Manning to celebrate
Music will also be provided June 19 by Aged Spirits, a Templeton group (shown above). The band plays classic rock and blues. It has been performing for the past 15 years.
The Flying Buffaloes, an alt-country/rock band based out of East Nashville, TN, performs regularly along Nashville's neon strip. The group quickly earned the reputation of being one of the most hard-working and energetic bands in Music City. The Buffaloes will play in the Hausbarn courtyard starting at 9:00 pm at the All-School Reunion June 18. The public is welcome to join school alumni and enjoy the music. The reunion festivities begin at 5:00 pm.
Brad Morgan, country music artist and songwriter, was born and raised on a farm near Manning. While currently residing in Nashville, TN, he continues to build on the success he has had in Iowa and the Midwest Region. Brad has an easy going sound while presenting a fun and energetic performance. Brad and his band will headline the entertainment when Manning will Party on the Bricks June 19.
The party will be held on Manning’s brick Main Street between Third and Fourth Streets. Music entertainment will be on the Third Street corner and food and beer stand will be on the Fourth Street corner. Gates open at 6:00 pm. Aged Spirits will perform from 6:30 to 8:30. Brad and his band will play from 9:00 pm to midnight.
Other weekend activities
Manning’s annual Kinderfest will be held in the city park on Saturday, June 19. The festivities will kick off with a 5k road race (form below) in the morning. Following the 11:00 am parade down Main Street, game booths, face painting, inflatables and kiddie cart rides will begin in the park. Numerous food trucks are being invited to set around the park.
WATCH THIS SPACE FOR ADDITIONAL DETAILS.
Readers were told they could look forward to reading about another facet of the business in spring 2021. That story now appears.
Family greenhouse growing nutritional food
Projects continue to bloom at the Ben and Kathy Puck farm as the couple and their children continue to share ideas and work together to bring them to fruition.
Most recently the family has constructed a large greenhouse on the farm. It’s part of the several facets of Red Barn Solutions.
“One of our big passions, in addition to making things, is regenerative agriculture,” said Nancy. “What we mean by regenerative is regenerating the soil. We’re really focusing on soil health so that you can grow nutrient-dense crops. This model greenhouse lets us farm in the soil all the time; not pots. Here we can build our soil health, and we can focus on trying to grow nutrient-dense food. Dad and Dan are working on that in the fields. They are putting in cover crops, rotationally grazing cattle.”
“We’re just getting started. Everything will be literally new in 60 days, so we just have to wait for the cycles of the plant life to take its turn; annuals, bi-annuals and perennials,” said Ben. “The end goal is to have fresher food that is more nutrient-dense.”
He defined nutrient density saying: “If you get a carrot from a hydroponic farm it doesn’t have hardly any carotene in it. It doesn’t have as many vitamins or minerals. There is nothing supporting that carrot except genetics, and genetics does not make important minerals that our bodies need,” he explained. “So, we grow them in nutrient-dense soils because the nematodes and earthworms will bring nutrients to that plant, and we can improve their environment and they are going to improve the quality of our food. You can’t get one without the other.”
They plan to produce food for the whole family and hope they can sell some excess.
Right now, they are in the very early stages of the project.
“If we can prove its possible to grow a more nutrient-dense food here in the greenhouse, and we can also grow it out in the fields, maybe we can find a niche market of consumers interested in our nutritionally-dense and locally sourced food. “If not, we’ve got the open market to sell to,” he said. “We’re just trying to live a little longer and eat better.”
Nancy added, “We’re taking control of our food; of what we eat and how nutrient-dense it is. All of the studies are saying that it is very difficult to eat enough fruits and vegetables because we would have to eat twice as much as my grandparents ate to get the same nutrition. Our food isn’t what is needs to be and all the studies say that.”
A couple years ago the family listened to microbiologists talk about soil and it changed how they look at everything. They said if they can improve their soil, they can improve the nutrient-density of their food.
“Our food is out of food,” said Ben. “The soil is alive. In a spoonful of healthy soil, you have a billion microorganisms, and all of those things have a purpose. They are there for our benefit and they cycle things that are too small for us to see. When they are working properly all things show that the plant can be extremely healthy and when we eat that plant, we can be extremely healthy too. So, if we can all those little guys in the soil on our side, we can get have very healthy food.”
New plants sprouting
The family already has many beds with green plants sprouting from the soil. They include ginger, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, onions, radishes, watermelon and potatoes, just to name a few.
They plan to plant numerous tropical trees: oranges, limes, lemons, bananas, dragon fruit, avocadoes, and clementine’s.
“This is Ben and Kathy’s greenhouse. Red Barn built it for them. We all are going to farm it,” said Nancy. “This was just something we all realized we need to do.”
Inside the greenhouse it is a warm 88 degrees gathering sunlight from the south. Danny and Ben constructed the facility with a geothermal system.
The large airflow geothermal system allows the temperature to remain at approximately 50 degrees through the winter. A tile line wraps the building, and another goes to the top of a hill. They use the ground temperature to warm the air coming into in the greenhouse.
Danny constructed galvanized retaining walls on each side of the structure with a lower section down the center for tropical trees.
“For years we have been applying liquid manure to the ground, and I see nothing but good things happen to soil when you take care of it. This is just taking it to the next step,” said Ben. “And that’s the idea here… Let’s add to what Mother Nature has to offer and see if we can grow better food, because the food that we’re getting now isn’t grown here. It is all shipped in. Why?”
“What’s really in our hearts right now is producing some really good food,” said Nancy. “We are all spending our time the way we want to spend it.”
She added, “I think there is a lot of passion around here to grow our own food but people think they can’t afford to do that. I would love to lead a conversation about that. It’s not hard and it doesn’t take a lot of time, or money or anything else. It brings so much joy and so many rewards.”
“We’ve had this dream of running our own business together for a long time,” said Kris. “We’ve worked together and make a great team, so we know we can do this.”
Both women are Manning graduates, Kris in 1982 and Alisa, 2005,
When the pandemic hit and they found themselves without jobs, they talked about things they did and did not want to do. The decision to follow their dream has led to endless hours of conversation, lots of stress and even some tears.
The women credit City Administrator Dawn Meyer for her encouragement and assistance with an application to Manning’s Revolving Loan Fund.
They are planning to provide homemade ice cream, cookies, brownies, bars, shakes, malts, sundaes, cones and maybe something special now and then.
Kris said Alisa is the decorator. They have endless ideas. Alisa is considering decorated Christmas and Valentine cookies. She said, “We talked about ice cream pies and ice cream cakes, eventually.”
The ice cream will be scooped ice cream made by machine, and there are hundreds of flavors.
“It’s going to be scoop ice cream but not hard ice cream,” Kris explained. “Every eight minutes it will make a gallon and a half of ice cream; nine gallons in an hour. It makes it into a tub and put it in the freezer.”
Alisa added, “The ice cream machine will be Dad’s baby and he is going to develop the recipes.”
Jim, who has plenty to do in the kitchen at Cliff’s, will not have an active role in the business, but will help out when he can.
Jim’s hobby will, however, benefit the women with promotion of their business. He designed the business logo on his computer, and with his vinyl cutter he has made Sweet Treat t-shirts and will create designs for the window.
Kris smiles, stating, “Oh, he’s a jack of all trades.”
The couples seven grandkids are lining up for jobs. Austin, age eight, said his job will be taste testing and coming up with new flavors.
Inside the shoppe will be five tables with seating for 20 people. Tables will also be placed outside. The women hope to be open in May. Initial hours will be Tuesday-Saturday 1:00-9:00 pm.