Learn more about in-home care options for your loved ones

Given the choice, most of us want to stay in our homes. Sometimes, people need help to remain at home. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

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“I've been using ABC for about 2 1/2 years and have really met some wonderful people and great caregivers. I know they all work hard and are experienced and dependable which is important to me. At times I've needed a flexible schedule and they've been able to accommodate my needs and been very friendly about it. At times I've also had to ask these caregivers to do things for me outside of their job description and they've been very accommodating. Brent is also been great to follow up with phone calls and help adjust my schedule when needed. I do recommend this company.”

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“Always best care has been warm and welcoming. They start off with a really good pay start and they also give really good hours and are very flexible with my work and school schedule. They are very kind even throughout my shifts they will sometimes ask me how my shifts went and make sure I’m doing ok and even through the holidays they send me messages or cards wishing me the best of holidays and always making me feel part of their family and business. And if I have any questions or concerns they are always supportive and always there for me I definitely recommend working hear and also I love working there my clients are all very nice and if you are ever looking for help always best care is the best place to call.”

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 In-Home Care La Verkin, UT

How does In-home Senior Care in La Verkin, UT work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it's especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

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 Senior Care La Verkin, UT

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:


How much does a senior's home truly mean to them? A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in La Verkin, UT, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living
Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.


For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience
Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in La Verkin, UT gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Empowers Seniors

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

Veteran's Benefits
Veteran's Benefits

Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.

Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-Term Care Insurance

Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.

Private Insurance
Private Insurance

Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.

Life Insurance
Life Insurance

Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.

Respite Care La Verkin, UT

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in La Verkin,UT understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

 Caregivers La Verkin, UT

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

An assessment of your senior loved one


An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home


Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

Latest News in La Verkin, UT

A new hot spring in southern Utah? Water manager says plans for the resort are heating up.

A Colorado investor is looking to build a $30 million resort in La Verkin. La Verkin • A popular pastime relegated to memory by La Verkin residents in Washington County is poised to make a major comeback.Nearly a decade after the La Verkin Hot Springs resort was shut down and closed to bathers due to legal and financial woes, Colorado investors aim to build a new $30 million resort.Mogli Cooper, co-owner of Iron Mountain Hot S...

A Colorado investor is looking to build a $30 million resort in La Verkin.

La Verkin • A popular pastime relegated to memory by La Verkin residents in Washington County is poised to make a major comeback.

Nearly a decade after the La Verkin Hot Springs resort was shut down and closed to bathers due to legal and financial woes, Colorado investors aim to build a new $30 million resort.

Mogli Cooper, co-owner of Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs, Colo., and her investment team are proposing to build Zion Canyon Hot Springs, which would be situated on about 16 acres on the opposite side of the Virgin River from the old resort.

“This is something that is definitely going to happen,” Cooper said. “It will be a wonderful and attractive retreat, and it will be located on a perfect spot above the Virgin River.”

As envisioned by Cooper, the resort will include a parking lot, an entry building with locker rooms, about two dozen or more hot soaking pools, a fresh-water pool, a sauna and other spa-like amenities. Cooper said there also could be a Kneipp walk, where bathers get a foot massage by walking on polished pebbles in alternating hot and cold water in special tanks.

And depending on market conditions, a hotel and restaurant could round out the amenities at the resort.

While Zion Canyon’s actual features are up in the air and could change, the investors are already tying down 13 acres next to State Route 9 for the parking lot. Moreover, they signed a contract in July with the Washington Water Conservancy District, which will lease about 3.25 acres for the pools on the south side of the resort.

Under the terms of the 50-year lease, the district has also agreed to provide the resort with access to the water in the La Verkin hot springs it owns for $25,000 a year, automatically adjusted for inflation, or 2 percent of the resort’s annual gross ticket sales, whichever is greater. But Zion Canyon will have to pay for everything else, including installing and maintaining pipes.

“Essentially, [the lease] allows the company to come in, capture the water, pump it up the hill to their ponds and then return all that water to the district,” said Zach Renstrom, the Washington Water Conservancy District’s executive director.

