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Indy Hub’s Raise Your Food IQ Event

As a 20-something living in Indy, I decided to join this cool group called Indy Hub that advocates for Indy’s twenty-/thirty-somethings, and acts as a resource to help us learn about and become a part of the city.

If you’ve read any of my blog posts, or any social media posts for that matter, (or heck, just by looking at my blog header photo) you can probably tell that I am passionate about agriculture and food. So when I heard that Indy Hub was putting on an event called “Raise Your IQ: Indiana Food” I knew I couldn’t miss it!

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At the event we were given the opportunity to have breakout sessions with two of the four panel members and then hear from all of them during a panel discussion. The panel members included:

Don Villwock, Indiana Farmer and President of Indiana Farm Bureau on new methods of agriculture 
and how they support a stronger economy and state for all of us.

Clay Robinson, Founder of Sun King Brewing on building a new career through food.

Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO and Medical Director of Wishard Health Services on envisioning the future of public health through food.

Aster Bekele, Founder and Executive Director of Felege Hiywot Center on her journey of community 
development and youth empowerment through a tiny urban garden.

The two panel members I listed to were Clay from Sun King, and Aster from the Felege Hiywot Center.

I’ve heard of Sun King before, but who wants to pass up a free sample and be able to pick the brain of one of the most popular local breweries in the city? Not this girl!

Clay Robinson discussing how Sun King utilizes Indiana ingredients in their local craft beer.

Clay Robinson discussing how Sun King utilizes Indiana ingredients in their local craft beer.

Clay talked about the increase in appreciation for local artisans, local agriculture and how people are recognizing that there are opportunities for these things within the local community. He also said that he is proud to be local and wants to stay local. He wants people in Chicago to say, “When are you expanding to Chicago?” so that he can tell them, “Never, when are you going to come to Indiana?”

He wants his beer to be known as “Indy’s local beer” that’s exclusive to the city and people come to Indy to buy it. And I love that philosophy! I know not everything can be kept local, but it boosts the economy and ups the hype about the cool things we’re doing in Indiana. Keep up the good work, Clay!

DidYouKnow: Indiana’s popcorn crop is the second-largest in the country and Sun King used this as their inspiration for their Popcorn Pilsner that is crafted with 2 pounds of Indiana grown popcorn per keg!

My second session was with Aster from the Felege Hiywot Center and I was very interested to learn more about this organization. Aster came here from Ethiopia and recognized that kids in her neighborhood weren’t appreciating everything they have here in the U.S. (education, resources, etc.) so she started the center to serve urban youth of Indianapolis, and teach them about gardening and environmental preservation as well as encourage them to embrace the virtues of community service. They have a really neat story so be sure to learn more about them on their website!

Aster telling us about her journey when she moved to Indianapolis to attend college and how she came to start the Felege Hiywot Center.

Aster telling us about her journey when she moved to Indianapolis to attend college and how she came to start the Felege Hiywot Center.

What I thought was so neat about her story was her passion for youth.

“Be patient and get them involved,” said Aster. “Also really listen to their ideas and be the resource the need. Sustainability continues through generations and the youth have to be able to carry it on.”

And that is so true! I am passionate about teaching youth about their food and agriculture and it was refreshing to see her putting an emphasis on it. I was so inspired by Aster’s work that I might actually help volunteer there! And you can too!

To end the night we heard from the panel and talked about what is exciting about Indiana food, sustainability, and how we can continue the conversation about the importance of knowledge about our food.

L-R: Don Villwock, Aster Bekele, Dr. Lisa Harris and Clay Robinson.

L-R: Don Villwock, Aster Bekele, Dr. Lisa Harris and Clay Robinson.

Indiana Farm Bureau President and Indiana farmer, Don Villwock said that he is excited about the opportunities for young and smaller famers to get involved with the increase in the local food movement.

As a farmer, he also emphasized the importance of sustainability.

