Archive | Summer 2012


LIQUID ASSETS: The Refreshing Flavors of Summer

The refreshing flavors of summer

Hot summer days call for icy, cold drinks. We’ve gathered up some refreshing ideas to celebrate the season using local herbs, fresh fruits and ripe vegetables in your glass.


Cucumber Lemonade


Strawberry-Basil Lemonade

Watermelon Cooler

Cilantro and Celery Spritzer

Raspberry-Lemon Iced Tea


  • Freeze chopped herbs in ice cubes
  • Pulse herbs with salt in a food processor for salting rims of glasses
  • Pulse herbs such as basil or rosemary with sugar in food processor to use for sweetening tea or lemonade
  • Infuse simple syrup or liquors with herbs or fruit
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Hungry to Learn

How Agritourism
Can Lead to Agri-Education
By Matt Low Photography by Stephanie Nahas

In places like Miami, San Diego and New York City, tourism is ingrained into the culture. In the Midwest, appealing to tourists outside (and even within) the region sometimes requires exploring nontraditional tourism venues.

One area of tourism burgeoning rapidly in Nebraska and surrounding states is agritourism, which is visiting local farms to do everything from rummage through a pumpkin patch, going on a hayrack ride or sampling wines made from locally grown grapes. According to Shannon Peterson with the State of Nebraska’s Department of Economic Development’s Travel and Tourism Division, “Nebraska is actively pursuing, promoting and encouraging agritourism across the state,” and even has an agritourism development consultant on staff.

Agritourism serves a number of purposes for both the farmer and the community. The farmer is given the opportunity to bring consumers directly to the farm, and those consumers may then pick or purchase fruits, veggies, eggs and other produce right from the source. Going on hayrack rides or walking through corn mazes is a family friendly way to spend time outdoors and appreciate the countryside. These activities can also be an added source of … Read More

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Fifth-Generation Farmer
Feeds Her Corner of the World
By Summer Miller
PHOTOGRAPHY by Alison Bickel

So many moments in life teeter on the outcome of a game of tug of war. Which moment, opportunity or experience is explored depends entirely on whom, or in this case, what, has a stronger pull.

For Danelle Myer, returning to Logan, Iowa, and the land her father farms was inevitable. It is her life’s work, and everything that came before simply led her to this point. Doing it nearly a decade after her divorce and giving up a career, financial stability, health insurance, a home in Benson and an urban lifestyle to start One Farm required a leap of faith and a whole lot of courage.

Sitting at a grey, iron table in the backyard of the Benson bungalow she now rents out, Danelle absent mindedly picks up segments of her long brown hair and twists them between her index finger and thumb.

“This house,” she said, releasing her hair, tapping her hands on the table and smiling, “this is my, ‘I am woman hear me roar house.’ I had been divorced for a few years and I knew as soon as we sold … Read More

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NEIGHBORHOOD DIRT: Friendships and Valuable Lessons

Friendship and Valuable Lessons
Teens Thrive in the Garden
Story and Photography by Mike Brownlee

On a warm spring evening, Ana Carlson indiscriminately picks at weeds in her plot at the Teen Market Garden in Omaha. With fickle determination, she casts aside unwelcome guests from her rows of ornamental flowers. Despite the arduous task, she can’t help but flash her big smile. “This is the most pleasant environment imaginable,” she said.

Ana is one of four members—along with her sister Elena and siblings Emma and Maureen Kalkowski-Farrand—of the Teen Market Garden, an entrepreneurial program that teaches teenagers about gardening as well as business. Founded in 2009, the program is an offshoot of the Gifford Park Community Garden and the Gifford Park Youth Garden, both located near 35th and Cass streets in Omaha. The Gifford Park Teen Market Garden takes up about an eighth of an acre at 3208 Cottage Grove Avenue. Along with the plots, the area features three compost tumblers, a shed, water drums and a fire pit for monthly hotdog cookouts.

The program is the brainchild of Cynthia Shuck and Kate Bodmann. The neighbors were part of the community garden and youth garden—Kate started the children’s program in … Read More

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Serving 12

1 recipe of your favorite double crust pie dough

4 cups ground cherries, husked

½ cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons instant tapioca

2 tablespoons flour

Juice of a lemon

2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry and set aside. In a medium bowl, mix ground cherries, sugar, tapioca, flour and lemon. Pour into pie plate and dot with butter.

Cover with pie crust.

Decorate with pie scraps and cut steam vents.

Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° and continue to bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool before cutting.


Raspberries are a good match for ground cherries, and

2 cups of raspberries can be substituted for 2 cups ground cherries.


Harmony Valley Farm

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NATIVE EDIBLES: A Misunderstood Neighbor

A Misunderstood Neighbor
The Ground Cherry
By Liz Granger

If a weed is a plant out of place, Physalis specializes in making new homes for itself, wanted or unwanted. Older Nebraskans recall ripping the vines from their fields, where they choked the soybeans or fouled the combine head or from gardens where they strangled the day lilies. These veiny husked globes spelled trouble.

Physalis suffers the ill repute of a vagabond, as the plant can flourish practically anywhere. Go north toCanada, south toSouth Africaor east toAustralia. Across the globe, behold: Physalis. In all of the counties ofNebraska, behold.

There are more than 70 varieties of Physalis worldwide, and many species are commonly called ground cherries. There’s Physalis philadelphica, Physalis missouriensis and Physalis peruviana. There’s Strawberry, Dwarf, Thicket, Chihuahuan, Broad-leaved, Clammy, Coastal, Cypress-headed, Carpenter’s, Southwestern, Pygmy and Love-in-a-cage.

In University of Nebraska-Lincoln textbooks, readers find Physalis. Two species weaseled themselves into the Weeds of theGreat Plains, which is an authority on the notably adaptable. According to The Flora of Nebraska, hederifolia, heterophylla, hisipida, longifolia, missouriensis, pumila and virginiana all grow here.

If my litany suggests a pest, I urge you to peel back the papery husk of an edible variety like … Read More

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Serving 4−6

1 bunch broccoli, washed and cut into florets or

1 head cauliflower, washed and cut into florets

1–2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt

Seasonal herbs

Preheat grill to medium heat. Place broccoli or cauliflower florets in large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and spices. Mix until coated.  Place in a grilling basket and grill to desired tenderness—approximately 5−15 minutes—stirring often. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

From Amy S. Brown

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Serving 4

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon plus ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
⅛ teaspoon plus dash fresh pepper, divided
¼ cup diced red onion
4 medium tomatoes, sliced
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, sliced
8 kalamata olives, sliced (optional)

Combine olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Add onions and marinate for 10−15 minutes. Meanwhile, layer the tomato slices on a serving plate. Pour the marinade over the top of tomatoes and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper. Top with fresh basil and sliced olives, if desired. — From Julie Kolpin

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Serving 4

½  small red onion, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cucumber, seeded and sliced

1 tomato, diced

1 red or green bell pepper, sliced

6 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

1 tablespoon feta cheese

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Dash sea salt

Dash black pepper

Fresh dill

Combine onion, garlic, cucumber, tomato, pepper and olives. Fold in cheese. Sprinkle with lemon juice and seasonings. Stir lightly. Top with dill and serve immediately. —From Julie Kolpin

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