It’s Garlic Plantin’ Season

DaveCashGarlic

Cash and Dave showing off their garlic bounty, harvested in mid August.

A quick internet search of “garlic benefits” gave in 303,000,000 results.  Need I say more? One of my go-to remedies for just about anything that ails me is raw vinegar and garlic shooters.  In theory the raw vinegar balances stomach pH and rejuvenates the gut microbiome, while the garlic provides beneficial nutrients and compounds that support health. It seems to work, but it could just be the psychology of my brain telling me to get better so I don’t have to suffer through another shooter. 

Continue reading

Mental Health in Rural Agricultural Communities

People who have chosen to work in the farming and ranching communities have a persona of being solitary, private folk. Stoic would be an appropriate definition, working from the wee early hours until sundown, with tradition and pure grit their only tools.

However, several independent developments are culminating together to create a perfect storm making life increasingly more difficult for farmers.

dustyfarmersfilter.png

Aging Producers

The median age of the US farmer is now 55, with fewer people willing to take on family run ranches or agricultural businesses. This forces growers to continue to run their productions longer until they are forced to sell family land, or maybe the operation entirely.

Fluctuating Prices

Additionally, prices for commodities are fewer than they’ve been in years, adding to the stress many farmers face. Milk prices are far below the cost of production. Dairy farmers are getting around $15 per hundred pounds of milk, but “hundredweight” cost approximately $22-$25 to produce. This negative cashflow is so abundant that dairy cooperative Agri-Mark recently sent out suicide hotline numbers along with the milk checks out of concern for the safety of it’s producers.

Continue reading

Exploring The Relationship between Food and Mental Health

It’s 3:30 in the afternoon and you’re getting a bit antsy. Nothing’s going right and you’ve still got a few hours of work before you can head home. You may snip at a co-worker and they’ll notice that you’re getting a little “hangry,” the perfect storm where your mental state is dictated by low blood sugar.

We’ve all been there. It’s nothing a little snack and a walk around the office can’t fix. Just eat this candy bar and you’ll be fine.

That isn’t what I’m talking about.

Some people say, “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee! I need my caffeine.”

That, also, isn’t what I’m talking about.

FoodsToEatForAHealthyBrain

I’m talking about a direct correlation between mental illness and diet. I wanted to explore research that may have real implications about mental health, namely the long term effects that nutrients have on mental illness.

Continue reading

HDT Holiday Traditions

Happy Holidays from the staff of Happy Dancing Turtle. We want to share with you some of our favorite traditions and recipes that we’ve used over the years as we met and dined with our families. Some are more classic while some are different, indeed! However, the main reason behind them is they are a reason we get together with our friends and families during the holiday season.

Colin M’s Rosette Recipe  

We’ll start with dessert, which indeed seems like a good place to begin. For, what are the holidays without holiday treats?

When Colin was a child, his mother would let him run the deep fryer, which delighted him very much. She recently allowed Colin’s little girl to run it this season, which worried him just as much. Rosettes are a delicate batter-based sugar sprinkled cookie. You take this flower shaped iron and dip it into the batter, and then fry the heck out of it. Once done, you sprinkle sugar or cinnamon on them. I’ve even heard of people sprinkling lemon juice on them for a change. Any way you eat them, they’re really light, despite them being deep-fat fried batter. Yum!

 

image

Check out this hand-written recipe card!

Apparently, Colin’s mother got this recipe from a woman who lived on a farm just over the hill from the farm she grew up on. Lucille is still alive, by the way. At 95 years old, she still drives, lives on her own, and hosts parade viewings in Kensington, MN from her front yard.

Look at the grease spots and thumb prints showing up on the card! You can tell this is a well-used recipe just by how much it’s been used.

Continue reading

Turtle Talks Podcast – Episode 15: Herbs & Spices, A Primer

You would be forgiven if your thoughts immediately wandered over to the the eleven herbs and spices used in the “finger-licking good” recipe for KFC. It’s not your fault. Ads are prevalent in our society, and there are none more pervasive, none more that have stood the test of time, than the solicitations for that greasy, but oh-so good, fried chicken.

BUT! We’re not here to talk about fast food chicken. In this episode, we do talk about the many different ways you can enjoy herbs and spices in your everyday cooking. We had a lot of fun chatting about our favorite ways to prepare our families meals.

Do you have a favorite spice you’d like to share? Hit us up in the comments.

