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Illinois breakfast touts farmer’s share of food dollar
By TIM ALEXANDER
Illinois Correspondent

PEORIA, Ill. — Talk about the ultimate “value meal.”

The Peoria County Farm Bureau will host its sixth annual Farmer’s Share of the Food Dollar Breakfast on Saturday at the Knights of Columbus Hall, located near the corner of Radnor and Willow Knolls roads in North Peoria.

For a whopping sum of 45 cents, customers will be served a breakfast of two scrambled eggs, two sausage links or patties, two pancakes, milk and orange juice. PCFB Manager Patrick Kirchhofer said the purpose of the breakfast bonanza is to educate consumers about local farmers’ roles in providing “cheap and affordable” food to the American public.

“Obviously, people coming to the breakfast appreciate the cheap price and feel it is an excellent meal,” Kirchhofer said.

Local farmers will prepare and serve the breakfast, which will run from 7-11 a.m., with help from the Princeville Lions Club, Raber’s Packing and Prairie Farms. The public relations committee of the PCFB runs the event and provides most of the volunteers, which include Richard and Carroll Carroll, husband-and-wife farmers from Brimfield.

“We have a lot of fun at the breakfast each year,” said Richard Carroll, who serves as public relations chairman for the organization. “People really seem to appreciate learning about the value of the family farm. A lot who come just like to reminisce about their grandfather’s farm and educate their kids and grandkids. Many of those kids are now so far removed from the family farm that they’re not even sure what one is.”

There will be many opportunities to learn about agriculture in the Midwest and Illinois, making the breakfast a learning opportunity for youngsters as well as a cheap meal. A pamphlet will be handed out breaking down the “farm value” of the menu items (orange juice, 8 cents, milk, 8 cents, wheat, 3 cents, corn syrup, 1 cent, sausage, 14 cents, eggs, 10 cents, and butter, 1 cent), and children can pick up a free ABC’s of Agriculture coloring book complete with crayons made from soybeans. Farm photos and maps from Peoria County will be displayed, and products made from local farm commodities such as soy candles and soap and corn-based glass cleaner and hand moisturizer will be available for purchase.

The first breakfast was in March of 2001 at Dunlap High School and was attended by 300 bargain-hunting breakfasters who plunked down 44 cents for their meal.

“The next two years it was held at the Farm Bureau building in Peoria. We served 500 people in 2002 and 645 the next year,” Kirchhofer said. By 2004, the breakfast had grown too large for the Farm Bureau building and was moved to its current location at the KC Hall.

“Seven-hundred and twenty-five people were served in 2004, and last year we served breakfast to 978 people. We served 48 gallons of Prairie Farms orange juice and 21 gallons of Prairie Farms milk; 2000 eggs were cracked, scrambled and served; two and a half hogs were processed for the sausage patties and approximately 2000 pancakes were served off the griddle,” Kirchhofer said. “We also gave away 300 ABC’s of Agriculture coloring books.”

Forty-three farmer-volunteers representing the communities of Brimfield, Princeville, Chillicothe, Elmwood, Trivoli, Hanna City, Glasford, Dunlap, and Bartonville pitched in to help crack the eggs, mix the pancake batter, and dish up the sausage at last year’s event.

“People at the KC Hall are amazed that we can come up with so many volunteers at that time of the morning,” Carroll laughed. “But we all stay until the last breakfast is served and everything has been cleaned up.”

Farmers Jeff and Karla Smith of Princeville have donated three hogs for this year’s breakfast to be processed by Carroll Wetterauer, owner of Raber’s, a Peoria-based business. George Smith from the Princeville Lions Club leads the “pancake crew”, and Prairie Farms, which operates a processing plant in Peoria, donates the milk and orange juice for the event, Kirchhofer said.

The Saturday breakfast will mark the end of National Agriculture Week in the United States, which began March 19.

For more information on the Farmer’s Share of the Food Dollar Breakfast, contact the PCFB at 309-686-7070.

This farm news was published in the March 22, 2006 issue of Farm World.

3/22/2006