One of the best aspects of farming is taking both full responsibility and full pride in whatever happens in my fields.

Illinois Farm Families Blog

Jun 08 2016

Why I No Longer Believe That Monsanto Is The Devil

GMOs and biotechnology are among the most asked about topics on watchusgrow.org. Recently, a group of IFF City Moms, who have toured Illinois farms and wanted to ask additional questions about Monsanto, were given the opportunity to visit their Biotechnology Research Center. The tour was provided by Illinois Farm Families.

On Saturday, May 21st (March Against Monsanto Day) I was walking through the Monsanto Research Center in Chesterfield, MO., not outside of its gates.

Since participating in multiple farm tours with the Illinois Farm Families City Mom program, my outlook on farming and agriculture has changed - drastically.  I flew into St. Louis with an open mind, yet knowing that I was about to cross the threshold of a company that I associated with trying to take over the world's food supply; a company that was sue happy with farmers, destroying entire communities in the process; a company that knowingly manufactured cancer causing chemicals; a company whose mutant plants were causing everything from allergies to autism...pretty much a visual picture of a skull and crossbones is how I would have described Monsanto. 

I'm the person who got maybe 80 pages into the book The World According to Monsanto and couldn't continue because it was raising my anxiety level and messing with my sleep.  I waited an additional month before I forced myself to watch the documentary.  I was the person who "liked" the social media pages and groups that created the memes and posted the articles that perpetuated my misguided notions about not only Monsanto, but farming and agriculture as well.

Do you know what happened to me at Monsanto?

I was put at ease.


"Oh, but you saw a dog and pony show."
"Oh, but they only told you want they wanted you to know, not the truth."
"You're a fool!"

Sure, why not and yes to all of that.  Because you know what, I know that those comments are going to continue to come.

Here's what I learned, though:


World Population vs. Food Supply


In 2011 (5 years ago), the world population hit 7 billion people. 
The world population by 2050 is projected to hit 9 billion people.

Currently, farmers are not producing enough food to feed the current population.  Let me say that again, THERE IS NOT ENOUGH FOOD BEING PRODUCED.  Additionally, food is not evenly distributed leading to malnourishment and hunger.   

What is Monsanto doing to help this?

"We are working to double yields in our core crops by 2030. These yield gains will come from a combination of advanced plant breeding, biotechnology, and improved farm-management practices."

How?

Well, let's talk soybeans, shall we? 

Monsanto is working on increasing the soybean yield from 3 beans per pod to 4 beans per pod.  What exactly does that mean? 

  • 1 more bean per pod over 1 acre will equal 
  • 1 additional bushel at harvest

That means more food.

Let's talk drought tolerant corn.

Monsanto joined the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) partnership to bring drought tolerant and pest protected seeds to improve food security to more than 25 million people in Sub-Sahara Africa.  

Here is a wonderful Q&A post that illustrates how this is impacting world hunger:

Q. World hunger is a growing concern. How many lives would you estimate that the WEMA partnership has impacted?

A. With the deployment so far of 367 tons reaching 36,700 farm-households in Kenya, if we assume an average of 6 people per household, the products in Kenya alone would have impacted at least 220,200 lives since the deployment to farmers started in September 2013.

Again, more food...


GMO Seeds - What I Thought vs. Reality


What I thought - probably like some of you, was that Monsanto was injecting individual seeds with questionable chemicals that would mutate the seed without ever taking my (or your) health or quality of life into consideration when doing so. 

That's not the case, though. 

First, let's start with what a GMO is:

"A genetically modified organism is created by taking a beneficial trait, like insect or disease resistance, from one living thing and introducing it into another to help it thrive in its environment. They are often referred to as GMO's." 

-Farm to Plate: Learning How Food is Grown - Monsanto

"Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be defined as organisms (i.e. plants, animals or microorganisms) in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. The technology is often called “modern biotechnology” or “gene technology”, sometimes also “recombinant DNA technology” or “genetic engineering”. It allows selected individual genes to be transferred from one organism into another, also between nonrelated species. Foods produced from or using GM organisms are often referred to as GM foods." 

-World Health Organization

"...an organism or microorganism whose genetic material has been altered by means of genetic engineering."

-Random House Dictionary

How is the seed modified?

Through an agrobacterium transfer where the parent plants' DNA is modified with the gene they want to add and then the plants are propagated. 

