ILFB Partners Spring 2012 | Salad | Food & Wine


FarM Bureau

SPring 2012

A quArtErly mAgAzinE For mEmBErS

Bringing the ‘Heat’
Southwest Illinois feeds consumer taste for horseradish’s unique bite

MoVe oVer, iCeBerG
Fun, fresh spring salads

Program helps farmers return to work

LittLe HiLL on tHe prairie
Beauty blooms in Elkhart


This Issue at a Glance
2 5 

We work with Flesor’s Candy Kitchen [“Sweet Reunion,” Winter 2011-12] on specially designed boxes of chocolates – each featuring distinctive features about the University of Evansville. Not only is this a great marketing tool and a way to say thank you to special folks – the candy is DELICIOUS! Ann, Devon and Dee Ann (and Ann’s husband, Roger!) always go above and beyond to meet our needs. As an institution that prides itself on our traditions and our values, we very much appreciate working with others who hold those same things near and dear.
lucy Himstedt evansville, Ind.






Illinois farme well-being r discusses care and of the birds he raises







SAWED Chainsaw artist carv es ‘designer’ firewood




ION Find nostalgi c treats at Tuscola fam ily candy shop




slow CooKeR suCCess
The slow cooker roasted chicken [“Slow & Simple,” Winter 2011-12] sounds so yummy, and what an easy way to do it! I can put it on in the morning and forget it until dinnertime.
Patricia Reed via


1. Horseradish farm in Edwardsville 2. Pick-your-own strawberries at Susie’s Garden Patch in Garden Prairie 3. Virginia bluebells and beyond in Elkhart 4. Food safety equipment in the classroom at University of Illinois 5. Museums, a riverboat casino and old-fashioned ice cream in Elgin 6. More strawberries at Country Corner Farm Market in Alpha

I was born and raised in Tuscola. When I started my freshman year in 1947, my dad walked me over to the Candy Kitchen, and Gus [Flesor] put an apron on me. I worked for Gus all through high school and part time while attending Eastern Illinois University. In those years, I came to know Gus well. To those who knew him, he had a very compassionate and caring side. Many times I saw him reach out in various ways to those less fortunate. I learned how to make all of the candies. He would tell me I could enjoy eating anything in the store but “don’t waste anything.” At the end of my day’s work, Gus would always send some of my mother’s favorite candy home with me to give to her. I will always cherish growing up in Tuscola and working for and knowing Gus.
Chuck Kleiss long Beach, Calif. via

Correction: After publication of our Winter 2011-12 issue, the Quincy Preserves Christmas Candlelight Tours event was cancelled and rescheduled for the spring, with tours beginning on May 6. We apologize for any inconvenience. As always, we remind our readers to please call the contact listed before traveling long distances to attend. To suggest an event for us to include in future issues, please email us at

wRITe To us
Email us at We welcome any feedback, story ideas, gardening questions or recommendations for our events section.
Illinois Farm Bureau



8 unlimited Abilities
Program helps farmers overcome disabilities and return to work

12 Bringing the ‘Heat’
Southwest Illinois feeds consumer taste for horseradish’s unique bite


18 little Town on the Prairie
History and nature bloom on Elkhart Hill

26 Travel Illinois: elgin
Rich history, top-notch entertainment and a sense of community define Elgin

Every Issue
Hats off to farm hats

6 AlmAnAC
Chicago moms meet Illinois farm families

17 CounTRy wIsdom
Improve your savings with these budget plans

20 ReCIPes
Move over, iceberg, and make room for fun and flavorful spring salads

24 GARdenInG
To till or not to till – that is the springtime question
on THe CoveR Photo by Brian McCord Illinois horseradish farmer Jeff Heepke

moRe onlIne
Watch videos, read stories and browse photos at
Spring 2012


VolumE 5, no. 1


FarM Bureau

VISIt our weBSIte For VIdeoS, StorIeS, recIpeS and mucH more

An oFFiciAl mEmBEr PuBlicAtion oF thE illinoiS FArm BurEAu






Publisher Dennis Vercler editor Dave McClelland Associate editor Martin Ross Production manager Bob Standard Photographic services director Ken Kashian President Philip Nelson vice President Rich Guebert Jr. executive director of operations, news & Communications Chris Magnuson

Maple Madness Learn how the farmers at Funks Grove harvests maple syrup each spring at

Arthur and Arcola Take a step back in time at Illinois’ largest and oldest Amish communities of Arthur and Arcola at

managing editor Jessy Yancey Copy editor Jill Wyatt Proofreading manager Raven Petty Content Coordinator Blair Thomas Contributing writers Charlyn Fargo, Celeste Huttes, Jan Phipps, Martin Ross, Jessica Mozo, Joanie Stiers, Lorraine Zenge Creative services director Christina Carden Publication design director Murry Keith senior Graphic designers Laura Gallagher, Vikki Williams Graphic designers Taylor Nunley Creative Technology Analyst Becca Ary Photography director Jeffrey S. Otto senior Photographers Jeff Adkins, Brian McCord staff Photographers Todd Bennett, Antony Boshier web Creative director Allison Davis web Content manager John Hood web Project manager Noy Fongnaly web designer II Richard Stevens web development lead Yamel Hall web developer I Nels Noseworthy web Account manager Lauren Eubank Ad Production manager Katie Middendorf Ad Traffic Assistants Krystin Lemmon, Patricia Moisan Information Technology director Yancey Bond I.T. service Technician Daniel Cantrell database manager/IT support Chandra Bradshaw Accounting Diana Guzman, Maria McFarland, Lisa Owens County Program Coordinator Kristy Duncan office manager Shelly Miller Receptionist Linda Bishop Chairman Greg Thurman President/Publisher Bob Schwartzman executive vice President Ray Langen sr. v.P./operations Casey Hester sr. v.P./sales Todd Potter sr. v.P./Agribusiness Publishing Kim Holmberg v.P./visual Content Mark Forester v.P./external Communications Teree Caruthers v.P./Content operations Natasha Lorens Controller Chris Dudley marketing Creative director Keith Harris distribution director Gary Smith Illinois Farm Bureau Partners is produced for the Illinois Farm Bureau by Journal Communications Inc., 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, TN 37067, (800) 333-8842. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. Illinois Farm Bureau Partners (USPS No. 255-380) is issued quarterly by the Illinois Agricultural Association, 1701 Towanda Ave., P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61702. Periodicals postage paid at Bloomington, IL 61702 and additional mailing offices. The individual membership fee of the Illinois Agricultural Association includes payment of $3 for a subscription to Illinois Farm Bureau Partners. POSTMASTER: Send change of address notices on Form 3579 to Illinois Farm Bureau Partners, P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL, 61702-2901.
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grow, cook, eat, learn

