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August 18, 2011     Tri-County News
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Page 4 ...... .,, ..... B JillconfessionsPe rtle ro, a "Slices of Life" e, join me at the State Fair potluck failure a second potluck with friends last I have been invited to be "Edi- tor for the Day" at the Minnesota State Fair this year. (It&apos;s more like half a day, really.) From 2:30-8 p.m., I will be in the Editors' Corner of the News- paper Museum at the Fair. I'm not quite sure all it will entail, but they tell me I'll be answering lots of questions. After 12 years at this, I feel I can easily answer lots of ques- tions, like how a newspaper is put together, who does what at a news- paper office, how does one get a job in a newspaper. But I don't expect many people to ask these questions. What I expect are questions about the future of newsPapers. Do we need newspapers now that everything-is so available on the Internet? Will there be printed newspapers in the near and dis- tant future? My answer will be a resounding YES. While there is an overabun- dance of news available online, my question would be: Who's cre- ating that news? How reliable is it? Do you knowwho's creating it (and why they're doing it)? Newspapers are, in short, the news professionals. Facebook is not news.. Comment pages and blogs are not news Newspapers gather news and information, and present what is relevant to our readers in a waythey can use and understand it. That is the short answer to the future of newspapers. People need news. More importantly, people need trustworthy, reliable provid- ers of that news. Hope to see YOU in the News Museum, in Heritage Square, at the State Fair next Thursday after- noon, Aug. 25. Farm families strengthen Minnesota's economy, communities By Bev Durgan, Dean, U ofM Extension Dir. Minn. Ag. Experiment Station Modern Minnesota agriculture got its start when a few courageous families moved out on the prairie. They lived in sod houses, faced fierce blizzards and struggled to survive on their newly home- steaded land. Those pioneer families made decisions that laid the foundation for agriculture growing into a lead- " ing factor in Minnesota's economy. Life has changed considerably since those pioneer times, but the one thing that hasn't changed is the importance of farm families to Minnesota agriculture. Farm fam- ilies make decisions that increase production, build rural communi- ties and provide consumers with safe and healthy foods. Earlier this year, local county Extension committees through- out the state selected one family in their county to be honored as Uni- versity of Minnesota Farm Fam- ily of the Year. You'll see these 75 families recognized at local events this summer and at an official rec- ognition ceremony at Farmfest. Minnesota agriculture has diversified considerably since those early pioneers set out to make a living on the prairie. Today there is no standard definition of a Minnesota family farm. The pro- files of the University's honorees illustrate this point. This year's list includes big farms and small farms as well as farms using con- nnln;on Thursday, August 18, 2011 V6 6 Tri-County News Kimball, MN ventiona; and organic practices. Corn, soyaeans, wheat, sugar beet, dairy, po'k, beef and poultry pro- duction 'orm the foundation of Minnesoa agriculture today and appear oJten in the profiles. Not every family farm fol- lows the same path, however, and farms raising honey, apples, goats, Christmas trees and grapes are also being honored. The one factor they all have in common is work- ing together to make their farms successful. That work ethic is the major contributor to the success of Minnesota'communities and Minnesota's agriculture. The entrepreneurial efforts of Minnesota farmers have a big impact in rural communities and worldwide. Recently the Minnesota Department of Agriculture reported that Minnesota exported $900 mil- lion more in agricultural prod- ucts in 2010 than the year before. The state's $5 billion of agricultural exports in 2010 was one of the few bright spots in our economy. Farming is not the isolated life it was in pioneer days, but too often Minnesota farm fami- lies don't get the recognition they deserve. Thirty years ago the Uni- versity began a recognition pro- gram to acknowledge the contri- The term "potluck" was coined over 500 years ago, putting a label on the concept of a communal meal where each guest brings a dish to share. The idea was that if everyone brought a little some- thing, there'd be a little something for everyone. The practice caught on and has been flourishing in church basements ever since. The feast known as potluck conjures up images of casseroles, slow cookers, pans of brownies, peanut butter krispie bars and, of course, ]ell-O. Lots and lots of]ell- O. Although I am able to make Jell- O, I don't often offer it up at pot- lucks. I prefer getting creative with savory dishes and therein lies my downfall. I am a potluck failure. I start with the best intentions. I fully plan to make a dish that fits in amidst the chicken and rice cas- seroles and baked bean hot dishes. Then I start cooking. When I'm in the kitchen, I get caught up in the moment. I find it impossible to follow a recipe and instead practice the "little bit of this, little bit of that" System of cooking. I call it the energizer method, because I tend to keep going and going. My youngest son summed up my culinary technique best when he said, "I wish you'd just make us food. Your problem is you always have to add ingredients." He's right. I can't help myself. I like to push the flavor enve- lope. This is suitable for an exotic spread, but probably not as appro- priate for your typical potluck. So, when I attend one of these communal meals, I fill my plate; I fill my stomach; and ! leave with a casserole dish that is (regrettably) also full. This has gone on for yearsl I was beginning to think when it came to potlucks I had none of the sec- ond syllable. Until, quite unex- pectedly, I discovered a potluck triumph in a tomato salad called bruschetta. I made the dish for a family reunion earlier this sum- mer and the bowl not only emp- tied, but people requested the rec- !pe. Of course, these people were my relatives; their taste buds may be genetically similar to mine. Still, it felt good. I was empowered. It was logical for me to want to share the joy of my bruschetta at butions farm families make to our ,,7-..a i0,,--- .... communities, our economy and =' our quality of life. i You can read brief profiles for /IJ  ]1['" ....... ] 'W' all 75 University of Minnesota __.  