What GMO seeds allow for farmers is the ability to minimize damage to crops from weeds and pests. What this then allows the farmers to do is limit their use of herbicides and pesticides to improve their environmental impact, on all of us.  It also leads to no-till farming which improves soil health and water retention. It also helps cut farm costs by reducing the use of insecticides on insect-resistant crops and water usage during droughts with drought-tolerant crops.

And, you know what? GMO's aren't every food. Currently there are NINE crops available commercially:

  • Corn *Monsanto produced seed*
  • Soybean *Monsanto produced seed*
  • Cotton (used for oil) *Monsanto produced seed*
  • Alfalfa (used for animal feed, not those yummy sprouts on your sandwich) *Monsanto produced seed*
  • Sugar Beets (used to make refined sugar) *Monsanto produced seed*
  • Canola (used for oil) *Monsanto produced seed*
  • Papaya
  • Squash *Monsanto produced seed*
  • Potatoes
  • And, keep your eyes on rice - enriched with beta-carotene (Vitamin A), which should be coming to market soon.  Why GMO rice?  30% of the world's population is deficient in iron according to the World Health Organization.  Want more information, check out this link: Golden Rice Project.

I'm not sure about you, but that is not all the food that I eat, and I'm a pescetarianism.  I don't think that I've ever had a papaya before in my life.  I'm just saying, I'm not worried about this.

Roundup - What I Thought vs. Reality


What I thought - it's a cancer causing chemical that is poisoning not only humans, but the earth.

You too, huh?

Well, here's the deal, IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) is an agency that looks at cancer causing hazards.  It does not evaluate actual human risk, that's what regulatory agencies do.  In 2015, IARC claimed that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans”.  This classification (2A) is also held by those who consume red meat, work a shift that involves circadian disruption, and if you are a hairdresser or barber.

*Sidebar* I don't know about you, but I used to eat red meat, I worked the third shift, and I grew up in a beauty salon... and my mom used Roundup.  And today, I'm okay.  Just saying.  

And, actually, Reuters did an investigation on how IARC confuses consumers.  And, in May of 2016 the Joint FAO/WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) concluded that “glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans from exposure through the diet."  Oh, and here is what Monsanto has to say about it.

So, no.  Roundup does not cause cancer. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization says so and so does the Wold Health Organization.  

And, there were so many other really, really good questions asked while I was at Monstanto.  

Bees

You actually need bees to pollinate crops.  Monstanto is not killing them off.  While on the tour, we learned that there are multiple factors contributing to the bee population decline including the varroa mite, pesticides, weather and disease. Here's some additional information to look at:

Militia

Monsanto does not have a militia.  They also did not hire Blackwater. "What we did do was hire an organization called TIS as a consultant to understand some of the atmosphere in which employees were working.  It's especially important in some of the global markets we are in to know what is happening. As a company we place travel freezes, etc.



To close out this very long blog post about my visit to Monsanto, I just wanted to let you know that it was not the very cool "Monsanto" salad shaker that swayed my opinion about them.

The tour and the Monsanto employees answering our questions did. 

Resources

Here's a reference list of farmers and scientists who are blogging that Janice sent to me when I asked for additional resources to help debunk the loud "anti" voice that is out there.  I wanted to pass it along as a resource for you. From my own experience, the "anti" voice is very loud.  It fueled my negative notions of farming and agriculture prior to going on tours as a City Mom.  Hopefully they will either give you a different perspective to think about, or help strengthen your beliefs about agriculture.

Janice's list

Her favorites in the farming community (and why):

Her favorites in the science community (and why):

  • Bio Fortified is a group of scientists… sometimes it is too in-depth but I find @geneticmaize is a great resource to explain more on my level and she’s one of the founders
  • Applied Mythology is a scientist who was in ag chemistry
  • Science Babe is an off-beat scientist
  • Groups like League of Nerds are podcasting about the topic

Travel expenses within St. Louis and lunch courtesy of Monsanto.

Related posts:
I'm No Scientist 
GMO Questions Answered

Stephanie Kush
Frankfort, IL

Stephanie is one of the Illinois Farm Families 2015 City Moms. Throughout the year she visits Illinois farms to learn more about where food comes from. Following each visit, the City Moms share their thoughts by blogging about what they experience on these farms. Want to learn more? Read Our Story: Chicago Moms Meet Farmers.

Jun 08 2016

What's Cooking Wednesday: Make your own ice cream!

