Southern Snow

Although yesterday was the first day of winter, here in North Carolina, it is a balmy 70 degrees and super wet(Santa, you might want to bring your swim suit). I have never seen a white Christmas. Well, there was that one time it snowed the day after Christmas, so I counted it, but still.

There are places here in the South where fields of white can be seen. I’m talking about cotton. It is a southern snow if you will, and it is beautiful.


Not only is it beautiful, but it is also pretty important to America. Cotton is the number one value-added crop in America, bringing in $5.3 billion just at the farm level and more than $120 billion in annual business revenue.



Cotton isn’t just about the fibers. All parts of the plants are used. The seeds are processed into oil, meal, or hulls. Oil is often used in shortening and salad dressing. Meal and hulls are a great protein feed for livestock.


America’s currency is 75% cotton.


One  bale of cotton weighs about 480 pounds.


Weather affects the quality of the cotton. If the bolls (the balls of cotton) have opened and are rained on before they can be picked, the cotton sprouts and reduces the quality of the lint.



Cotton quality is determined by taking a sample from the bale where color, cleanliness, staple length (length of fibers), and strength are analyzed.


Thomas Edison used cotton fibers for filaments in his first light bulb.



America is the third largest grower of cotton, and Texas is the top state.



Eli Whitney’s cotton gin invention changed the face of cotton forever. It was able to process cotton 10 times faster than by hand.


Cotton is truly the snow of the South. I must say I’m partial to it over the real deal. Actual snow wreaks havoc. Everyone freaks out a bit, roads are on gridlock, schools close, and bread and milk fly off of the shelves. Not to mention, here on the farm, it gets to be a mucky mess. So, now that it is officially winter, I will not complain about my balmy weather (however I would appreciate a lot less water), and will embrace the snow of the South…cotton.





Cotton Campus

National Cotton Council of America


Is Turkey Trending?

Turkey. It is a hot topic right now. You could even say its trending. People are trying to decide how big of a one to cook, how they should cook it, or should they even cook one at all. The President will pardon one lucky bird from doing his duty of becoming a meal. As of right now, the word turkey is trending with 620 thousand tweets, but the thing is, turkey was trending long before Twitter was even thought of.


In the beginning, the turkey was regarded as a god by the Aztecs and had two celebrations for the mighty turkey. It has fallen a little bit in esteem in today’s time. The Spanish were the first non-natives to discover turkeys.  They described them as a sort of peacock with great hanging chins. It would take years for the name turkey to stick to the bird. Because of Columbus and his mistake in geography, the birds were called anything from the rooster of India, the Peru bird, Lebanese bird, and the Ethiopian bird. The word turkey probably came from the Turkish merchants who knew of them or from the Indians that called them tukka, tukka because of the way they sounded.

The Aztecs weren’t the only ones to hold the turkey in high esteem. Benjamin Franklin,  thought the bird was of good moral, calling it a Bird of Courage. You may have heard that Franklin wanted to make the turkey our national bird; however, there is some dispute about that fact. In a letter to his daughter, he says that the eagle on the seal looks like a turkey. He went on to say that this was better as the eagle was not of good moral compared to the courageous turkey. Even if the turkey did not rise to be an emblem of America, it has certainly become iconic on at least one day of the year–Thanksgiving.

The Modern Turkey

turkeyToday’s domesticated turkey is much different than the ones that the Indians and explorers saw. Wild turkeys are brown and can fly, but domesticated turkeys (the ones in your supermarket) are white and cannot fly. The domesticated turkey is about twice the size of a wild turkey, explaining its flightless state. Domesticated turkeys have been bred to have white plumage so it does not discolor the meat. Wild turkeys need their brown plumage to blend in to their surroundings; they are also a lot quieter than their domestic cousins. That is probably a good thing so they don’t get eaten by predators. There are other heritage breeds of turkeys that come in gray, black and white, and red too.