Please recycle this magazine

Find recipes, tips and food for thought at
Illinois Farm Bureau

prairie state perspective
Joanie Stiers writes from farm country in rural Western Illinois, where she grew up caring for livestock, including pigs, beef cattle and chickens.

Hats Off
Fewer farmers wear livestock hats
Grandpa once had this amazing wall of farm hats in his home office. He hung baseball-type caps like wallpaper from the desktops to the ceiling, until Grandma learned they sheltered termites that had ruined the office walls. I haven’t seen them since their placement in storage, but I vividly remember the livestock-related hats, their logos and names of feed mills. They tended to be the ones with the flip-down, fuzzy ear coverings for those farmers who brave the cold to care for their pigs and cows. Grandpa’s hat collection says a lot of about farm history, agribusinesses and their tradition of free hats, and about livestock. Truth is, lots of farmers wear farm hats. But farmers wearing hats with logos of livestock feed companies are fewer these days. If you haven’t been down a secondary road in 25 years, or maybe have never been on one made of gravel or unstriped blacktop, you’ll be surprised to learn how few farms raise livestock. In fact, not even half of Illinois farms do. Beef cattle can be found on 23 percent of Illinois farms, primarily in the northwest, western and southern parts of Illinois, where some hillier land is better suited for pasture than growing crops. Pigs, dairy cattle and chickens are found on fewer farms yet. Most children’s picture books – at least the romanticized kind where every farm has a few cows, muddy pigs and big red barns – are generally as outdated as eight-track tapes. When these audio relics were popular, about seven in 10 farms raised pigs and cows in my gently rolling western part of the state. Today, cattle are on fewer than four in 10 farms in my area. Fewer than one in
Spring 2012

10 farms has pigs. The Illinois livestock industry is shrinking while the industry has grown nationwide. Though the number of farms has declined over the years, the quantity of livestock and number of farms raising them has declined more rapidly. The state’s livestock farmers face increasing regulations, foreign competition and a growing not-in-my-backyard mentality. Economics of scale, profitability, industry integration and farm lifestyle also contribute to the change. Illinois’ shrinking livestock industry has been visible for years. Most woven-wire fences that used to bind almost every rural property have been removed or fallen into disrepair because they serve no need to contain livestock. Many old concrete-floored open lots and livestock shelters, including barns and open-front buildings, have become storage spaces or parking lots for machinery. The numbers of veterinarians and feed mills have declined and now serve large territories. Some previous pastures instead grow corn and soybeans. The farmers who still wear the livestock hats are passionate, motivated business people who have made investments in facilities and technology, increased efficiencies, and developed marketing plans. They are significant to the family farmers who choose to focus on growing the state’s major crops. Livestock farmers are the No. 1 customer of corn and soybeans, which are primary feed ingredients. Hats off to them.



Farm Focus: wineries
Illinois is home to 91 wineries and 450 vineyards encompassing 1,115 acres of grapes across the state. In 2009, the state produced 357,000 gallons of wine. Learn more about wine and wineries with these facts: • The full economic impact of wine and wine grapes on the state of Illinois in 2009 was $319 million. • The wine and grape business in Illinois employs 2,064 people full time. • More than 200,000 tourists visited wineries last year. • The foot-stomping method is still used in the production of many ports. • Only 20 of the 400 species of oak are still used to make oak barrels for aging wine, the average tree age being 170 years. • White wine becomes darker in color as it ages, while red wine becomes lighter in color. • Wine contains more chemical compounds than blood. • Thomas Jefferson was a wine connoisseur and selected wine for the first five presidents. • Dom Perignon, credited with developing the champagne-making process, was blind. Read about Illinois Wine Trails online at Sources: 2009 Illinois Wine Economic Impact Study,

Feeding Food deserts
There are hidden deserts across Illinois – food deserts, that is. The Healthy Food Financing Initiative – a partnership made up of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Treasury Department, and the Department of Health and Human Services – has mapped low-income communities without ready access to healthy and affordable food across the state. These areas are known as food deserts. At least 33 percent of these areas’ residents live more than one mile – or more than 10 miles in rural areas – from a supermarket. The goal of the initiative is to develop and equip grocery stores, small retailers, corner stores and farmers’ markets with fresh and healthy food. Macomb, Pekin, and parts of Bloomington and Peoria are in identified food deserts. To find more information about the initiative, as well as a link to a food desert locator on the USDA website, visit

Find a pick-your-own strawberry farm near you. The website Illinois Farm Visit offers a searchable database of local farms divided by produce grown on the farm, services provided and even farming practices. So when the strawberries are ripe in May and June, you can find them fresh at a farm near you, such as Susie’s Garden Patch on U.S. Highway 20 in Garden Prairie or Country Corner Farm Market on U.S. Highway 150 two miles north of Alpha. Find more pick-your-own farms across the state at


Illinois Farm Bureau

moms in the Field
Are you a suburban mom who wants to know more about where your family’s food comes from? Farm families across the state are opening their doors to the city moms – whom they’ve dubbed “Field Moms” – to show what really happens on today’s family-run farms. The website,, aims to share Illinois farm information with non-farmers. In a series of videos on the site, the Field Moms ask farmers about animal care, antibiotics and other issues.
pHoto courteSY oF Ken KaSHIan