A significant side benefit, he added, is the water returned to the district’s La Verkin hot springs will be cooler and thus help endangered fish such as woundfin, Virgin River chub and spinedace, which stop eating and start to get stressed when water gets too hot.

Renstrom and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney toured the shuttered hot springs earlier this month. During his visit to southwest Utah, Romney warned that significant water conservation must happen in the region, or development opportunities will also dry up.

La Verkin Hot Springs – alternately known as La Verkin Sulphur Springs, Dixie Hot Springs or Pah Tempe in its various incarnations over the past century – produces approximately 7 million gallons of 107-degree hot water per day and releases 109,000 tons of salt (more than 6,800 semi-truck loads) each year, making it one of the top three pollutants of the Colorado River, according to the conservancy district.

District officials are working with the Bureau of Reclamation to explore the possibility of desalinating the springs. In the meantime, they want to make the water from the springs available for recreational pursuits.

(Design by The Land Studio, Inc) A concept plan of the proposed Zion Canyon Hot Springs that, if approved, would be built in La Verkin, Utah.

In 2013, the district acquired the hot springs, which was a recreation hot spot for decades but had fallen into disrepair from frequent disuse, after a protracted legal battle with the previous owner, who went bankrupt.

Soon afterward, the water district closed off public access to protect its assets, and out of liability concerns due to frequent rockfalls and other hazards. District officials explored reopening the site, but decided it would be safer to facilitate an off-site resort that would be operated by private owners.

“Government is not set up to run a resort like this, and we really shouldn’t be running resorts,” Renstrom said. “We had to figure out a way to balance the needs of the public versus the private sector. We also realized that for people to use and enjoy this water, we needed to pump the water somewhere that’s safer.”

Working with Washington County, La Verkin and Hurricane officials, the district put out a request for qualifications four years ago and soon picked Cooper and her team due, in large part, to the success of Iron Mountain Hot Springs, which draws more than 270,000 customers a year since its opening in 2015 and has a similar history as La Verkin’s hot springs.

Progress on the proposed resort was slowed by the coronavirus pandemic but is now heating up. Although no timetable has been set, Cooper is optimistic construction on the resort can begin within the next year.

Ivins City Recorder Christy Ballard remembers frequenting the La Verkin resort as a child on occasion with family and friends. But the stench from the sulfur at the springs, especially from the pools in the caverns, was so foul she usually opted to swim elsewhere.

“It was stinky,” Ballard said. “Honestly, most of the time I would go to the city pool instead because you didn’t smell bad afterward.”

Although he lives across the river from the former resort, former La Verkin Mayor Karl Wilson says he can still smell the [the sulfur] once in a while.

“For us locals, that’s just like a sweet flower,” he quipped. “As young kids, we liked to play in the river because of the hot and the cold and the mud. We’d have the river water coming down mixing with the hot spring water. So sometimes we get a little above the springs to cool off.”

Wilson supports the proposed resort but says some worry about La Verkin losing its small-town feel. For his part, he argues the resort will be a boon to the area’s economy and draw visitors from Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and from as far away as California and Colorado.

La Verkin is located on State Route 9, a major road leading to Zion National Park, which attracts up to 5 million visitors a year. Cooper said that traffic, along with La Verkin’s close proximity to St. George, should make the resort profitable, just like Iron Mountain in Colorado.

“We’re hoping to divert some of those visitors [from Zion] and from the surrounding areas,” she said.

While the look of the new resort is conceptual at this time, La Verkin City Administrator Kyle Gubler is hopeful it will pan out. Nonetheless, he said Zion Canyon investors still need to present a site plan, comply with zoning and get the city to sign off on the resort.

Editor’s note • This story is available to Salt Lake Tribune subscribers only. Thank you for supporting local journalism.

