Heger Family Farms

Honoring the Past, Working Today, Preparing for the Future



Baking the Day Away

It is no secret that I like to cook and despise cleaning up after myself! Well, last week I had foot surgery and my mom came to visit and help a bit. You may be thinking, She didn’t. She didn’t make her mom clean up after her. She is almost 40 after all! No, I didn’t make my mom clean up after me, but she did allow me to make a mess along side her and volunteered to clean up so I could literally put my feet up.

I made several things…IMG_9354

  •  Apple Strawberry Rhubarb pie ( top left)
  • Peanut Butter Cranberry Chocolate Chip Granola ( bars which became crumble) ( top Right)
  • Cinnamon Logs ( bottom left)
  • Pizza Dough – for breakfast pizza

These were all amazing! But the best was this bread (bottom right) that my mom has been sending pictures of for months… Bread? Really? Come on- Yes, Bread! IMG_9363

It is like an artisan bread- soft center with firm, yet chewable crust!

What makes it so amazing is that there isn’t sugar or salt? Well, there is a bit of sweetness -100% ND honey!

But really, it is the texture and natural flavors all working together that make it terrific and what will now be my “go to” recipe! Besides there being a great recipe, the secret is using a seasoned cast iron pan with a lid!

So here we go….

7 Grain Bread

FullSizeRender_1Ingredients:   3 cups bread flour, 1 cup multi-grain cereal ( I used Bob’s 5 Grain Hot Cereal), 1/3-1/2 c. flax, 1 3/4 tsp salt, 2 c. room temp water, 3 Tbs pure honey, 1 tsp instant yeast.

Supplies: 3-5 qt Cast iron pan with lid, parchment paper

Directions: Step 1) Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, add honey to warm water and stir until mixed together. Step 2) Slowly add water solution to dry ingredients, mix well. ( It will be sloppy and loose). Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Step 3) Flour counter to roll dough in to coat outer layer.  Cut parchment paper big enough to sit in and cover most of the inside of cast iron pot. When hour is done, take dough out of bowl and shape into round “ball”. Roll in flour on counter to coat outside layer. Place on parchment paper and lower into cast iron pot. Trim off any parchment paper that extends above the top of the pot. Cover with lid. Step 4) Bake at 425 degrees for 30 mins, remove cover and bake for 5-12 mins to get crust to turn a deep golden brown. Check ever couple minutes after the first five. Step 5) Let cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan. Lift from pan using parchment paper.

Additions: 1 c. dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, herbs ( rosemary, thyme, sage) , cinnamon, dried apricots, dried apples, raisins… possibilities are endless!


“Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.”                                                                                                                                               –Mark Twain

Do We Eat What We Grow? 

There are a lot of different crops grown in North Dakota. Our farm changes what we grow each year a little, but always raise corn, soybeans, and wheat. This year we also raised field peas and pinto beans.

So, that all sounds like food- do we eat it?

Yes and no.

When we grow a crop, we decide the type of seed that we are going to raise based on the growing conditions given to us (short growing season, moisture, and soil type). Most of the crops we are able to raise on our farm are not sold into the food market.

Our crops are used for the following…

Corn: ethanolimg_4162

Soybeans: oil, plastics, insulation, crayons, livestock feedimg_7431

Wheat: flour


Field peas: livestock,  food aid for foreign countries 

Pinto beans: food- refined beans, canned beans, fast food market 

So back to the question “Do we eat the food we raise?.

We eat the field peas in pod right out of the field when they are plump and bright green. We eat the pinto beans once dry and combined in soups, chili and as homemade refried beans.

img_2683The other crops we do nimg_7437ot eat directly. With that said, we do eat the some of our corn, soybeans, and dried peas in the form of beef, pork, chevon as a result of the cattle, pigs and goats eating them ground as feed.

Additionally, we raise an acre of sweet corn and eat as much as we can when it is ripe. Most of the time we don’t even cook it- it’s shuck and eat for us!

In a Pickle

Good food is a passion of mine! Trying new things and / or  preparations keeps life interesting! So, when it came to seeing fried pickles in a menu- it was a no brainer- 1 order please! 

