From the monthly archives:

June, 2014

Manifolds, Manolos & Bona Heinsohn

In January of 2009, Patrick J. Quinn assumed governorship of Illinois after his predecessor and two-time running mate, Rod Blagojevich was impeached by the Illinois General Assembly and removed from office.  Blagojevich is now serving time in federal prison. Quinn’s political platform includes spending cuts, tax increases, increased ethical standards, public-sector union protections, and environmental restraints.  However, in May Quinn supporters and opponents alike learned that federal prosecutors and the Cook County State’s Attorney launched investigations into his Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, a $55 million anti-violence grant program.  Quinn launched the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative for Cook County during his heated 2010 gubernatorial race against Senator Bill Brady.  His political opponents argue that Quinn used the program to shore up his support in Cook County, one of only four counties that Quinn won in the 2010 General Election. According to the Bellev ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager

“What bugs my stomach?” Meat and potatoes… That’s the stuff that farm boys are made of. The majority of farm meals featured a type of meat and a form of potatoes when I was growing up and that’s the way I wanted it. Thankfully, Mom was very skilled preparing a variety of flavors and styles out of meat and potatoes. That’s the way I still want food most of the time…in the form of Meat and Potatoes. Sure, attempts have been made to expand my food horizons … and I will try nearly anything.  However, I have learned that… a Portobello mushroom used in place of the hamburger patty is tasty but doesn’t quite cut it. Spaghetti squash used in place of pasta… fewer calories but you can’t trick my taste buds. Sprouts topping a salad … it’s a lot of fuss with very little payback. Quinoa…was that food? But there are limits to my food horizons.  I believe I have determined the limit… I believe that emtomo ...

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Pedal Tractor Contest Winner

Congratulations to Laurie Longfield of Wheeling!! Laurie is this year's winner of the John Deere Pedal Tractor Contest that was held at the Wagner Farm Dairy Breakfast on Saturday June 14th.


Farm Bureau Considers Policy Supportive of Beekeeping in Urban Areas

The Cook County Farm Bureau is frequently contacted by individuals and municipalities interested in beekeeping.  Through a partnership with the Cook DuPage Beekeepers Association, Farm Bureau members and interested families have learned the ins and outs of beekeeping through various programs and educational events. Through assistance from Farm Bureau staff, municipalities and interested organizations have developed policy and ordinances supportive of urban beekeeping. Farm Bureau members responding to the 2014 Viewpoint Survey, which was partially funded through the Illinois Farm Bureau® Advanced Policy Development Grant, support enhancing Farm Bureau’s role with urban beekeeping.  To accomplish that goal, Farm Bureau members are considering policy directing the organization to assist municipalities to draft municipal ordinances supportive of raising bees providing that the municipality contacts the Farm Bureau and requests assistance. Members are encouraged to contact Bona Heinsohn at ...

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Ag Lit Bit

School’s out for summer Most students in Illinois are now partaking in the annual celebration known as summer break. Our sympathy to those schools still plodding along to make up for all the snow days.  I recall how excited a snow day seemed in January, but how dreadful it is to make them up come June.  It’s hard to believe another school year has passed as it seems like last week that it was September.  Summer isn’t what it used to be when I went to school.  We basically turned off our brains (or so we thought) and did nothing.  What I mean by nothing is we created our own agendas and created our own learning, even though we didn’t know it was learning.  We planted gardens (horticulture), harvested gardens (culinary arts), caught butterflies and bugs(entomology), made dirt pies (soil science), had lemonade stands (entrepreneurship), walked our dogs (animal science), fixed our own broken bike chains (mechanics), went running when the mosquito trucks spray ...

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2014 Paint the Yard Contest is looking for members and non-member gardeners!

Paint the Yard this season and join the contest. Go to a participating local Cook County Farm Bureau  Greenhouse/Garden Centers, purchase market flowers, obtain your entry form, enter the contest and plant your garden.
Buy it, plant it, and photograph it…hurry entry forms are due by June 16th 2014.  Take a before and after photograph of the yard or container garden and email the photo by July 21st to  Win the popular vote or the judges’ choice and be awarded a gift certificate (on us!) to your Garden Center:
3 - 1st Prizes $300.00 each Popular Vote, Judge’s choice Yard & Container Garden
3 - 2nd Prizes$200.00 each Popular Vote, Judge’s choice Yard & Container Garden
It’s as easy as that. Go to for entry form, participating Garden Centers and complete contest details or call 708-354-3276 and ask for Debbie.

Strawberry Goodness

Strawberries, famous for their characteristic aroma, bright color, juicy texture, and sweetness were first bred in Brittany, France in the early 1750s.  Common uses of strawberries include preserves, juices, pies, ice cream, milkshakes, and chocolates.  Even strawberry aroma has been added to air fresheners, cleaning products, and perfumes.  Strawberry-Lemon Cake (recipe from Ingredients 2 cups of flour 1½ cups of sugar ½ teaspoon salt 3 large eggs ¾ cup whole milk ½ cup vegetable oil ¼ cup butter, melted and cooled 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice Strawberry-lemon filling 1½ cups whipping cream 6 tablespoons sugar Preparation Line a lightly greased 15x10-inch jellyroll pan with lightly-greased parchment paper. Combine the flour and the next three ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs and the next five ingredients in a medium bowl until blended; whisk in dry ingredients until ju ...

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Use of Gestation and Farrowing Crates in the United States

A gestation crate or sow stall is a metal enclosure used to house a pregnant hog, first appeared in the United States in the fall of 1970.  Early examples of gestation crates included a tether.  However, even earlier examples date back to the 1800’s when hogs were housed in wooden stalls much like horses in traditional horse barns.  Farrowing crates are traditionally used to house lactating sows thus protecting piglets from being crushed by a sow who lays down on them.  Additionally, the crates are designed to provide a cooler area for the hog and a warmer area for the piglets as well as to keep the piglets dry and reduce the spread of diseases. Gestation crates are used while the hog is pregnant to protect her and animals near her from aggressive behaviors. Modern variations on gestation and farrowing crates include the turn-around pen in which hogs share a “turn around” space or a compartment-style pen in which hogs have a wider space at one end of the pen.  Add ...

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Cook County Staff Exchange Dates Set

On Wednesday, August 27 and Tuesday, September 16 Cook County Farm Bureau is hosting a Cook County farm-business/food processor tour for Cook County government staff.  

The program will provide County staff with an enhanced understanding of Cook County farms-businesses and how they relate to Cook County government.

Possible tour stops include: a commercial vertical farming operation that distributes locally; a local vegetable distributor that distributes to Chicagoland’s food service entities; a premier Chicagoland dessert and sweets processor; and a specialty meats processor.  All tour sites will be located in Cook County.  There are no repeat sites from the 2013 program.

The program is designed to provide County staff with valuable and applicable information about Cook County farmers and businesses.  

Anyone interested in attending the program should contact Bona Heinsohn at (708) 354-3276 or via email at