“Sustainable farming is leaving his farm better than when his grandfather farmed it,” Don explained. “Water is clean, soil health is better, air is less polluted, and the crops that we raise are healthy, more nutritious and safer.”

This was such a powerful quote to me because it shows that despite what some might think, farmers really do care about their land and the crops they grow. That is their livelihood and they eat the same things we do so they want to make sure to take care of their resources.

My final take-a-way point of the night was from Dr. Lisa Harris about making time to actually gather around a table for a meal together. This really stuck with me because by being from a large family, this was one of the things I most valued about growing up. And I want to encourage everyone to make an effort to get back to cooking meals at home and eating at the dinner table. It sets a good example for your children and is such a good way to keep you connected to your food, and as a family.

Overall this event was so much fun! There was a great turnout with people from many different professions around the city. I caught up with a few participants to see what they took away from the discussion.

Interview

Click the link above to listen to physician Risheet Patel of Fishers and psychiatry resident Aimee Sirois share their take on learning more about happenings in Indiana food.

Thanks to everyone who came out to encourage the conversation about Indiana Food! I can’t wait until the next IndyHub event!

My fellow Marion County Farm Bureau Young Farmers who attended the event!

My fellow Marion County Farm Bureau Young Farmers who attended the event!

National Ag Day – My #AgProud Story

Today is National Ag Day!

National Ag Day was started by Agriculture Council of America (ACA) which is an organization uniquely composed of leaders in the agriculture, food and fiber communities dedicated to increasing the public awareness of agriculture’s vital role in our society. The Agriculture Council of America and the National Ag Day program was started in 1973.

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It’s a day of recognition – for the farmers, ranchers, families, distributers, businesses, and people that make agriculture in our country so great!

It’s a day of support – for all of those involved in the agricultural industry and for all of the laws and policies that affect how their farms and businesses operate.

It’s a day of education – to promote the facts about agriculture and the process of how products get from the farm to your fork.

And it’s a day of pride – for all those involved in agriculture to share their pride for what they do, and help promote agriculture by sharing their story.

And today – I want to share my #AgProud story!

I originally wanted to write this post for a fellow blogger friend Ryan Goodman over at I Am Agriculture Proud a long time ago, but since I never published it, now seemed like the perfect time to share it with everyone!

The story of BoilermakerAg starts in a small town in southern Indiana on my grandpa’s dairy farm.

This was where it all started. Where my roots are grounded and the homestead where my grandparents raised 12 children, milked their herd of cattle, and farmed since ____

This was where it all started. Where my roots are grounded and the homestead where my grandparents raised 12 children, dairy cows, and crops since 1949.

My parents didn’t directly farm but my aunt and uncle, along with my grandpa until he retired, ran the farm and babysat me during my very early years. From a very young age, I learned about the meaning of hard work, caring for animals, and the basics of farming.

Circa 1991 - Me with my Uncle Albert over at the farm. I was always right by his side and loved helping him with the cows!

Circa 1991 – Me with my Uncle Albert over at the farm. I was always right by his side and loved helping him with the cows!

Some of my favorite farm memories are helping deliver calves in the field with my uncle, helping bottle feed and care for calves, helping milk cows, and the smell of the milk house.

One specific memory was when I was helping my uncle on the farm and all of a sudden he said we had to jump in the truck and go up to the hill where a cow had started going into labor. The mom was having difficulty and if we didn’t get there fast, we could lose the calf, or the mom. We got there and he ended up having to “pull the calf” which is when the calf isn’t delivering in the right direction and you have to gently pull the calf out to help the mom with the process. Luckily, we got there just in time and both mom and calf were just fine. It was an incredible moment to witness and be a part of, and it was when I realized that I had a passion for animals and agriculture.

When the calves were a little older, they were moved into the barn into stalls where we could monitor them and bottle feed them. This was a favorite memory because as a little kid, it was fun to care for them and funny because they were all slobbery and it was like a little game with the calf sometimes to try to pull the bottle away from you.