Turkey Production Facts

turkey graph

  • Turkey production has increased 110% since 1970
  • In 2014, there were 237.5 million turkeys grown by farmers
  • North Carolina is the 2nd largest producer of turkeys behind Minnesota
  • The average person ate 15.8 pounds of turkey in 2014
  • Consumers turkey consumption has doubled in the last 30 years
  • 20,000-25,000 people are employed in America to help grow turkeys.

Turkey Trends

Cage Free: If you see this on a label, know that all turkeys are raised cage free. Domesticated turkeys are grown in large barns with free choice of water, plenty of feed, and shelter from the elements.

Hormone Free: Under federal law, it is illegal for any poultry to receive hormones. If you see this label, read the fine print. It will tell you that it is against the law. Don’t pay extra for a label.

Avian Influenza: This has been a major issue across America this year, claiming more than 40 million turkeys and chickens. While devastating for farmers and birds, it poses little threat to humans. No cases have been reported in American humans. It may pose a slight threat to your wallet, though. Turkey prices are around 15-20 cents higher than last year.

Thanksgiving Turkey

  • 88% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving
  • 46 million turkeys are eaten on Thanksgiving
  • The average turkey bought for Thanksgiving weighs 16 pounds
  • 70% of the turkey is white meat and 30% is dark

The turkey has certainly proven itself as a bird worthy of esteem. It was trending hundreds of years ago, and it is still trending today. So, gobble up that gobbler and Happy Thanksgiving!

trending turkey


National Turkey Federation

North Carolina Poultry Federation

Colonial Williamsburg

University of Illinois

The Smithsonian


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


The Poultry Site

Wanted: The Perfect Watermelon

It makes sense that one of the hottest months of the year would be recognized as National Watermelon Month. July has been designated as an entire month just to celebrate the wonders of watermelon since 2008, and I must say, it was a brilliant call.

Watermelon is my very favorite fruit. I’m not really a huge fruit person (I know not very healthy) unless it is in dessert or smoothie form. However, I must say that watermelon is something I get terribly excited for. I don’t recommend freezing one, though. We accidentally did that and had a sort of watermelon sorbet. It was super weird. I suggest making sure your mini fridge isn’t cranked to Antarctica standards.

Anyways, here are facts and interesting information about watermelons, and of course, pictures. 🙂


Watermelons came from the Kalahari Desert of Africa, and has been seen on Egyptian hieroglyphics. It was thought to have come over to America by African slaves.


There are over 200-300 varieties of watermelon grown in the USA and Mexico, with 50 of those being the most popular. Seedless watermelons are sterile. They were developed roughly 50 years ago by crossing male pollen that has 22 chromosomes per cell with a female watermelon flower that has 44 chromosomes per cell. Voila! You have the mule of the watermelon world.

Factual Stuff

  • USA ranks 6th in watermelon production. China is number one.
  • The scientific name for a watermelon is citrullus lanatus and are cousins to squash.
  • Leading watermelon states are Florida, Texas, Georgia, Indiana, and California.
  • Explorers used watermelon as canteens.
  • Watermelon is the most consumed melon in the USA
  • Watermelon is 92% water, making it a great source of hydration for many.

The Perfect Melon

Worse than a whole frozen watermelon is probably a bad watermelon. Picking the perfect watermelon is crucial, and can sometimes seem illusive. Follow these tips for the perfect melon:


Now that you know what the perfect melon looks like, go forth and find it. We sure found a good one! Happy hunting!






g and p




What About Watermelon?

National Watermelon Association


A World Without Ag Wednesdays: Tapioca

Today is National Tapioca Pudding Day (who knew!). That I’m aware of, I have never tried tapioca pudding. I’m not a pudding person to begin with, and when you throw texture in pudding–I’ll pass. What I do think of every time I hear tapioca is the movie New in Town. I had to watch it in one of my communication classes to write a paper on it. Although, it was an assignment for class, it was a good movie. Blanche, a character in the movie has a killer Minnesota accent and is obsessed with tapioca, so I always hear her saying it when it it is mentioned.