The website also features profiles on family farmers, blog posts written by the Field Moms and an FAQ section. Watch Us Grow is operated by Illinois Farm Families, a statewide communications program of the Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Pork Producers Association and Illinois Farm Bureau.
Right: DeKalb County farmer Lynn Martz, left, describes cattle feed ingredients to the Field Moms, who were hosted by Illinois Farm Families for a tour of her family’s farm.

protect Your plants
Most of the spring plants in your yard and garden require protection when overnight frost is predicted. To shelter plants in garden beds, consider these methods: Small plants: Cut the bottom out of a large cardboard box. Tape together the box-top flaps, then cut along three sides of the top so that a hinged lid remains. Set the box over the plant, keeping the lid closed at night and open during the day. Large plants: Set four stakes – each several inches taller than the plant – around the plant’s perimeter. Drape the stakes with a frost cover, burlap or an old blanket. Don’t let the cover come into direct contact with the plant or it will transfer the freezing temperatures to the leaves. Remove the cover during the day. If a frost catches you by surprise and you don’t have time to construct either of these guards, move a patio chair over a smaller plant and drape the chair with your frost cover for a quick solution.

COUNTRY Mutual Insurance Company
To All Policyholders and Members: Notice is hereby given that the annual meeting of the members of Country Mutual Insurance Company will be held in the Illinois Agricultural Association Building, 1701 Towanda Avenue, Bloomington, Illinois on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 1:00 p.m., to receive, consider, and if approved, confirm and ratify the reports of the officers and of the Board of Directors of the Company for the year ended December 31, 2011 to elect 20 members of the Board of Directors to serve for a term of one year, and for the transaction of such other business as may properly come before the meeting. Elaine Thacker, Kathy Smith Whitman Assistant Secretaries

QuAKeR oATs donATes To sCIenCe ClAss
University of Illinois students have new equipment to help them learn about food quality. Quaker Oats donated a high-temp pasteurization unit to the university’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences’ Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. The ultra-high-temperature processing unit allows students to see the effects of the thermal process on food safety and quality.

Spring 2012



Illinois Farm Bureau

Unlimited Abilities
Program helps farmers overcome disabilities and return to work

Charlyn Fargo |


Antony Boshier

n 1981, Brenda Besse’s life changed suddenly. A star athlete from Hillsdale in Northwestern Illinois, in a matter of months she went from playing college basketball to learning to walk with a prosthesis. “I was just a farm kid, 23, showing cattle at county fairs,” Besse says. “I went off to college, graduated in May 1981, started teaching and coaching, and got hurt in October.” She was running the family combine, harvesting corn that was difficult to pick up due to a windstorm, when the farm machine stalled. She jumped off and tried to unplug the combine head, but her leg became tangled. Like the undertow of an ocean, the combine spun her around, and her leg came off at the knee. “I landed on my face, rolled over and pulled myself over to the combine steps. I was running wide open on adrenaline,” Besse says. “There was no crying. Not a tear.” All she could do was wait on her father, who had gone to empty the semi truck. “Dad eventually got back, got out of the semi, ran over and wrapped his belt around my leg,” she recalls. “Then he went to the neighbors and called 911, and brought me back water.” She relives the tragedy as if it were yesterday, though it’s been 30 years.
Left: Randy Miller, a Chenoa grain farmer, received help from the statewide program AgrAbility following a farming-related accident in 2008. Above: Brenda Besse lost her leg in a combine accident 30 years ago. Today, she runs Brierwood Farms, a cattle farm in Hillsdale.
Spring 2012



Helping Farmers Besse shares her experience often with other farmers as a volunteer for AgrAbility Unlimited, a statewide program that helps those in agriculture who have disabilities. The organization, created in 1990 as part of a national initiative, was originally funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant. A joint program of the University of Illinois Extension and the Easter Seals Central Illinois, it now seeks private funds to stay in business. The group was recently turned down for another USDA grant. The organization, which has helped more than 800 farmers since its inception in 1991, is operating on a skeleton budget, says Chip Petrea, AgrAbility’s client service manager. “We’re using donations from groups such as the Illinois Farm Bureau, GROWMARK and Farm Service Agency to keep going. We’re not sure what we’re going to do for the long term.” Petrea knows first hand how the program can help farmers. He was in a hay baler accident in 1978. “I got hurt before [AgrAbility] got started, but I see how much we can help farmers,” Petrea says. “It’s not a stretch for me to do what I do to help farmers. We try to point them in the right direction after something happens.” A total of 27 to 30 farm fatalities occurs in Illinois each year. According to Petrea, a recent survey found an

average of 5,000 farming-related injuries each week cause U.S. farmers to miss at least a half-day of work. Happy endings Besse, who is now working on a book about her experience, first learned about AgrAbility from an article in a magazine. “I called the 800 number, and they helped me get a Gator for the cattle,” she says. “We decided I could utilize it to do baby bottles and haul feed buckets.” Not long after her accident, her father sold the herd of Angus cattle. She says that devastated her as much as the accident itself. “I eventually left the farm and spent 15 years working for the Rock Island Arsenal in the civilian personnel office. It was a culture shock, working in an office,” she says. “I left there and spent a year mowing at a golf course, regrouping and ended up getting back in the cattle business – this time dairy.” Her love for cattle helped her find her partner, Ron Paaske. Today, the two run Brierwood Farms. “I’ve always loved cattle, and on my way to work at the Arsenal, I’d drive by a dairy and see a guy milking his cows,” says Besse. “One day I was getting coffee, and he (Ron) was sitting at the farmers’ table. He poured me a cup of coffee. That went on for a couple of days and finally I said, ‘Who are