The other best memory I have from that time is helping milk the cows and the smell of the milk house. Any time I ever visit a dairy farm, that smell is always so comforting and takes me back to my childhood days on the farm.

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In 2008 Warrick County Fair my Grandpa Nord was inducted into the Warrick County Agriculture Hall of Fame. This was a very proud moment as I got to watch him receive this award during our 4-H livestock show.

I had agriculture running through both sides of my family too, but I didn’t learn about that until more recently in my life. My dad sells agricultural insurance and sold seed earlier in his career and my mom’s family was involved in agriculture as well.

My mom’s dad and grandpa actually grew seed corn in the 1950s and had a hog farm for a while until they opened a campground and hand-turned pottery store in the late 1960s.

My great

My great grandpa Charles started the seed corn business and my grandpa Jim helped him growing up. These are some original seed bags from their seed corn company. What a cool piece of Ag history!

My grandpa still tells me stories about those times and its always so interesting to hear about that time period and how agriculture has changed since then.

From there my ag story continues with me being in 4-H and FFA and showing pigs at the county fair. I learned a lot about other species of livestock and this is where I got exposed to Purdue University – where I would later attend the College of Ag.

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Here’s another throwback picture from me during my first year in 4-H. I ended up being a 10 year member and gained several of the valuable skills and qualities that help me in my career today.

Growing up in rural Indiana also gained me exposure to all areas of agriculture through my friends (if their families farmed) or through the extension service or 4-H.

But it wasn’t until going to college and starting my career where I learned just how fortunate I was to have grown up around agriculture and how it has helped me become the person I am proud to be today.

I ended up majoring in Agricultural Communication with a minor in Animal Science and now work in marketing at a seed corn company in central Indiana.

I get to interact with farmers all across the Midwest, hearing their stories and sharing them in our newsletter. I always enjoy these interactions because it can take me anywhere from the farmer’s kitchen table, farm shop, or even driving with them through the fields.

I always take these opportunities to really listen to their stories and make mental note of any advice they can give me or facts about agriculture that they have to share.

I had to leave my rural setting to live in the city, but my rural roots in agriculture haven’t, and never will, leave me.

I am Agriculture Proud because my families have been a part of agriculture for several generations, I have been taught the meaning of hard work, getting your hands dirty, and respecting the land and Mother Nature…because as a farmer, your livelihood depends on it.

I am Agriculture Proud to continue the involvement in agriculture within my family by sharing my stories and experiences in the ag industry.

I am Agriculture Proud to be associated with some of the nicest, most honest, passionate people on this Earth.

My agriculture story could go on for pages, but I hope this gives just a peak into why I am, and always will be AGRICULTURE PROUD!

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Where would you be without Agriculture?

What’s your Ag Proud story?

ReBlog: Farming in The Winter by OregonGreen

I’m sorry about not being able to blog much lately, but I still want to share good information with you! I found this blog from fellow ag blogger Marie of OregonGreen about Farming in the Winter. She makes a good point that most people don’t know about all that goes on in the winter on farms all across America. It’s a lot busier than you think. Check out her blog to learn more about farming in the winter!

– BoilermakerAg

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I stopped by a local restaurant the other night to pickup dinner. While I was waiting the manager asked “Are you farming this winter?” I responded, “Yes of course.” Manager, “What is there to do this time of year?”

It may be a slower time of year but there is ALWAYS something to do, contrary to popular belief.

Maintenance & Projects

Each tractor, swather, combine, semi-truck, sprayer and fertilizer buggy is gone through in detail. Changing oil, replacing belts, repairing temporary fixes from harvest and any other thing that may arise. We do this each winter to make sure our equipment is taken care of. Things break on the farm but poor maintenance shouldn’t be the reason.