Anyway, since it is National Tapioca Pudding Day, I was curious as to what tapioca really is. I found some pretty interesting stuff.

Tapioca Roots

Tapioca’s roots literally come from roots–the cassava root to be exact. This root originated in Brazil and is mostly grown in Africa and South America.

Photo Source: Permaculture Research Institute

The cassava root, like a potato, is a tuber. It is also called a yuca root. The root is heavily relied on in communities that are impoverished and is a staple food item for them. Interestingly, the cassava root can also cause harm to those who eat them in many of these countries. If the root is not prepared correctly, it can produce cyanide. Yikes! They are working on creating a version of the plant that does not produce the cyanide. I wouldn’t worry too much about your tapioca, though. It is processed in a specific way to avoid any hazards.The issues typically happen in very rural areas in Africa where processing happens at home. It should never be eaten raw, so when it has not been given enough time, bad things happen. After boiling the root, it is safe to eat.

From Root to Tapioca

To turn the root into tapioca, the root is ground to a pulp. It is then squeezed to get it dry. This makes a sort of flour from which we get the various types of tapioca from.

Tapioca Pudding

Everything I could say about tapioca pudding is written on my face:


I don’t know what to do with this stuff. Perhaps I’ll start with tasting it–bucket list status. Happy Tapioca Pudding Day!!


Permaculture Research Institute

Specialty Produce

Ohio State University Research

Nutrition and You

A World Without Ag Wednesdays: Sorghum

Today’s feature is a neat little crop that is attracting some attention of late–sorghum. If you are gluten intolerant, then chances are you know about this upcoming grain. More on that later.

Sorghum is often confused with corn, especially early on. It looks very much like young corn. So, if you’ve ever wondered why that field of corn is missing its tassels and isn’t tall, it’s because it is probably sorghum, and you may be seeing more of it in the future.


Rising Stardom

The name sorghum comes from the Latin word “Syricum (granum)” and the Italian word “sorgo” which all means grain of Syria. Sorghum ranks fifth in the cereal grain line up of the world, falling behind wheat, rice, corn, and barley. Of the 66 countries that sorghum is grown in, the United States is the largest producer! That is pretty major when it was just introduced in 1757 to America. Sorghum originated in Egypt over 4,000 years ago, so it took a while to get to the USA. It is now finding loads of uses.

Jack of All Trades

Sorghum comes in three main types–grain, forage, and sweet. Grain sorghum is of a shorter variety (5ft) and is used for livestock feeds, human consumption, biofuels, and pet food. Forage sorghum is taller (6-12ft). Because it has more to it, it is primarily used for silage (fodder that is preserved in a silo through anaerobic acid fermentation and fed to livestock). Sweet sorghum is harvested before it seeds and is pressed to get the juices to make biofuels.

Biofuels and Ethanol

30 to 35 percent of sorghum is used for ethanol production. One bushel of the grain produces 2.7 gallons of ethanol. Sweet sorghum is more hardy than crops like corn (it only requires 7 inches of water to produce the first bushel), making it a more ideal source of renewal fuel. In 2012, the USA produced 15 billion gallons of ethanol from plants. The federally mandated Renewable Fuels Standard will double that production to 30 billion with 8 years. Sweet sorghum is one of the crops that will be responsible for this increase in ethanol production. A big job for the crop.

Livestock Feeds

46 percent of American sorghum is used for livestock feed. Sorghum can take the place of corn in feeding operations. Because it is more hardy than corn, it is often more attainable and cheaper (maybe that is why it is often called poor man’s corn). It is fed to beef and dairy cattle, swine, and poultry as a source of protein and energy. Most of sorghum is used for grain (7 million acres), but there is a decent portion used for silage (350,000 acres).