you?’ And he replied, ‘I’m the guy with the cows. Stop down sometime.’ Well, I did, and the rest is history.” Finding Hope In October 2008, a semi-trailer truck broadsided Randy Miller’s grain truck, breaking his neck though not severing his spine. These days, he’s back to farming. Petrea met with Miller in the spring 2009 to help him research new options, such as upgrading an older tractor with accessibility steps and using air-powered tools. Petrea also helped Miller get a reverse-facing camera and monitor for his combine cab so he didn’t have to strain his neck turning around. But Miller says the biggest thing AgrAbility did was to give him hope. “They showed me examples of people who had overcome their disabilities to continue farming,” says Miller, 43. “That’s what I needed. Chip came and visited me early on.” Miller isn’t confined to a wheelchair – he uses a cane – but initially doctors said his chance of moving anything again was less than 3 percent. “I still keep getting strength,” he says. “My left side doesn’t have the motor movement I had, and my foot drags sometimes, but I’m still farming. My brother, Marvin, helps me with the heavy lifting.” Miller raises corn and soybeans on 440 acres in Chenoa. “I’m blessed,” says Miller. “I’m up and mobile and still able to farm.”

Top: When she’s not working with cattle, Besse serves as an AgrAbility volunteer for the northern half of the state, sharing her story with other farmers. Bottom: Through the program, Miller researched new equipment that helps him continue to farm.


Illinois Farm Bureau

For more information about the program, visit

www.agrability or
call (217) 333-9417.

Spring 2012



Illinois Farm Bureau

mericans today like a little burn in their burrito, a wasabi wallop with their sushi, a chili charge in their Thai takeout. And as long as consumers yearn for the burn, Southern Illinois horseradish grower Jeff Heepke will bring the heat. Horseradish has held its own in a fickle culinary environment, gracing prime rib, shrimp dips, holiday tables and a growing list of saucy formulations designed to tantalize adventurous taste buds. In fact, the International Herb Association crowned horseradish the 2011 Herb of the Year, citing its rich historical roots and diversity – Armoracia rusticana, as it’s known in the botanical world, has also served a variety of chemical and medical uses. Nationwide, roughly 24 million pounds of horseradish roots are ground and processed each year to produce some 6 million gallons of prepared horseradish. Illinois grows the lion’s share: Collinsvillebased J.R. Kelly Co. is the nation’s top supplier, marketing an annual 10 million to 12 million pounds of roots, thus earning the nickname “The Horseradish House.” Heepke, a 31-year-old Edwardsville grower who sells directly to “grinders,” is the fourth generation of “a horseradish


Southwest Illinois feeds consumer taste for horseradish’s unique bite

Martin Ross |

Brian McCord
Find horseradish recipes, including Orange and Horseradish-Crusted Pork, Horseradish Mashed Potatoes and Cabbage Apple Horseradish Slaw, online at ilfbpartners. com/horseradish-recipes.

family” that took root with greatgrandfather George Willaredt. Heepke took up the family mantle roughly a decade ago and today farms 200 acres of horseradish, at about 7,000 pounds to the acre, as well as corn and soybeans. The Illinois Horseradish Growers Association includes close to a dozen farms in Madison and St. Clair counties, ranging from five to 500 acres of production. The area lies within the “American bottoms,” a Mississippi River basin with soils rich in potash, a nutrient that feeds healthy horseradish production. It’s a hardy crop that requires a hardy and patient soul to produce. “It will grow anywhere – it depends on how hard you want to work to harvest it,” Heepke notes. “We harvest any month with an ‘r’ – from September to April, when it’s large enough to harvest. Historically, we have a mild winter here, though sometimes, you have to put an ‘r’ in May to get your harvest finished.” The lengthy, labor-intensive harvest requires Heepke to hire an average 20 workers a season. The unusual crop requires some unusual production techniques: He builds his own equipment

Like most Illinois farmers, horseradish grower Jeff Heepke, bottom center, runs a family operation, along with, clockwise from top left, wife Marcy, grandfather George Willaredt and daughters, Emma and Grace.
Spring 2012


from salvaged potato harvesting machinery. Once they’ve harvested the horseradish, Heepke and company remove the green tops and save the smaller roots for next year’s “seed.” Remaining roots are cleaned, packed on pallets and stored at an optimal 28 degrees before being loaded onto refrigerated trucks for shipment. Heepke sells under contract to grinders in Ohio and Wisconsin and on the East Coast. “We pretty much have it sold when we plant it.” Demand remains steady season to season, as does the horseradish community. German immigrants began growing horseradish in the region in the late 1800s, passing their growing methods from generation to generation. Heepke notes a gradual decline in the number of area growers over the years, but those who raise the root are committed to the crop. “Producers don’t get in and out of the market,” he relates. “Once you’re in, you stay in. When you’re ready to retire, that’s when more acres become available.” Maryland-based Tulkoff Food Products is a major buyer of Illinois horseradish. Phil Tulkoff, who runs a business begun in in the late 1920s, markets processed product to restaurants and other food service outlets. Tulkoff reports industry growth has been “slow and flat” amid a lagging economy, but notes an occasional inquiry from a customer looking to incorporate horseradish heat into a new sauce, dressing or cheese. The company’s own offerings include a standard “Tiger Sauce” – a sandwichfriendly mix of horseradish and mayonnaise – and “Deli Style,” which Tulkoff likens to “Tiger Sauce on steroids.” “It will make your nose kind of open up,” he muses. “The hotter cocktail sauces seem to be what people are looking for. People are asking us to make cocktail sauces that have two to three times the horseradish we normally put in. They’re looking for the heat.”

Southwest Illinois is a hot spot for horseradish. Heepke, a fourth-generation horseradish farmer, grows about 200 acres of the spicy root.


