Buy Super foods early
Expert: Buy your Super Bowl snacks now or you may be eating second-string munchies during the big game.
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 5, 2022
10 QUESTIONS with Susan Long of the Temple City Council.
It’s early, but 2022 WILDFLOWER CROP may be very average.
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Chicken wings and drumsticks popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, and they are among snack favorites for big games like Super Bowl LVI. Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Laura McKenzie
Expert: US to eat 1.42 billion chicken wings during this year’s Super Bowl
By ADAM RUSSELL, Texas AgriLife, and DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
Super Bowl fans might want to start shopping now to make sure their favorite game-day snacks are available for kickoff.
Although traditional Super Bowl snacks may be sporadically available at grocery stories, it’s likely that prices will be higher than normal.
The Cincinnati Bengals will play the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles on Feb. 13. The game will be watched by millions of football fans, and watch parties and get-togethers are widely associated with snacks and cookouts.
Wings are king among Super Bowl snacks
Several Temple-area football fans plan to snack on wings during the big game, and that seems to be a national trend.
The National Chicken Council estimates a consumption of 1.42 billion chicken wings and drumsticks this year — equal to last year’s record high during Super Bowl week.
Brad Carey, owner of Rolling Stogies Mobile Cigars, said wings will be starters on his Super Bowl roster.
“You bet,” he said. “Wings and beer!”
Robyn Skrhak and Sandy Folger Dlugas also are into wings.
For Skrhak it will be Buffalo chicken with ranch and Dlugas is going for “tequila lime wings.”
Heather Cunningham, a Temple resident, is one of several Central Texans who plan on bucking the wing trend.
“Chips and queso,” she said. “Even as a kid, chips and queso were a part of our Super Bowl spread.”
Janice Bell of Temple said she will munch on chips and dips while cheering the Bengals to victory.
Barbecue also is big coffee-table fare during the Super Bowl.
Sonya Luechauer favors brisket nachos, and Dean Castillo will be enjoying “little brisket sandwiches with sauce, pickles and onions”
Wings in supply, but they’ll cost you
David Anderson, a Texas AgriLife Extension economist in Central Texas, said wings and drumsticks should be in steady supply but consumers can expect prices to be higher this year.
Wholesale wing prices reached $2.66 per pound compared to $2.49 per pound the same time last year, a 17-cent increase, Anderson said. Wholesale wing prices are 81 cents per pound higher than this time in 2020 when they were $1.85 per pound.
The council reported some producers diverted chickens typically marketed as whole birds for parts like wings to meet demand.
A Jan. 24 U.S. Department of Agriculture Cold Storage Report showed drumstick supplies were down to 32.2 million pounds compared to 37 million pounds on Dec. 31. Wing supplies jumped to 73 million pounds compared to almost 43 million pounds at the end of 2021.
Wing and drumstick supplies typically build during the fall in anticipation of peak demand during Super Bowl weekend, Anderson said. Prices typically begin declining after the Super Bowl, but that did not happen last year as demand remained high.
“It highlights the fascination with wings, which are a poultry cut that used to be practically worthless,” he said. “But once someone created buffalo wings and added some ranch dressing or blue cheese, you had something great. Now they’re so popular that more and more restaurants want to capitalize on their sales.”
Anderson said the popularity of buffalo wings parallels with a beef cut that was once considered a cheap cut of meat – the brisket – and the popularity of barbecue. Another parallel beyond high demand and subsequent high prices for both is that production is limited by animal physiology.
“Chickens only have two wings and two drums just like cattle just have two briskets,” Anderson said. “The popularity of these cuts can put a squeeze on supplies because the industry can’t justify higher production based just on the demand for wings or brisket.”
Other Super Bowl fare
Anderson said rising feed prices, wage increases, and overall higher costs of production and shipping have contributed to increased prices on many grocery items.
Beyond higher prices on grocery items, Anderson said COVID is still impacting logistics for some food products. He said it might be a good idea to shop early to ensure favorite brands are available for game time.
Labor shortages, packaging supply issues, cyberattacks and delivery delays created sporadic shortages of certain products from chips to cream cheese and beer since the Thanksgiving holiday.
For instance, IRi’s supply index shows alcoholic beverages will be running 11-15 percent behind stock from now to gameday while other beverages were 13-14 percent behind typical supply schedules.
“I went to the store for a specific brand of chips and there weren’t any,” Anderson said. “It took four trips to the store to get a package.”
Anderson said he discovered that particular supply hiccup was due to chip company employees being out sick.