Human Consumption

Sorghum has become the go-to cereal grain for those who are gluten intolerant. It can take the place of wheat flour in many baking goods. There is good news for beer lovers too. New Grist is a beer made from sorghum and rice. Brewed in Wisconsin, this was one of the first gluten-free beers back in 2006. Interestingly, it also got the government to change its definition of what beer is. Under the government’s policy, the starting recipe for all beer had to be 25% malted barley. With this new sorghum beer, things had to be redefined, and so it was.

Besides helping out those with gluten intolerance, sorghum is also a whole wheat that is super nutritious and has antioxidants similar to blueberries. So, basically you cant go wrong.


From Field to Food, Feed, and Fuel

Sorghum is harvested in different ways depending on its purpose. If it is going to be used for grain, a combine is used to pick the seed heads. If being used for silage, than it will be cut with either a chopper or a hay cutter. After this, it then goes to its various destinations, ready to be enjoyed!



National Sorghum Producers

Whole Grains Council 1

Whole Grains Council 2

Sorghum Checkoff

Sweet Sorghum Association

Kansas State Fair


A World Without Ag Wednesdays: Tomatoes

With 4th of July approaching, I thought it appropriate to highlight a piece of ag that one of our founding fathers helped promote–tomatoes.

I absolutely love tomatoes. Sadly, our garden tomatoes are not doing well, and I have yet to have a tomato sandwich with homegrown produce. Sad days, I know; however, I can find comfort in the fact that tomatoes are a popular food and no longer thought to be poisonous. How in the world such a wonderful food could be feared is beyond me, but thanks to a few individuals, especially Thomas Jefferson, tomatoes are now celebrated and devoured.

During Colonial times, folks related tomato plants with the poisonous nightshade plant, and only grew tomatoes for ornamental purposes. Not everyone was so paranoid about the plant, though. In South and Central America, where tomatoes originated, people had no qualms eating them. In France, tomatoes were called pomme d’amore, or “apple of love,” suggesting that they were also loved, but some experts say that this name was mistaken for the Spanish words “apple of the Moors.” It is thought that the first tomato came from Peru. Interestingly, all parts of the tomato plant are poisonous except for the fruit.

It took the efforts of Thomas Jefferson and his family to make the tomato go from feared to celebrated…well supposedly the Jefferson family is responsible for the tomatoes popularity. It is up for debate, but is generally accepted. Jefferson grew tomatoes in his garden where his daughters and granddaughters used them in all sorts of recipes like gumbo and pickling. When a prominent family like the Jeffersons use tomatoes (and don’t die of poison), you can well imagine that its popularity quickly rose.


Identity Crisis

To set the record straight, tomatoes are fruits, but if you ask the Supreme Court of 1893, they were to be considered a vegetable. You see, there was a tariff on vegetables, but not on fruits. A tomato importer sued a tax collector on the basis that tomatoes were fruits and did not need to be taxed. Ultimately, the Supreme Court got involved and ruled that botanically speaking, tomatoes were fruits, but in layman terms they were vegetables. In addition tomatoes were eaten at dinner with other vegetables, unlike fruit that was typically eaten for dessert. So now, tomatoes have an identity crisis.

American Pride and Production

The United States is one of the leading producers of tomatoes, only coming behind China. They contribute $2 billion in annual farm cash receipts according to the USDA. Tomatoes are grown for either fresh-market or processed. Those that are used for processed are machine picked while fresh-market tomatoes are hand picked. There are also several thousand varieties of tomatoes, and some are better for processing, while others are better for fresh-market. Fresh-market tomatoes are grown in all 50 states, and California grows the most tomatoes overall. It is definitely a far cry from the feared fruit of Colonial days.