Illinois Farm Bureau

Spring 2012


The Root of It All
Learn about the history of horseradish and other pungent particulars
RooTs. Armoracia rusticana, or horseradish, is a member of a venerable botanical family, Brassicaceae, which includes broccoli, cabbage, mustard and wasabi. In fact, when in Tokyo, request “seiyo wasabi” to add a Southern Illinois twist to your meal. deePeR RooTs. According to legend, the Delphic Oracle told Apollo – the mythological Greek god of healing and medicine – that horseradish was worth its weight in gold. Early “green” philosopher Pliny the Elder recommended horseradish for its medicinal qualities – both its root and leaves were used as remedies during the Middle Ages, even as horseradish was taking root as a condiment on meats in Germany, Scandinavia and Britain. Horseradish made the transatlantic voyage to North America during colonial times. A RooT By Any oTHeR nAme… The name horseradish itself remains a subject of heated (and spicy) conjecture. The old German word “mähre” means female horse, and the label may have resulted from confusion between meerrettich (or “sea radish”) and mährrettich (“mare radish”). Maybe, maybe not: An oldschool European method of processing horseradish was called “hoofing,” because horses were used to stamp roots tender before they were grated. A RooT A dAy? Horseradish

has potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, as well as mustard oil, which has antibacterial properties. Raw horseradish offers an average 79.31 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams. Roots have been used to treat urinary tract infections, bronchitis, sinus congestion, ingrown toenails, and coughs. Compounds found in horseradish have been found to kill some bacterial strains. move oveR, suGAR. A teaspoonful of grated horseradish mixed with honey reportedly will clear one’s stopped nose within a few minutes. And the enzyme horseradish peroxidase is used extensively in molecular biology and is becoming increasingly important in biochemical research fields. THe Red And THe wHITe. Despite what you may find on the supermarket shelf, there is no “red” horseradish per se, East Coast horseradish purveyor Phil Tulkoff emphasizes. Ground white horseradish is preserved (and toned down) with vinegar, while beets are used to produce the red version, a mainstay of many Passover tables. “The only difference, really, is the color,” Tulkoff maintains. “Years ago, some of our competitors would grind beets in with the horseradish. We use beet juice for the coloring. It’s essentially the same product in a slightly different shade.”

THe RITe RooT. Traditionally, during Passover, a blessing is recited over a bitter vegetable – usually raw horseradish – before it is eaten, often as an accompaniment with gefilte fish. One modern recipe for Passover “beet horseradish” includes a large scrubbed beet, a quarter pound of fresh horseradish (rule of thumb, about 4 inches), three tablespoons of kosher white balsamic vinegar, and a teaspoon each of sugar and kosher salt. noT jusT FoR sAuCe. Since 1988, Collinsville has been home to the International Horseradish Festival, which takes place June 1-3 at Woodland Park. The annual celebration features live music, a Bloody Mary contest, Little Miss Horseradish Festival Pageant, root “golf,” a root toss, a horseradisheating contest and a horseradish recipe contest. Area grower Jeff Heepke argues culinary imagination is crucial to winning that horse(radish) race. “It’s not just a condiment – it’s an ingredient,” he says. “You can have it with mayonnaise on your ham sandwich or straight on a steak. You can put it in the marinade for your steak or in your chicken marinade. Different processors have mixed it with cranberries or pineapples or apricots. You could use that on your bologna sandwich to spice it up, or you could add color or flavor to your mashed potatoes.” – Martin Ross
Illinois Farm Bureau

country® wisdom
Lorraine Zenge, ChFC, is a senior advanced planner for COUNTRY Financial. Visit COUNTRY on the web at

Stop the Leak!
Improve your savings with these budget plans
Is your wallet leaking? Do you ever ask yourself where your money went and why you haven’t saved more than last year? If so, you have plenty of company. Only 40 percent of Americans use a monthly budget to track their finances, according to a recent National Foundation for Credit Counseling survey. Although the idea of doing a budget may seem overwhelming, the process does not have to be difficult. After sticking with the process for a month or two, the feeling of being in control of your money – rather than having no idea where your money goes – is so satisfying that it provides its own incentive to continue. write it down For a week or two, try the envelope method. When you make a purchase, the receipt goes in the envelope. If it’s a cash purchase and no receipt is given, you write the amount and what was purchased on the outside of the envelope. At the end of the week, add up how much was spent on your purchases – lunches, vending machines, coffee at Starbucks, etc. You may be shocked when you learn the sources of your money leaks. You may want to give up eating lunches out. Instead, use the money you would have spent to build a fund for something you want or need, such as a new laptop or summer vacation. track it Start your household budget by listing all your cash inflows and outflows starting with your paychecks and regular monthly bills. Then list all your other expenses – birthday gifts, clothing expenditures and entertainment.
Spring 2012

Next, develop your tracking mechanism. Although some people develop their own spreadsheets to track their finances, budgeting software like Quicken, and Web-based budgeting tools, including the free and highly rated, can make setting up your budget a breeze and almost fun! Both tools allow you to download transactions from your bank accounts and credit cards, which make the tracking of your expenses less time consuming. set your goals After you develop your tracking mechanism and have used it for a month or two, set some financial goals. Once you are tracking how you spend your money, you can develop a budget for how you need and want to spend your money. This may mean cutting back in some areas – for example, eating out for lunch every day – and adding to others, such as retirement savings. And of course, you will need to tweak your budget as your circumstances change. Some people allot themselves a certain amount of cash for eating out, snacks and other “mad money” purchases at payday. When their “mad money” is gone, they don’t get any more until the next payday and must modify their behavior, such as taking lunch to work rather than eating out. stick to it The budgeting process itself is easy. Sticking to it can take some motivation. However, over the course of time you will be rewarded by building your retirement savings and having money in the bank for budgeted purchases, which may include new furniture or a family vacation. With your budget in hand, you will truly be on the path to financial security.