This year we have a big project in the shop. Our three-wheeled fertilizer spreader/buggy is getting tracks! Why? Because we get stuck. Working on wet ground during spring fertilizing makes getting…

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Mystique Winery & Vineyard – Southern Indiana’s Newest Stop on the Hoosier Wine Trail

As I sit here with all of this warm weather, (SERIOUSLY? 70 degrees in DECEMBER?) I have decided that it would be a perfect evening to enjoy a glass of wine outside and embrace the few hours of daylight we have left. And to add to that, my wine of choice for the night would be the new Hoosier Red I got at the Mystique Winery and Vineyard grand opening event last month!

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Never heard of them? WELL…. Let me telllllll you, they are awesome!

Mystique Winery is a new vineyard, winery, and tasting room that recently opened in my small hometown of Lynnville, IN. Never heard of it?  (Trust me, it exists.)

Lynnville, IN

How cool right?! I was extremely excited to learn that we now had a winery in my hometown!

Mystique Winery is a family venture that started as a dream back in 2008 by the Clutter family with the first planting of vines in 2009 consisting of Niagra, Steuben, Vignoles, and Chambourcin grapes.

(DidYouKnow: It takes 3 years to get a crop off of a vine. Talk about needing to have patience!)

It has been a long journey for the Clutters, but through hard work and dedication, Mystique Winery & Vineyard has finally become a reality.

Patti and Steve's children, Seth (L) and Zeb (R) and their wives Heather and Jennifer are all involved with the winery and were busy bees the day of their grand opening.

Patti and Steve’s children, Seth (L) and Zeb (R) and their wives Heather and Jennifer are all involved with the winery and were busy bees the day of their grand opening.

A couple facts about Mystique Winery:

  • It is Warrick County’s first winery nestled on the knobs of Lynnville, Indiana.
  • They’re also a part of the Hoosier Wine Trail.
  • They have a Mardi Gras themed tasting room that is perfect for visiting with friends and enjoying Mystique’s southern Indiana hospitality. (To learn more about why they chose a Mardi Gras theme, check out the article on them from the Evansville Courier and Press.)
  • They have outdoor seating and a fire pit – this would be perfect for my evening scenario I mentioned at the beginning! (If only I was in southern Indiana right now…)
  • Fact: They have great wine!

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Their Grand Opening was on November 17, 2012 and it was a HUGE success! Owner Patti Clutter said, It was an awesome day and we were so in awe of the support from Warrick County, family and friends. We had over 25 worker bees that worked their tails off all day and the parking attendants said we had over 1200 people and possibly a lot more!”

They had activities all day starting at 11a.m. and were busy even past dark! It was a great time and I definitely want to back! Due to other obligations that day, I didn’t make it until around 4p.m. but it was still a blast! I did miss the Honey Vines who they had perform, but I heard they were AWESOME! I ended up purchasing their Christmas CD so I still got a little taste of their music.

I tried several of their wines and they even had wine slushies! (To. Die. For!) Here were a few of my favorite wines:

If you like dry wine, the Bacchus was good but my favorite of the day was the Hoosier Red! it is a signature wine of the Hoosier Wine Trail and will be good with just about anything.

If you like dry wine, the Bacchus was good but my favorite of the day was the Hoosier Red! It is a signature wine of the Hoosier Wine Trail and will be good with just about anything.

By the end of the evening, my family stopped by too so it ended up being a fun family outing!

I want to encourage EVERYONE to stop by if you are in southern Indiana and pay them a visit! Also, make sure to check them out on their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Congrats and hope you enjoyed this cake during your celebration!

Congrats and hope you enjoyed this cake during your celebration!

I want to send out a personal congratulation to Mystique Winery and Vineyards and the whole Clutter family for a GREAT JOB WELL DONE on opening their Winery!

Next time, I definitely have to get one of their T-shirts!

“Peace. Love. Wine. Exit 39”*Exit 39 is the Lynnville exit for all you out-of-towners ;)

“Peace. Love. Wine. Exit 39”
*Exit 39 is the Lynnville exit for all you out-of-towners 😉

Ag Facts Are Lost In Google! Help Bring Them Back!