l [//// !!1[ Farm Families of the Year at http:// mnfarmfamilies.cfans.umn.edu. week. The night before the event, I chopped the tomatoes, added the ingredients, both secret (green olive juice) and not so secret (gar- lic). I put the bowl in the fridge to allow the flavors to mingle, sort of like guests do at a potluck. The next day, I prepared to daz- zle with my dish. Slices of chewy, crusty bread went on a platter to act as a base for the tomato-licious salad. When I opened the fridge, however, there wasn't a tomato chunk in sight. My bruschetta had gone missing. Not missing as' in pushed to the back of the shelf behind the milk, missing as in vanished. Disappeared. Nowhere to be found. Certainly I was mistaken. I looked again. I opened the freezer. I checked the sink. Even searched the dishwasher. There was no bruschetta, or evidence of brus- chetta, anywhere. My potluck was imminent and I didn't have time (or ingredients) to make another batch. Mean- while, my stomach was as empty as my salad bowl. The situation forced me into an abyss far worse than attending a potluck with a dish that doesn't get tasted: attending a potluck with no dish at all. Did I.dare even go? To potluck or not potluck: that was the question. My stomach won out in the end. I attended the party ready and willing to consume a piece of humble pie. Turns out there was no need. The good thing about potlucks is there is always an over- -abundance of food, and friendly people. I never did find my bruschetta. In a house filled with hungry teen- agers, I guess a prudent mom might want to think about label- ing sacred potluck items as "Do not touch," so as to avoid midnight snack raids. Live and learn. I used to,believe I was a potluck failure. Now I know better. I also know there are far worse things in life, not the least of which might be losing your bruschetta. Jill Pertler, award-winning syn- dicated columnist and author of "The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication" is collecting fans on Facebook on her Slices of Life page. E-mail her at pertmn@ qwest.net; or visit her website at http : //marketing-by-design.home. you   FT!i T K1t)g FRoM Al..t. li,i POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the Tri-County News, P.O. Box 220, Kimball MN 55353. The Tri-County News (USPS 639- 180) is entered at the Post Office, Kimball, Minnesota 55353, as Periodi- cals. It is published Thursdays by the Tri-County News, Inc., P.O. Box 220, Kimball MN 55353, Stearns County. LOCATION: Our office is at 70 Main Street South in downtown Kimball. Weekday office hours are Monday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Tuesday through Fri- day 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Our telephone and fax number is (320) 398-5000. E-mail can be addressed to <news@tricounty news.A4N>. Our Web site is <www. tricountynews.A4N>. We also have a drop site at Ert[ Hardware Hank in downtown Watkins. DEADLINE: 2 p.m. Monday. RATES: Subscription rates are $36/year ($26 for age 62 and older) in Minnesota; $46/year ($36 for se, niors) elsewhere in the U.S. Single copy price is 75 cents. STAFF: Jean Doran Matua, Editor and Publisher Sue Hughes: Creative Designer Maxine Doran: Admin. Associate Marguerite Laabs: Photographer Marlene A. Youn[l: Ad Sales Rep Lexi Bulau: Intern The staff of the Tri-County News recognizes that it has a responsibili- ty to report the news accurately and fairly, and that it is accountable to the public. Please contact our office if you feel we've fatten short of that objective. LEI-I'ERS: The Tfi-County News weLcomes Letters promoting the ex- change of ideas and opinions. To be considered for publication, Letters should address a topic of current or general interest. Private thanks, po- litical self-promotion, libelous letters, or letters denigrating character or reputation wilt not be published. AIr letters must bear the writer's signa- ture, address and telephone number. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and readability. LEGAL PUBLICATION: The Tr/- County News is the publication of record for the city of Kimball, Inde- pendent School District #739, Clear- water River Watershed District, Stea- ms County, and the Townships of Fair Haven, Kingston and Maine Prairie. RECYCLING: The Tri-County News is printed with soy inks on re- cycled paper whenever possible. We encourage recycling. COPYRIGHT: All content herein is the property of the Tri-County News and is protected by U.S. copyright law; content may not be reproduced without our written prior consent. We are proud to be a member of: Minnesota Newspaper Assoc. Kimball Area Chamber KimbaU Area Historical Society Stearns County Press Assoc. 2011 MNA Ad Contest first-place winner; 2010 MNAAward for Best Website; 2010 MNAAward for Best Self-Promotion Ad; 2010 MNA Award for Best Color Ad; 2010 MNAAward for Best News Photo; 2009 MNA Award for Best Self-Promotion Ad; 2008 MNA Award for Best Advertise- ment; 2008 Award for Portrait and Personality Photography; 2007 MNA Award for Advertising ExceUence; 2007 MNA Award, Best Information Graphic; 2006 MNA Award, Classified Adver- tising; 2004 MNA Award, Advertising Excellence; 2000 MNA Award, Best Local News Story. 2011, Tri-County News