Featured Farmer – Allemang Produce

Bent over rows upon rows of vegetation in one of his three gardens is where Corey Allemang of Allemang Produce can be found. In his gardens located in Clearwater, Nebraska, Corey produces tomatoes, tomatillos, green peppers, jalepeño peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, radishes, acorn squash, red and yellow watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon. Allemang Produce is all natural with no pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals. Although organic practices are used, he is unable to classify himself as organic because he is not certified and there is potential for drift from neighboring fields.

The idea of producing his own produce came from a short chat with a friend two years ago. His friend, Arcadio Zapata, wanted Corey to produce tomatillos for his restaurant called Tu Casa in Norfolk, Nebraska. He agreed and soon began selling tomatoes, green peppers, and jalapeños also with the tomatillos. Now, zucchini and cucumbers are sold to Sakura Steakhouse in Norfolk, Nebraska. Just recently, Corey started his partnership with Wildflour Grocer to sell a variety of produce.

One key piece of advice Corey would like to share with consumers is that they should put an emphasis on the fact that locally grown food goes straight from farm to table. Locally grown food does not have the long distribution period that would normally be seen with commercial grocery store products. The major thing that sets Allemang Produce apart from commercial grocery stores is that it get picked fresh and ripe to be sent directly to market. This ensures that consumers are getting the freshest food with the highest quality possible.

On a typical day, Corey spends about two and a half hours daily tending to his produce. These hours include picking produce, weeding the gardens, and mulching. It is important that the gardens are weeded in order that the weeds do not overpopulate the existing plants growing produce. Mulching is also an important aspect of gardening as it stops the weeds from growing rapidly and helps with the soil temperatures. Allemang Produce hopes its customers enjoy their fresh, farm to table produce.

Featured Farmer – Jim Bean Coffee, LLC

The sweet notes of the aroma of fresh coffee beans fill your nose upon entering the Word of Life School kitchen, the home of Jim Bean Coffee, LLC. Jim Loutzenhiser of Jim Bean Coffee, LLC has been micro-roasting coffee since the year 2009. His kitchen has been USDA certified for one year. Also included in his LLC are his four sons. They are located in Norfolk and Omaha, Nebraska, Springfield, Missouri, and Cape Coral, Florida. Jim Bean Coffee, LLC takes pride in their family business, which allows them to increase their customer base for further success.

Jim Bean Coffee, LLC is not certified organic. Coffee beans are imported from origins around the world. Some countries have smaller growing companies that do not have the organic certification ability. However, the beans are raised in high altitudes with no chemicals. Coffee beans actually have a built-in pesticide called caffeine in its natural plant-based form. If an insect consumes it, their central nervous systems go into paralysis, followed by death (Pilar Floyd, owlcation.com).

Jim’s coffee micro-roasting started very small and local as he roasted some for himself. After a while, people started asking if he could roast some for them. People would buy a bag or two of beans from him, brew it, and thoroughly enjoy it. Later, the demand got so high he decided to turn it into something. He rises above common grocery store coffee brands in the area of freshness due to his micro-roasting process. Other companies expire about a year after they sit on the shelf. On the other hand, Jim Bean Coffee, LLC brand is roasted in small batches and delivered quickly, so the expiration is shortened to about 90 days or less. Jim believes the coffee is still good, but mass production where the product may sit on the shelf for who knows how long is not ideal to ensure maximum freshness. He went and did a blind taste with his coffee with a wide variety of coffees from other vendors. His coffee placed in the top three out of all of them, proving its favorable taste and freshness.

Jim’s coffee may have ruled out other coffee companies due to the high quality of the beans he uses. One of his types of coffee beans, the Kenya AA, comes from Africa and is rated as the gourmet coffee of the world. However, the great coffee doesn’t just stop with a bean. Jim has to get the perfect temperature in his roaster to get the perfect flavors. If this does not happen, the coffee beans will be burned and it will be a very dark, bitter roast. The micro-roasting process provides the beans with all of the ideal flavor potentials they hold. Some customers really value this as they truly care about the flavor of their coffee. That’s why Jim Bean Coffee, LLC ensures that you get the maximum freshness to have the best cup of coffee you can. He wants it to taste like it smells after getting the perfect roast.

Jim Bean Coffee, LLC continues to grow as it starts adding more locations to sell at all the time. They service O’Neill, Norfolk, Omaha, and Atkinson in Nebraska. In O’Neill, it is sold in churches as well as small business such as Wildflour Grocer. In Norfolk, it is sold in Lou’s Thriftway Market. In Omaha, he sells to LifeGate Church as well as Christ Community Church. His son also has a business called Stories Coffee that he supplies for. In Atkinson, he sells to a few churches.