Little Town
on the
History and nature bloom on Elkhart Hill

PHoTo CouRTesy oF Ken KAsHIAn


Illinois Farm Bureau



Celeste Huttes Antony Boshier


o one knows what caused a glacier to stop in the heart of Illinois thousands of years ago, depositing a massive mound of dirt and rock. But those who stop here today discover that history blooms on Elkhart Hill. About 17 miles northeast of Springfield, Elkhart Hill rises unexpectedly from the flat prairie to an elevation of 777 feet above sea level. Nestled at the foot of the 600-acre hill is the tiny village of Elkhart. The town was founded in 1855, but its roots date back to 1819, when settler Richard Latham built a home at the foot of Elkhart Hill, along an ancient American Indian trail. Elkhart once attracted some of Illinois’ early movers and shakers, including a young lawyer named Abraham Lincoln, who would stay in the area while traveling the rural circuit. Two of Lincoln’s close friends, Illinois Gov. Richard Oglesby and John Dean Gillett (“Cattle King of the World”), settled in Elkhart. “For a village this size, we’ve had more than our fair share of interesting subjects,” says Gillette Ransom of the Elkhart Historical Society (and direct descendant of John Dean Gillett). Along with interesting human history, Elkhart Hill is home to natural history: unique plant life and virgin woodland. The Elkhart Historical Society is committed to preserving and sharing both. Among the society’s most popular events is the Wildflower Nature Walks held every spring on private land still owned by the Gillett family. Led by botanist Bill McClain, the walk spotlights a dazzling display of diverse wildflowers, culminating with a

blanket of Virginia Bluebells. The organization also hosts an annual bird walk where birdwatchers can spot as many as 40 species of migratory birds. A fall historical tour highlights the hill’s manmade treasures, including the John Dean Gillett Mansion, two historic cemeteries, an Illinois landmark bridge and the St. John the Baptist Chapel, the state’s only privately owned church. History is also well preserved in Elkhart’s delightfully dainty downtown. Friendly shopkeepers offer unique gifts and antiques in carefully restored buildings dating to the late 1800s, while cafés and bakeries introduce old family recipes to new generations. The quaintness continues at the town library. Built in 1904, the library features original wood bookshelves and reading tables, and a story as interesting as its architecture. In 1888, Lemira Gillett (wife of John Dean) promised to build a library if the town would stay “dry” for three years. “It’s a little gem,” says Dr. Margaret “Peggy” Lee, village trustee. “It’s like stepping back in time.” Thanks to its location on historic Route 66, visitors from near and far have been enchanted by Elkhart. Road warriors often stop for a madefrom-scratch lunch in the whimsical Wild Hare Café, located in a building that was once the town bank. “I think they’re looking for the authentic, rural America,” says café owner Andrea Niehaus. And this village by the hill delivers authentic charm. As Niehaus says, “Elkhart is like a page from a Norman Rockwell calendar.”

exPeRIenCe elKHART
Shop and dine in historic downtown Elkhart (but not on Mondays, when shops are closed). • Take an art class at Dragonfly Art Studio or a cooking class at Central Illinois Events (www. • Spend a weekend at The Brick House, the guesthouse on the Old Gillett Farm (www. • Enjoy an “Enchanted Evening” of music and wine on the sprawling lawn of Cro’Hurst Mansion or an interesting dinner and lecture (www. elkharthistorical Discover the latest Elkhart events online at www.elkharthistorical and

Clockwise from top: Old Gillett Farm is one of the original farms on Elkhart Hill; Virginia bluebells bloom briefly in early spring; Gillette Ransom and Dr. Peggy Lee walk along one of the area’s many trails.
Spring 2012


move over, Iceberg
Make room for fun and flavorful spring salads


Illinois Farm Bureau



Charlyn Fargo Jeffrey S. Otto

ome spring, thoughts turn to vegetable gardens and flowers. It’s also a time to focus on crisp, fresh salads. At a recent Easter brunch, the Caesar salad was served in a glass – with the dressing at the base and tall romaine lettuce leaves and shaved parmesan “planted” in the glass. It was a wonderful reminder that spring was just around the corner and a great way to serve a salad – portable, visually pleasing and fun to eat. That’s the way salads should be – fun, full of flavor and nutritious to boot. A great way to add interest (and nutrition) to your salads is to try a different type of green. The traditional, common iceberg is making way for the rich, deep greens of kale, arugula, collards and spinach. The richer and deeper the green, the more nutritional. The stronger the green, the better it does lightly sautéed or cooked in a quiche. If you’re not used to stronger-flavored greens, try shredding them in a salad – either by hand (called chiffonade and done by rolling them together and slicing thinly with a knife) or with a food processor. Stronger flavored greens marry well with a strong vinaigrette or dressing. That’s the secret to a great salad – plenty of flavor, whether in the ripe strawberries added to a fresh spinach salad or the Cajun-flavored croutons in a Caesar salad. You can also boost flavor with a shake of Italian seasoning, feta or blue cheese, or freshly ground pepper, just before serving. Here are some spring salad recipes to get you started on the season.


Mixed Greens With Snow Peas, Grapes and Feta
Spring 2012


Sauteed Kale and Garlic
1 ½ pounds young kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped 3 2 ½ ½

tablespoons olive oil cloves garlic, finely sliced red onion, sliced very thin cup vegetable stock or water Salt and pepper teaspoon red pepper flakes tablespoons rice wine vinegar



1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook until soft but not colored. Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale, and toss to combine. Cover, and cook 5 minutes. 2. Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt, pepper and pepper flakes to taste, and add vinegar. Serves 4.


Illinois Farm Bureau

Mixed Greens With Snow Peas, Grapes and Feta
5 5 2 1 ½ ¼ ½ 8 2 2 ½ tablespoons white wine vinegar tablespoons fresh orange juice tablespoons extra virgin olive oil tablespoon sugar teaspoon salt teaspoon freshly ground black pepper teaspoon Italian seasoning cups mixed salad greens, such as kale, collards, spinach, romaine and arugula cups snow peas, trimmed and cut into thin strips cups seedless red grapes, halved cup crumbled feta cheese

Creamy Caesar Salad in a Glass
Caesar Dressing: 1 ½ 2 2 2 1 ¼ 2 ¾ 1 2 18 ¾ garlic clove, halved cup nonfat mayonnaise tablespoons red wine vinegar teaspoons Dijon mustard teaspoons white wine Worcestershire sauce teaspoon anchovy paste teaspoon pepper teaspoons olive oil teaspoon Cajun seasoning garlic clove, minced cups (¾-inch) sourdough bread cubes romaine lettuce leaves cup (2.6 ounces) grated fresh parmesan cheese

1. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, juice, oil,

sugar, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
2. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

Drizzle dressing over salad. Toss well. Serves 6.