Tomato Basil Sandwich…Summertime Favorite

tomatoWhile I love tomatoes in everything and are one of my favorite snacks, one of my favorite ways to use them in the summer is to make a tomato basil sandwich. It is the simplest thing to go out to the garden (when it will actually grow tomatoes), grab a tomato and make a sandwich. All it takes is two slices of bread, spread with mayonnaise, salt and pepper, sliced tomato, and a few basil leaves. Bam! Quick, yummy, and definitely not poisonous! Thanks Jefferson!


History of Tomatoes

A World Without Ag Wednesdays: Wheat

My favorite crop is wheat. Not only because it is one of the prettiest to me, but also because of what it produces. Without wheat, Olive Garden would be obsolete. Poof! Say good-bye to pasta and breadsticks. It is a very sad picture, no doubt. So, not only is it a picturesque crop, but it is also responsible for some pretty yummy things.

All around my house, they have begun to harvest the dried wheat. Many farmers burn the fields after the grain has been harvested to improve the soil.  Wheat is pretty popular in America as it is the primary grain used in US grain products. It is grown in 42 states with Kansas ranking at the top, producing enough wheat to make 36 million loaves of bread and enough to everyone in the world for about 2 weeks. That is a ton of amber waves of grain.

wheat3Past and Present of Wheat

Wheat originated in what is now Iraq and was first planted in America (1777) as a hobby crop. Now there are thousands of varieties of wheat that are separated into 6 categories:

  1. Hard Red Winter (HRW)
  2. Hard Red Spring (HRS)
  3. Soft Red Winter (SRW)
  4. Hard White (HW)
  5. Soft White (SW)
  6. Durum

The different types of wheat have special qualities. The red wheats have a distinctive flavor–nutty or earthy. The white wheats are sweeter. The harder wheats are great for pizza doughs, soft rolls and croissants even though they are harder to grind. although the soft red winter are easier to grind, they have lower protein levels than their harder red counterparts. Often times, wheat is mixed into a unique blend to create the perfect flour that has the protein, flavor, and softness or hardness that is desired for whatever it is being made into. Cakes and pastries are made from the soft white as this wheat is the sweetest variety. Durum wheat is the hardest wheat and is used for the highest quality pastas and noodles. Italy uses only durum wheat. It is also has some of the highest protein. The different wheats are more commonly grown in various areas (e.g. Hard red winter is popular in Kansas and hard red spring is often grown in northern states towards Canada).

wheatWheat Facts

  • A bushel of wheat weighs around 60 pounds
  • A bushel of wheat produces roughly 42 pounds of white flour and 60 pounds of whole-wheat flour
  • There are more than 600 pasta shapes in the world
  • Traditional tortillas used ground corn. Flour tortillas were not introduced until the 19th century
  • A bushel of wheat makes about 210 servings of spaghetti
  • One bushel of wheat contains approximately one million individual kernels.
  • One acre of wheat produces 40 bushels of wheat
  • Wheat is a member of the grass family.

I don’t know about you, but all this talk of bread and pasta has got me hungry. Bring on the carbs!



A World Without Ag Wednesdays: Strawberries

For as long as I can remember, the start of summer could be marked with delicious, red strawberries. As a child, it was a scavenger hunt trying to find the red ones ready to be picked in the field. There is nothing quite like biting into a ripe strawberry. Of course, this would be in no way possible, if it weren’t for farmers, both large and small, growing strawberries.


Strawberries are native to North America, as well as other regions. According to the University of Vermont, strawberries were eaten and referred to as far back as Roman times; however, they were not very popular because they were small and lacked the flavor that today’s strawberries have. They were used more for ornamental purposes. It wasn’t until the 1300’s that strawberries began to be cultivated in Europe. It took many years, and many varieties of strawberries from all around the world to create a fruit that is as popular as it is today. America’s strawberries gave hardiness, and Chilean strawberries gave size. While there were some accidental crosses, the first planned cross of strawberries occurred in Cambridge, MA by nurseryman, Charles Hovey. This strawberry was the start of most modern varieties. Throughout history, various people created different strawberry hybrids to have more vigor and resist disease. Once a lot of strawberry breeding and discovering had been done, it didn’t take long for strawberries to become one of the number one fruits in American households.