On a typical day, Jim can be found in the kitchen getting his coffee roasted or ready to be put on the shelves. He begins by starting up the roaster, letting it get warmed up, weighing the coffee beans for the order, and starts putting them in the roaster. The roaster is able to roast 100 pounds in 7 hours. After the beans are roasted and ready, they are left to sit for a day in order for the carbon dioxide to degas off of them. If they are not allowed to sit out, they will cause the bag they are packaged in to get big and full of air. This is part of the reason each Jim Bean Coffee, LLC bag has a small hole in the bag for air to be let out. The other reason is for the customer to be able to delight in the wonderful aroma of the coffee before they buy it. When the coffee beans have sat for the amount of time needed, they are handweighed to be put in bags. Finally, the bags of coffee are delivered to the separate locations that are affiliated with JIm Bean Coffee, LLC. The amount of time and care put into each separate bag of coffee is what makes Jim’s coffee worth buying. Not a lot of other brands would take their customers into consideration with as much care and diligence as Jim Bean Coffee, LLC.

Featured Farmer – DH Longhorn

It all started in a living room when the logo of a green square with white and yellow print reading “Pure Nebraska” flashed into Don Sr. Linquist’s eyes. This particular episode highlighted longhorns and what amazing animals they were. It didn’t take long before Don Sr.’s interest was sparked- he decided then and there he was going to own his own longhorns. Over the next couple of months, Don Sr. began researching longhorns and figuring out how he was going to obtain some to start his own herd. Finally, he found a sale. He and his wife, Charlotte, began Don Sr.’s wild hair idea of owning longhorns. The kids decided that not only could this be a hobby, it could also be a business. Together, Don Jr. Linquist and Terri Barger began the next step in this simple hobby by launching their business, DH Longhorn, in 2013. As Don Sr. passed away in June 2018, this fourth generation ranch holds a special place in the Linquist and Barger family as they continue to carry on Don Sr.’s longhorn herd legacy.

Rachel and Don Jr. Linquist alongside Don’s sister Terri Barger and her husband Dave Berger began selling longhorn beef in 2015. While they cannot classify themselves as organic because of owning so many acres that by law they have to spray, they do maintain mainly organic practices. The longhorns are pasture raised and are fed grass or hay with a treat of corn once or twice a week. They are given no hormones or antibiotics, but will be given some if it is needed for humane purposes. Any meat given antibiotics will not be sold or will be sold at a discounted price with the caution to the consumer that antibiotics were used. For the most part, longhorns are a very hardy animal that is able to take care of itself. In all of DH Longhorn’s history, only one calf has had to be pulled. This proves a longhorn is one resilient creature.

DH Longhorn’s meat competes with traditional grocery store meat as it is a good lean meat. However, it’s prices are a little higher. Because longhorn beef is so lean, it is an excellent option for those individuals that struggle with cholesterol issues. DH Longhorn’s beef was tested at a company in Omaha at 92% leanness. It is dry aged for three weeks before butchering Unlike grocery store meat, no water is added to it. Dry aging does cause some shrinkage of the meat, but it gives it more flavor for eating pleasure. When butchering, the animals are USDA inspected and processed in a USDA inspected facility. There is enough natural fat to give it the fat it needs to cook up well. On the ranching side, longhorn beef finishes slower than regular beef because it is fed grass and hay without being finished on grain as most beef is. According to the USDA, grass finished animals can receive grain up until a few months before being finished. Their beef is pasture raised.

DH Longhorn appreciates the relationship they have between their ranch and the consumers. Consumers enjoy knowing their longhorn beef is natural, where it comes from, what the cattle were fed, where they’ve lived, and the peace of knowing it was a “happy cow.” A common phrase they use is “From our ranch to your table.” as the meat is from their pasture, to the butcher, and straight to the table. Consumers have the privilege of calling and asking any questions they may have and are able to pay the cattle a visit. One individual has even come out to photograph the cattle to later be turned into a painting.

On a typical day, Rachel heads out to the pasture and calls up the cattle to see if they want some corn or cake treats. Another way she maintains a good relationship between her and the cattle is by siting at the bunks with them. If a huge group comes up, she will get on the four-wheeler to complete checks. She checks them for sores or pink eye, counts to make sure everyone is present, checks the fence lines, and ensures all gates are closed. This whole process typically takes 2-4 hours. While all four members of DH Longhorn contribute to all areas, Rachel spends the most time with the cattle as she typically has the most time. However, the other three do a lot of hard background work to keep a successful and booming business. DH Longhorn appreciates your business and enjoys providing you local, home-grown beef.

