Episode 809: America's Heartland

Uploaded by americasheartland on 13.11.2012


"America's Heartland is made possible by..."
The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture.
Dedicated to building greater awareness and
understanding of agriculture through education
and engagement.
More information at: agfoundation.org
Farm Credit - financing agriculture and rural
America since 1916.
Farm Credit is cooperatively owned by America's
farmers and ranchers.
Learn more at farmcredit.com
The United Soybean Board whose "Common Ground"
program creates conversations to help
consumers get the facts about farming and food.
There's more at: findourcommonground.com
The Fund for Agriculture Education - A fund created
by KVIE to support America's Heartland programming.
Contributors include the following -
I'm Kristen Simoes.
You could call it matchmaking in the heartland.
Not dating this time.
Just farmers who want to meet would-be farmers and
give them a start on working the land.
We're here in California where Farm Link is their
online meeting place.
I'm Rob Stewart and we're taking you to the hot desert
near Tucson, Arizona, to meet a farm family,
whose crop you would not find in the heartland.
Sharp and spiny cactus.
Blueberries are so nutritious.
I'm Sharon Vaknin.
We'll go from Farm to Fork with some blueberry recipes
I'll bet you've never tried before.
Hi, I'm Jason Shoultz.
You know, from toothpicks to tables,
there's something in your house made of wood.
Coming up I'll take you to South Dakota where
"bringing in the harvest" means felling some tall timber.
It's all coming up on America's Heartland.
  ♪ You can see it in the eyes   of every woman and man ♪
  ♪ in America's Heartland   living close to the land. ♪
  ♪ There's a love   for the country ♪
  ♪ and a pride in the brand ♪
  ♪ in America's Heartland   living close, ♪
  ♪close to the land ♪

South Dakota is best known for corn, soybeans,
wheat and sunflowers.
But it's also a good place to find timber being
harvested as well.
Its forest lands are home to 210 million trees.
Bringing in that crop demands a
heavy duty harvest.

Timber has always been an important resource for Americans
a cash crop for early settlers;
raw materials for homes and barns
and as trees were felled by hand
fields were made ready for planting.

Today, however, it's not the swing of an axe that starts
the tree on its road to the sawmill.
Mechanized equipment can do the job of many.
Here in the Black Hills of South Dakota,
the Baker family has been harvesting timber for more
than a half century.
Back in those days it was fairly primitive machinery.
Ag tractors, horses skidding,
old McCullough chain saws.
They started with just a few pieces of equipment and it's
just really grown over the years.
Bob and Bill Baker and their wives, Rita and Diane,
operate the family logging and lumber business.
Felled trees are hauled to the company sawmill and
processed year round.
We saw rough lumber and we sell a lot of rough lumber
to Ag markets for corrals and fencing and
that type of thing.
And also fence posts for the same markets.
And then we also have a planer mill where we do some
specialty items - tongue in groove,
log siding and that type of thing.
On this overcast July afternoon,
the Bakers are thinning a stand of trees to reduce the
fire hazard.
Bill says the thinning also makes it possible to help
control the Mountain Pine Beetle,
an insect that can devastate these Ponderosa Pines.
Supervising this project is Bob's son, Jack.
I'm an outdoor enthusiast so to work in the woods is just
sort of second nature to me.
I'm hiking around looking at the different terrain and
deciding how we're going to approach different scenarios.
The giant machinery used in the woods can fell a tree,
strip the branches and make it ready for the mill.
Technology has advanced the industry as well as science
as far as the approach as which trees to cut
and how to cut them.
And in a nod to conservation and good business,
almost every part of the tree is processed.
The bark ends up going to landscape projects.
The slabs and end trims off the wood ends up going
through a chipper and the chips are sold for fuels or
for particle board plant material.
We utilize all parts of the wood.
Between 25 and 35 thousand trees will be used in
turning out the lumber.
The Baker's sawmill will process more than a million
board feet each year.
So many of the customers come up here and they say
that they just love the smell of this place and all
the fresh lumber and the sawed logs and whatever.
We're so used to it we don't appreciate it
as much as we should.
Timber has long been a renewable resource.
These Ponderosa Pines regenerate quickly.
And the Bakers work with other agencies to facilitate
forest management.
The land managers, the forest service and private
industry has their own foresters.
These people all work together trying to figure
out the best prescription for thinning forests,
for whatever needs from watershed to wildlife
habitat to mountain pine beetle mitigation,
all those reasons.
The Bakers say their operation is more than just
a logging firm.
They see it as a family business with a lasting
commitment to the land.
They've both established a reputation for professional
forest management and it's important for me to keep
that reputation alive and to continue building on it.
We live, work, and play here.
We're very proud of the Black Hills and what we can
do to help manage the Black Hills.
Our goal is never to cut the last tree.
We're of the mindset; we want to cut a tree that will
make room for two or three new better trees.