I haven’t written an Ag blog in a while but two separate things have come out in the news recently that I just can’t avoid addressing. I see several things every day about agriculture, especially things on social media. And honestly- about 85% of it is incorrect. I’ve figured out why it happens and two specific examples come to mind.

An article came out saying that Dunkin Donuts has decided to start using cage free eggs and gestation crate free pork. Ok, that’s their decision. But the part that frustrates me as an advocate for the agricultural industry is that consumers are so misinformed and the people who publish these stories go to sources that aren’t fact based.

For instance – the source for the Dunkin donuts article was none other than the director of corporate policy of HSUS (If you aren’t familiar with them, HSUS stands for The Humane Society of the United States – an extremist animal rights organization… Not to be confused with your local humane society.) They have an agenda and hire employees to push those agendas and publicize it everywhere.

The Associated Press wrote this article and I’m pretty disappointed in them as a fellow journalist for having such a slanted story. They didn’t even try to talk to any university ag scientists or farmers about the topic, they just put the “tug at the heartstrings” opinion in the spotlight.

This is where the agriculture industry (me included – that’s why I’m writing this post) needs to work harder to get the scientific information out to the public so that when someone (HSUS) explains gestation cratesas breeding crates where the pigs can’t move for four years (not true), the public will be educated with the facts and knowledge to know the difference.

NOTE: Gestation crates are individual housing for sows during the time of pregnancy which are used so that individual sows can be fed relative to their individual needs and to reduce the impact of aggressive behaviors seen in group housing. One important fact that is left out is that the pigs are moved to farrowing crates once they give birth to better care for their litter and reduce the risk of the moms accidentally stepping on the piglets. They don’t stay in gestation crates their entire lives.

Piglets in farrowing crates have more room and are protected from various elements.

Second example: Another article was published about a man who was eaten by his hogs. Right away people are freaked out, but there are questions we need to ask: what breed of hog were they? Were they castrated or boars? Did the man fall and start bleeding? People don’t think to ask these questions but they’re important. These are some of the reasons we castrate pigs and dock their tails. They live in social groups which creates dominance (just like in our society) so the more dominant they are, the more aggressive they become. The reason we dock their tails is because if they get in a fight, the aggressive pig will bite the other pig’s tail off and cause injury.

The news makes this out to be that all pigs are dangerous and that “no one is safe around them” kind of story. Again, not true. The questions above need to be answered and there have to be other explanations than his pigs just “attacked” him. They don’t do that for fun.

Farmers and veterinarians know how to properly care for their animals and practices put in place such as tail docking, castrating, and teeth clipping are there to protect the pigs and the caretakers. (Think about this as declawing your cat so they can’t scratch you or the fellow dog.)

But the main point of my blog today is to highlight the fact that the information put out by these groups is so easy to find that no wonder people believe the extremists. Just the other day, I Googled “average life expectancy of a sow” and not one of the top ten results was from a trusted (educational) source! No universities, no farmers, no vets. Just animal activist groups, pro-vegetarianism websites, people who don’t provide the right information. How can we expect the public to find out the truth if it’s hidden in the Bermuda triangle of Google?

One thing I think those types of organizations get right (when it comes to publicizing their information) is their Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is the process of using good key words and search words when publishing your information. Important parts of this include good, descriptive titles, tags (especially for blogs) and getting it out on social media sites to spread awareness and raise viewing numbers for that information. To learn more about how to improve your SEO, click here.

SO HERE’S MY CALL TO ACTION:

Consumer Challenge:  go out at learn something new today about some part of agriculture! Just make sure it’s from a reliable source like universities, or farmers!

Agvocate  Bloggers – keep posting your factual, educational information and work on your blog’s SEO to help bring it to the front of the search page.

Universities and Veterinarians- when you publish educational agricultural information put it on Google and make it easily accessible to the public! You can’t admit that the first place you go to look something up isn’t google? Help others learn the things we’ve been trying to tell them!

