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Buckets, Bales, & Bushels

Connecting You with Your Food, Farmers, and Community
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Pawpaws, a Native Fall Fruit Taste Delight

If you have never eaten a pawpaw, try this tasty, fall fruit. While the pawpaw, Asimina triloba , is the largest tree fruit native to the United States. It is the northernmost representative of its family of tropical and sub-tropical plants. People...

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Fall is here; plant trees and shrubs

Posted by Beth Allhands -

A Chinese proverb says, "The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now." This is so true, and fall is a particularly good time to plant a tree! Although there are some exceptions, (aren't there always?) September to mid- October is considered to be the perfect time to plant trees and deciduous shrubs in Central Illinois. Water loss through leaf transpiration...

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Sausage Soup

One Pot Meals

One-pot meals have been my favorite cooking method lately. Put it all in – protein, whole grains or starchy veggies, and non-starchy veggies – and dinner is served! I try to make one-pot recipes that are full meals in themselves. Occasionally, I decide to make one-pot dishes and add some crackers, apple slices, raw veggie sticks, or another quick addition on the side to complete the mea...

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Monarch Madness Flyer - Scroller

Celebrate the Power of Pollinators at Monarch Madness!

Posted by Candice Hart - Gardening

Discover and celebrate the power of pollinators and the monarch butterfly as they migrate across Central Illinois next month at the third-annual Monarch Madness co-sponsored by the Macon County Master Gardeners and Rock Springs Nature Center! Be a part of this family friendly and hands-on celebration from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 17. See caterpillars, chrysalide...

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Cicada Killer-DSwan-Smlr

Cicada Killer - The Big Wasp

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been getting many phone calls from people describing giant wasps in their yards. These have turned out to be the Eastern Cicada Killer (Sphecius speciosus), which is a mild mannered wasp. The stinger on the female wasp is used to paralyze cicadas and the male has no stinger. The adult cicada killer is an impressive looking wasp measuring up to 1.5 i...

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Three Gardens; 2000 pounds of food

Posted by Beth Allhands -

Comprised of over 3700 volunteers around the state, the Illinois Master Gardener program is a truly great program with a mission  to help others learn to grow. To that end, each Unit, County, and person in the program provides individualized services to the needs and interests they see in their neck of the woods. From the Idea Garden at the Urbana-Champaign campus to the Monarch Madness...

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Lunch box notes

Lunchbox Fun

Parents, teachers, and students: welcome back to school! Along with education, social engagement, and student personal growth, food is a major part of school culture. Consider the different times foods can pop up during the school day: Breakfast – at home, on-the-go to school, or a school-provided meal Lunch – a meal packed at home or provided by the sch...

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