Webster City: Exploring Rural Life – Day 3

Webster City: Exploring Rural Life – Day 3

This summer we spent a weekend in Webster City, an agricultural community in North Central Iowa. On Day 1 and Day 2 of our visit, folks from the community chatted with us about farming past and present. The third day of our visit highlighted local community entertainment, as well as a stop at a local grocer that emphasizes locally produced foods. Read more

Webster City: Exploring Rural Life – Day 2

Webster City: Exploring Rural Life – Day 2

I mentioned in my post covering Day 1 of our visit to Webster City, Iowa, that one of my favorite things about my job as a travel writer is learning about a myriad of subjects. Another thing I love is meeting people from different walks of life and hearing their stories. On Day 2 of our visit to this rural community, I met shop owners, artists, farmers, and a student working on his doctoral degree. Every one of them had an interesting story to tell. Read more

Webster City: Exploring Rural Life – Day 1

Webster City: Exploring Rural Life – Day 1

One of my favorite things about my job as a travel writer is learning about a myriad of subjects. Therefore, when I was invited to Webster City, Iowa, to learn about their agricultural community, I jumped at the chance. My husband and I joined several other bloggers and their guests for three days. We not only learned about agriculture and the rural lifestyle in this community, but had a lot of fun, too. Read more

25 Ways to Have Fun at the Illinois State Fair

25 Ways to Have Fun at the Illinois State Fair

I went to my first state fair in 2015. I had been to county fairs many times but had never gotten around to going to the larger Illinois State Fair—or for that matter, any other state fair. I knew the gist of what to expect—farm animals, carnival rides, entertainment and such. What surprised me was the size of the fair. There was so much to see and do. We spent two days at the fair and didn’t get a chance to see everything. Here is a list of 25 things to do at the Illinois State Fair, and it is not all-encompassing. Read more

Touring Hunter’s Honey Farm: A Fascinating Look at Beekeeping and Honey Making

Touring Hunter’s Honey Farm: A Fascinating Look at Beekeeping and Honey Making

Not being a farm girl, I always thought beehives on bee farms were the natural ones. You know, the yellow, sort of rounded pyramid shape hives that you see in cartoons hanging from a tree. Was I ever wrong, as I found out when I took the Honey Barn Tur at Hunter’s Honey Farm in Martinsville, Indiana. Read more

Touring Broken Wagon Bison Ranch

Touring Broken Wagon Bison Ranch

The bison has been named the national mammal of the United States. It’s fitting, since it is estimated that 30 to 60 million bison lived in North America in the 1500s before huge slaughters took place as settlers moved westward. The bison was near extinction, down to about 300 head nationally before a handful of ranchers captured orphaned calves and began raising them. Today the population has grown, with bison found in national and state parks, as well as several private herds being raised for food. I toured the Broken Wagon Bison Ranch in Hobart, Indiana, where I learned more about bison and had a chance to meet the herd up close and personal. Read more

Seed Savers Exchange: Passing Heirloom Seeds through Generations

Seed Savers Exchange: Passing Heirloom Seeds through Generations

Seed Savers Exchange co-founder Diane Ott Whealy fondly remembers passing summer days sitting on the porch of her grandparents’ farmhouse, the porch surrounded by morning glories. So when Diane and her ex-husband, Kent, married and started their first garden in 1975, she wanted morning glories. She asked her grandfather about the ones that he grew. He went into the back bedroom and came out with a little white pillbox filled with tiny black seeds. He explained that the seeds came over with his parents when they emigrated from Bavaria around the turn of the century. Her grandfather also gave them seeds to a German Pink tomato that his parents had also brought with them from Europe. Those two seed varieties were the beginning of the Seed Savers Exchange. Read more

Milton Creamery: Award-Winning Artisan Cheese

Milton Creamery: Award-Winning Artisan Cheese

At only 17-years-old, Galen Musser received his first U.S. Cheese Championship award for his Prairie BreezeTM cheddar. That’s just one year after he started his cheese making career. Milton Creamery cheeses have won many awards since then, including one in England.

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Pinter’s Gardens & Pumpkins: Garden Center, Restaurant and Fall Fun

Pinter’s Gardens & Pumpkins: Garden Center, Restaurant and Fall Fun

Come fall, Midwest garden centers bloom with mums, asters and ornamental kale. Farms open to the public for pumpkin picking, hayrides and corn maze navigation. It’s rare to find both combined and with a restaurant on the premises, to boot, which is what you get at Pinter’s Gardens & Pumpkins in Decorah, Iowa. “…with the restaurant and the garden center and the pumpkin patch, the closest would probably be Chicago, that has all what I have,” said Elisa Pinter, who co-owns Pinter’s Gardens & Pumpkins with her husband Shane. Read more

JT Shrimp: Raising Shrimp Naturally in Indiana

JT Shrimp: Raising Shrimp Naturally in Indiana

Indiana, like most Midwest states, is big in agriculture. Soybeans, corn and cattle are common. But shrimp? Shrimp are salt water creatures. Indiana doesn’t have salt water. To my surprise, I found out there are a few shrimp farms in Indiana, including JT Shrimp in Wheatfield, where co-owner Scott Tysen gave us a tour. Read more