Oh, My Gourd! What You Need to Know About Gourds and Pumpkins

Pg 10 - Pumpkin varieties

Summer officially transitions into fall when you see people requesting their favorite things about the fall season, pumpkin spice lattes, comfort foods, and holiday cookies. At The Country Pumpkin, a produce store near Sutton, the spotlight is on gourds, squash and pumpkins. Continue reading

Sweet Potato Custards

sweet-potato-custardsIngredients
½ teaspoon butter
12 oz. sweet potatoes, cooked and cooled
1 cup low-fat dairy milk
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 teaspoons chopped pecans

Directions
•    Preheat oven to 350º.  Grease 4 or 5 oven-safe custard cups or ramekins with butter.
•    In a blender, combine the sweet potatoes, milk, eggs, sugar, spices, and vanilla.  Blend until smooth.
•    Pour blended mixture evenly between prepared custard cups, about ¾ cup per dish.
•    Sprinkle;e the top of each custard with about a teaspoon of chopped pecans.
•    Place custards on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until browned, set in the center, and slightly puffed.
•    Serve warm or chilled.

Yield:  4-5 servings

Thanksgiving Dinner Up a Tad, to Just Over $50

Thanksgiving Marketbasket flyerThe American Farm Bureau Federation’s 30th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $50.11, a 70-cent increase from last year’s average of $49.41.

The big ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at a total of $23.04 this year. That’s roughly $1.44 per pound, an increase of less than 9 cents per pound, or a total of $1.39 per whole turkey, compared to 2014.

“Retail prices seem to have stabilized quite a bit for turkey, which is the centerpiece of the meal in our marketbasket,” AFBF Deputy Chief Economist John Anderson said. “There were some production disruptions earlier this year due to the highly pathogenic Avian influenza outbreak in the Midwest. Turkey production is down this year but not dramatically. Our survey shows a modest increase in turkey prices compared to last year. But we’re now starting to see retailers feature turkeys aggressively for the holiday. According to USDA retail price reports, featured prices fell sharply just last week and were actually lower than last year,” he added.

The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. There is also plenty for leftovers.

SouthernDeepFriedTurkey-HighFoods showing the largest increases this year in addition to turkey were pumpkin pie mix, a dozen brown-n-serve rolls, cubed bread stuffing and pie shells. A 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix was $3.20; a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.61; and two nine-inch pie shells, $2.47.

“Despite concerns earlier this fall about pumpkin production due to wet weather, the supply of canned product will be adequate for this holiday season,” Anderson said.

Items that declined modestly in price were mainly dairy items including one gallon of whole milk, $3.25; a combined group of miscellaneous items, including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour), $3.18; a half pint of whipping cream, $1.94; and 12 ounces of fresh cranberries, $2.29. A one-pound relish tray of carrots and celery (79 cents) and one pound of green peas ($1.52) also decreased slightly in price.

The average cost of the dinner has remained around $49 since 2011. This year’s survey totaled over $50 for the first time.

“America’s farmers and ranchers are able to provide a bounty of food for a classic Thanksgiving dinner that many of us look forward to all year,” Anderson said. “We are fortunate to be able to provide a special holiday meal for 10 people for just over $5 per serving.”

thanksgiving graphic_1The stable average price reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks closely with the government’s Consumer Price Index for food eaten at home. For October, the most recent month available, the food at home CPI posted a 0.7 percent increase compared to a year ago (available online at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm).

A total of 138 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 32 states. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as spending $50 and receiving a free turkey.

Shoppers with an eye for bargains in all areas of the country should be able to purchase individual menu items at prices comparable to the Farm Bureau survey averages. Another option for busy families without a lot of time to cook is ready-to-eat Thanksgiving meals for up to 10 people, with all the trimmings, which are available at many supermarkets and take-out restaurants for around $50 to $75.

The AFBF survey was first conducted in 1986. While Farm Bureau does not make any scientific claims about the data, it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.

Item 2014 Price 2015 Price Difference
Misc. ingredients 3.48 3.18 -.30
Sweet potatoes, 3 lbs. 3.56 3.57 +.01
Whipping cream, 1/2 pint 2.00 1.94 -.06
Milk, 1 gallon whole 3.76 3.25 -.51
Pumpkin pie mix, 30 oz. 3.12 3.20 +.08
1-pound relish tray (carrots and celery) .82 .79 -.03
Green peas, 1 lb. 1.55 1.52 -.03
Cubed stuffing, 14 oz. 2.54 2.61 +.07
16-pound turkey 21.65 23.04 +1.39
Fresh cranberries, 12 oz. 2.34 2.29 -.05
Pie shells (2) 2.42 2.47 +.05
Rolls, 12 2.17 2.25 +.08
TOTAL 49.41 50.11 +.70

Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner Still Under $50 for 10 People

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 29th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.41, a 37-cent increase from last year’s average of $49.04.

