March 3, 2009

Yes You Can author pioneers natural food production

The new "Yes You Can" column author Karen Blumhagen and her husband Arlo farm near Drake and own and operate Sheridan County Insurance in McClusky. Karen has been gardening for more than thirty years and raises all of the vegetables consumed by the couple plus a few more, which they donate to food pantries. She currently has four gardens including a small one in McClusky and a window garden for salad greens in winter. Arlo helps out with the field garden on the farm where they grow potatoes, squash, and onions. In addition to the gardens, Karen raises free-range chickens (not so free this winter) and trades extra meat and eggs to her sister Raylene and brother-in-law John Nickel for forage-fed meat and milk. She also trades eggs to others in exchange for apples and chicken feed. Excess squash and potatoes are cooked for the chickens for a change of diet and she also raises wheat and barley sprouts for extra greenery to add color and nutrition to the egg yolks. Arlo rounds out their diet’s protein requirements with venison in the fall. To add to the garden greens, Karen also gathers wild greens such as nettle, lambsquarter, and wild mustard, then blanches and freezes the extra for winter. She gathers a number of wild teas as well as wild fruits to freeze and stew in winter.


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