Strawberries by the Number

strawberry stat NEW

  • 36 billion pounds of strawberries were produced in 2012
  • 94% of American households consume strawberries
  • California (the largest producer of strawberries) had 38,000 acres of strawberries in 2012, accounting for 75% of the nation’s strawberry crops

Growing and Producing Strawberries

There are typically two major types of strawberry farms–commercial and pick-your-own strawberry farms; however, the process of growing strawberries is relatively the same for both, just on different scales.

Although strawberries are perennial plants (come back every year) , farmers often treat them as annuals so that they can better maintain and prepare the land for them. To prepare the ground for strawberries, the land is plowed and mounded into flat rows where drip tape and black or white plastic are laid down on top of the rows. The drip tape will be used to water the plants, and the plastic helps with moisture, and temperatures, especially during the winter months when the majority of strawberries are planted. All this is done with a special piece of equipment. After the plastic has been laid, another piece of equipment is used to punch holes in the plastic for plants to go in the holes. It is important to note, that not every farm does things the same way. Some farms plant a green strawberry plant, while others plant the roots. In other cases, the rows are not covered in plastic, but are always mounded to help with moisture. There is also various equipment that is used depending on the scale of the farm. Here are two videos that show two varieties of strawberries being planted in two different ways on the same farm.

Pretty cool, huh? Throughout the winter months, the plants are fertilized and cared for by the farmers. The plants are even tested to determine if they are getting enough nutrients. Come March, most varieties of strawberry plants start to bloom. strawberries have to be picked daily because they ripen quickly, even on commercial farms. The picking season typically runs from April to June, and it takes 60-75 workers to keep 1 million strawberry plants picked. Of course, the pick-your-own strawberry farms, you are the one who picks the strawberries. There are also robots that have been developed to pick strawberries, but only if they are a certain level of red. Amazing! If you are curious how the large farms pick strawberries, here is another video. Start at minute 1:22.

Strawberry Facts

  • It is said that strawberries get their names from when growers used to (and sometimes still do) place straw around the berries. It is also said that kids used to sell the berries on grass straws as a straw of berries.
  • Strawberries have an average of 200 seeds per strawberry.
  • Strawberries are grown in every state of America.
  • Per capita, Americans eat 3.4 pounds of fresh strawberries per year.
  • Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in the spring.
  • Strawberries are a member of the rose family.
  • Technically, strawberries are not a true berry because their seeds are on the outside.
  • Native Americans called strawberries, heart-seed berries, and would crush them into their corn meal bread. The colonist made their own version, giving us strawberry shortcake.
  • One cup of strawberries is only 55 calories.

Now, don’t you want some strawberries?



Growing Strawberry Plants Commercially


A World Without Ag Wednesdays: Chicken Enchiladas

I promised a bit ago to give you the recipe for Chicken Enchiladas that I made with my guacamole. I know the anticipation has been killing you, so without further ado, here it is:

While the original recipe called for steak, I substituted chicken, and because I’m all about easy peezy, I used grilled frozen chicken that I heated up in a frying pan. We also use this chicken for fajita nights. This is about a enchilada night, though. Back to the recipe.



  • Sauce:
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup of sour cream
  • ½ cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
  • salt, white pepper
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp minced cilantro
  • Enchiladas:
  • 7-8 flour tortillas
  • 4 oz Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
  • More cheese for topping (Optional)
  • Cilantro for topping (Optional)
  • Jalapeno for topping (Optional)
  1. Sauce:
  2. In a small sauce pot, heat up oil over medium heat and saute minced jalapeno and garlic until fragrant. Add heavy cream and sour cream and whisk until all smooth. Bring to a low boil and add cheese, salt, white pepper, chili powder and cumin. Stir well and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in cilantro and take off heat.
  3. Preheat oven to 350.
  4. Spread some sauce over the bottom of a baking dish (9×13 casserole dish or any large enough to hold 7-8 enchiladas).
  5. Spread some shredded cheese on one side of tortilla and spread some chicken mixture over cheese. Roll tortilla and place it in the baking dish, seam down. Repeat with remaining tortillas, cheese and chicken.
  6. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas and top off with some shredded cheese.
  7. Bake for 17-19 minutes.
  8. Top off with some more cilantro and jalapenos if you wish.

