Our Girl of the Year is a Farmerby Kendall Rae Johnson I was three when I started growing collard greens, peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers in a gardening box on our patio. My great grandma Kate died earlier that year, and I wanted to grow things she grew.We moved into her house, which has a big back yard. For my fourth birthday, my parents built grow boxes for my farm around the fence.Then, they took me to the store and we spent $200 on seeds! I did all the planting. I still do.I sell some of my produce in food baskets, so that we have money to buy new seeds. We buy them in the winter.And our 4-H club is helping me and my parents learn how to get seeds from my plants that are dying. When I know how to do that it’ll be great.A local nature shop sends a dump truck that dumps dirt on the driveway. We use a shovel to put it in bins that my daddy carries to the backyard. He’s pretty strong! I call my parents my “assistants.”Kendall Rae with cucumbers she grew.This winter, I planted 24 bushes of blueberries, six bushes each of four different kinds: Tidal, Bountiful, Pink Lemonade, and Powder Blue. I think Pink Lemonade will be the juiciest.Which kind of bluberries are pink?.I harvest all year. I picked sweet potatoes and collard greens for Christmas Eve.This spring, we will harvest my carrots, tomatoes, and peppers — including Carolina reaper peppers — the hottest pepper on the planet. Trust me, you don’t wanna eat it.Here’s her broccoli above and a carrot fresh from the dirt below. So delicious she had to take a bite!A fun fact about carrots. The green part on top is the stem that gets the sunlight. Then the rain comes. The plant gets the nutrients from the soil and the orange root grows underground.My favorite part about farming is playing in the dirt. The worst part is the sun — it’s hot in Georgia!When school was closed for COVID, my friends and I played a lot in my farm. They still want to see how my plants are growing. They like planting and painting pictures of my garden. I painted a yellow squash.I check on my plants every day. Farming is a lot of responsibility. I feel great about being a farmer. It has a big feeling in my heart. My farm helps me meet new friends, make new things, and inspire other kids.I’d like other kids to be farmers, so we’re building an outdoor science lab on my farm!We’ll teach kids how to plant in the dirt. I want vegetable chairs for the kids — but don’t tell anyone that part.I like to make red cornbread with Daddy. To make it red, we put in tomatoes — of course. I also make a really good pancake. It’s delicious; trust me.My red cornbread recipe:• 2 medium size tomatoes• 1 cup vegetable oil• 2 cup yellow cornmeal• 2 cup all-purpose fLour• 3/4 cup granulated sugar• 1/4 cup light brown sugar• 2 tablespoons baking powder• 2 teaspoon kosher salt• 2 and 1/2 cups buttermilk• 4 large eggsPreheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9” by 13” baking pan.Slit tomatoes and place them in a pot of boiling water.Remove tomatoes after about 30 seconds or when skin begins to peel back.Drop tomatoes in a bowl of ice water to cool, then remove the skins by hand.Liquify skinned tomatoes in blender and then strain to get about ¼ cup of liquid.In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, fLour, sugars, baking powder and salt.In a separate large bowl, beat the milk, oil, eggs, tomato liquid, and a little red food coloring.Stir dry ingredients into the wet ones and beat until just combined (the batter will be lumpy).Put the batter in the oiled pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes. It’s done when cornbread starts to pull away at the edges and a toothpick comes out clean when you stick it in the center.Serve with butter and honey.Kendall Rae, 6, GA, likes playing with garden toys, grocery toys, cooking toys, and fruit and vegetable toys. She also races her Dad. “And I’m faster than him.” Learn more at agrowkulture.com.
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