The wheat and barley on the North Dakota prairie has ripened. Although Jimmy Kimmel’s gluten segment from this spring makes me laugh, I’m a bit of a defensive wheat and barley farmer’s daughter. I love wheat and barley. I soak up all its beautiful, healthy, whole-grain glory. And unless I suddenly develop Celiac’s disease, I am never going to be a gluten-free girl but wheat and barley is where gluten comes from and many people want to know about it these days. Far more important to me than any food trend is showing people of all ages where food comes from, what farmers do on their farms and giving people, especially kids an inside look at a farm. We got to do that this past weekend with my lifelong best friend Sara and her young boys.
Sara used to visit the farm with me as a child but hadn’t visited in years and this was her boys first ever visit to a farm. When Lucas , age five, got out of the car after hours of driving he asked Sara where they were and she explained they weren’t in Fargo or Grand Forks, two North Dakota towns he is familiar to visiting. Instead they were at a farm in the country of North Dakota. Lucas exclaimed, “I’ve never been to the country before!”
The farm tour was an inside look at barley harvest, where beer begins. I don’t love beer. But many of you do and we are thankful for that because you are the customers that use our family’s barley. Malting barley my parents contract with Anheuser Busch starts in GriggsDakota farm fields. My mom blogs about it here and even met the Budweiser Clydesdales this year.
Anika and Elizabeth showed Sara’s boys Sam, age seven and Lucas around the barley field. First, the grain truck and while the girls don’t drive a grain truck yet, I thought back to my first time ever driving “Old Red” when Uncle Jim put me to work in a barley field. It was hot and itchy in the truck. I was terrified but I drove it around the field, calling Jim on the old CB radio with questions. I left a braver girl.
The girls shared their farm love with Sam in the grain truck and truck driver Ron held the door for Elizabeth while she gave her tour.
Cousin Donny drove one red combine and my dad drove the other red combine, where Sam, Sara and Lucas had a barley field ride.
My mom goes all out on harvest meals. As I told Sara, I don’t think I could consistently pull off what she does daily. Twice daily during harvest she cooks and prepares big, meaty hot sandwiches, veggies, fruit, chips, homemade dessert and every bag even has napkins, a toothpick, a Werther’s caramel and a breath mint. Then you choose your drink of choice from a cooler.
Usually harvest meals are on the go but this particular evening all the dry grain was harvested and we finished the day in the shop.
When supper was nearing completion, Elizabeth complained about her very loose tooth, next to the double space she is already missing. Cousin Wyatt grabbed a big wrench which I shared on Instagram. Instead of the wrench option, Miss E pulled out her own tooth, leaving her with a triple space opening!
Our second day of visiting at the farm with Sara brought us to the winter wheat field where Lucas had a second combine ride.
Uncle Mike had hopped into the grain cart with Uncle Robbie. Anika managed to find space in the cab also. Visiting the farm gave Sara and her boys an inside look at where wheat and barley comes from but also hours of memories with our kids. Sara and I spent so much time together as kids and I can’t put words to how rewarding it is to have our kids be friends now as our friendship continues through the decades. The harvest will continue and you can follow along to my mom’s GriggsDakota blog to be a part of the action. First it’s the small grains, barley and wheat. Later will come black beans, soybeans and corn. Sara and her boys headed back to Minnesota. The girls and I are home, getting caught up around the house and organizing for school to begin later this week. Hunter and Nathan are working today with Hunter having football practice this evening. It’s a big week ahead. Hunter turns 17 years old and school begins. I have much more to share about the boy who made me a mom. I always get sentimental the week of his birthday. Plus I will be sharing more about Banquet In A Field, which I was a past of last week. I know it consumed my life because I am still dreaming about Banquet In A Field at night!
What’s your favorite farm you have visited? Did you visit a farm as a child or grow up on one?