So there is the yumminess, now let’s talk about the chickens. I mean, there would be no chicken enchiladas without chicken, and that is super sad. Here are a few fun facts for you about broiler chickens (chickens raised for meat):

  • The United States is the largest producer of broiler chickens in the world
  • In 2011, approximately 9 billion broiler chickens, weighing 50 billion pounds, liveweight, will be produced. Almost 37 billion pounds of chicken product will be marketed, measured on a ready-to-cook basis
  • Americans consume more chicken than any other country in the world.

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Broiler Chicken Industry Key Facts 2016

Steak Enchiladas with Jalapeño Cilantro Cream Sauce


A World Without Ag Wednesdays: Tennis Balls–We Don’t Get Along

Let me go ahead and say that I am not a sports person. I am all for watching them but I fail epically when it comes to playing them. My sport of choice was target shooting–no balls or running involved. However, I was forced to play a sport during my undergraduate career. To graduate, I had to pick a PE, so I chose tennis. I’m not sure what I was thinking. Actually, I know what I was thinking–swimming was at 8am and bowling required driving. That left me with tennis. Quite frankly I was more worried about what I was going to wear than anything. Really, I was also worried that achieving an ‘A’ would require actual talent… something I don’t have.

Anyway, before I get into what this has to do with agriculture, I wanted to share an awkward Marisa life moment. Don’t judge. I had been doing alright in tennis. I could hit the ball some and serve a little. I was doing ok. My goal was to not get noticed for doing bad or good, but to just blend in. I epically failed on that front one morning. Tennis was from 11-12, and I had a class before that. As usual, I skipped breakfast (I’m not a big morning eater). It had never been an issue before, and I got lunch right after tennis. That day it was an issue.

I was standing around with the other students, listening to coach explain different terms and stuff. I started to get really dizzy, and decided that squatting would be a good idea. I knew what was happening. I was getting too hot and hadn’t had anything to eat. I was going to pass out if this guy didn’t hurry his speech up. Hold it together, Marisa I thought to myself. I lasted until he finished his talk, stood up to walk, and made it to the fence and plopped. The world was definitely black and swirling. I would say I was embarrassed, but honestly, I was too busy concentrating on making my world go back to a normal angle. Coach came over and started asking me questions. I don’t think I really responded. He asked if I wanted him to pick me up and carry me to the bleachers. I held up my hand emphatically, horrified at that thought. I got my butt up and wobbly walked to the bleachers. Coach gave me a granola bar and Gatorade. I was completely fine in 5 minutes. Now, that the world wasn’t spinning like a fair ride, I was thoroughly embarrassed.


During my semester of tennis, I learned a few things: 1) eat breakfast before participating in sports 2) if you don’t want to play tennis one day, just pass out 3) tennis balls are made of wool.

The third point brings me to agriculture. The yellow fuzz on tennis balls are wool felt. Originally tennis balls were made of wood, and over many years, evolved. Early tennis balls were made of leather and stuffed with wool or hair. We now have the neon green fuzzy balls today. The fuzz makes them more aerodynamic, and the more bald they get, the faster and bouncier they get. Around 300,000,000 tennis balls are made every year in the world. That is a lot of tennis balls, I will not be playing with.

I know this is a world without ag post, but how bad would it really be if there were no tennis balls? I know I wouldn’t have an embarrassing story to tell, that’s for sure.