“COVID has exposed a lot of the sensitivities in our food supply chain that relies heavily on near-perfect timing,” he said. “It’s normally remarkably efficient, but one or two factors can throw it out of whack.”
Q: When you first sought office, what were your goals for the city, have those goals changed and has Temple reached them?
Long: I can't say that I had a particular goal in mind when I first ran for City Council. I had served on numerous boards over many years and had a concrete understanding of the various and differing needs of our community. I am deeply interested in city planning and have always seen the value of carefully looking at the whole as changes are made in individual areas. I believe my main goal was to be involved in the planning for the seen coming growth of our community and how to keep the integrity of Temple as we grow.
Q: Temple’s approach to developing Downtown has been a huge success. Define the strategies the city used, and can similar strategies be used to drive businesses and customers to other parts of the city?
Long: Downtown planning has and is continuing to be a great success. Businesses basically comes when customers are present. Varied events attract residents and visitors. Planning for this includes looking at parking issues, increased maintenance needs, housing, utilities, etc. I want to help increase the demand for housing Downtown.
Vibrant Downtown communities across the country are filled with residents who help make up the fabric of a neighborhood.
I noticed that you made no mention of the Temple Public Library in your questions.
A library is, in my view, a very important service for residents and we are extremely lucky to have such a good one as a result of early philanthropy on the part of some citizens and dedicated participation on the part of the city.
The Library is in the process of developing a Master Plan for the future and one of my goals related this is how to integrate the Library more fully with the Downtown Master Plan. As Downtown develops and becomes more of a destination spot, my hope is that the Library user-base will grow as more people frequent the area. I hope we can come up with ways to involve the Library with First Friday events.
Q: What is the city’s stance on panhandlers soliciting for money in Temple?
Long: Please refer to our codes and ordinance document. I want to work on this issue in a humane way but and I fully understand the problems with growing events and business side by side with panhandlers and homeless individuals. Temple and Killeen are working together to help address these issues. I am very proud that our City Mgr. and the Council as a whole are in agreement in looking at this as a “regional” issue.
Q: In your opinion, what are the top concerns for the city and how can they be addressed?
Long: I would say the top concerns of the city administration are always meeting the needs, wants and safety of its citizens. As mentioned in Question 1, Temple is a varied community...very wealthy and very poor. The less wealthy neighborhoods have infrastructure needs and we are committed to addressing those as well as addressing the infrastructure needs of the wealthier growing neighborhoods. This obviously involves careful managing of the dollars. If you do A how do you do B? Which is more important? These are questions the Council and staff look at on a daily basis.
Q: City Council will soon take action on the Downtown Plan. What are some elements of the plan that you like and maybe some that you don’t particularly care for?
Long: I am very pleased with the Downtown Plan. My only real comment relates to the Library and how to more fully integrate that facility into the downtown activities. See my remarks on Question 2.
Q: Let’s talk about the old Katy Depot. There’s been a lot of talk about it being renovated? What are your thoughts on its future and how could that become a reality?
Long: Katy Depot......yes,yes, yes! Renovate and integrate into the Santa Fe Trail. It is a wonderful historic building and part of our railroad history. My remarks here are a bit hasty as this topic has not come to Council for discussion and I am not aware of staff positions or detailed discussions.
Q: Temple is working on a Mobility Master Plan. What do you hope the plan includes? More bus routes? Shorter waits at traffic lights? New roads? Anything else?
Long: The Mobility Master Plan is still undergoing review and input from city residents. Traffic is a reality in growing communities. Our goal is to address future needs before it is impossible to develop transportation corridors and connectivity to existing areas as smoothly as possible. I am not a transportation planner, but have the utmost confidence in our staff and consultants. Public transportation is an ongoing issue for many of our lower income residents and along with the Mobility Master Plan we are undergoing a review of The Hop in conjunction with other communities that participate in the service.
Q: Temple’s animal shelter is getting an expansion. What steps could be taken to make the shelter a no-kill facility and is that something that could be coming in the future?
Long: The animal shelter is undergoing growth and change. The city is growing and with it the animal shelter. As our city grows our pet population is expected to grow along with all ancillary problems of more animals. The goal is and always has been to be as much as possible a no-kill shelter. We need to do more advertising and public education concerning the need of animals. We need more spaying programs and we need more fostering homes. I know the city shelter staff is always working towards these goals and I support them totally.
Q: Going back to the Downtown plan. Do you favor the idea of an underground garbage system, especially in the Downtown district? It’s now being done in Ennis, and cities in Florida are big proponents of the concept. Would it work in Temple?