Cajun Croutons:


1. To make the dressing, drop the garlic halves through

the opening in blender lid or food processor with blender on; process until minced. Add mayonnaise and the next 5 ingredients (mayonnaise through pepper); process until well-blended. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.
2. For the croutons, combine oil, Cajun seasoning and

Kale contains beta-carotene and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin (associated with eye health) as well as potassium, vitamins A and C, fiber, iron and calcium. Plus, it has two grams of protein per serving. Learn more about kale and other greens, and find links to other sensational salad recipes, at spring-salads.
Spring 2012

minced garlic in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at high for 20 seconds. Add bread cubes; toss gently to coat. Spread bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet; bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
3. To serve salad, place 2 tablespoons dressing in bottom of glass. Stand 3 leaves of romaine. Place a piece of shaved parmesan in each glass. Add croutons. Serves 6.



To Till or not to Till
That is the springtime question
h, spring, when the air turns blue with emissions from two-cycle tiller engines that are only used once a year – or from the gardener’s verbal emissions when he can’t get it started. Had Hamlet been a gardener, his famous query would have been about spring soil preparation. Mechanical tillage produces a nice growing medium if you start everything from seed. It also helps when incorporating large amounts of organic matter for soil improvement. Besides, it looks nice. Unfortunately, there are many disadvantages. Intense tilling destroys soil structure


Jan Phipps is a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener. She farms, gardens, writes and podcasts near Chrisman.

and any beneficial earthworms in its path. Hard rain followed by sun will turn the powdery soil into a hard crust that germinating plants can’t break through. Now, your perfect growing medium has to be kept moist 24/7. Another problem is having to wait for the soil to be dry enough to work. In Illinois, that means missing out on the cool-season vegetables such as peas that can be planted in damp, cold earth. Possibly the biggest problem with mechanical tillage is the weed issue. Seeds from annual weeds are brought to the surface getting needed light for
Illinois Farm Bureau


AsK An exPeRT
There are sow bugs (rolly pollys) in my compost. How do I get rid of them?
Tilling has some advantages for gardeners starting plants from seed.


answer You don’t! They are eating dead vegetative matter and turning it into compost. Congratulations, you have a viable pile. I have a spider plant hanging in front of a south window. The leaves look faded and washed out. What do I do? answer It is getting too much sun. Some houseplants need indirect light. The color will return once it is moved.
E-mail your gardening questions to Jan at

germination. The roots of perennial weeds are chopped into segments with each piece capable of growing a new plant. How about no-till? All of the plant, except what you remove to eat, is left on the ground as organic matter enriching the soil thanks to earthworms, soil bacteria and fungi. The soil will drain faster because all the water channels are left intact. You have complete control over timing of planting. And let’s face it, it is less work. Still, there are some disadvantages to no-till. It works fine for transplants, but not as well for seeds. Secondly, it is messy and will look that way until the vegetables
Spring 2012

get tall or you cover it with mulch. Next, if you are having fungal problems, leaving plant debris over winter is not a good idea. Finally, it takes longer to reap the benefits of organic additions laid on top vs. incorporated into the soil. Many gardeners use the some-till method. Forking or spading over the soil in the fall to add compost, then lightly fluffing it up in the spring after winter’s freeze/thaw cycles have worked their magic. The good news is you are the boss of your garden. If doing things the way grandpa taught you brings back good memories, your choice is clear.



{Travel Illinois}

Jessica Mozo |

Rich history, top-notch entertainment and a sense of community define Elgin



Illinois Farm Bureau

f Elgin isn’t already on your list of weekend getaway destinations, it should be. With a population of 108,000, Elgin is the eighth-largest city in Illinois and one of the state’s fastest-growing cities. Located in Kane County about 40 miles northwest of Chicago, Elgin sits along the picturesque Fox River. Its history dates back to 1854, and the city’s major early industries included watchmaking and dairy production. Today, some of Elgin’s greatest assets are its warm, friendly community; an award-winning riverwalk; several excellent museums; stunning architecture; and the popular Grand Victoria Casino. myriad museums Experience living history by climbing aboard an old-fashioned trolley car at the Fox River Trolley museum. Once an integral part of American life, the museum’s electric trolleys will take you on a four-mile ride along the banks of the Fox River over tracks that once connected Elgin with Carpentersville, Aurora and Yorkville. Stop in the museum store and gift shop inside the Castlemuir Depot, where you’ll find souvenirs and historic memorabilia. See relics from the infamous Great Chicago Fire and discover the story of the Elgin Fire Department at the elgin Fire Barn no. 5 museum. Open April through December, the museum houses Elgin’s first fire engine, an 1869 horse-drawn Silsby Steamer, and nozzles and fire extinguishers, past and present. Established in 1867 as a volunteer department, the Elgin Fire Department now includes seven stations and employs more than 135 firefighters. If you like trains, don’t miss the Illinois Railway museum in nearby Union. Known for its huge collection of historic railroad cars and locomotives, many of which you
Spring 2012


elGIn musTsees
Elgin Area Historical Museum The Hemmens Cultural Center Grand Victoria Casino Lords Park Festival Park Elgin Public Museum Illinois Railway Museum Elgin Historic Districts The Highlands Music Lounge Fox River Trolley Museum


Must-see Elgin attractions include the Fire Barn No. 5 Museum, the Fox River Bike Trail and the Elgin Area Historical Museum.

