Growing up in the Midwest, I spent plenty of days pulling weeds and tending to vegetables in my grandmother’s garden, snipping beans, and enjoying fresh sweet corn almost every evening with my family in July! I grew up taking the fresh bounty for granted, but have found a passion for farm fresh food as I am raising my own family.
I am truly blessed to live in a community that values the farmer. I love to see people passionate about growing their own food. How wonderful it is to receive the extra bounty. I am grateful to the friend who has the patience to raise chickens for eggs and I love gifting the homemade apple pie filling I make from my neighbor’s tree that seems to double in apples every year!
I am raising my family in the city, but we are fortunate to live a short drive to a multitude of family farms. It has become a summer tradition to hit up some of the local “you-pick” farms and pluck our own harvest of raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries! My kids get to enjoy school field trips to working farms including local dairy farms, and of course the pumpkin patch is on our list each fall.
Through a series of cooking classes, I met one of our town’s greatest farming advocates, Chef Alli. She is a self-proclaimed Kitchen-Crusader whom I am lucky enough to now call my friend. Alli and her husband, Pat, are local Kansas farmers, and like many ranchers, they both work at jobs off the farm and raise cattle in addition to their full-time careers. Raising beef is something they are passionate about, along with telling the real story of Kansas agriculture and all that goes into growing and raising our food. Chef Alli’s efforts to educate moms, and have great conversations about food, farming and families, is what makes me so proud of her work in our community!
Rural America is more than just corn and wheat fields. The people who create these communities have such amazing stories just like Chef Alli. The America’s Farmers Community Outreach programs sponsored by the Monsanto Fund are helping farmers come together with their community to keep it strong and vibrant. You can find out more and read some of their stories here. You can also keep up to date with how the programs are funding and helping America’s farmers on their facebook page.
Here is one of Chef Alli’s Farm Fresh Recipes!
Firecracker Flank Steak
- 1 ½ lbs. flank steak tenderized once
- 1/8 cup peanut oil
- 1/8 cup white wine
- 1/8 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
- ½ tsp. ground ginger
- ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- 2 Tbs. soy sauce
- 2 tsp. curry powder
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except flank steak; pour into a large freezer bag and add flank steak; seal and let steak marinate overnight. Remove from marinade and grill on oiled, preheated grill over medium-high heat until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees, approx. 10-12 minutes per side, turning half way through grilling time. Remove from grill and tent with foil; let steak rest for 10 minutes. To serve, slice across the grain on the bias into thin slices. In a small sauce pan, boil marinade at full rolling boil for 2 minutes; drizzle slices with sauce to serve.
Don’t forget to check out more amazing farmers, you might just meet someone very special in your own town! Visit My Town.