Ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and relish are some of the many condiments that make food even more delicious. Most of the condiments sold in grocery stores have one purpose and that is to add some extra flavoring to food. One particular condiment that is more than just a way to make food more flavorful is horseradish.

Horseradish is a plant and has certain ingredients in it that can be used for medical purposes. In the medical world, horseradish can be used to fight bacteria and stop spasms. In the world of food, horseradish is a great way to add strong, zesty flavoring to whatever you may be eating. Horseradish is great with sushi, sandwiches, salad, and basically any food that needs a splash of bold flavors. In the United States, Illinois is one of the leading producers of horseradish with about 1500 acres of land. Horseradish in Illinois is primarily grown in the Mississippi River Valley.

Horseradish_Sauerkraut_MustardIf you want to make your own horseradish sauce at home you can make the sauce in a short amount of time with a short list of ingredients. The simple ingredients you need are: 2 tablespoons of horseradish, 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon of dry mustard, 3 tablespoons of reduced fat mayonnaise, 1/8 teaspoon of ground red pepper, and a half cup of nonfat sour cream. You do not need to use reduced fat mayonnaise or nonfat sour cream; not fat or regular would work just the same! After you poured all of these ingredients in a bowl, whisk together the horseradish, vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, ground red pepper, and sour cream. Make sure to keep the horseradish sauce refrigerated. Happy Eating!

HorseradishFestivalWhat better way to embrace the dynamic ways to use horseradish than attending a horseradish festival? Every year for 25 years the International Horseradish Festival is held in Collinsville, Illinois. Individuals from miles and miles away come to this festival for food, entertainment, and fun! The International Horseradish festival began in 1988 and is still going strong, attracting more and more people each year. This year the festival is going to be held on June 6-8 at Woodland Park, just one block east of Illinois Route 159. At the festival you will be surrounded by fun filled horseradish festivities including, root toss, root golf, root sacking contests, Little Miss Horseradish Festival Pageant, horseradish recipe contest, and the annual Horseradish Root Derby. Along with all of the festive activities, many of the food booths include horseradish in the recipes. Some of the delicious food available for sale include, pulled pork sandwiches with horseradish BBQ sauce, chicken tacos with chipotle horseradish sauce, horseradish bruschetta, horseradish-fried pickles, and much more! This festival is a wonderful way to bring family and friends together ultimately learning fun and interesting ways to incorporate horseradish into your recipes. Horseradish is more than just a condiment it is a way to bring loved ones closer together for a fun filled weekend.

SamarSamar Dababneh
Illinois State University Student


Every summer, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration measures and releases information about the size of the hypoxia zone* in the Gulf of Mexico.  Because of the drought in 2012, because all the nutrients that were applied went unused as the crops failed to grow, and because of the massive rainfall some of the Midwest experienced this spring, NOAA predicted the zone to be at least 20 percent larger in 2013.

2013 hypoxizWe were all surprised to hear that the zone is not nearly that large.  In fact, the zone is very nearly the average size.

This means that although some would like to believe that we have nutrient runoff and the causes of hypoxia zones down to an exact science, the fact that we can’t accurately predict a significant increase or decrease means that there’s a lot we still don’t know.

That is exactly why the Council on Best Management Practices, of which IL Corn and several other agri-business and associations are members, is working to build more science and more data regarding hypoxia and nutrient runoff.  Very little scientific data about agriculture’s contribution to the problem exists.

Plan to tune in every Tuesday this month on Corn Corps as we explore more about the water quality issues facing Illinois farmers and how farmers really are trying their best to manage and solve the problems facing those of us that drink water.

phil thorntonPhil Thornton
ICGA/ICMB Value Added Director

*Hypoxia zones are “dead zones” which are devoid of life.  This occurs because nutrients make their way into the water system, encourage the increasing growth of small microorganisms, and then deoxygenate the water as all these small organisms die and decompose.  As large sections of water become oxygen-free, fish and other wildlife can’t live causing fish die-offs and serious impacts on commercial and recreational fisheries. 

Many environmentalists would like to believe that agriculture is a substantial contributor to nutrient runoff and hypoxia zones.  However, to date, no solid research has been done on what agriculture’s contribution to this problem really is.  If agriculture has a significant impact, farmers are already poised to change their practices and do their best to minimize runoff.  If other industries are more at fault than currently assumed, everyone must step up to the plate to minimize nutrient runoff problems.


Illinois farm couples, farmers, loveKent and Sara Kleinschmidt were high school sweethearts.  They started dating in the spring of 1970 and got married on July 13, 1974.  They have two grown sons, two lovely daughters in law, and four grandchildren.  Both sons continue a career in agriculture, with one still living on the farm and helping Kent out as the need arises.

Kent and Sara enjoy their family and family activities, traveling together, and the life they have built on the farm.

Illinois farm family


They say February is the season for love … and we’re celebrating by giving you a glimpse of five Illinois farm couples throughout the week!  These couples practice their love for each other and the land every day on their farms.  Get to know them and the work they love to do!

illinois farm weddings, corn, family

Jill and Dave Cain were married on August 25, 2012.  Their newlywed life has been interesting as the first year of their marriage they lived through a historic drought that caused many farm families to have to leave the farm!

Jill farms with her dad and works for BASF while Dave works for his family trucking company.  They live only a few miles from both of their parents and they enjoy all the time they get to spend with their families.  Right now, they are adding more suffering to their plate with a house renovation project, but they look forward to a nicer home with enough room for them to start a family.

In the past, Jill has been active with the Illinois Corn Growers Association and the Champaign County Farm Bureau, but for now she is content to put her time into the farm and her home with her new husband at her side.


They say February is the season for love … and we’re celebrating by giving you a glimpse of five Illinois farm couples throughout the week!  These couples practice their love for each other and the land every day on their farms.  Get to know them and the work they love to do!

50 years ago, vintage wedding dress, 1963

Richard and Janice Gates will celebrated 50 years together on February 10. They met at a District Youth meeting while Juniors in High School and were married 4 years later. Richard spent his life farming with his father (and later with his son) and Janice’s career was as an employee with the US Department of Agriculture local office. In the past 50 years, they have enjoyed their three children and many grandchildren.

tourism, travel, vacation
Richard and Janice in Ireland in 2012.

As the Gates were raising their family, they all worked on the farm. Janice says that her daughters were always great at cultivating soybeans and their son joined the farm when he became an adult. The Gates like to travel and enjoyed a vacation to Ireland in 2012. They are active in the church, Farm Bureau, Kiwanis Club and Illinois Corn Growers Association.