Neighbors fear a slow-moving landslide in La Verkin is threatening their homes

LA VERKIN, Utah (KUTV) — At first glance, you wouldn’t notice anything amiss on 560 West in the La Verkin Overlook neighborhood of Southern Utah.But neighbors said they have watched the threat of a slow-moving landslide inch closer and closer to their homes.“For a while it seemed like it was going to be ok, and then it wasn’t ok,” homeowner Clarence Dorsey told 2News.The landslide, which La Verkin city officials call the "Overlook Slide," forced two homes on the west side of the st...

LA VERKIN, Utah (KUTV) — At first glance, you wouldn’t notice anything amiss on 560 West in the La Verkin Overlook neighborhood of Southern Utah.

But neighbors said they have watched the threat of a slow-moving landslide inch closer and closer to their homes.

“For a while it seemed like it was going to be ok, and then it wasn’t ok,” homeowner Clarence Dorsey told 2News.

The landslide, which La Verkin city officials call the "Overlook Slide," forced two homes on the west side of the street to be torn in 2020. Neighbors said it has creeped much closer to the road over the last three months.

“There may be cracks under this road that we don’t know about, that’s a concern for everybody in this neighborhood," said homeowner Stephen Bird. "We bought down here in good faith that all the geologic studies had been done. It’s our retirement home."

Utility crews have been at the site of the Overlook Slide this week to secure utility lines. Superintendent Michael Chandler of the Ash Creek Special Service District, which handles the sewer lines, said the slide is starting to strain utility lines.

“The road overlays our sewer line and it’s starting to pull the existing laterals from the previous homes out. It’s starting to threaten some of our infrastructure,” Chandler said.

The Overlook Slide is mostly to blame on water problems related to soil erosion as result of water runoff, according to a 2021 study by Sunrise Engineering that was given to La Verkin city officials.

The report recommends a regiment of drain systems, testing and monitoring at the site to prevent further erosion.

La Verkin city officials referred comment to Sunrise Engineering. Neighbors said they have not been told any specifics about what the plan is as the erosion gets closer to their street.

“Had it been like this, I would have never bought my lot, I would have never built in this neighborhood,” Dorsey said. “I think the city’s responsibility is to only issue building permits on lots that are suitable to build on.”

A similar situation happened to homes in Riverdale between 2017 and 2019.

A landslide in North Salt Lake damaged homes and a sports club in 2014.

Adventure gear consignment shop offering canyoneering and climbing tours opens in LaVerkin

LAVERKIN —When a couple who lived in a bus full-time fell in love with Zion, they put down enough roots to open a guided adventure company along with an outdoor gear consignment shop, which allows the community to obtain gear...

LAVERKIN —When a couple who lived in a bus full-time fell in love with Zion, they put down enough roots to open a guided adventure company along with an outdoor gear consignment shop, which allows the community to obtain gear at less than half the cost of regular outdoor stores.

From a childhood with no outdoor experiences to a new world opened up by nature’s beauty, Cindy Alfaro traded the step-by-step life plan she was expected to achieve for a home-on-wheels and seasonal jobs with her husband, Jared Wright, who has a passion for canyoneering. When they came across an opportunity to do what they loved for a living, they ran with it.

Alfaro, co-owner of Amazing Adventures with her husband, said she spent her childhood in Houston, Texas. With her mother originally from Honduras and her father from Guatemala, they both individually migrated to Texas when they were in their teens.

Her parents met in Houston and were married, then later raised three children, including Alfaro. With a childhood that did not contain opportunities to explore or see nature, she said she didn’t know anything about national parks, camping or climbing. Her parents, who found work very important, instilled in her the order her life should go: complete high school, go to college and obtain a career.

Alfaro said she didn’t have the opportunity to experience the outdoors until the age of 25, when she dated someone who took her on a family trip to Sedona, Arizona. Instantly blown away by the beauty, she kept her full-time accountant job in Houston and began to spend her weekends on trips to explore the outdoors she had missed out on as a child.

On a visit to Moab one year, Alfaro said she met a seasonal river guide who lived out of his Subaru. Completely awe-struck and inspired by the lifestyle, she went back home, put in her two-week notice and moved to Zion, a place she had visited in the past and fallen in love with.