June is National Dairy Month. To celebrate, why not try to make your own ice cream with ingredients from your local Illinois dairy farmers? Dale and Linda Drendel raise dairy cows with their son, Jeff, on their farm in Hampshire, Ill. Jesse and Mary Faber help Mary's family raise dairy cows on their farm in Pontiac, Ill.

From our families to yours, enjoy the food on your table!

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 Tablespoon sugar 
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla 
  • ½ cup whole milk 
  • 1 Tablespoon salt 
  • Ice cubes

SUPPLIES

  • Small re-sealable plastic bag 
  • Large re-sealable plastic bag 
  • Measuring spoons 
  • Measuring cup 
  • Plastic spoon

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put sugar,  vanilla, and milk into small plastic bag. Remove as much air as possible from the bag and properly seal. 
  2. Put salt into large plastic bag. Drop the small bag  into the large plastic bag with salt in it. Add 18-20 ice cubes. Remove as much air as possible from the large bag and properly seal. 
  3. Knead the bag for approximately 10 minutes, making sure ice in the larger bag surrounds the smaller bag.
  4. When a soft ice cream is formed, remove small bag from large bag, open and eat right out of bag with a plastic spoon. 
For extra fun, add fresh seasonal fruit or other favorite ice cream toppings!

NOTES

It is important to use whole milk. Other types of milk take too long to freeze. Salt is also very important. Without it, the ice cream will not freeze. One pint of half and half can be added to a gallon of milk. This makes the ice cream richer and freezes faster.

This is a fun recipe for kids to make themselves; just be sure to have plenty of paper towels on hand!

Related posts:
What's Cooking Wednesday: Mint Brownie Trifle
What's Cooking Wednesday: Orange Cream Chiller

Recipe courtesy of

Jun 01 2016

What's Cooking Wednesday: Cranberry Orange Butter

We're kicking off June Dairy Month with a delicious recipe that is sure to leave you satisfied! Share this recipe with your friends and help us celebrate local Illinois dairy farmers this month!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter softened
  • 6 tablespoons 6 tablespoons whole berry cranberry sauce (we used Ocean Spray for testing)
  • 4 teaspoons orange marmalade
  • 2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine ingredients in a small food processor; process until well blended. Spoon into an airtight container; store in refrigerator.

Serve with bagels or freshly baked bread!

Related posts:
What's Cooking Wednesday: Make your own ice cream!
What's Cooking Wednesday: Easy Cottage Cheese Salad

Recipe courtesy of:


May 27 2016

A between-the-rows view

I went out at dawn a couple weeks ago. I lay down between the rows of corn, gripped my camera. Waited.

The sun was slow in rising that day. It had been a cloudy night, following a string of cloudy days. Dew clung to tiny leaves but the dirt was dry and it stuck to my sweatshirt. Eventually, the sun began to peek through the clouds.

As I lay there, I thought about the words of a farm wife from an interview about a hundred years ago. I was in college and trying to put together a story for a magazine writing class. I went home for spring break and sat down with several farm women, including Debbie Glover, who farms with her husband, Danny, near Bone Gap, just north of my hometown.

We talked about her life on the farm and she asked, “What kind of crazy people are we? We put this seed out there in the ground and we expect it to grow. And that’s faith.”

I lay there for a while the other morning thinking about that bit of wisdom. On that morning, we’d had a long string of cloudy, damp, cool weather. The corn was looking a little pale. A little peeked. But after the sun pushed through, it was a beautifully sunny, 78-degree day, and I believe if you’d stood still long enough that day, you could’ve watch this corn green back up.

And that’s faith, right?

That we’ll spend $300 on a bag of seed corn, put it in the ground, watch it come up. Watch it green up. Put on the right amount of fertilizer. Keep the weeds at bay. Watch out for the bugs. And expect it to grow. Expect it to help feed 7 billion people all over the world.

And then that same morning, my friend, Sally Lock shared a similar photo between the rows of their cornfield and said, “He who plants a seed beneath the sod and waits to see, believes in God." 

She’s right. That phrase comes from a poem by Elizabeth York Case called Unbelief. A portion:

There is no unbelief.

Whoever plants a seed beneath the sod,

And waits to see it push away the clod,

He trusts in God.

And here we sit with a crop that looks astoundingly good in western Illinois, as our friends in southern Illinois contemplate arduous decisions about whether to rip up their first planting and start over. #Plant16 is turning into #Replant16 for too many of them. But you can’t do anything about rain that won’t stop falling.