10 FABulous elGIn eATeRIes
Elgin Public House Herb’s Bakery Delicia Tropical Cafe Roll ’N Donut Nick’s Pizza & Pub Swizzle Inn Al’s Cafe & Creamery Paul’s Family Restaurant Danny’s Pizza Carmina’s Mexican Restaurant

can board. The Illinois Railway Museum is a hit with train fans of all ages and hosts special events year round, including Mother’s Day specials and Living History Days during Memorial Day weekend featuring World War II re-enactors, battles and rides on the Anzio Express. It is open April through September and for special events throughout the year. entertainment’s in tHe cards Feeling lucky? Roll the dice at Elgin’s Grand Victoria Casino, an elegant riverboat on the scenic Fox River. The Grand victoria Casino attracts nearly 4 million visitors annually and is the fifth most popular tourist attraction in Illinois. You’ll think you’re in Las Vegas with the casino’s 1,100-plus slot machines and table games, including blackjack, roulette, three card poker and craps. The casino also houses the award-winning Buckinghams Steakhouse and Lounge, which serves a variety of steaks, seafood, poultry, lamb, pork and an impressive wine selection.

Brush elbows with stars at the Hemmens Cultural Center, a 1,200-seat theater along the banks of Elgin’s riverwalk that hosts a stellar line up of nationally known performers such as B.B. King and Willie Nelson each season. The Hemmens is also the home of the elgin symphony orchestra (ESO), one of the largest orchestras in Illinois. The ESO’s season includes more than 50 concerts annually ranging from classics and pops to educational programs and holiday performances. Elgin OPERA also provides a chance for area audiences to enjoy the fine arts. The operatic ensemble performs a variety of classic and contemporary works at the Kimball Street Theatre on the Elgin Academy campus, as well as at community festivals and events. elgin parks Soak up some springtime sunshine at lords Park, Elgin’s largest park with more than 400 acres of picnic areas, playgrounds,

IF THese wAlls Could TAlK
Elgin is a city known for its Victorian landmarks and Queen Anne-style homes, so it’s not surprising that two of Elgin’s four historic districts are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. At one time, Elgin was believed to have had the largest concentration of cobblestone homes outside Rochester, N.Y. The historic districts also feature fine examples of Colonial Revival and Prairie-style dwellings.


Illinois Farm Bureau


malt shop memories


tennis and basketball courts, a family aquatic center, a nature trail and three lagoons. The Lords Park Pavilion is a historic landmark built in 1898, and visitors enjoy viewing the park’s resident American bison, elk and white-tailed deer that live in wooded enclosures. Festival Park in downtown Elgin is another lovely place to savor the outdoors, with lighted jumping fountains, sculptures, gardens, a children’s play area and the Elgin Express, a trackless train that runs from June to September. To burn off even more energy, spend an afternoon at the elgin sports Complex, which has 10 lighted softball fields, 10 soccer fields, two sand volleyball courts and a BMX track. Baseball fans should not miss the Trout Park baseball fields, the home of baseball in Elgin since the turn of the 20th century. Treat the family to an all-American night at the ballpark, complete with a full-service concession stand run by local high school and college students.

hen Al Berg opened Al’s Café & Creamery in Elgin in 1981, it quickly became a favorite with the locals for its hand-blended malts. Thirty years later, Al’s is still serving up the same rich malts made with high-quality ice cream, but it has also become a destination for creative cuisine made with fresh, seasonal produce. “We’re very famous for our chocolate, vanilla and strawberry malts,” says Tony Jamin, who bought the restaurant in 2004 with his wife, Patricia. “The recipe was perfected in 1937, and Al Berg bought it. We’ve been making the same malts since then, and we’ve added many more sandwiches and dinner items to the menu.” A native of Holland, Jamin was trained in the culinary arts in Germany and France, where he worked in several high-end restaurants. When he and Patricia bought Al’s, they fused American and European cuisines. “We’ll do a Scandinavian month, for example, with Scandinavian dishes, and in October we have Oktoberfest and serve German specials,” Jamin says. “We have a very family-oriented, relaxed atmosphere with ’50s and ’60s jazz music playing. Anybody can come eat here, whether you want a sandwich or steak and shrimp.” One of the best-selliers is Roasted Salmon Mediterranean, a salmon filet seared in garlic, tomato and wine, then topped with sautéed shrimp. Jamin likes to create new recipes, and then ask for feedback from customers. “We make a Danish Bleu Steak with bleu cheese melted on top,” he says. “I never thought people would go for it, but it has a really interesting flavor. Then people started trying it, and it has become a big hit on our menu.”

IF you Go...
Al’s Café & Creamery, 43 Du Page Ct., opens at 11 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday with seating until 8 p.m. (9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday). It’s closed on Mondays. For more information or to make reservations, call (847) 742-1180 or visit

one of the best ways to see Elgin is on foot – or by bicycle – on the Fox River Bike Trail. The asphalt trail stretches approximately 33 miles from Aurora to Algonquin, passing through downtowns, residential backyards, over and under railroad tracks, through city parks, and alongside South Elgin’s Fox River Trolley Museum.

Spring 2012


2011 Illinois Farm Bureau Photo Contest for Members

John Diedrich / Dekalb COunty Kippi Wright / Edwards COunty



Vanessa Gall / madison COunty

Ronald Hart / Clay COunty

Rita Burrows / henry COunty

GENERATIONS: From one to another

Karen Logeman / massac COunty

ClaudE OESTERREICHer / lee COunty

Karen Warfel / Champaign COunty

Jamie Baker 1st PLACE GenerationS

MEMBERS CHOICE award / Valerie McVaigh
Honorable Mention From the front porch


Karen Logeman / Massac COunty From the front porch

Rachel Green / Cumberland COunty If Barns could talk


Nathan Peterson / DuPage County If barns could talk

Kelbi Ervin / vermilion COunty From the front porch

Michelle Faulkner / Henry COunty Generations: from one to another

To view all entries from this year’s contest, visit Ken Kashian’s Photo Gallery at

IllInoIs In FoCus AT THe Bed-And-BReAKFAsT
located at Old Gillett Farm in Elkhart, guests can take a walk in the woodlands or savor the scenery at its garden. pHoto BY antonY BoSHIer

Spring 2012


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