Florida grows food too

Last month I was able to take a trip to the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) Professional Development Conference, and luckily enough it was in Orlando, Florida! I headed south with 7 fellow Purdue ACT’ers and our great advisor! It was nice to soak up the sun before returning back to the snow and ice in Indiana and have a little fun before school was back in session.

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While in Florida I had the opportunity to learn more about Florida’s agriculture which was such a great experience, especially because living in Indiana the only agriculture I really see is corn and soybeans! The first day of the conference we went on an Ag tour. The first stop was at Fancy Farms, which is a strawberry farm. This stop was especially one of my favorites because not only was the farmer full of jokes but we were able to pick strawberries right out of the field and eat them! They were the best strawberries I have ever had in my life! While eating as many strawberries as I could I also learned that strawberries have around 200 seeds and all of them are on the outside which is the only fruit made like that.

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Our next stop was at a landscaping nursery, this was interesting to see because I really never thought of this as agriculture. We walked through a lot of greenhouses that were filled with different types of flowers, trees, bushes, and plants that I had never seen before. This stop was great to take pictures of the beautiful flowers that people can decorate the outside of their homes with.

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Stop number 3 was a visit to the Keel and Curley Winery, which is known for their blueberry wine! We were able to see the blueberries being grown and then take a tour of their brewery, where they are now even brewing specialty beer at this same location. It was really awesome to see the process of how the blueberry was grown to see it being used to then being able to walk into the store and see people purchasing their products, right there all in one spot. Something cool I thought they were making was canned wine, each can was the same amount as one glass of wine.

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Our final destination was at the groves of Florida’s Natural Orange Juice. We were able to see the groves that they pick the oranges from that they use in their orange juice. The group was also informed about the history of Florida’s Natural Orange Juice and learned about the difficulties that orange farmers face. My favorite part was sampling the new products that they are coming up with, which I must say were very delicious.

While in Florida, I learned a lot and it made me think more about where our food does come from. I never really thought about where my orange juice was coming from that I drink each morning or the difficulties that an orange farmer has to face to get an orange out of the groves to get into a carton of orange juice. I think that there are many agriculture food and non food products that many don’t think about where they come from. Think you know where your food is coming from? Take this quiz that the Washington Post has put out that quizzes you to see if you know where your food is coming from in the United States. Here is one hint… if it asks you about alligators, oranges, or strawberries…. choose Florida!

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Five F’s of Fall

Summer is officially over… where did it go? That means fall fun is here! My favorite time of the year! Bring on the falling leaves, apple cider, and full moons! But the most important parts of fall are the 5 F’s of Fall!

Football

Football isn’t just right without it being a little chilly, so fall weather is just perfect! Tailgating is in full swing you have the perfect weather for a game, crispy air in the morning but it feels just right come game time. You can wear your fall boots and cute sweaters to the game! But nothing beats the bonfires that night.  You share laughter, listen to country music and have a beautiful view of the perfect fall night sky with your friends.

Farming

Its harvest season! Fall is a busy time for farmers. Farmers share many moonlight dinners in the fields with their wife that she was happy to make. They are up at the crack of dawn and have many late nights getting the crops out of the fields before winter approaches. Combines are cutting in a staggered line and air smells fresh as the corn is being cut. Tractors and trailers are lined up at the elevator each night waiting to unload so they can make it home and do it all over again the next day.

Festivals

In Indiana there are festivals all year round but fall festivals are my favorite. One of Indiana’s largest festivals begins October 10 and runs through the 19th. The Covered Bridge Festival is right around the corner where you can enjoy a wide array of shopping and other attractions like the historical covered bridges, Amish country and try the maple syrup. So before your schedule gets too busy be sure to make time to hit up at least one Indiana fall festival.

Four wheeling

My all time favorite thing of fall is to go four wheeling at the Badlands in Attica.  I love the adrenaline rush you get but also getting a little dirty in the mud.  All while riding you get to enjoy the beautiful scenery around you of the leaves changing and enjoy the beautiful weather.

But the best part of fall is spending time with your Family. All of the “F’s” would not be as fun if you did not have the ones you love around you to share them with.  Spending time outdoors enjoying the crisp fall air ,whether it be at a football game or at festival be thankful for the traditions you may share.

Not four years but for Life

As the first round of sorority recruitment is over, I’ve realized that my best experience thus far has been joining a sorority. Coming in as a freshman, I never thought that I would fit in; I rode four-wheelers and drove a truck. I was not the stereotypical sorority girl at all. My mom told me to try it, so I thought I would give it a shot. Never did I ever think that it would be one of the best decisions of my life.

Two years ago I accepted my bid from Zeta Tau Alpha, and I absolutely love it! There is never a dull moment in this house.  From the philanthropic events we participate in, to doing each other’s hair, to having our own dance parties, or the massive amounts of cheesy bread we eat! There is laughter being shared at all times.

Zeta is my home away from home. Walking into the house your always greeted with a welcoming hello and smile. Everyone is always looking out for each other and always has your back. I have met many girls that have completely different backgrounds and interests, yet they have became some of my closest friends.

At first I became part of Zeta Tau Alpha; now Zeta Tau Alpha is a part of me. I am looking forward to the next two years as a Zeta Tau Alpha at Purdue University and the rest of my life apart of this great sisterhood.