And that’s faith, too.



Originally posted on Prairie Farmer: My Generation.

Related posts:


Holly Spangler
Marietta, IL

Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise their three children. On their farm, they grow crops and raise cattle with John's parents. Holly is also an associate editor for Prairie Farmer magazine, a publication dedicated to sharing information about farm life and farm business.

May 25 2016

What's Cooking Wednesday: Mint Brownie Trifle

INGREDIENTS

For brownies:
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 package (19.5 ounces) milk chocolate brownie mix (we used Pillsbury for testing)
  • ⅓ cup vanilla non-fat Greek-style yogurt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 14 crème de menthe chocolate layered mints (we used Andes mints for testing), cut into small pieces

For pudding:
  • 1 package (3.3 ounces) white chocolate instant pudding mix
  • 2 cups fat-free milk

For topping:
  • 3 ounces Neufchâtel cream cheese
  • ⅓ cup vanilla non-fat Greek-style yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
  • For mint curl decoration:
  • 6 creme de menthe chocolate layered mints (for ex., Andes Mint Candies)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. For brownies, preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine brownie mix, eggs, yogurt, and vegetable oil. Stir with a spoon until well blended. Stir in mint pieces. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 22 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of brownies has moist crumbs attached. Allow brownies to cool completely. Cut into small pieces.
  2. For pudding, combine pudding mix and milk in a medium bowl. Mix according to package directions.
  3. For topping, combine cream cheese, yogurt and confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Beat with electric mixer until well blended.
  4. For mint curl decoration, use a vegetable peeler to make small curls by shaving down the long edge of the mint.
  5. Layer the pudding and brownies in a 3-quart trifle bowl in two layers. Spoon the topping over the top layer. Decorate with mint curls. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Related posts:
What's Cooking Wednesday: Kiwi Summer Limeade Pie
What's Cooking Wednesday: Red Velvet Ice Cream Cake

Recipe courtesy of:

May 24 2016

Local Farmer Answers Chicago Mom's Question About Animal Care

"I had the privilege of touring your farm last week, and I am wondering if you could tell me more about the barn you built for your cattle. Did you have the cattle in mind when you were designing the barn?"

Chicago, IL

Hi Nicole,

Our new barn has incorporated everything currently available to enhance cattle comfort. I'll describe it briefly and include a couple of pictures.  It's called a monoslope barn since it looks like only 1/2 of the roof is there.  That design has some important advantages for the cattle.  In the winter the tall south facing pens are designed to allow maximum sun penetration.  On those very cold days in winter there is often plenty of sunshine and if you visited you would see the cattle basking in the sun.  The north wall has a curtain protecting them from any cold north breezes.  During warm weather, when the sun is directly overhead, they are continuously shaded underneath an insulated roof to protect them from as much radiant heat as possible.  The north curtain rolls up so there is no restriction on air movement in the barn.  The monoslope's other helpful design feature is the increase in air movement on hot afternoons.  The roof design actually speeds up small breezes to enhance the cooling effect of even small breezes.  

Lastly is the rubber comfort mats covering the floor.  Besides the obvious comfort of lying on the the rubber, it also gives the cattle good footing even in the very coldest weather. In this picture, you'll see the cattle doing their favorite activity which is relaxing and chewing their cud(ruminating) after a good meal!  


I can't tell you how much we enjoyed getting a chance to visit with all of you during the farm tour.  I wasn't kidding when I invited you to bring your families out to the farm.  We enjoy having visitors any time of the year and kids especially seem to enjoy the baby calves in spring. 


Related posts:

Sandwich, IL

Alan and JoAnn Adams farm with their son Ross near Sandwich, Illinois, about 60 miles southwest of Chicago. Ross and his wife, Jessie, have one daughter named Adalynn, who is the seventh generation to live on the farm. For the Adams family, growing up in agriculture and the beef industry is not only their livelihood or income, but also a way of life.