Can't see the forest for the trees?
The United States has more than 900 different species
of trees with maples, fir trees, aspens,
oaks and pines high on the list for the most common.
And some of our trees have been around for a long time.
California is home to giant sequoia trees more than
three thousand years old and one of California's bristle
cone pines is estimated to be nearly five thousand
years old.
If you didn't grow up on a farm or ranch and wanted to
get a start in agriculture, how would you begin?
Land can be expensive and how would you find out
what's available to lease or buy?
Well, here in California an online search paved the way
for four young women to start tilling the soil.

We're on a 5-acre parcel and we have about 35-different
vegetable crops growing.

Two years ago, this field in Dixon, California
was in need of a farmer to work it.
Owner Rich Collins had nearly 200-acres ready to
plow and plant, but not enough time to care for it all.
Well the timing was just right for four young ladies
who lived nearby and had dreams of starting their own
farming operation.
Working with farmers for the last 15 years,
apprenticing on farms has been wonderful.
It's been a great journey but I think I'm finally
ready to start my own business.
If you didn't grow up on a farm,
how do you make the connection to spark a
farming career?
Well, for Aubrey, Marissa, Emma and Sasha,
that connection came online.
In their case, an online non-profit resource called
"California Farm Link."
I applied online and you can put your information down -
what you're looking for and then they have a whole list
of farms that you can look for to see which farm would
be the best match.
Rich Collins "Bridgeway Farm" property seemed to
meet their needs.
You know we have this very highly ah accessible and
highly visible piece of property and we want to have
good food production here that's being done in a,
in a good, honest manner that can be marketed
directly to the visiting public.
We decided to just go for it,
set up a partnership with a contract between us and also
between Rich and that's how we got started.
'So that's three, four, and you said one box of figs too?'
The ladies call their operation,
"Cloverleaf Farm."
Today, they manage an orchard,
harvest three dozen different vegetable crops
and sell their produce at their own roadside stand.
Collins thinks the partnership has
benefitted everyone.
It's important for me to be able to do something like this.
It's essentially an exercise in paying it forward.
The California Farm Link program makes more than two
dozen "links" each year - matching up property owners
with those looking for land to farm.
It's not the only such effort in the country.
Similar programs exist in some 20 other states.
We link them by really matching up,
not only the appropriate land opportunity,
location, but also personalities.
So we're really focused on, on linking people together
who are going to have long term relationships.
At the Cloverleaf Farm stand Sundays are a busy day.
Programs like Farm Link may play an increasingly
important role in future years as America's aging
farm population looks for ways to transition land to
new producers.
For Emma and her colleagues, technology not only made
possible their farming future opportunity,
but even plays a role in getting crops to
market, while standing in the field.
We're out here in the apricots and they are ready
to be eaten right now and we are contacting our fruit
dryer in the in the middle of picking to say 'we would
like to have dried apricots'.
That wouldn't have been able to be possible,
even ten years ago

Ever wonder which fruits and vegetables are the most
popular in the produce section or at
your farmers market?
Potatoes, tomatoes and lettuce lead the
list for vegetables.
Bananas, apples, strawberries,
grapes and oranges are the colorful choices
in favorite fruits.
And consumers are demanding more choices.
In the 1970's, the average produce department
carried 150 items.
Today that number is more than 400.
I'm Sharon Vaknin.
Still ahead, something very different in our
Farm to Fork segment!
A salsa, a sauce for salmon and a one-of-a-kind vinegar.
All made with blueberries!
I'm Rob Stewart still ahead on America's Heartland;
just wait till you see what we found in the Arizona desert.
It's a cactus crop.

Hi, my name is Amanda Yanez and I have a question
about agriculture.
When I check the ingredients on food or other household
products, I keep coming across soybeans as
the key ingredient.
And when I think about soybeans I only think about
them being in tofu, soy sauce or soy milk.
How come they're in all these other products?
When it comes to soybeans, you are talking about a farm
crop that wears a lot of hats.
It shows up in everything from salad dressings to
floor polish, from paints to pies.
And we grow a lot of it in the United States.
75 million acres are planted in soybeans;
it's worth 40 billion dollars to the U.S. economy;
and it makes up a major portion of American
exports to China, Mexico and Europe.
So what makes it useable in all of these products?
Well, you harvest the beans and then the fun begins.
Almost every soybean is processed for its oil -
more on that in a moment.
The leftover "meal" made up of soybean fiber,
is high in protein.
Lots of it goes into livestock feed and pet food.
It can also be used as a protein additive in human
food and the "meal" can even be incorporated into
bio composites for building materials.
But let's get back to soybean oil.
Look around your supermarket shelves and you'll find the
oil in salad dressings, mayonnaise, breads, cakes,
cookies, even floor wax.
It's safe to say that soybeans can be found in
hundreds of products, foods and otherwise.
And while the United States is the world's leading
producer of soybeans, they weren't even introduced to
the U.S. until the late 1700's with the big explosion in
production coming in the middle of the twentieth century.
Around peak season, these blue succulent orbs fill up
the produce section in grocery stores.
They're blueberries and they're delicious and we are
joined today by Papa Hank of Sky Ridge Farms.

