Vienna Beef: a Chicago Agri-Business since 1893

Founded by Austria-Hungarian immigrants Emil Reichel and Sam Ladany, Vienna Beef has been a mainstay in Chicago since 1893.  Within a year of Vienna Beef’s premier to 27 million people at the World’s Columbian Exposition, an invention showcase, in Chicago, Reichel and Ladany opened their first store on Chicago’s near west side.  For years Vienna Beef flourished and soon replaced horse-drawn carriages with state-of-the-art motorized vehicles for deliveries. In the midst of the Great Depression, Vienna Beef hot dog carts sold hot dogs for a nickel.  This thriving group of vendors advertised their hot dogs as having “a salad on top” thus the famous Chicago-style hot dog was born.  As quick as Chicagoans’ love for hot dogs grew so did Vienna Beef’s business.  In the 1950’s food distributors in Indiana, Wisconsin and throughout Illinois began purchasing products from Vienna Beef.  At the same time Chicago’s hot dog stand busines ...

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History of Food: A Real Chicago Hot Dog

Born from hot dog vendors during the Great Depression, the “Chicago style” hotdog has been a mainstay of the Chicago community and hot dog aficionados, alike. A “Chicago-style” hot dog or Chicago dog is a steamed or water-simmered all-beef hot dog on a poppy seed bun sans ketchup.  Original hot dog vendors advertised their hot dogs as having “a salad on top.”  The interplay of crisp and soft of Chicago-style dogs is created by yellow mustard, bright green relish, fresh chopped onions, juicy red tomato wedges, a kosher-style pickle spear, a couple of short peppers and a dash of celery salt.   The “dragged through the garden” style preferred by hot dog enthusiasts is the same style promoted by Vienna Beef and Red Hot Chicago, Chicago’s two most prominent and historic hot dog manufacturers.  Popular Chicago-style hot dogs include Portillo’s, Superdawg, The Wieners Circle, and Fluky’s. True Chicago-style hot dogs do not ...

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Downwind by Bob Rohrer, CAE, FBCM, Manager (Technology Guru)

I am a technology dinosaur trying to evolve as I face extinction with the world changes around me. The image of a triceratops or Stegosaurus trying to operate a computer laptop comes to mind.(except I love meat…no plant eater here!) So maybe I'm a technology challenged, meat eating velociraptor. During the movie “Jurassic Park”, those velociraptors learned how to open doors but I bet they could not learn to operate a computer system. My office “way of life” is going extinct… bye, bye paper and pencil. When I was in grade school and junior high back in medieval times, penmanship was a part of one's grade. During those early school years, I found penmanship to be a “foreign language”. To say I had difficulty mastering it would be a massive understatement. Apparently, my writing “hand” was more of a writing “talon”.  I should have been practicing to be a doctor. I just did not find the skill of writing legibly to be important. T ...

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Exploring, seeking ag career? Now there's an app for that!

Seeking an ag career? Now there’s an app for that!...The ever-present smartphone is the latest tool used to interest students in agricultural careers. A new free application, Ag Career Finder, offers information about 58 careers in agriculture, food, and natural resources along with real-time job posting in those fields. The app was developed by FCAE in partnership with “We’re trying communicate to the students of today,” Jess Smithers, FCAE coordinator, told FarmWeek. “Viewing information on phones and iPads is the way to go.” The new ag career app "provides them (students) information in a way they are accustomed to getting information," Smithers added. Information profiles are provided for each of the 58 careers along with recommended high school courses, degrees required, salary ranges, potential employers, and other information. The app allows students to search for additional information and take an interest assessment that would direct them t ...

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Trim the Tree Contest - We have a WINNER!

The 1st Place winner of the 2012 Trim the Tree Contest for $250 is Memories, decorated by Larry and Dorothy Biernacki. Tree purchased from BIG JOHNS FARM STAND & GREENHOUSE in Chicago Heights will also receive $250.  A donation of $250 will go to St Matthias Church Food pantry.   Photo:  Winners Larry & Dorothy Biernacki, and Kevin of Big John's Farm Stand were presented checks by  Commodities/Marketing Team Vice Chair, Dan Biernacki (no relation to the winner, just coincidence) on Saturday December 22nd. The runner up of the 2012 Trim the Tree Contest for $100 is Light Bright decorated by Natalie Mitchell.  Tree purchased from PUCKERVILLE FARMS in Lemont will also receive $100.  A donation of $100 will go to the Lockport Fish Food Pantry, the designated food assistance charity by the Mitchell family.  Photo:  Kayla (daughter) Mitchell, runner up "Master Tree Trimmer" Natalie Mitchell, Rick Homerding, owner of Puckerville Farms, ...

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Summer AITC Internship

Cook County Ag in the Classroom is offering a summer internship to a college student majoring in Ag Communications or Ag Education.  Visit our website under "Foundation" to see details about the internship and application process. 

Students gain Insights from Farm Bureau Leaders during Science Fair

Cook County President Jim Gutzmer along with Cook CFB staff assisted with judging student projects during the 2012 Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences Science Fair.  Freshmen through seniors compete in a variety of categories including: aerospace science, botany, zoology, physics and environmental science.  Over 150 students competed.

Volunteers "Spruce up" Ronald McDonald House Rooftop Garden

Dan, Karen and Jessica Biernacki again generously donated their time to "spruce up" the rooftop garden on the world's largest Ronald McDonald House ahead of a tree lighting ceremony.  The Biernacki's along with Ted's Greenhouse in Tinley Park donated the greens and plant materials. 

Cook County Farm Bureau Receives Recognition For Quality

The Cook County Farm Bureau topped off a great programming year in 2011-12 by being awarded several awards at the Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting this past weekend, December 1-3rd. The President's Award for the largest size County Farm Bureaus was presented for the best overall programming and activities in the areas of Ag Literacy, Commodities/Marketing, Health/Safety, Legislative/Political Process, Local Affairs, Communications/Promotion, Member Relations, Policy Development and Membership Quota.               The organization also received the Liberty Bell Award for its efforts in Legislative, Local Issues, Political Action and Policy Implementation.   In addition, a “most outstanding project” for the Local Affairs area, the County Staff Exchange, was recognized by the Illinois Farm Bureau and was selected by the American Farm Bureau Federation in their county Activities of Excellent competition. The Board of Directors ...

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County Farm Bureaus "Share" their Ideas

The Illinois Farm Bureau Annual Meeting is an ideal time for county Farm Bureau's (CFB) to exchange ideas. Three CFBs - Cook, Grundy, and Livingston - are sharing their innovative program ideas, which have each won the American Farm Bureau Federation County Activities of Excellence Award.

Cook County Farm Bureau's "County Staff Exchange"
This program helps County government official's tour farms and agribusinesses in the County to illustrate the impact of farming has on the County's economy.

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