When she arrived in the greater Zion area in 2017, she worked a seasonal job at Under Canvas – a company that offers upscale accommodations in a stunning canyon near Zion National Park. The job also provided housing, which allowed her the ability to free-roam and not be tied to a lease contract. In the winter of 2019, she attended one of the company’s camp openings in Tucson, Arizona, where she met her now-husband.

In the summer of that same year, Alfaro and Wright seasonally moved to Moab, where they purchased a bus to renovate and live in full-time. Alfaro had a full-time job at the time and also worked part-time at Moab gear trader, a consignment shop that offers new and used adventure gear. As a side income, she also purchased items at thrift stores and resold them. Her goal was to make as much money as she could in the summer in order to take the entire winter off to travel.

At the time, Alfaro said her husband had never been to Zion, but she told him how much she loved it and her strong desire to move there. In December 2019, they took the leap and moved to Southern Utah in their renovated bus. Upon arrival, they both took seasonal jobs – her husband worked as a guide at Zion Adventure Company in Springdale, while she worked at Desert Pearl, a hotel downtown.

When COVID-19 struck the community and tours became obsolete, Alfaro said her husband was laid off. Due to both the shutdowns and the heat of summer affecting their bus, they decided to move up to the higher elevations of Kolob to cool off. In 2021, they purchased half an acre and parked their van on the property for the entire year.

While they worked at a general store in Kolob, they were connected with someone who had acquired Amazing Adventures – a tour company that already had permits for canyoneering and climbing. While the owner who acquired the company didn’t know anything about climbing or canyoneering, Alfaro said her husband, who had been a climber since he was 10, offered to run it.

“My dad inspired me to go after the company when I took him canyoneering for his first time. He loved it and wanted to see me share the same experience with others,” Wright said.

With the initial owner concerned about liability issues, the decision was made to purchase the company outright, instead. Alfaro said the hardest part about establishing a guide company is obtaining guide permits, so they were excited to come across a guide company that had already obtained them. Alfaro and Wright officially purchased and launched Amazing Adventures in April of 2021.

Initially, they planned to get either a storefront for the guide company or storage space to house all the gear needed for their tours. As they started to look for a shop space, they wanted to avoid the hustle and bustle and expensive lease prices in Springdale, so they began to look at places in a central hub location – Hurricane.

Alfaro said when they stumbled across a shop space in LaVerkin, they were told by locals that it had been vacant for a very long time. Once a restaurant, she said it would need a ton of renovations in order to become any type of storefront again. When they contacted the owner who had just purchased the property a year prior, she said he wasn’t interested in the renovations needed to lease it, but told them if they wanted to put in the work and get the building up to code, he would give them a deal on rent.

“It was a big project,” Alfaro said. “It was kind of scary because we were investing in this and we weren’t even sure if the city was going to pass the final inspection. It was a big risk.”

Inspired by other consignment shops she had visited and worked at in her past along with her side-hustle of reselling used items, they decided to open both a storefront for their guide business and a consignment store that would offer discounted outdoor adventure gear. Once they came to an agreement on the lease, the renovations began.

They tore down walls, rebuilt a bathroom and more. Alfaro said the city of LaVerkin was great to work with and was excited they wanted to be in the Main Street location.

When they completed the walk-through and received the green light to open their storefront, she and her husband couldn’t wait to get started.

“There are so many people and guides in the area and people passing through, along with locals that are into the outdoors,” Alfaro said. “Kind of wild that there was not a consignment shop here already.”

Amazing Adventures had a soft open and began to accept consignment items in December of 2021. At that time, Alfaro said they were only open two days a week for specific hours in order for people to drop off their gear. The shop had a grand opening party on Feb. 16 and has been open seven days a week ever since. Alfaro runs the shop full-time while her husband steps in often to help. Wright runs the guide side of the company full-time and has four other guides that work for him.

“Owning a guide company is a lot of fun,” Wright said. “We get to share what we love to do with others.”

