I was among friends last week, discussing the virtues of okra. Some preferred to categorize the “slime” as a “thickening agent” while others insisted you needed to be a woodpecker to eat one.
The little ones are best, of course, but often they get too big to be edible. While okra is indeed a great thickening agent in gumbo and other quintessential southern dishes, there is another plant lurking in the garden that can do the same — and you can usually just find it growing along a path or in the flower garden.
The state’s produce industry continues to expand in terms of producers, volume, marketing outlets and sales, which are likely to exceed a record-breaking $33 million in 2012. That is what a new study from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture has found.
Recruitment for Kentucky Farm Bureau’s next group of participants in the two-year, Leadership Enhancement for Agricultural Development (LEAD) program is now underway. Up to 15 individuals will be selected for this intensive learning experience as a way to equip the next generation of agricultural leaders with the tools to manage tomorrow’s challenges.
I am getting ready to head back to U of L where I teach two courses, so I really need to get organized. The garden is still producing and time needs to be spent on turning some of the bounty into things that can be enjoyed during the winter months. I have had the dehydrator going every day this last week drying apples, peaches and berries, cherry tomatoes and potatoes. Plus, predictions of rising food costs (ironically, current reports indicate that grain and sugar prices are affecting prices now, and I don’t eat much of that.)
Although we have had some rains here in Spencer County that other parts of the state haven’t had, our lawns are showing some of the effects of the hot, dry weather over the last couple of months. If your lawn looks bad and needs some renovation, we are coming into the best time of the year to do some seeding.
The Spencer County High School FFA team placed first at the Eastern Kentucky University dairy judging contest. Team members are, from left, Shane Greenwell, Bryce Martin, Cecilia Petersen and Marianne Gaddie. Marianne was named high individual, Bryce came in second and Cecilia was third overall.
Normally, a hot dry year would favor vegetable production as long as growers have adequate irrigation. However, when daytime temperatures inch up over 100 degrees Fahrenheit like we’ve seen several days this year, we begin to see problems with many vegetable crops.