May 18 2016

What's Cooking Wednesday: Buffalo Pork Ribs

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 RACKS PORK BACK RIBS, (ABOUT 3 POUNDS EACH), MEMBRANE REMOVED
  • 3 CUPS BUFFALO SAUCE, (SUCH AS FRANKS RED HOT SAUCE, ORIGINAL FLAVOR)
  • 3/4 CUP UNSALTED BUTTER
  • SALT AND PEPPER , TO TASTE
  • BLUE CHEESE DRESSING , FOR GARNISH
  • CELERY AND CARROT STICKS , FOR GARNISH

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. 
  2. In a small saucepan set over medium heat, combine the hot sauce and butter. Bring to a boil while whisking until it’s smooth, then set the buffalo sauce aside. 
  3. Arrange 2 layers of aluminum foil, large enough to wrap around each rack of ribs, on your work surface. Place a rack in the center of each foil setup and season both sides generously with salt and pepper. Coat the meat side of the ribs, which should be facing up, with 1/2 cup of the buffalo sauce. Wrap the ribs tightly with the foil, place on a baking sheet, and bake until tender, about 1 hour. 
  4. Remove ribs from oven, place the oven rack in the middle of the oven; turn the oven to broil. Remove the ribs from the foil and lay them, meat side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Coat each rib with 1/4 cup of the buffalo sauce and broil until the sauce starts to brown, 4 minutes. Continue to broil and baste the ribs until you have used another 1/4 cup of buffalo sauce per rack. 
  5. Let the ribs rest for 10 minutes, then cut into individual ribs. In a large bowl, toss the ribs with the half of the remaining buffalo sauce. Arrange the ribs on a serving platter and serve with blue cheese dressing and celery and carrot sticks. 

Related posts:
Steak, Cheese, Bacon. We're excited, too.
What's Cooking Wednesday: Grilled Pizza with Herbed Pork

Recipe courtesy of:

May 17 2016

City Mom Dives Into the Details of Animal Care on Farms

As I tour Illinois farms through the City Moms program I continue to see how farmers are caring for their livestock.  There are the traditional ways, such as veterinarians who are available for consultation and check ups, and the use of antibiotics to keep the animals healthy, however, on this tour, I witnessed other ways that farmers are caring for their animals.

At the Adams family farm in Sandwich, we were shown the new barn.  Every detail that went into the barn was for the animals’ comfort.  The roof has a monoslope design, which allows for great sun exposure in the winter, and in the summer, allows for greater air movement, providing nice breezes.  In addition, the barn has a curtain, which in winter protects the cattle from any cold wind, yet in the summer, the curtain rolls up, so there is no restriction of air in the barn.  The barn also features rubber mats on the floor.  This gives the cows good footing, as well as comfort when they lay on it.

Also on the tour, we learned about the training that the farmers go through in order to give the cattle their vaccinations.  It’s important to note, that the veterinarians are available for consult at any time, and the veterinarian prescribes all antibiotics given.  The training that the farmers take allows them to be Beef Quality Assurance qualified and certified for 3 years.

Finally, one farmer, Joni Bucher, was not able to join us on the tour.  Her farm had been hit by a tornado, which can be absolutely devastating.  Fortunately her family was OK, and no animals were lost.  However, one mare was injured, needing to be lifted up and down on a regular basis, so she could nurse her young.  This farmer did that (along with a team of others), standing watch over her around the clock because as she stated, “our priority is the living, breathing things.”

Please know that farmers are providing the utmost in care for their livestock.  If you ever have any concerns or doubts, visit a farm and talk to the farmers.  See for yourself how well they treat and care for their animals.


Related posts:
What I Witnessed on an Illinois Farm

Chicago, IL

Nicole is one of the Illinois Farm Families 2015 City Moms. Throughout the year she visits Illinois farms to learn more about where food comes from. Following each visit, the City Moms share their thoughts by blogging about what they experience on these farms. Want to learn more? Read Our Story: Chicago Moms Meet Farmers.

May 16 2016

Two Different Farms, One Common Goal.

On Saturday, March 19, I had the opportunity to visit another Illinois cattle farm. Illinois cattle farms are not as large as the ranches out west, and they are mostly family farms. This farm tour was the perfect complement to the two cattle tours I have already attended, first to a cattle finishing farm and then to a dairy farm. This third tour is where it all begins in beef production: a cow/calf farm. 

Sara Prescott was on our bus for the ride from Arlington Heights to Sandwich, Illinois, talking about her experience running a cow/calf operation of about 100 beef cows. The cow/calf farm is where it all begins in beef production. The Prescott farm breeds cows to have calves, which they sell to cattle finishing farms, and from these farms the grown calves are sold for beef. 