Also, share it on social media! This is the fastest way to get your information to the public!

Have any of you taken steps to increase your SEO? I’d love for you to share them!

Here are some links:

https://ag.purdue.edu/Pages/default.aspx

http://extension.osu.edu/

http://casnr.unl.edu/

http://www2.ca.uky.edu/

Photo courtesy of Purdue University.

Fellow Agvocate Ryan Goodman Featured on CNN’s Food Blog Eatocracy!!

American cattleman and Agvocate Ryan Goodman is making noise on CNN’s food blog! He writes a great blog about growing up in agriculture, learning about ag in different parts of the country, and how we all need to work together to create a better understanding between the ag industry and consumers.
Great job, Ryan! I Am Agriculture Proud!

Eatocracy

Ryan Goodman is a generational rancher from Arkansas with a degree in Animal Science from Oklahoma State University in Animal Science, and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at the University of Tennessee, studying beef cattle management. He is one of many farmers utilizing social media to bridge the gap between farmers and urban customers. Follow his story daily at www.AgricultureProud.com or follow on Twitter (@AR_ranchhand) and Facebook.

How does our beef travel from pasture to plate? Can you describe this process from the time a calf is born to the moment your knife slices a steak?

In this country, we are blessed with a great group of farmers who care for their animals and a food safety system to ensure things work properly. There are farmers who do things various ways for good reasons for both their customers and their farms. A good balance of science…

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Indiana Vino Adventure: Lunch

After a great wine-filled breakfast at Easley Winery, it was now time to head off to our next destination on the Wine Tour journey: Wine for Lunch at Olivery Winery!

I LOVE this shot. I caught this just right as the sun came in the skylight.

(If you need to catch up on our journey, read my past two posts – Marion County Farm Bureau Wine Tour and Indiana Vino Adventure: Breakfast.)

All caught up? OK, back to Oliver Winery! I’ve always heard about it and I already knew that I loved their Oliver Soft Red wine so needless to say I was pretty pumped about the visit!

Once we arrived, we met with Vineyard Manager Bernie Parker who gave us a tour of their show vineyard and shared his WEALTH of knowledge about grape growing and wine making. No seriously, he taught us a lot. I mean, who knew that you could use helicopters to decrease frost damage?!! (More on that fact later.)

Bernie told us about the history of Oliver Winery, how the business has grown over the years, and several interesting facts about grapes and wine.

Here are a few Did You Knows for your reading pleasure:

★ DYK: There are wineries in all 50 states! The hybridization of grapes allow states to grow them that normally wouldn’t be able to.

★ DYK: It takes 3 years to get a crop off of a vine. They are transferred form the nursery to the field and they can be in full production by the 4th year. Talk about needing to have patience!

★DYK: All the grapes at Oliver Winery are currently HAND PICKED! With 54 acres of grapes and different varieties that need to be picked at different times, they sure stay busy!

★ DKY: The commercial lifespan of a vine is 30-40 years! (So think back to that patience I said you needed to have to wait the 3-4 years for your vines to produce grapes…it is well worth the wait!) That’s a pretty good investment if you ask me!

Aren’t those some neat facts?! It was definitely an educational experience with Bernie and the Oliver Winery crew.

Ok, now back to that helicopter thing I mentioned earlier.

Frost is a main concern for grapes because it causes significant damage to crops if the frost is bad enough. They had a few bad frosts in the past so they decided to get a little bit creative with their methods in trying to decrease the severity of the frosts.

One method they use is to have “Frost Fans” sit around the vineyards to pull warmer air down and moves it through the vineyard which raises temperatures by 4-5 degrees throughout the vineyard. Frost causes more damage the longer it sits on the vines so moving the air keeps the frost from being able to settle.

And then the other method, like I mentioned earlier, is to rent helicopters to fly around the vineyard to push the warm air down. They created a path that was less than 5 min. to make a full circle because that’s the time it takes for the temps to cool back down. Neat huh?!

