Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Welcoming Bloggers to My Community

If you are a regular reader you've noticed things have been a little quiet on my blog.  We started soybean and corn harvest on September 22nd and have yet to have a rain day.  This is great, because harvest is coming along nicely and we should be done by mid-November.  But at the same time, this means long days, every day, which means I frankly want to go to bed when I'm at home.  Don't worry though, harvest hasn't been all work, work, work.  A couple weeks ago I got to be apart of the Franklin County Harvest Bloggers Tour, sponsored by the Franklin County Farm Bureau and Franklin County Tourism.  

Five years ago I was apart of a group of business owners, community leaders and our local Greater Franklin County Chamber of Commerce staff, called Franklin County Partnerships.  We got together to figure out 1.) how to bring people to Franklin County, and 2.) how to work off all of our strengths to create memorable experiences.  From these discussions, one idea we came up with was putting together theme based itineraries - girl's weekend, foodie lover, etc.  One of the themes revolved around our county's rich Agriculture roots and history.  Many people brought up that it'd be great if we could include in that theme an offer for people to go on tractor rides who never had the opportunity before.  So from all of these conversations, the Franklin County Harvest Bloggers Tour was created.

The 2015 Franklin County Harvest Bloggers Tour started on the evening of Friday, October 2nd and concluded with our community's annual Harriman-Nielsen Historic Farm Fall Festival in the afternoon of Sunday, October 4th.  Bloggers from across the country are invited to come, stay and explore our exquisite little community in return for a blog post(s).  They have to find their way to North Iowa, but once they get here, we take care of everything.  This year's tour included everything from a wine tasting, to exploring our local shops, going to a couple museums, getting entertained by our local talent at a vaudeville show, and of course going on combine rides.

This event couldn't be possible without all of the support of our community.  A special thanks to the Franklin County Farm Bureau, Franklin County Tourism, ABCM Corporation, Franklin County Historical Society, Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, North Central Iowa Ag in the Classroom, Rustic Brew, and La Frontera, just to name a few.

Also, a special thanks to this year's participants that came from Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska:
It was great to meet you and your families!

And no true welcome to any community isn't complete without sharing our community's food heritage.  This year's tour included sampling local wines, coffee and beer, authentic Hispanic food, and some good, hearty farm table style food, including my Sweet & Spicy Hog Wild Baked Beans.

Sweet & Spicy Hog Wild Baked Beans - A crowd pleaser for your next potluck or tailgate, crock pot slower cooker friendly

Sweet & Spicy Hog Wild Baked Beans

1 pound bacon, cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 - 28oz cans of Bush's Honey Baked Beans
1 can apple pie filling (chop up the big chunks)
1 pound crumbled cooked pork sausage
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
2-3 T chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 T worcestershire sauce
2 T prepared mustard
1 1/2 t cayenne pepper powder

Brown bacon and saute onion and green pepper in bacon grease.  Throw all of the ingredients in a crock pot on low for 2-4 hours.  This recipe makes a half gallon and feeds around 25 people.

This side dish is a memorable, crowd pleaser, that is always good down to the last spoonful!  It has also become a tradition for me to make for the Franklin County Harvest Bloggers Tours, and it always include some of our own bacon and pork sausage from our hogs that My Farmer makes.

If a group of bloggers came to your community, what would you want to share?  If you are a blogger and interested in being put on the 2016 invitee list, be sure to contact me!  Remember to Comment for a Cause!


  1. I am officially hungry for your beans now. Yum. This was absolutely one of the best trips I have been on ---Franklin County knows how to showcase their county and Chris and I loved being a part of this in 2014. I am so glad we were able to go and also that I got a pig selfie with your pigs! :-) Thanks for doing all that you do to promote this and bloggers!

  2. These beans are on the short list for our next family get together! I think they will all love them. Thanks for sharing. Be safe, looks like a bit of rain this afternoon, hopefully it will knock down the dust.

  3. Thank you so much for inviting my family on this tour! What a memorable experience for all of us. And so glad you shared this recipe. :)

  4. You make the best baked beans ever. As soon as I can find some thick cut bacon like yours, I'm making this!

  5. You make the best baked beans ever. As soon as I can find some thick cut bacon like yours, I'm making this!

  6. Oh my goodness I need to make this beans asap!!! Thanks for sharing, val :) - Betsy

  7. Ah! What a cool experience! We are a river town, so I am sure we'd have to do something on the river. We also have some nearby wineries and the cutest little kitchen shop that does cooking demos. The beans look great!

  8. I had so much fun on last year's Harvest tour :)

  9. I sooo wish I lived closer! But then we'd never get work done together! lol! I love that recipe, I wonder if I could can it? I have been wanting to try to can some baked beans...
    Jan @ Tip Garden