Wright said it is important to have safe, well-trained guides, and once everyone is comfortable with the safety and rescue systems, Amazing Adventures has the ability to take clients on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure – the ability to tackle large rappels and climbs over 100 feet – activities that most never thought they could do.

The shop offers a variety of hiking, climbing, camping and technical gear, along with touristy, artistic items. Alfaro said there is an even split between new items and consignment items available. Currently, the shop contains climbing gear and hardware, wet suits, helmets and camping items such as tents and sleeping bags. Items on consignment also have tiered pricing.

Some of the new items the shop features include stickers, candles and other items by local artisans. Alfaro is a graphic design artist herself and has created T-shirts, tank tops, stickers and hats with her designs that are available for purchase. Local guide books are also available that contain information on climbing, canyoneering, bouldering and hiking in both Zion and St. George.

Amazing Adventures also holds community days once a month, a day locals who either want to learn how to climb or just want to climb with other locals are able to get out and enjoy the outdoors together. Wright sets up ropes and lends out harnesses, shoes and other items needed to climb for the day. Alfaro said after these community days, many establish a love for climbing and obtain climbing gear right away, and they love to see that.

“This is what we love to do and when we get to see people’s passion for our favorite activities grow. It is very inspiring. It is why we do what we do,” Wright said.

Visit the Amazing Adventures website or follow them on Instagram for more information on guided canyoneering and rock climbing tours along with details on the consignment shop. The gear shop and guide storefront are located at 160 S. State Street in LaVerkin.

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First Rosie independent grocer goes live with SNAP online EBT payment

Grocery e-commerce provider Rosie has officially launched acceptance of electronic benefit transfer (EBT) payments for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) online orders at its first independent grocer.Ithaca, N.Y.-based Rosie said Wednesday that Davis Food & Drug in Utah now allows SNAP benefits recipients to pay for groceries bought online using their EBT cards. The retailer, with three stores in Vernal, Roosevelt and La Verkin, offers online grocery pickup and delivery through its Davis Direct service, powered by Ro...

Grocery e-commerce provider Rosie has officially launched acceptance of electronic benefit transfer (EBT) payments for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) online orders at its first independent grocer.

Ithaca, N.Y.-based Rosie said Wednesday that Davis Food & Drug in Utah now allows SNAP benefits recipients to pay for groceries bought online using their EBT cards. The retailer, with three stores in Vernal, Roosevelt and La Verkin, offers online grocery pickup and delivery through its Davis Direct service, powered by Rosie.

Related: Associated Grocers of Baton Rouge partners with Rosie on e-commerce

“Accepting SNAP payments online is going to make a world of difference,” Jodi Drake, e-commerce lead at Davis Food & Drug, said in a statement. “Serving our community is what we do best, and we’re now able to fulfill a need our customers have thanks to Rosie. To make it even more convenient for shoppers, we’re excited to announce Davis stores will be waiving the pickup fee for everyone

beginning Wednesday, Feb. 9.”

Related: Little Giant Farmer’s Market launches SNAP EBT payment for online orders

Under the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot, launched in April 2019 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), 47 states and the District of Columbia now allow SNAP beneficiaries to shop and pay for groceries online. In Utah, SNAP online EBT payments are accepted only at Davis Food & Drug, Walmart and Amazon.

Citing federal data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Rosie noted that one in nine Americans rely on benefits provided via EBT, making acceptance of SNAP online payments critical. The nation’s largest nutrition assistance program, SNAP has more than 40 million annual participations, and over two-thirds are families with children, with another third being households with senior citizens or people with disabilities.

“With grocery e-commerce a part of our everyday lives, it’s essential that independent grocers have the tools they need to provide solutions to the underserved in their community, and compete and win against national chains,” according to Jon Mareane, software rollouts lead at Rosie. “Technology continues to advance, and we’re proud to be part of a program that is impacting hundreds of thousands of SNAP recipients nationwide.”