The big ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at $21.65 this year. That’s roughly $1.35 per pound, a decrease of less than 1 cent per pound, or a total of 11 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2013.

SouthernDeepFriedTurkey-High

“Turkey production has been somewhat lower this year and wholesale prices are a little higher, but consumers should find an adequate supply of birds at their local grocery store,” AFBF Deputy Chief Economist John Anderson said. Some grocers may use turkeys as “loss leaders,” a common strategy deployed to entice shoppers to come through the doors and buy other popular Thanksgiving foods.

The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. There is also plenty for leftovers.

Foods showing the largest increases this year were sweet potatoes, dairy products and pumpkin pie mix. Sweet potatoes came in at $3.56 for three pounds. A half pint of whipping cream was $2.00; one gallon of whole milk, $3.76; and a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $3.12. A one-pound relish tray of carrots and celery ($.82) and one pound of green peas ($1.55) also increased in price. A combined group of miscellaneous items, including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour) rose to $3.48.

In addition to the turkey, other items that declined modestly in price included a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.54; 12 ounces of fresh cranberries, $2.34; two nine-inch pie shells, $2.42; and a dozen brown-n-serve rolls, $2.17.

The average cost of the dinner has remained around $49 since 2011. thanksgiving graphic_1

“America’s farmers and ranchers remain committed to continuously improving the way they grow food for our tables, both for everyday meals and special occasions like Thanksgiving dinner that many of us look forward to all year,” Anderson said. “We are blessed to be able to provide a special holiday meal for 10 people for about $5.00 per serving – less than the cost of most fast food meals.”

turkey chart

The stable average price reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks closely with the government’s Consumer Price Index for food eaten at home (available online at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm), which indicates a 3-percent increase compared to a year ago.

A total of 179 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 35 states. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as spending $50 and receiving a free turkey.

Shoppers with an eye for bargains in all areas of the country should be able to purchase individual menu items at prices comparable to the Farm Bureau survey averages. Another option for busy families without a lot of time to cook is ready-to-eat Thanksgiving meals for up to 10 people, with all the trimmings, which are available at many supermarkets and take-out restaurants for around $50 to $75.

The AFBF survey was first conducted in 1986. While Farm Bureau does not make any scientific claims about the data, it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.

 

 

Pumpkin Crisp

IMG_0959Ingredients
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1 cup evaporated milk
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
1 butter flavored yellow cake mix (I like Duncan Hines)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup melted butter
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the pumpkin, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. Pour the mixture into a greased 9×13 baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle cake mix evenly over the pumpkin mixture.
  5. Sprinkle pecans on top of the cake mix.
  6. Drizzle butter over all.
  7. Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Serve with or without whipped topping.

Thanksgiving Thanks

Just like most years, Thanksgiving has snuck up on me once again. Fall always flies by with harvest, and as always this year finds me looking forward to an excuse to indulge in meals with great company. While I have much to be thankful for, including the ability to sit at a table full of food, I also must give thanks and gratitude to where it is due – to the farmers and ranchers who have raised the food we will enjoy with care.

As an added bonus, this year’s Thanksgiving dinner actually decreased in cost according to an American Farm Bureau survey of grocery costs across the country. Not by much, 44-cents, but when the rest of living expenses are climbing affordable food is something everyone should be thankful for. According to the nationwide survey, the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.04, down from $49.48 last year. That’s less than $5 a serving – you can’t even get fast food for that!

The big ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at $21.76 this year. That was roughly $1.36 per pound, a decrease of about 3 cents per pound, or a total of 47 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2012. The whole bird was the biggest contributor to the final total, showing the largest price decrease compared to last year.

The AFBF survey shopping list included turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers. The average price reported this year by Farm Bureau tracks closely with the government’s Consumer Price Index for food eaten at home, which showed a 1 percent increase compared 2012.

This year we can all be thankful that Thanksgiving dinner will not take a bigger bite out of our wallets and allow us to make dinner time memories with our family and friends, and I ask you to take a moment and include a thankful thought for all farmers and ranchers!

– Kassi Williams is a proud farmer’s daughter raised on a cow/calf and grain farm.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Stuffed Corn Bake

Stuffed Corn Bake 2Ingredients

1 can corn, drained

1 can creamed corn

1 pkg (6oz) Stove Top Stuffing, chicken flavored

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup water

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Stir until ingredients are well incorporated and stuffing has become moistened.
  3. Pour into a 2 quart baking dish and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Allow dish to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

— Recipe and photo from Mostly Homemade Mom