Rural Wisdom: Separate wants from needs and know that your needs will be met.
Our Latest Rural Business Opportunity:
Historic Hotel FOR SALE (Bed + Breakfast)
Just Listed in Orleans, NE
Rural Success Stories:
Schwarz Family Farm
Quality and variety make the difference to Schwarz Family Farm's success
For many big corporate farms, increasing ROI might mean introducing additional fertilizers, pesticides or GMO seed; for the Schwartz family of rural Smithfield, NE, it means introducing more praying mantises, lace wings and lady bugs.
Schwarz Family Farms is owned and operated by the sixth generation of Schwarz’s, Tom and Linda Schwarz, their daughter, Becky and their son, Alex. Prior to 1998 the Schwarz land had been cultivated in conventional ways, but in an effort to convince Becky and Alex to return home to work on the family farm after college, Tom and Linda began to consider ways to increase profits from the same number of acres. They settled on organic farming and after 15 years, they’ve made it a success.
Nature's Rural Retreat
Nature's Rural Retreat is a real treat for hunters and nature lovers
A lot of rural Nebraskans have deep roots to the land on which they live. Often passed down generation to generation, the land gets into your bones, but finding ways to make a living and stay on it becomes a challenge for many families. One way is to venture into ecotourism; another is to appeal to legions of out-of-state hunters who come here every year.
In what was originally the home built by Randy Rupe’s grandfather in 1936, Randy and Cathy Rupe are doing both.
Passion for cloth diapers creates tidy business opportunity for Cambridge couple
The world changed in a huge way — and not necessarily for the better — when Pampers disposable diapers were introduced in 1961. While it did free millions of women from laundering mounds of dirty diapers every week, it also created a serious over-supply of non-biodegradable trash in the landfills and, in some babies, an uncomfortable rash.
A cloth diaper movement has existed for a number of years, and when a young mother on a farm near Holbrook was troubled with diaper rash on her young son, she wanted to try cloth diapers — but there were none to be had in rural Nebraska. The discovery led her to start a blog about cloth diapers, the remarkable success of which led to a new business, Country Drawers.
Ecotourism offers interesting new opportunities for rural entrepreneurs
by Betty Sayers
Although there are many reasons tourists may come to Nebraska, two prime drivers of the modern ecotourism movement in Nebraska are the annual bird migrations through the Central Flyway and the cowboy and old West culture that lives on in many of our farm and ranch operations.
This month Betty Sayers takes a look at how two very different kinds of operations responded to the tourism opportunity. At Rowse’s 1+1 Ranch near Burwell, marketing the chance to ride and work cattle alongside real cowboys at a working ranch has captured the imagination of many foreign visitors. By networking, advertising and working with a German travel agency, many of the annual visitors to the 1+1 these days are European.
Near Minden, Burchell’s White Hill Farmhouse Inn has taken a different approach to ecotourism. Linda and Bob Ard bought Linda’s childhood home and six acres in 2006 and have turned it into an award-winning bed and breakfast and Texas barbecue restaurant. They, too, depend on visitors to Nebraska, but they’ve targeted the thousands who come to witness the annual migration of Sandhill Cranes and many other species of birds.
Articles & Essays:
General Aviation Airports
Holdrege Air Show underscores day-to-day benefits of rural airports
For most of us, the experience of flying is being crammed into the window seat on a jumbo jet for a couple of hours. But for thousands of general aviation pilots it’s an entirely different event — piloting your own plane, on your schedule, wherever you want to go...even to Nebraska’s smallest communities. For many who live and work in rural areas, being able to land a plane in a small community is what gives them access medical services or the ability to build a business beyond the county line.
The big air show coming up in Holdrege June 14-15 will feature a variety of high-excitement performances and interesting aircraft and it’s expected to draw a big crowd. But visitors to the air show might not appreciate the day-to-day benefits that rural airports like Holdrege’s Brewster Field provide.
“Re-blaze the trail” by experiencing life as a pioneer along Nebraska’s Heritage Highway
Heritage Highway is a 238-mile stretch of Nebraska Highway 136, close to the state's southern border. It extends from historic Brownville along the banks of the Missouri River in the southeastern corner of Nebraska and then westward to Edison and the junction Highway 136 and U.S. Highways 6 & 34 in the state's Prairie Lakes Region.
On the Heritage Highway you can take a riverboat cruise, participate in a Civil War reenactment or stand in the ruts left by wagons along the Oregon Trail.
It's prime time for bird watching on the Chicken Dance Trail
Right now we are in the midst of a vast and fascinating natural phenomenon, the annual migration of birds from their winter habitat in the south to their spring and summer feeding and breeding grounds in the north. Because south central Nebraska includes the narrowest section of the hourglass-shaped Central Flyway, the Chicken Dance Trail is uniquely situated for birders. Millions of different birds come through here during spring and fall migrations, making the Chicken Dance Trail one of the best places in the country to see a wide variety of species in a relatively small area.
White Pelican Homecoming
Pelican Homecoming Celebration flies higher on the wings of partnerships
by Pat Underwood
“What I’ve learned from many long discussions and interviews I've conducted with people who have been involved in either successful, long-running community festivals or with festivals that started well but fell off after a few years,” writes Pat Underwood on NRL, “is that small town festivals typically live or die, grow or dwindle, based on the work of a very small group of people who are willing and able to do all or most of the work, year after year after year.”
As the director for Harlan County Tourism, she wanted something that would be more sustainable for the Harlan County White Pelican Watch and associated White Pelican Homecoming Celebration which is kicking off this month.
