I first experienced harvest with my husband's family 7 years ago back when we had just started dating for a summer. I remember riding in the combine with Dan for many hours on end until his mother's vehicle came rolling up through the field.
Staring at the corn feeding into the head, he glanced up and casually says, "Lunch wagon is here!"
We climbed out of the the combine and walked towards the vehicle as the broken corn stalks crunched under our boots. Kathy opens up the back of her vehicle and there it was.... a whole spread of food. Almost an entire Thanksgiving dinner, if you will. She had everything from the main entree of beef and noodles with mashed potatoes and creamed corn to an appetizer of cheese and crackers to your choice of iced tea or water and even dessert. I was also even shocked that she had brought her table ware right there to the field! No Styrofoam plates or plastic cups and your drink was served out of a mason jar.
I was honestly expecting sandwiches tossed into a brown bag so this was a surprise.
And right there began my first of many, many multi course meals in the field.
Fast forward to this week.
I recently got a new boss at work. Amy was originally from our small town but had moved to South Carolina for many years after college. She decided to take the position where I work as the Executive Director for our county's Chamber of Commerce. One of her goals upon moving back home was to get more in educated in the Indiana agriculture field since agriculture is the main industry and tax base in our county. We invited her out to the farm to experience an evening of harvest.
I knew instantly that if she was going to get a real experience, she needed to eat a meal in the field out of the "lunch wagon." My mother in law was on board and asked what she should make for Amy and the rest of us. Without hesitation I replied with my favorite field meal,
"Beef and Noodles!"
Amy showed up just in time as the the combine rolled up and the "lunch wagon" arrived. She asked me if we would be eating at the house and I said,
"Oh no. We eat right here in the field. You'll see!"
Amy scrunched up her nose with slight confusion but smiled and excited for the adventure.
Kathy opened up the back of her vehicle to an array of food similar to what I described earlier. Eyes wide with an appetite, Amy and the rest of us dug in.
We ate like kings, family style, right there in the field next to the farm semi and combine.
I am so excited that my new boss got to experience one of our favorite family activities! I think she has a new appreciation for agriculture and the families that tie it all together.
97 percent of the United States farms are family owned and operated by families like us who all work together to feed the world. There is no such thing as a "factory farm."
No matter how big or small a farm, we all have one common goal: to feed ourselves, feed the world and to do it honestly and efficiently.
Beef & noodles has always been my favorite meal in the field since I met my husband. It's so simple but yet hearty and filling. I asked my mother in law to share her recipe and she said,
"I've never used one. I've just always gone off memory!"
Her response was not surprising because most traditional family recipes are stored in the heads of mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers but this is one we definitely need to get in ink. She kindly measured everything out and wrote the recipe down for me which I will share with you, my beloved readers as well. You then in return can serve my favorite meal in the field in your own field or a dining room table.
Farmer's Beef & Noodles
by Old Blue Silo
- 3 Quarts Water
- 3.5-4 Lbs Chuck Roast
- Beef Base A pinch - taste and add as needed
- 1 Lb Noodles
- Salt & Pepper To taste
- Mashed Potatoes
- In a stockpot, put chuck roast & about 3 quarts water, cooking low & slow until tender. Turn off heat and let cool some. Pull apart & chill overnight. Skim off any fat. Put back on stove, bringing to a boil, add small amount of beef base, sat & pepper. Taste and add more if necessary. Add noodles, cooking until tender. Serve hot over mashed potatoes.