Pickles…. Are they really that big of a deal? Yah kinda! Sweet, spicy, refrigerator, garlic-ed… And then there is soggy – YUCK! 

Anyway, pickles are one of favorites. We ate jar after jar hanging out into the weeeee hours of the weeknights in the halls of the college dorm. When I get a craving for something sweet , it is a pickle I try to munch. And then there was the relish tray at every holiday gathering… Olives and crunchy pickles! 

So I had to try the fried pickles! Now there are two kinds- breaded or rolled in egg roll wrappers! The egg roll wrappers are the winner in my book! 

When you find a winner- why only have them for special occasions, right? Why not make them yourself for a snack or maybe on a day like today- for lunch! 

What do you need:

1 package egg roll wrappers

2 slices of Havarti cheese per roll

Clausen pickle spears- 1 per roll

Vegetable oil


Place on wrapper on counter so it looks like a diamond. Place 2 pieces of cheese just off center so they are slightly closer to you. Dry off the pickle spear and cut to the width of the cheese. Lay pickle on top of cheese. 

Wet the four corners of the wrapper. Fold corner closest to you over the top of the pickle and cheese. Fold/ tuck the sides like a burrito, the roll .
 Repeat until all wrappers are done!
Pour oil in a deep frying pan until about 1″ deep. Heat until oil sputters when when small drops of water are dropped. Gently place rolls in oil 3-4 at a time. Flip after about 90 secs or golden brown. Cook for 90 secs again. Remove from oil and place on paper towel to cool a bit. 

Cut in half and enjoy! 

GMO Labeling

There is steady chatter about labeling GMOS. Quite frankly I do not believe that it is going away anytime soon.

Chatter is one thing, but chatter about something that is not understood is another.

Right now there is the reality that food items will be labeled with a national QR code where if a consumer really wants to know more about the product they can scan it. This would be a national standard with a uniform symbol and unified information- not a patchwork. If there has to be a label, I can live with this, but it still sends my head spinning!

Spinning? Really? Is that really how I feel about this? Not happy! Why? Not for reasons you may think. I have no concerns over crops that are genetically modified being used, therefore I feel a label is unnecessary. I feel the general consumer has developed fear of the unknown and not taken to understand the process and is reacting to a marketing ploy.

Now before you scream, “what?” Or”this lady is crazy”, let me explain.

Labels of this nature signal that there is a safety concern. The longevity of research and approval by not only the USDA, FDA, and the EPA clearly states that there are no safety concerns. The process used in breeding plants, and thus seeds, is complex and time consuming, but simply boils down to replicating a process of resistance or tolerance that occurs naturally out in the environment, the Eco-system, over long periods of time. Several companies use this technology, it is not just one.

There is more research and approval given to the seeds I have available to choose from, then many of the medicines, dietary supplements, and vitamins you have in your cupboards, can purchase on the shelves, or get with a prescription. Just look at the labels and see which ones say “approval by FDA or USDA pending” or “statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration [FDA]”. Yet, we buy them without flinching. Why? Because someone told us they would do something for us, solve an ailment, or maybe even make us skinny!

FullSizeRender (11)

As a farmer, I am thankful for the availability of technology used and the research that goes into each seed we choose to use. Are we forced to plant a genetically modified seed-NO! Do we choose to plant them- YES, when it is the right decision. If a particular seed will allow me to reduce tillage and potentially pesticide and herbicide it is worth my consideration. If I can care for the soil by preserving its organic matter and reducing compaction, genetically modified seeds are worth my consideration.

So, I ask, why label something that has not risks, that isn’t a “thing” but a process. If we label this, then do we need to label all breeding techniques? Identifying genetic traits and breeding plants, thus seeds, is science, it’s nature, and it is something that advancement in technology and precision makes possible in a controlled setting, reducing variables and drastically cutting down on time- decades to be exact. We demand genetic identification of traits for disease, deformities, and cures for ailments; yet want to deny it when it comes to development in sustainability, preserving resources, and fiscal responsibility.

So, why label? Is it needed? Do we really even understand all “those” cute little designs, codes, etc? Do we really even know how to read or use the codes and pictures already on the package?