Prescott Angus & Simmental

Sara isn’t able to walk out of her farmhouse to take care of her cattle. She lives with her husband and three children in town, and their cattle live on farmland rented from various landowners. One farm is a twenty minute drive from her house, the other is 45 minutes away. For a farmer, Sara spends a lot of time commuting!

Since her husband also works full time at a cattle feed company, Sara takes on a lot of responsibility for the cattle. During a typical day, she drops her two daughters off at school and takes her little boy with her to check on the cattle farms. They are lucky to be able to hire someone to help feed and check on their cattle at their farm near Lincoln, Illinois. Their cattle live outdoors year round. They own about 5 bulls to breed with their cows, which is done naturally (without artificial insemination). The cows are bred to have calves that are small in size, and so the cow usually has no difficulty giving birth to her calf. First time mothers sometimes need help bonding with their calf. Sara pays close attention to these cows who are about to give birth for the first time. She wants to see the cow get up and lick the calf right after it is born, to know that the calf is her baby. The calf should stand up about 15 minutes after it is born to nurse. 

The calves drink their mothers’ milk for about 6 months. When they are 3 months old, they are introduced to solid food, so that the weaning process is easier for them. After the calves are weaned, they are sold to a finishing farm, where they grow and gain weight before they are sold for beef production.

Adams Farm

We got off the bus at the Adams farm near Sandwich, Illinois. The Adams family has been raising beef cattle for almost 60 years, along with raising crops. Their herd has 59 beef cows. Alan Adams used to think that he didn’t need to communicate with consumers. He was content to raise beef cattle as his family had been doing for years without taking the time to connect with moms like us. He changed his mind, however, and has taken a very active role in the City Moms program as he realized the importance of connecting with consumers. He took the time to talk with us about breeding, antibiotics, hormones and manure management on that Saturday morning. 

Unlike Sara, Alan does live on his farm in close proximity to his cattle. The Adams family has several barns, and the cattle live in the barns during the winter. Around May 1, they are let out to pasture. The cows spend the summer grazing in the pastures with their calves beside them. While the Adams do lease some land, they also own much of their farmland. To breed their cows, they use artificial insemination. Just as Sara does, they make sure to breed the cows to have smaller calves so that calving goes smoothly. 


While farming may look a little different when comparing Sara’s farms to Alan’s, they both have one thing in common: They are both caring farmers who have a love for livestock and take care of their animals’ needs to provide quality beef to consumers like you and me. 

Sara has written a wonderful article about the humane care of animals, along with other information about Prescott Farms. Read all about it here.


Related posts:
From Farm to Table: Milk's Journey

Mount Prospect, IL

Christa was one of the Illinois Farm Families 2013 Field Moms. Throughout the year she visited several Illinois farms to learn more about where food comes from. Following each tour, the Field Moms shared their thoughts by blogging about what they experienced on these farms, including five things they found most interesting. Want to learn more? Read Our Story: Chicago moms meet farmers. (City Moms formerly known as Field Moms.)


May 13 2016

Steak, Cheese, Bacon. We're excited, too.

We’re Illinois farmers who grow food for your family and ours, and we want to talk about what’s on your table. Mike and Lynn Martz raise cattle with their son, Justin, in Maple Park, Ill. to bring you high quality beef. Brian and Jen Sturtevant raise pigs in Lanark, lll. while preserving the land they farm. Mary Faber and her family run a dairy farm in Pontiac, Ill. that produces milk for dairy products, like cheese and yogurt. 

From our families to yours, enjoy the food on your table!



Bacon Wrapped Steak with Blue Cheese


INGREDIENTS

  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 beef filets (8-10 oz. each, 2 in. thick)
  • 2 thin slices of bacon
  • 1.5 tablespoon butter or olive oil
Blue Cheese Topping
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 4 teaspoons crumbled blue cheese
  • 4 teaspoons plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons minced onion
  • Dash ground white pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 450 F. 
2. Coat each filet with salt and pepper and wrap with bacon. Secure bacon with a toothpick.
3. In an oven-proof skillet, heat butter or olive oil and sear both sides of each filet on medium-high heat (about one minute per side). 
4. Remove skillet from stove and finish cooking in the preheated oven. Cook to desired doneness.
145 F = Medium Rare
160 F = Medium
170 F = Well Done

5. While the steaks are cooking, combine all of the topping ingredients in a bowl and set aside. 
6. Remove filets from oven when desired doneness is achieved and top with blue cheese topping. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.