Now, this might seem a little extreme at first but its well worth it in the long run.

“Helicopters are expensive, but if we didn’t have these methods we could have lost 70% of our crop, but with these innovations we only lost 20%. So even with the expense, just a one-time use makes your money back,” Bernie explained.

I agree Bernie, way worth it to save your crops!

After our tour we went inside to have our wine tasting and eat lunch (that’s where the lunch part of the title comes in) in case you’re a little tired today and missed the connection. 🙂

Here were my favorites!

After the tasting we had a nice lunch outside on their patio and re-fueled for the afternoon ahead.

By then it was about time to head to our next destination but we couldn’t leave without getting a few souvenirs to take home! Wine counts as souvenirs right?

We had GREAT time at Oliver Winery and I want to give a huge THANK YOU to Bernie and the rest of the staff for being such great hosts and teaching us about grapes and wine! I will definitely be making a trip back soon.

What a good lookin’ group! Marion County Farm Bureau Wine Tour 2012

Is it just me, or does it seem like we’ve already had a whole day’s worth of wining and dining? We were just now at lunch. We still had three more stops ahead of us!

Be sure to check back soon for the third leg of our tour, you won’t want to miss dinner!

Indiana Vino Adventure: Breakfast

Now, some of you might be slightly confused by this title, especially if you didn’t read my post from yesterday. But I have to admit, I did drink wine for breakfast on Saturday (don’t worry this isn’t a regular occurrence) at our first stop of the Marion County Farm Bureau Wine Tour.

I mean technically it was only a few sips during the tasting, and it was more like brunch because it was at 10a.m. but I’d say it still counts – wine for breakfast.

We kicked off our wine tour at Easley Winery in Indianapolis, IN, where we were able to taste several great wines from their collection.

I had never heard about Easley Winery before this trip, being a southern Indiana girl and all, but it was a great little place!

A little history about their winery:

“Jack & Joan Easley purchased the former Fertig Ice Cream factory in downtown Indianapolis and had their first grape crush in the fall of 1974. This facility is still in its original location and is located in downtown Indy’s Cole Noble Commercial Arts District. Today, second generation owners Mark & Meredith Easley continue the family tradition of creating and selling award-winning wines and champagnes made right in the heart of Indiana. Easley Winery offers 20 or more wine and champagne offerings depending on the year and season. Great wines are meant to be shared, and at Easley Winery, we’ve been creating memories since 1974.”

During our tasting, we were taken to their Barrel Aging Room and got to select 7 wines to taste.

Here were my favorites!

I am more of a ‘sweet wine’ person so naturally my favorites were the sweet wines. My #1 fave was the Reggae Red, which makes sense as it is their #1 bestseller! (So naturally, I had to help increase my economic impact by purchasing a bottle.) ♥

They also gave us several good tips on what to pair the wines with. One cool thing that I thought was unique was they gave us recipes to take home for making fun summer cocktails with their wines!

I can’t wait to try these!

Have any of you tried Easley’s Reggae Red or any of their Reggae wines? Let me know what you think if you do!

We had a great time during our first stop and I’d like to say a big THANK YOU to the staff at Easley Winery for your hospitality and great tips!

But I repeat, this was only our first stop. We still had a long day ahead of us, so we headed back to the bus to travel to our next stop on the tour – Oliver Winery!

Be sure to check back soon for Part 2 of the Wine Tour “Indiana Vino Adventure: Lunch” at Oliver Winery! I have a lot of cool things to include in this blog so you won’t want to miss it!

Happy Tuesday!

Oh, and P.S. – did you know that Easley Winery has a Pinterest account? Check it out for some fun recipes, facts, and wine inspired décor!

Indy Adventure – Farm Bureau Wine Tour!

Wow what a great weekend!

My parents were in town, I managed to squeeze in some pool time, and had an AMAZING time at the Marion County Farm Bureau wine tour!