I do believe that a label for GMO’s is a waste and used for marketing, companies gaining a profit by protruding fear to the millions who have not idea what it means but that it must be bad because a product says “it doesn’t contain”, even if it never had a chance of it having it in the first place.

To label or not that is up to you- you have a right to your own opinion,  but will it really make a difference? Will you take time to understand what it means?

I encourage you to take minute to do a little more research:

Read an article by Mark Lynas, a former non- supporter of GMOs:

Watch a short video “What is a GMO?”

And visit the website below:

or if all else fails ASK A FARMER or find a farmer at :

Rumblings of Rhubarb

In North Dakota there is not much in a garden growing in mid- May. We may have high temperatures of 90 in April and 40 in May. Not too many plants like that severe temperature swing!

Some gardeners have asparagus, perhaps some berry plants or bushes coming out of dormancy, but at this time of the year Rhubarb is available in abundance! Lucky me- I LOVE rhubarb!

Today, I decided to take a break from farm office work and tackle rhubarb sauce. I often use this sauce as a “mix-in” in things such as frozen slush, pancakes, and muffins, as well as a sauce for cheesecake and on oatmeal. Today’s batch included fresh frozen mixed berried to sweeten up the sauce and give it a bold color!

So, rhubarb sauce, hmmm. How does one make that? It’s fairly easy…

In a large pot add:

*12-14 cups of chopped rhubarb stalks

*1 cup white sugar

* 2 cups water

* optional: fresh or fresh frozen berries of choice (no syrup on the fruit)

Bring to boil stirring occasionally. Once boiling, turn down to simmer. Cook about 20-25 minutes simmering, stirring fairly vigorously every few minutes to break the fruit up.  Once in a sauce form, let cool for 30 mins and divide into serving size desired. Freeze or place in refrigerator.

Last forever in freezer, I try to use within a week in fridge.

Quick refreshing treat: On a hot summer day try using the berry rhubarb sauce mixed with Sprite over ice. Add Gin, Vodka, or Rum if desired!😊

Cracker Candy or Cookie Treats?

With the holidays in action, I am always looking for quick snack treats that I can share with others or have on hand for company.  Where do I look? Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. A few weeks ago saw a Facebook post that used Rolo candy and Ritz crackers. So I tried it… YUM! Simple and easy it definitely was. But, I am not one that lets simple and easy stay exactly that way, I have to “tweak” it. This is what I did….But I have to ask? Are they cookies or cracker candy?

“Take 5” Cookie Candy

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Lay 2 dozen Ritz face down on a cookie sheet. Place one Rolo candy ( you will need 3 rolls) on each cracker. Place into a 350 degree oven for 3-4 minutes. While they are warming in the oven, take enough crackers to cover the ones in the oven and spread a small amount of creamy peanut butter on it. Set them aside. Take crackers out of the oven. Immediately place the crackers with peanut butter, peanut butter side down, on top of the Rolo candy. Press down so that the Rolo squishes. Let cool for about 1 hour so that the caramel sets up again.  ( I know… no fair! Sneak one and make sure they are as tasty as they sound!) After an hour you can melt a package of chocolate almond bark and dip each cracker cookie in it. ( I only dipped each halfway in.)  Let excess chocolate drip off and set them on wax paper. Let them sit on wax paper for at least 15 mins to cool and dry. Then pack away for later or enjoy!


The hardest part of this whole gig is letting them sit out and cool. Watch for sneaky fingers of those in the house to find a “need” to sample them. It’s amazing how creative the young and old can be what they are desperate to try these guys.

( HINT: for all those who can’t wait… or when you don’t want to share with those watching… take the broken crackers you don’t use and lay out on a plate, heat peanut butter for 30 secs. in microwave and drizzle over them. Melt a cube of almond back and drizzle that over the crackers too! let sit for a few minutes and then share with spectators!)

But my biggest problem remains… are these crackers candies or cookies? What are your thoughts?

If you make these… please someone tell me… do they taste just like a Take 5 candy bar to you? I thought they did and I was SO excited because that is my favorite candy bar!


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