Navigators Restaurant and Lounge
Navigators Restaurant at North Shore Marina makes for a perfect mini-vacation
Itís easy to get in a restaurant rut. You get a few restaurants you know, a few menu items you like and the next thing you know, the wait staff is calling you by name and they're putting your order in as you walk in the door.
But the Rural Foodies are big believers that a weekend should feel like a weekend, so on a recent weekend, we made the drive to Harlan County Lake to savor spring, breathe in the fresh air and try out Navigators Restaurant at the North Shore Marina.
Lucky Chuck's is a classic steakhouse in Nebraska's loess canyons lake country
by Betty Sayers
The Eustis Pool Hall building where Lucky Chuck’s is today was built on the main street in 1918. Exposed brick walls, stamped tin ceilings, the original plank wood floor, 95-year-old barn siding, a hand carved wooden bar and handmade wooden booths are among the architectural features that infuse the atmosphere with western lore and hint at the stories that must have been told there over the last 90 years.
Tourists and area residents come for the attractive and authentic atmosphere, they like the welcoming smile and a chat with owners Diane and Clark Laier, but mostly, they come for the meat: barbecue or a tender, savory prime rib or maybe one of Clark Laier’s specially-aged steaks. The Rural Foodies’ favorite msg-free barbecued ribs are always on the menu, a testament to the high regard in which they are held.
The Rocket Inn
A pizza tradition at Indianola’s Rocket Inn
by Phil, Soreide, Pam Soreide and Betty Sayers
Pizza came to the U.S. along with Italian immigrants in the late 19th century, but it remained pretty much confined to Italian neighborhoods until after WWII. Returning soldiers had discovered pizza in Italy and pizzerias in the U.S. and demand grew exponentially all across the country.
One soldier who returned to Indianola, Nebraska after the war must have really developed a taste for pizza. He brought home not only a love for these savory pies, but the means to an endless supply: an Italian bride who made great pizza.
With over 60 years in Kearney, Grandpa's Steakhouse isn't what it used to be Ė it's better
We’ve been to a lot of restaurants where there was a real disconnect between the image conjured up by the outside and the reality of the inside, but few exceed Grandpa’s Steakhouse in Kearney. It is set off the road a bit, surrounded by open field and relatively close to the Interstate. The painting on the outside depicts a cartoon Grandpa in coveralls below the letters of the name which have been set at jaunty angles on shake siding. The effect suggests perhaps Formica booths with a lot of stainless steel accents inside.
But beyond the front door, everything changes. The carpets are deep, the appointments rich, the tables topped with crisp white linen. Servers are well dressed and sophisticated. There’s a fireplace beckoning in the lounge, which is dim and decorated with portraits of Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe to give it the feel of a place that might have been a favorite Rat Pack hangout. Our spirits lift. This may turn out better than we thought.
Dynamic Towns & Cities:
Curtis, Maywood are beautiful spots to live the Nebraska good life
Nestled in the beautiful Medicine Creek Valley, Curtis and Maywood are roughly equidistant between McCook, Lexington and North Platte. Separated by only seven miles, both communities proudly proclaim excellent school systems and today, as it has been for millennia, the primary business in Frontier County is farming and ranching. Archaeological evidence suggests the population of the valley is roughly the same now as when it was occupied by Native Americans 1300 years ago.
Today, Medicine Creek Valley is home to the progressive Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, a new community center, an abundance of community spirit and an indomitable drive to thrive.more...
Annual sausage festival is just one example of town's community spirit
Founded in the late 1880s by immigrants mostly from Stuttgart, Germany, it’s no wonder this friendly town still honors the sausage with an annual affair drawing thousands of visitors from all over Nebraska.
On the second weekend in June, you can dance to polkas and country songs under the stars, smell authentic German-style sausages roasting on the barbecue, knock back a freshly-brewed beer, and savor German pretzels rolled and baked by Eustis bakers. But the Wurst Tag (Sausage Day) celebration in Eustis is really just a single example of the kind of community spirit that makes Eustis an appealing place to live. more...
Indomitable spirit keeps Bertrand vibrant and dynamic
“To make a small community thrive, you work together.”
Bertrand is thriving in great part because this solidarity message is spoken in many different ways and by people of all ages and occupations in Bertrand. The town is bustling with committees planning the Bertrand Rodeo, the famous Bertrand craft show, a talent show, theater, music and sports activities, and fund raising events for families in need. Businesses also thrive in Bertrand. Over 72 businesses handle most wants and needs in the community, including a medical clinic and a weekly newspaper, the Bertrand Herald, which was recently sold to new owners.
If the perfect small town exists, it just might be Minden
If you could sit down at a drawing board to design the perfect small town, you’d start with a superb education system, then add in gracious and affordable homes. You’d want to make sure you had a prosperous manufacturing sector so there would be good jobs and a sound economy, then perhaps you’d want to add some interesting retail enterprises on wide, safe streets. You’d want to make sure to design in a strong sense of community, with a lot of citizen participation in community decisions, quality healthcare facilities and nearby opportunities for camping, hunting and fishing. Put down your pencil. You’re describing Minden.more...
Also Featured This Month
Vintage Staggerwings, Aeroncas, and Stinsons fly in to Minden Fly-in
“The runway had a slight rise in it, so from where I was standing I couldn’t see the aircraft that was starting,” says writer Mike Gintzler. “But I could certainly hear it.”
Success of Three Brothers Winery keeps Farnam couple busy
What started out as a straightforward retirement strategy to grow grapes for Nebraska’s expanding wine industry grew into quite a different operation for Gary and Ricky Sue Wach.
Farmer’s Market Throwdown yields our best fresh summer meal ever
Farmer’s markets draw in foodies like rabbits to clover.