In Farm Bureau, we try to plan activities throughout the year which allow us to tour local agri-tourism sites, learn about different agricultural practices in Indiana and have fun at the same time.  All of the activities pretty much guarantee a good time, but I was especially excited for this one, we planned a wine tour!

Some of you might not have thought that the wine industry was a part of agriculture but it is actually a very big industry and has a lot of similarities to crop farming.

So, I like to consider myself a wine fanatic (and apparently Klout does too?) but I still learned a lot during our vino-filled day!

Did You Know: There are over 6,700 family wineries in the U.S.?

As for the wine industry as a whole, wineries in all 50 states attract 27 million tourists annually, create 1.1 million jobs in America and have a $162 billion economic impact on the American economy. – Wine Institute

If you ask me, I’d say that’s pretty impressive!

During our wine tour we visited five central Indiana Wineries where we tried several different wines, toured their facilities, and made an economic impact on the industry (AKA…buy wine to take home) ♥

Over the course of the day we visited:

  1. Easley Winery – Indianapolis, IN

  2. Oliver Winery – Bloomington, IN

  3. Butler Winery – Bloomington, IN

  4. Brown County Winery – Nashville, IN

  5. Mallow Run Winery – Bargersville, IN

Have any of you visited these wineries?

We had such a great time! I have a lot of neat information to share with all of you but if I tried to squeeze all of our fun into one blog, you would need a nap just from reading it. So in an effort to help you refrain from tuckering out, I am going to re-cap our “Indiana Vino Adventure” over the course of three posts: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. (Who can guess why this relates?)

Be sure to check back for an inside look at these awesome wineries that are right here in our own backyards! And better yet – if you subscribe to my blog by email, my posts will be delivered right to you inbox so you won’t miss a thing!

Better Late Than Never – Domino’s Ag Pizza Party

So I was a little late on this but I finally had my Domino’s Ag Pizza Party the other night!

In case you didn’t hear about this, the HSUS recently proposed that Domino’s stop using meat from pigs that are raised in gestation crates as some of the other restaurants have done, but Domino’s rejected their proposal because they want to rely on animal experts to determine the best way to raise an animal, not extremist animal rights groups.

According to Domino’s, “The American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians have published statements indicating there are advantages and disadvantages to both cage-free and caged pork production methods. We rely on animal experts to determine what is the best way to raise an animal that’s being used for food.”

“It’s important to show our consumers that we care about animal welfare,” said Mike Davelaar, salesman for Quality Liquid Feeds, Brandon, SD. “Domino’s is taking the time to check with industry experts to make sure that what they are being asked to do is in the best interests of the livestock that we care for. I hope this campaign shows other companies and consumers that doing the right thing is just that – doing the right thing. They deserve to be recognized for making actual animal welfare the priority.”

So in order to support Domino’s and show our appreciation to them for standing up to HSUS and trusting the agricultural industry, the industry got together to throw them an Ag Pizza Party!

On the weekend of May 19th members of the agricultural industry and community bought Domino’s pizzas and brought them a thank you note to show their appreciation.

The event was on Facebook and they had over 2,000 people attend! They also posted this note on the event wall to explain the purpose of the event.

Note: This event is to advocate to allow experts in animal behavior and care to do proper research to ensure any changes made to the way animals are cared for are to help the animals’ well-being and not decrease the level of care they receive. We thank Domino’s for standing up for these experts. Any posts that are off topic, attacking individuals and companies or show gruesome visuals of animal abuse (crush videos) will be deleted and the user posting will be banned. If you would like to post or discuss other information please feel free to at our page The Truth About Agriculture.

So on Tuesday I enjoyed MY Domino’s Ag Pizza Party to support this cause as well.

And it was delicious! 🙂

Did any of you have or attend an Ag Pizza Party for Domino’s? I’d love to hear about them!

Happy Friday! Thanks to everyone who supports farmers and ranchers!!

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