Tell me a little bit about your farm.
I planted the first blueberries in the year 2000.
And, why, why did you choose blueberries of all fruit?
Well I need something that's a little different
and man they just flew off the shelf.
I said this is where I'm going to go.
My season starts the first or second week in June and
that's when the early varieties ripen.
I'll go June, July, August, thru September.
Now if I want to grow them at home, what do I need?
50% peat moss or planting mix and 50% dirt.
So what are you making for us today?
Blueberry vinegar.
I have never heard of that.
And another surprise I am making blueberry salsa.
Now this is not your mama's salsa so we need to throw a
cup of blueberries into that food processor.
I'm going to cut a quarter of a red onion,
a handful of cilantro, and then if you could pick off
the leaves from those strawberries and throw the
strawberries into the food processor,
I will get the juice of one and a half limes.
Thank you Papa Hank.
Now we are going to throw in one jalapeno pepper seeded,
half of a small avocado,
this will add creaminess to the salsa.
Two garlic cloves we're going to throw in the food
processor and pulse it up.

Blueberry vinegar, how do you make it?
Well what we need is some white wine vinegar
and some blueberries.
How many, how many blueberries?
So if you could make a half a cup of blueberries
and I'll put a cup in this container here
and we'll pour the blueberries and we'll mash them up.
Then we're going to take them to the stove.
So we want to bring this to a boil?
To a boil, right.
And then after it comes to a boil,
we'll let it simmer for 15 minutes.
All right!

Now that's more like the color of red wine, now.
Taste it. Taste it.
Oh ok.
Let's see mmm...that hardly tastes like vinegar.
There's ah your blueberry vinegar.
Smells delicious, looks delicious
and I can't wait to eat it.

So now we are making a blueberry sauce that you can
serve over any protein.
Today we'll do salmon, but you could grill a chicken,
pork, beef, whatever you want and enjoy it
with this sauce.
All right now this is a blueberry barbeque sauce,
which sounds really weird because you would never
think to add fruit into a barbeque sauce.
But it's surprisingly savory.
We'll let that cook on high until the blueberries really
darken and all the butter has coated them.
Now that the blueberries are a little dark,
they're totally coated by the butter,
we'll go ahead and add 3 tablespoons of ketchup,
that does complement the blueberries but everything
we're adding right now just builds the
complexity of the sauce.
Now we'll add about 4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
and we'll add we have brown sugar,
salt and a little bit of garlic powder.
Oh! Always have to have garlic.
And about a teaspoon of Dijon mustard.
We'll turn it down to low and let it reduce for about
15 minutes and we'll wind up with a thick,
delicious barbeque sauce.
And ah I like, I like to keep it really simple with
the fish because the blueberries sauce really
does have a lot of flavor.
I never thought of blueberries as a sauce.
Well if I can surprise the blueberry farmer,
I've done my job!

You ready to dig in Papa Hank?
All right.
We got our salmon slathered with blueberry barbeque sauce.
Oh boy! This looks gorgeous.
I know! And our barbeque salsa...
How's that?
Now your blueberry vinegar will keep for a really long time
Oh Yes, yeah...
But I think that it would really compliment the salsa
really nicely.
So it's actually quite wonderful.
I'm going to dig into this salmon.
That is scrumptious.
Ummm hmmm
So we can pick up blueberries at the grocery
store or at an organic farm like yours and today we
discovered a few new ways to use the delicious blue orbs.

Blueberries are one of the superheroes of super foods.
High in antioxidants and vitamins,
blueberries also have no fat and no cholesterol.
Even their color is beneficial!
The intense blue of the fruit comes from a class of
phytochemicals that's thought to help reduce the
chance of heart disease.
Oh, and one more thing you'll like: A cup of
blueberries is only about 80 calories.
Drive anywhere in southern Arizona and you will see
these beautiful Saguaro cactus.
They are an iconic image here in the desert.
We found a really nice family that's had a 40 plus
year career in cactus.

