Indiana has more than 61,000 farms representing 14.8 million acres of farmland in the state and is nationally ranked in numerous agricultural commodities – but what does that mean for you? We’ll just look at five products.
Indiana is ranked #1 in commercial ducks raised. Sure, an interesting factoid to share with your out-of-town friends. But it also means you can make an appetizer, like, say… Roasted Duck Nacho on Chili Cracker (right) and the cost of the duck leg quarters would just be $2.95 for 12 ounces – less than a bottle of cheese whiz (and a whole lot tastier!) How about those tasty “quacky” cracker treats for your next get-together? Or if you are looking for something to free you from kitchen duty, order a Duck Appetizer Sampler and really impress your friends at a cost of just $8.15 for five pieces.
Indiana is ranked #2 in tomatoes for processing. If you enjoy a steamy bowl of chili, nachos, spaghetti or Italian Bean Soup (left) you can thank your Indiana growers who, according to the USDA, in 2010 produced 205,440 tons of tomatoes for processing or approximately 3 billion tomatoes. The vast majority of these were grown and then processed into canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce or other products at Red Gold. Red Gold began in 1942 when Grover Hutcherson and his daughter, Fran, rebuilt a Midwest cannery to provide fresh-tasting canned food products for the war effort. More than half a century later, Red Gold remains a family-owned business based right here in Indiana. Visit www.RedGoldTomatoes.com for more delicious tomato recipes.
Indiana is ranked #3 in egg-laying hens. Your upcoming Easter egg hunt will be hopping due to the more than 25 million egg laying hens in Indiana that produce more than 6.4 billion eggs annually. And while bonnets are not included with our Hoosier eggs for Easter, you do have your choice of brown or white eggs, traditional or floor-raised.
Indiana is #4 in soybean farming. There will be much more to learn about our Hoosier grown soybeans this summer at the Indiana State Fair (as it is the Year Soybeans); but for now we can say that 66% of Indiana soybeans are exported worldwide and to other states in the form of whole soybeans or soybean meal (the product remaining after extracting most of the oil from whole soybeans). The remaining 34% that stays in Indiana is primarily used for feeding livestock and extracting soybean oil.
Indiana is #5 in all hogs raised. That means the centerpiece of your Easter meal, the Easter ham, is easily available, economical and lean in fat due to current feed and environment methods. Oh, and if you are bored with your Easter ham dressed in pineapple rings and cloves, the new pork marketing campaign “Pork, Be inspired” is providing a variety of inspirational ideas for using ham during and after Easter. One is the Glazed Ham with Dried Cherry Caramelized Onions pictured here. So as you enjoy warmer temperatures, and get together with family for pitch-ins or barbeques, we hope that you enjoy these and other quality and delicious products provided by Indiana’s Family of Farmers.
This Food for Thought blog post was written by Jeanette Keating, manager of media relations for the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.