AMES – Although football season comes right at the same time as the corn and soybean harvest, Larry Sailer is willing to park the combine for an afternoon so he can tailgate and watch the Iowa State University Cyclones play. He pays special attention to No. 85, Devin Lemke, his grandson, from Alden, who plays defensive end.
“This was our first year of tailgating,” said Sailer, who farms near Iowa Falls. “It takes some time to get everything organized and ready to go, but it’s like a big party once you get here.”
For a pork producer like Sailer, the main course at any tailgate feast naturally features pork, whether it’s a smoked loin or grilled pork chops with Sailer’s own marinade.
He prepares plenty of food to serve at each tailgate, and his wife, Janice Sailer, fixes the side dishes, from chip dips to salads.
Friends and family, including Devin’s parents, Charlotte and Lance Lemke, stop by to join in the fun.
“We’re proud of all that Devin has accomplished, both in football and in the classroom,” Sailer said. “He has worked with us on the farm for many years, from washing out the hog barn to running the equipment at planting and harvest. He’s willing to come home and help every chance he gets.”
Tailgating and cheering on the Cyclones aren’t the only things that keep Sailer busy. In addition to farming, he’s the voice behind the popular “Musings of a Pig Farmer” posts that appear weekly through Latham Seeds’ “The Field Position” blog.
As an “agvocate” for Iowa agriculture, Sailer participates in the Iowa Farm Bureau Federations’ Speaker Corps and Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom project. He has also volunteered with the Pork Checkoff’s Operation Main Street program to help educate people about modern pork production.
“Anything you can do to start a conversation with consumers about food and agriculture is good,” said Sailer, who has also hosted a Japanese film crew at his farm to help spread the message even further.
Sailer said he’s enjoyed working with bloggers from across the country who’ve traveled to Franklin County at harvest to learn more about Iowa agriculture.
When CNN visited Iowa in January 2012 to cover the Iowa Caucus, reporters wanted to learn more about how farmers are using the Internet.
Sailer’s interview on CNN convinced him that connecting with consumers – and dispelling myths about agriculture – are more important than ever.
“CNN introduced me as ‘a real Iowa farmer,’ like I was an endangered species,” Sailer said. “I don’t know why it’s so hard to believe that farmers carry smartphones and are blogging, tweeting and posting Facebook messages.”
With 2,130 Facebook friends, Sailer has a powerful platform to tell the story of Iowa agriculture. Thanks to his iPad, Sailer stays abreast of breaking news throughout the day and keeps in contact with farmers, ranchers and non-farm friends across the globe.
“I use social media as a way to communicate and share ideas in a ‘virtual coffee shop.’ I never run out of farm- or food-related topics to discuss, and it’s a great way to connect with people.”
Larry’s pork chops
A simple marinade adds extra flavor to this easy pork chop recipe.
6 America’s Cut or regular-cut pork chops
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 of a chopped onion
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Combine all ingredients except the pork chops. Mix well and pour over meat. Marinate pork chops for at least two hours in the refrigerator.
Grill or broil pork chops for 8 to 10 minutes on each side.
1 pound Velveeta cheese
1 can Hormel Chili, no beans
1/4 cup mild taco sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt, optional
1 pound ground pork, browned and drained
Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker, and heat until cheese melts.
Stir and serve the Mexican dip warm on crackers or tortilla chips.
Salty sweet trail mix
Graham cracker-style cereal
2 bags dried bananas
Malted milk balls
Combine all ingredients, using as much of each ingredient as desired. Serve and enjoy.
Very easy fruit salad
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 pound seedless grapes, halved
3 kiwis, peeled and sliced
3 bananas, sliced
1 21-ounce can peach pie filling
Combine strawberries, grapes, kiwis and bananas in a large bowl. Gently mix in peach pie filling.
Chill 1 hour before serving.
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