From the category archives:


Cooperator full issues.

Manifolds, Manolos and Manure

Since joining Cook County Farm Bureau nearly five years ago many things have changed.  My husband and I welcomed a monstrous little girl one Father’s Day morning and we reached one of what will hopefully be many marriage milestones.  As readers already know, we also welcomed a couple of new pairs of shoes (I do love those trunk sales).   As an organization, Cook CFB bid adieu to greatly valued, instrumental and not-soon-to-be replaced Farm Bureau leaders.  We welcomed three prestigious awards into our portfolio: the Summit Award in recognition of Food Checkout Day, the President’s Award in recognition of overall programing in our membership class, and the Liberty Bell, a traveling trophy awarded to the Farm Bureau with the top scores in the areas of public policy, legislative activities, and political involvement. Over the course of the past 72 months many political figures have come and gone.  Perhaps most notoriously (now former) Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. reli ...

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Ag Lit Bit

I am confident 2013 will be a year filled with more new and exciting advancements in technology, but I challenge you to practice some ‘old fashioned’ living without the use of technology. Instead of waiting for National “Turn off the TV Week” (now known as “No Screen Week”) or “National School Lights Out Day” (now known as “Earth Hour”), pick your own time and day to walk away from technology.  One of the reasons our 4th Grade In-School visits remain so popular isn’t because of our high tech delivery, but due to the hands-on nature of our visits.  It isn’t often that children get to see and feel real corn and soybeans or play a matching game with actual farm seeds.  So much learning is computer-based that it’s nice to take a break from looking at a screen and actually seeing something in real life, such as straw, wheat and oats.   The same holds true for reading.  Now I admit I got ...

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Vienna Beef: a Chicago Agri-Business since 1893

Founded by Austria-Hungarian immigrants Emil Reichel and Sam Ladany, Vienna Beef has been a mainstay in Chicago since 1893.  Within a year of Vienna Beef’s premier to 27 million people at the World’s Columbian Exposition, an invention showcase, in Chicago, Reichel and Ladany opened their first store on Chicago’s near west side.  For years Vienna Beef flourished and soon replaced horse-drawn carriages with state-of-the-art motorized vehicles for deliveries. In the midst of the Great Depression, Vienna Beef hot dog carts sold hot dogs for a nickel.  This thriving group of vendors advertised their hot dogs as having “a salad on top” thus the famous Chicago-style hot dog was born.  As quick as Chicagoans’ love for hot dogs grew so did Vienna Beef’s business.  In the 1950’s food distributors in Indiana, Wisconsin and throughout Illinois began purchasing products from Vienna Beef.  At the same time Chicago’s hot dog stand busines ...

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History of Food: A Real Chicago Hot Dog

Born from hot dog vendors during the Great Depression, the “Chicago style” hotdog has been a mainstay of the Chicago community and hot dog aficionados, alike. A “Chicago-style” hot dog or Chicago dog is a steamed or water-simmered all-beef hot dog on a poppy seed bun sans ketchup.  Original hot dog vendors advertised their hot dogs as having “a salad on top.”  The interplay of crisp and soft of Chicago-style dogs is created by yellow mustard, bright green relish, fresh chopped onions, juicy red tomato wedges, a kosher-style pickle spear, a couple of short peppers and a dash of celery salt.   The “dragged through the garden” style preferred by hot dog enthusiasts is the same style promoted by Vienna Beef and Red Hot Chicago, Chicago’s two most prominent and historic hot dog manufacturers.  Popular Chicago-style hot dogs include Portillo’s, Superdawg, The Wieners Circle, and Fluky’s. True Chicago-style hot dogs do not ...

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We Got the Dirt, Er Mud, on a New Chicago Park! Steve Dwyer

  In mid October, 60 barge loads of sediment dredged from the Illinois River at East Peoria were shipped 163 miles to the former U.S. Steel (USX) Chicago South Works site—all part of an initiative that will provide 90,000 tons of rich soil for green space and a community recreational park along the south shores of Lake Michigan. The program, known as Mud-to-Parks and begun about eight years ago, is designed to return soil to the land while boosting recreational opportunities and habitat. It's a no brainer really: The Peoria Lake region of the Illinois River boasts some of the richest soil on the continent. Some years ago, the state began to extract sediment that was clogging the Illinois River in central Illinois and apply it for various uses. The latest use: The park that will be constructed on 80 acres of land on the USX footprint. Native grasses and small trees are now sprouting on property that was largely steel mill slag. John C. Marlin, PhD, research affiliate for the Illinois Sustainable ...

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Interview with CCFB Vice President Mike Rauch

Listen to an interview with Cook County Farm Bureau Vice President, Mike Rauch, as he discusses crops, the Summit Award and the Ag in the Classroom Program.