Long: This was an interesting idea that I learned about at the last council meeting. My concerns are cost of new type of garbage trucks or retrofitting the old ones and the possible undermining of foundations of older structures. It would be wonderful to be able to accomplish something like this. Wouldn't it be wonderful if garbage just vanished across the city without cans everywhere? Ennis has been very creative.
Q: What is Temple’s biggest “need” or “want”? Commercial air service? A Downtown music venue? Minor League baseball? I’m just throwing these out there. What’s on your list and how could it become reality?
Long: Temple's biggest need? We have the beginnings of a Music Venue with the Blooming Temple Festival and it is very popular. We already have a good symphony tied into Temple College, and we could try to tempt them with an outdoor concert — how about July 4th? Boston Symphony always does this with a cannon! Of course, to some people these are frivolous and the real needs of a community are to meet the housing, etc. needs of the poorest residents. We as a Council are always looking at the ways to balance the dollars and do projects that bring more development as well as being aware of the needs of our poorest areas.
I notice that you did not ask about our Parks Department. Parks is an area that often comes out in the top of resident surveys in terms of desirability. I am not just referring to Temple residents, but nationwide surveys concerning livability and peoples desires in terms of what they want for their communities. We have a superb department and are always looking for ways to expand it and offer new opportunities. In some ways Downtown Temple plans tie into this with the Santa Fe Trail and the Fair Grounds. The Depot could just continue that experience.
FOXDOG HAS GRAND OPENING & RIBBON-CUTTING
Temple’s newest watering hold opened Friday with a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony. FoxDog, located in a historic house at 209 N. 7th, features coffee, craft beer and wine, and is owned by Ashley and John Vernon. Dan Kelleher photo
Will 2022 be a banner year for wildflowers? It’s too early to say for sure, experts at Texas Wildflower Report said Friday, but so far it’s looking very average. But, a wet February could bring out more flowers and brighter colors.
Thoughts of spring: Wildflower crop likely to be average this spring
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
When it’s 20 degrees outside, thoughts often shift to warmer weather. Like springtime. And in Texas, that means wildflowers.
So, on a blustery day in early February, I’m shifting my focus off weather-related closings and slick roads to fields of blue and pink.
It’s too early for a complete 2022 wildflower forecast — a slightly annoyed staff member at Texas Wildflower Report reminded me of that — but there are tell-tale signs that point to an average year for bluebonnets, paintbrushes, firewheels and those little yellow sunflowers.
According to experts, nearly all spring wildflowers in Texas germinate during fall months. For this to happen in significant numbers, an area must have substantial rainfall from Oct. 7 to Nov. 7.
The Temple area received about 2.5 inches during that time, which is enough for moderate germination.
Texas Wildflower Report is expecting a close to average season in the Temple area but nothing overly spectacular. Remember, though, it’s early and forecasts definitely can change. The organization’s staff will hit Texas roadways and fields in late February looking for plants, and a better expectation of what the season will look like will be provided at that time.
So, what does it take to have a bountiful and colorful spring wildflower show in Texas?
Wildflowers require rainfall in just the right amounts at the right time. Again, fall rain is key because moisture spurs germination. In other words, you have to have plants to have blooms.
New seedlings keep low during cold months, but toward the end of winter they need more rain to develop deep roots. Late winter rains are beneficial to bluebonnets as other spring wildflowers. Wet February could go a long ways in boosting this year’s wildflower crop.
Spring rains are needed to keep blooming plants blooming, creating those colorful roadside shows of color Texans crave. But too much rain can lead to fungal diseases and the rotting of stem and root tissues.
According to the Texas Wildflower Report, wildflowers do best with warm falls to boost germinations, but bluebonnets and other wildflowers need cold winters to encourage blooms in the spring.
During March, warmer weather — 50 to 60 degrees — is needed to stimulate upper plant growth.
THE STATELINE BAND FEATURES FORMER TEMPLE BASSIST
The Stateline Band — featuring former Temple bass player Scott Zajicek (above) — has been nominated for Band of the Year by the Texas Regional Radio Music Association.
The nomination comes on the heels of last year’s Best Band/Duo award in 2021.
The Stateline Band plays Texas country but prides itself on being a dancehall band. The group has three Top 20 hits on the Texas Regional Radio Report — “Time Clock,” “Food-Time Fool” and “Dancehall Devil.”
The band was formed in 2003 in West Texas but has expanded its reach and play venues all over the state, including occasional appearances in Central Texas.
The Stateline Band has opened for country music icons such as Mark Chesnutt, Josh Turner, Pat Green and Aaron Watson.
Scott is the brother of the late David Zychek, a legendary Central Texas guitarist.