 

Music used:
1) Intro – What to Expect by Jake Bradford on album “Sharp”
2) Gold Fish by Photoaxis on album “Gold Fish”
3) Sun Bird by Geva Alon on album “Wall of Sound”
4) Watch Out by Chaun Davis on album “Be Mine”

 

Conscious Consumerism – Better Meat Choices

This month, the theme we chose for media content was “Conscious Consumerism.” If you’ve been following along, you’ve seen advice on buying local, greener gifting, and giving experiences rather than things. The theme helps us focus our message and our creativity for the month, and ensures we’re bringing you the best and most timely content possible. We gather inspiration from big events, holidays, and national observance days (ie: Nov 15th is “America Recycles Day”). The upcoming holiday season was the inspiration for “Conscious Consumerism.”

During our brainstorming session, one observance that came up was that November is “World Vegan Month.” A slightly…fiery…discussion ensued. For the Food & Water Security team, food choices are the most important aspect of responsible consumption–not only because we grow food at our “day job,” but also because we are farmers, we support farmers, and we see food sovereignty as the foundation of regional resiliency. Deeply connected with food choices are environmental consequences.

Veganism can be a divisive subject; polite discourse is often impossible when there is so much misunderstanding. Yes, as a culture, Westerners eat too much meat. We should consume less meat overall, and use meat like a condiment to flavor and enhance our vegetables, grains, and legumes. However, from an ecosystem approach, agriculture with properly managed livestock is the most sustainable and environmentally restorative.

Continue reading

Grateful Gathering 2018

On Thursday, November 8, we gathered at Bites Bar and Grill for our annual holiday party. Our crew ate scrumptious hors d’oeuvres, laughed at the great games provided by Janis & Shirlee, snacked on delicious desserts made by Bites owner, Wendy, and then counted our blessings, one by one.

Door prizes were handed out for those that could guess how many beans were in a jar and we even played a form of HDT Jeopardy, to the delight of all participating.

A big thank you to the party planners, Janis, Shirlee, and Chris. I look forward to this night every year. Another success!

 

beancounting

Poor Chris G. had to count out over 3,000 kidney beans. That poor guy!

shirleejanisemcee

Shirlee & Janis playing as emcees during the fun night.

chrismichelle

Chris and Michelle G. all smiles.

colinamy

Colin and Amy M. happy to be out of the house.

jimaudra

Jim and Audra C. posing for a picture between stories.

quinnwayneroy

Quinn, Wayne, and Roy.

robertjanis

Robert and Janis discussing how much fun they’re having.

robertterri

Robert and Terri share a laugh.

PaulPrize4

Paul shows off his door prize (a game night in!)

RochesterPrize3

Rochester, only 19, won a gift basket of vodka and tequila. He quickly exchanged it for the game night prize. 🙂

quinnroyprize1

Quinn and Roy show off their door prize of coffee from Stonehouse Coffee in Nisswa.

danmichelleprize2

Dan and Michelle show off their door prize of a movie night at Bear Pause Theatre in Hackensack.

thankfulpoetry

Being thankful is the reason for this event.

Four Reasons to Buy Local Turkeys

There are so many reasons to purchase your turkey from a farmer that is local. You can easily find out the conditions the turkey was raised in. You can find out what they feed the turkey. If you’re serious about looking locally for your Thanksgiving feast, Minnesota Grown is a valuable resource that will connect you with local producers throughout the year, not just for Thanksgiving. You can search for the local producer nearest you, or the one that best fits your values.

If you’re still on the fence about whether to go local or not, here are five reasons why searching locally is the best way to go.

  1. No Surprises
    Buying a local free range turkey gives you the opportunity to know what you are eating and where it came from. Buying local gives you the ability to talk to your local farmer about their farming practices, feeding program, and processing program. You should do your research, of course.

    bigturkies.JPG

    Your Tom might be as big as this gorgeous fella.

  2. Just Look at Tom Turkey’s Home 
    Not really, but you can learn a lot by seeing how a farm raised turkeys are raised. If they’re brought up in a humane environment with the option to the great outdoors, you can check that off your list. They get their nutrition from pecking all day with additional quality feed from the local feed store (compared to the store bought turkeys that are cooped up and fed low quality medicated feed). To be sure of this, you should do your research, though.
  3. What Would you Pay for a Robust Local Economy?
    Buying meats from your local farmer keeps money in your community. Shopping local keeps four times the money in your community’s economy compared to shopping at chains. The dollars spent locally go towards the regular things your local farmer buys! (How Quaint!) These include dentist bills, holiday presents, and other things that other “normal” people buy around town. So, shop local! Your farmer will thank you!

    turkeykid

  4. Your Taste Buds will Thank You
    Knowing where your meat is coming from, how it is raise, and how it is processed will automatically make you enjoy Thanksgiving dinner that much more. But the truth is, a farm fresh free range turkey tastes better. Usually, they are not pumped full of preservatives, saline, or other added ingredients. When you buy from your local farmer you are getting what you pay for… fresh turkey. But, as always when making a choice of this nature, you should do your research.