Beneficial Bugs Ladybug Releases at Valley Farms

Written by Heather Bode, Photography by Jacqui Smith

What do the Mall of America and Japanese mustard spinach farmers have in common with Valley Farms in Helena? They all utilize ladybugs as biopesticide. And lots of them.

Valley Farms owner Dennis Flynn says, “We were looking at a way to control insects late season without insecticides.” Since their initial use in his greenhouses three years ago, Flynn has been so impressed with the results, he’s never looked back.

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Summer Sunrise

Text by Hayley Leray | Photo by Rhonda Adkins

It’s a far cry from the beach in central Montana, but this refreshing summer chiller will whisk you off to the beach where the ocean breeze gently rustles your hair and the salty, sea-weedy smell of the ocean relaxes the soul. Like an ocean breeze, this attitude adjusting cocktail will cool your jets with a delicious blend of orange juice, vodka, tequila, and Cointreau. Mix up a tall, cold pitcher, sit back and enjoy the view. If you put your ear to the glass, you may even be able to hear the ocean waves crashing! Okay, that only happens with seashells, but this drink will have you relaxing like you’ve been sitting on the sand and surf all day! Salut!


1 cup pulp free orange juice
1 ounce Absolute Citron vodka
1 ounce Tequila
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1-2 tablespoon Hibiscus syrup or grenadine
orange slices and candied hibiscus flowers for garnish, if desired


In a small pitcher mix orange juice, vodka, tequila and cointreau. Pour over ice filled 8 ounce tumblers. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of syrup, depending on how sweet you like it and garnish. Makes two cocktails.

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Colors of Our World

A Glimpse into the Artistic Journey of Karlie Kafka

Text and Photography by Holly Matkin

On a desolate stretch of Montana backroad, just before the dim hues of day crest the eastern horizon, the telltale banging and clanging of a rolling horse trailer usher in a new morning. At an hour when the idea of activity seems asinine to most, Karlie Kafka is taking one of her six horses to the foothills of the Bear Paw Mountains to get a head start on what she calls “a day at the office.” Riding through the rolling hills as the radiant sunrise climbs over the mountaintops, it becomes easy to understand how such inspiration can make a person feel overcome by the need to create.

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Craft Brewing at its Finest in Central MT

Text by Mark Baune • Photography by Jim Wells

If you follow my column or you are just tapping in, there is one thing that’s clear –I love beer! Not just any beer… I love craft beers! You might even say I’m a bit of an artisanal snob. Acquiring this status didn’t come over night. I went through years of the mass produced stuff… Bud, Miller and the likes but, when the craft beer revolution began, I dove headfirst into the thick, dark, hoppy beers and never looked back. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not above accepting a lawn mower beer if offered but as good brew masters have refined their recipes for good beer; I too have educated my palate in quality, taste, uniqueness and the creativity of these flavorful libations.

The craft beer revolution has new brewers firing up their fermenters across central Montana. Great Falls alone has three breweries, Mighty Mo, The Front and Bowser Brewing. Black Eagle is home to Black Eagle Brewing while Belt boasts long time brewer, Harvest Moon. Havre lays claim to Triple Dog brewery and White Sulphur Springs recently tapped into the brewing scene with 2 Basset Brewery.

This issue, we are heading to the Mighty Mo for a peek at its offerings. “The Mo”, as the locals refer, is located in the middle of downtown Great Falls. This cleverly renovated historic brick building boasts a fun and casual atmosphere with food that compliments the heart, soul and passion that is poured into every batch of beer they brew.

The Mo has its keepers and its seasonals (catch and release). Dam Fog is American Hefeweizen, and is named after the fog like mist the Great Falls of the Missouri produces when the river is flowing hard. It checks in at 5.0% ABV and 20 IBU’s (International Bitterness Units – the bitterness rating of beer). Rising Trout is a West Coast style Pale Ale that comes in at 5.4% ABV with an IBU of 49. The Rendezvous Red is an American Amber/ Red Ale. It pours a garnet red with a thick creamish tan head. The Lip Ripper is an IPA that pours a nice cooper color and checks in at 6% ABV and 33 IBU. The Smoke Jumper is a fine representation of a Scottish Ale. Checking in at 6.4% AVB and 21 IBU’s, it’s a definite palate warmer!

On the catch and release list, the Mr. Brownstone, an Oud Bruin (Old Brown), is a style of beer that requires a long aging process allowing the residual yeast and bacteria to develop a sour flavor. It checks in at 5.6% ABV and at 20 IBU’s. The Motorboat Apricot Wheat Ale is the perfect summer quencher. Checking in at 5% ABV and 20 IBU’s, this American Pale Wheat Ale offers great flavor with a very clean finish.

Check-in next issue as we continue our tour of breweries in Central Montana. In the meantime, forego the bland, flavorless, watered-down idea of a desirable beverage and embrace the ever-growing, constantly-evolving group of craft beer enthusiasts right here in central Montana. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

— Cheers! Beer Man

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Leave it to the Devers

Text by Claire Baiz • Photography by Jim Wells

The Devers, their chocolate lab, and especially their Jack Russell Terrier, ready to hit the Rivers Edge Trail.

The Devers, their chocolate lab, and especially their Jack Russell Terrier, ready to hit the Rivers Edge Trail.

“We’ve got blue skies all winter, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, four brew pubs and an extensive trail system.” It’s hard to get Laura Dever to stop gushing about Great Falls. “We had a blast at Western Art Week. We love the Russell Museum and the First Friday Art Walks…and there’s a women’s hockey team!”

When Chad Dever isn’t busy with his new job as District Two Commander for the Montana Highway Patrol, he and Laura bike and hike with their dogs. The chocolate lab sticks close, but their intrepid Jack Russell Terrier has the soul of an explorer—and a snout full of porcupine quills to prove it.

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Dirt Man for the Field of Dreams

Voyagers Grounds Keeper

Text by Claire Baiz • Photos by Daphne Wade

Just after the dew lifts, Scott Cooper uncovers the mound and plate. He’ll mow, water, and do regular maintenance at Great Falls’ Centene Stadium until batting practice is over. While the crowd fills the stands, Cooper and his assistant ‘finish’ the field, re-drag between the bases, and apply fresh chalk lines.

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