Featured Farmer – Orv’s Acres

Orv Morrow is a third generation farmer on his farm named Orv’s Acres. After farming for around forty years starting on this childhood farm and building up to his own farm, Orv has developed quite the green thumb. Orv’s Acres proudly produces strawberries, asparagus, potatoes, peas, kohlrabi, cabbage, sweet corn, beans, squash, sweet corn, watermelon, muskmelon, and garlic among many other products. Orv has always gardened organically, but the farm had to transition to be certified organic.

Orv’s Acres’ produce definitely provides competition for common grocery store products. The product tends to be cleaner since it does not have any residues as there has been nothing put on it. For example, strawberries and potatoes are named as a few of the top five of the most contaminated produce by the Environmental Working Group. Most grocery store produce is contaminated due to the residues in the soil, whereas organic produce is clean.

One thing Orv emphasizes is soil health and how crucial it is to the health of the plant. Orv’s Acres is unique as it is a no till type of farming, which is unusual since most organic farmers till. Orv is unaware of any other people practicing no till in Nebraska except for one Wildflour Grocer employee who is just beginning. The soil is never tilled to even start a garden as he just starts planting. The benefits of no till is the soil health because of the undisturbed soil structure. For example, if a giant bomb plowed New York City over, it would take a long time for the city to rebuild. The soil is no different as there are as many things living in a tablespoon of soil as there are on the Earth. Orv does not know if there will be a shift from till to no till as time progresses. Conventional farmers are the ones doing most of it, but nobody is doing enough. The importance of it can be displayed when looking at blowing snow in the winter time. When snow is blowing over the road, the snow from a tilled field will be black from dirt while a no till field will keep the snow clean.

On a typical day, Orv wakes up in the morning and works Orv’s Acres until the sun goes down, averaging a fourteen hour day. He gardens as well as caring for cattle, goats, chickens, and ducks. The grass-fed cattle can eventually be made into meat, the meat goats are for weed control but can be butchered for meat, the laying hens lay eggs that are not sold, and the ducks are layers whose eggs will eventually be sold to Wildflour Grocer’s bakery as their eggs are good for baking. Orv’s Acres has one hired hand, but still seeks a high demand for workers in the near future.

Featured Farmer – Clear Creek Organic Farms

 

Bob Bernt gained his passion for the land in 1977 as he did mainstream farming and switched to direct sales in 2003. Aside from raising twelve children with his wife Kristine, Bernt operates Clear Creek Organic Farm and produces hogs, beef, poultry, and vegetables. The Bernt children play a large role in the farm and a lot of them have become entrepreneurs in their own way outside of the farm.

 

One of Clear Creek Organic Farm’s biggest producers is its grass-fed Jersey cattle. They not only produce milk, but provide an abundance of cheese, ice cream, and butter for the on-site dairy processing plant. A certified kitchen allows for twenty acres of organic vegetables along with two greenhouses to be processed for off season sale. A state exempt meat processing plant processes meat right there on the farm. From this plant they sell custom pork from Clear Creek Organic Farm’s soy free swine herd of forty head of sows, poultry from broilers, ducks, and 1,000 laying hens, and beef. The farm was certified organic in 2004 and has been without certification since. With that being said, the farm still practices organics as it would with certification, but found certification would be an immense expense.

To continue his passion for the land, Bernt is a member of the Nebraska Food Policy Board as a producer. The goal is to educate the consumer about label standardization on meats and cheeses. To solve this problem, he is working with a South Carolina nutritionist to get a nutrient label that examines each individual product’s nutritional value. Each product gets a score from 1-3 with one being the best and three being the worst in terms of nutrient density. Bernt feels this will allow the consumer to better be aware of the actual nutrients they receive. He himself started checking what the difference in nutritional density between his home grown vegetables and those from a common grocery store product was. He found that his vegetables scored higher in nutritional density as a whole. This is due to the fact that his vegetables contain readily available nutrition whereas a grocery store processes the product and picks the produce at an early time, which robs it from its nutrients.

One thing Bernt would like to emphasize to the customer base on a whole is if at eighteen years old they buy organic food and eat it three times a day until death, they will have spent $60,000 extra. However, if they drink one pop a day until death, they will have spent $20,000. If they get ill or experience health complications because of their poor health, it can sometimes cost a quarter of a million dollars alone to get themselves better. The essential question is would everyone rather spend a lot of money on their overall wellness and health or would they rather spend a lot of money on getting themselves better due to their unhealthy lifestyle?