36 camps, each with its own open-air kitchen. Camps have anywhere from 10 to 50 family members. Each kitchen serves three meals a day, and many family units hire cooks for the week. Some of the cooks are descendants of previous cooks who worked at the Camp Meeting 100 years ago.
“They’ve become our family,” Jenks says. “They’ve helped raise our children, and we’ve seen their children grow up too.”
A typical breakfast might include scrambled eggs, sausage, homemade biscuits, hash, cheese grits, fruit and coffee. Dinner might be fried chicken, cornbread, mashed potatoes and gravy, okra, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, and peach cobbler.
“The food is farm-to-table,” Susan Thornton says. “The corn, tomatoes and okra are right out of local gardens. The meal is part of the convivial merriment of the place.”
Family members fly in for Camp Meeting from as far away as Ireland and Spain.
“You don’t want to miss a year, because you miss a lot. That’s like missing two years of a child’s or teenager’s growth,” Susan Thornton says. “The older people care about the young people. There’s so much of wanting to know who people are – wanting to be involved and engaged in their lives.”
Despite being the oldest continuous family camp meeting in the world, she insists the Taylor family isn’t all that different than other families.
“Everybody has the same number of ancestors. We just happen to know a lot more of ours,” she says.
Mac Thornton puts it in simpler terms.
“We have just stuck together,” he says.
Calling All Taylors of Tabernacle
The 2013 Taylors of Tabernacle Kinfolk Camp Meeting happens July 12-18. Only Taylor family descendants and their guests are permitted to camp overnight, but church services are open to the public.
Respectful visitors are welcome to visit the family cemetery and campground at their own risk. Neither cars nor pets are allowed on the campground. Lodging and meals for visitors are available in Brownsville, about 6 miles from the church and campground.
For more information, visit taylorsoftabernacle.com.