Meet Dianne and Dan Bach.
They own a sprawling cactus farm in the heart of
America's Sonoran Desert just outside Tucson.
Tell me how big this place is because I've never seen
an operation this large with cactus?
Well, we're on ten acres here.
And ah we have 20 green houses.
Some folks consider Dan Bach to be "the king of cactus."
On any given day - Dan and Dianne have about
500 different kinds.
But over the course of the year,
this nursery alone - has more than 12 hundred varieties.
You know it's very important for a lot of varieties
because people come in and they want to add color to
their garden or shape or a form.
So they have-- we have mounding plants.
We have tall columnar plants.
We have flowering plants.
We just have plants that make their yards beautiful.
And remember, now all of these plants are low water use.
I keep seeing these huge beds along the way.
What is that over there?
Well, that's an area where we make cuttings.
And we probably get these plants it accelerates the
propagation and the speed if we can make a big cutting
rather than growing it from a little tiny seed.
Okay, how?
So this bed here this bed here would produce -
I think about every year we get about 3,000 cuttings out here.
My goodness.
And the process is just a matter of doing this.
Oh wow.
And then does this just grow?
Oh, it's prickly
You see-- yeah, it is prickly.
Right around inside here you can see where the roots
would grow out around this ring in the center here.
No way.
The water storage tissue is out here.
And right around this center here is where the roots are
going to grow out from.
And this is just one of the Bach's cacti cutting beds.
The nursery produces half a million cactus cuttings
each year.
The grafting speeds up the growth process by about 3 years.
The Bach's also plant cactus seeds
and graft their own cactus creations.
What I love showing is that people can do this at home.
Yeah, sure they can.
Now that's, people do it all of the time
especially members of the local cactus club.
They do this a lot.
I mean they propagate their own plants.
And then share them with the other members of the club.
Sure this, we don't do anything here that would,
would require smoke and mirrors.
We're just regular ordinary down-to-earth science,
you know, basic science.
That "basic science" is what's
behind these creations.
Dan and his son also pollinate and propagate
their own varieties of flowering cacti.
And perhaps one in a thousand will be worthy of a
new name, for example, this is Mango.
This is Raspberry,
Epic back here.
And this is Sunflower which Dan Jr. developed doing
this very same process.
So do you name them after special people?
We name them after anybody you want.
If you grow them, that's the rule, you get to name them.
Have you named one after your sweet wife?
No, I haven't found one pretty enough yet.

Good man!
Many of these plants are show stoppers!
Some like this prickly pear can grow 15 feet tall
but the star of the show - the mighty saguaro.
They can grow to 60 feet tall and it can take decades
for an individual saguaro to grow its recognizable arms.
Saguaros can live for more than a century.
You said it best when you said that the saguaro is iconic.
It is.
It's almost hard to believe that this plant that can
stand here in the heat in the summer time when the
south side of the plant can get, you know,
over 120 degrees, 130 degrees and how it can stand
there and take all of that abuse.
It's just amazing to me, I don't know how it's possible.

Rob, come here I want to show you something.
I want to point out this golden barrel
cactus here.
It's beautiful.
As you can see the bright yellow color it's absolutely
a spectacular plant, wouldn't you agree?
And the greens.
Absolutely beautiful.
But look at the flowers here,
these flowers are open completely yet they're not
very attractive are they.
Yeah, hard to see.
They're hard to see them because the plant is so pretty.
Yet earlier, we saw the most in-ornate plants had such
beautiful big flowers.
Big colorful ones, yes.
Big beautiful flowers.
They just kind of reminds you of people;
maybe the most in-ornate person might have
the most beautiful soul.
I like that, Very well put.
Very well put, relating our souls to something that
comes right from the earth.
Thank you.

And that's going to wrap it up for us this time.
We thank you for traveling the country with us as we
find interesting people and places -
in America's Heartland.
And remember you can stay in touch with us 24/7;
we make it easy for you.
You'll find us on your favorite websites and of
course you can access video and stories from any of our
shows on our website: americasheartland.org
We'll see you next time on America's Heartland.
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Here's the cost:
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  ♪ You can see it in the eyes   of every woman and man ♪
  ♪ in America's Heartland   living close to the land. ♪
  ♪ There's a love   for the country ♪
  ♪ and a pride in the brand ♪
  ♪ in America's Heartland   living close, ♪
  ♪close to the land ♪

"America's Heartland is made possible by..."
The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture.
Dedicated to building greater awareness and
understanding of agriculture through education
and engagement.
More information at: agfoundation.org
Farm Credit - financing agriculture and rural
America since 1916.
Farm Credit is cooperatively owned by America's farmers
and ranchers.
Learn more at farmcredit.com
The United Soybean Board whose "Common Ground"
program creates conversations to help
consumers get the facts about farming and food.
There's more at: findourcommonground.com
The Fund for Agriculture Education - A fund created
by KVIE to support America's Heartland programming.
Contributors include the following -