FNS, which administers SNAP, issued a call for retailer volunteers for the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot in September 2016 and then in January 2017 offered participation in the pilot’s first phase to Amazon, Walmart, ShopRite, Safeway and Hy-Vee, as well as to online grocer FreshDirect and independent grocers Dash’s Market and Wright’s Markets. Rosie said its technology and development teams have prioritized SNAP online functionality with the help of its retailers, FNS and Fiserv since grocery partner Dash’s Market — now with four stores in the Buffalo, N.Y., area — was selected by the USDA to take part in the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot.

Along with independent supermarket operators, Rosie serves as an e-commerce partner of leading grocery wholesalers, including Associated Food Stores, Associated Grocers Inc., Associated Wholesale Grocers, Bozzuto’s, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing Co. and URM Stores.

Sorghum day; Dixie’s other crop and a LaVerkin walkabout

FEATURE — When one thinks of farming in Utah’s Dixie, the first crop that comes to mind is typically cotton, but another crop the first settlers in the area imported from the South was sorghum. In the early 1900s, LaVerkin boasted as many as seven sorghum mills.Early settlers loved sorghum as a sweetener not only because it grew readily in Dixie and was economical, but with the Civil War raging, people in the West couldn’t obtain sugar.Festivals are a good way to get to know the history of tow...

FEATURE — When one thinks of farming in Utah’s Dixie, the first crop that comes to mind is typically cotton, but another crop the first settlers in the area imported from the South was sorghum. In the early 1900s, LaVerkin boasted as many as seven sorghum mills.

Early settlers loved sorghum as a sweetener not only because it grew readily in Dixie and was economical, but with the Civil War raging, people in the West couldn’t obtain sugar.

Festivals are a good way to get to know the history of towns and to enjoy foods and crafts that townsfolk create, and LaVerkin’s “Winter Fest” is no exception. Held annually on the second weekend in December, the 2016 festival included a Mayor’s Walk during which Mayor Kerry Gubler related some of LaVerkin’s history.

The group walked west along Center Street in LaVerkin while Gubler explained the struggles of canal building and the daunting task of keeping water in the ditch. He also pointed out the area where fertile fields grew apricot, peach, pear and nut orchards.

Today an elementary school and small farms with homes both old and new line Center Street. One can only imagine the vast farms that once produced LaVerkin’s single most important cash crop – sorghum.

In Cherrie Gubler Naegle’s book “LaVerkin, Town of My Youth,” she writes that sorghum has a gourmet quality; it is not as intensely sweet as sugar or honey. Sorghum molasses is nutritious; high in iron, calcium and potassium. It is often confused with other molasses that are made from sugarcane or sugar beets as a byproduct.

Gubler showed his Winter Fest walking group two small stone houses built by early pioneers in 1899: the home of Henry Gubler, his great uncle, and that of Joseph Gubler, his great grandfather.

Henry Gubler became LaVerkin’s first mayor. Joseph Gubler avoided leadership positions but was highly respected by many. The Gublers always grew the best fruit and produced a lot of sorghum.

In 1916, four Model T’s could be seen driving around the dirt and gravel roads of LaVerkin. However, when it came to hauling farm produce, the horse-drawn wagon was transportation of choice. Joseph Gubler wanted nothing to do with a machine that couldn’t follow a few simple directions such as “whoa!” and “giddy up!”

Every fall, LaVerkin farmers headed north to Cedar City with loaded wagon trains to peddle sorghum packed in wooden barrels made of black willow or ash. Each stave was cut and hand-planed by Marcellus Wright, a carpenter and blacksmith from Hurricane.

The sorghum lappers, as Dixie residents were nicknamed, continued to use their horse-drawn wagons well into the ‘50s.

LaVerkin hasn’t entirely cornered the market on Southern Utah sorghum. John Kirkland, a burly, salt-of-the-earth kind of guy, grows and produces sorghum today on his 30-acre farm situated in the middle of Washington City. Kirkland was born in St. George after his father moved the family from Georgia to Southern Utah shortly upon joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1940.

The Kirklands had a desire to grow southern crops, such as okra, sweet onions, butterbeans, peanuts and sugarcane. Producing sorghum was a perfect fit. Kirkland remembers Bill Stratton’s vast fields of sorghum being grown precisely where Quail Lake is today. At age 25, Kirkland, his father and many brothers helped Stratton harvest and process his molasses. They learned the trade.

Kirkland doesn’t make sorghum production a hobby. He calls himself a bootlegger, or at least a sorghum lapper. He produces sorghum because he loves it, he said, and because pure sorghum is hard to come by. His wife, Rosie, likes to make a barbecue sauce with sorghum, and they always add it to their bread.

Sorghum canes thrive in the long, hot growing season of Washington County. Canes grow 12 to 15 feet tall. The stalk is pressed for juice which is boiled down to syrup. One acre will produce approximately 200 gallons of syrup, perfect for smaller farms. However, sorghum production is still an exhausting and labor-intensive procedure.

The art of making sorghum was passed down from father to son. Only farmers with large families would dare produce sorghum. Seeds were hand-sown and irrigated lightly, and a horse-drawn drag was pulled over the land to cover the seeds. Cultivating to create furrows for irrigating, thinning the plants and weeding were tasks that seemed endless.

Today harvesting sorghum canes takes four workers in the field to cut the canes at ground level with machetes and to remove the red seed tassels. Three people skim and stay around the pan, Kirkland said.

Knowing the exact moment to stop cooking is crucial and using fresh cane resolute. Kirkland uses a candy thermometer to register the heated syrup to 226 F. If it cooks longer, it will turn to hard tack; if it cooks less time, it will sour.

At the mill, a boom was pulled by a team of draft horses that walked a circle around three steel drums that crushed the stalks. The worker that fed the canes into the crusher had to duck every time the boom passed by.

Kirkland uses his backhoe with an auger that turns the shaft that squeezes the juice out of the stocks. The juice flows into a barrel and from there into a series of five to seven vats that are assembled over a furnace. Previously using a wood-burning furnace, more recently Kirkland invented a burner to use waste oil he gathers from transmission shops. It takes a gallon of oil to produce a gallon of molasses.

“But the oil doesn’t smoke. It burns real clean,” Kirkland said.

The new invention sounds like a blowtorch because he uses a leaf blower to atomize the drip of oil.

Kirkland offers a limited supply of sorghum to the community at St. George’s first garden nursery, Kirkland’s Fence and Garden Center, which now sells seeds and fencing – and sorghum – just in time for gingerbread baking.

Most gingerbread recipes call for dark, strong molasses, and sorghum fills the bill. Through generations folks have enjoyed the zesty aroma of gingerbread wafting through their home. For many, the tradition of baking and designing a gingerbread house kicks off the holidays. And knowing that the crunchy spiced cookie will keep for several weeks, artists put their heart and soul into amazing creations.

The Christmas tradition of baking and making gingerbread houses is said to have originated in Germany during the 16th century. The elaborate cookie-walled houses became popular when the Brothers Grimm wrote the story of Hansel and Gretel.

In St. George, the “Gingerbread Tour” has become an annual competition. This year, 20 creations were on display in city’s historic downtown area from the end of November through George Streetfest, the city’s First Friday monthly event, when awards were given.

German Gingerbread Cake

Recipe by Kathy Lillywhite

Visiting tips

LaVerkin is 20 miles north of St. George. Take Interstate 15 to state Route 9 through Hurricane. SR-9 becomes State Street, and after approximately 3 miles, you will be in LaVerkin.

The Confluence Park with four entrances offers great hiking year round.

Read more: A Reserve, 4 trailheads, 2 creeks and a river all meet at Confluence Park.

Kirkland’s Fence and Garden Center, or Kirkland Sandy Acres Nursery, is located at 545 W. 400 North, St. George. Its hours of operation are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Telephone 435-628-0844.

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About the series “Days”

“Days” is a series with St. George News contributor, feature writer and photographer Kathleen Lillywhite. She said:

I write my stories for people who say, ‘What is there to do around St. George?’ and for new folks just moving into this area.

Read more: See all of the features in the “Days” series.

Email: [email protected] | [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.


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