20th Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner

It isn’t every day you get to throw a big party to thank the farmers who grow our food! At Niman Ranch we get to do it every year, and have been doing it for 20 years!

This year’s celebration was the biggest yet with more than 600 farmers, industry experts, journalists, thought leaders, chefs and restaurateurs, distributors, grocers, customers and partners at the sold-out event at the Embassy Suites in downtown Des Moines, Iowa.
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Chef Ann Kim to be Featured Chef at Niman Ranch 20th Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner

Chef Ann Kim
Chef Ann Kim, Owner and Executive Chef of Young Joni, Hello Pizza, and Pizzeria Lola

Chef Ann Kim is redefining fine-dining. Wood-fired pizza in a modern atmosphere is the award-winning combination Chef Ann created at Young Joni. Her renowned pizzas and sandwiches are crafted with high-quality ingredients raised with integrity. Chef Ann’s devotion to providing her customers with an overall quality experience and her leadership with Women Chefs and Restaurateurs led to her partnership with Niman Ranch.

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Chef Charles Phan Named Featured Chef at Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner

Chef Charles Phan
Charles Phan, Owner and Executive Chef of The Slanted Door Group

Award-winning chef, Chef Charles Phan, is returning to the annual Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner for the 20th annual celebration.

The partnership between the chef and independent farmers began years ago. Chef Charles opened his flagship restaurant, The Slanted Door, in 1995, the same year Paul Willis, Niman Ranch founding hog farmer, partnered with Niman Ranch to bring humanely and sustainably raised pork to the San Francisco Bay area.

In 2006, Chef Charles made his debut as featured chef at the annual Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner to thank the independent family farmers for their dedication to raising animals humanely and sustainably. To further honor his relationship with founding farmer Paul Willis, Chef Charles listed his Niman Ranch specialty ribs as “Willis Ribs” on his menus. Chef Charles Phan will return for the exclusive 20th anniversary dinner and is bringing back what he once called “Willis Ribs” as his featured dish to share with the honorary family farmers.

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Chef Cal Peternell Returns for the 20th Niman Ranch Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner

Chef Cal Peternell
Chef Cal Peternell, Former Executive Chef of Chez Panisse

Chef Cal Peternell, the former executive chef of Chez Panisse, played a significant role in the creation of the first Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner.

Alice Waters, the owner and founder of Chez Panisse, and Chef Cal have been proud partners of Niman Ranch founding hog farmer, Paul Willis, for many years. Sourcing Chez Panisse with sustainably raised Niman Ranch pork, Alice Waters started a legendary movement in Berkeley, Calif. The successful partnership inspired Paul to organize the first Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner featuring Chef Cal Peternell.

We are happy to announce the first-ever featured chef, Chef Cal Peternell, will be back for the 20th annual Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner.

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Chef Michael Schwartz Named Featured Chef at the 20th Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner

Chef Michael Schwartz
Chef Michael Schwartz, Owner and Chef of The Genuine Hospitality Group

James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurant owner, Chef Michael Schwartz, will be returning to Des Moines, Iowa for the 20th anniversary of the Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner. He joined us to cook great food for our family farmers back in 2011 and was so popular that he was invited back for this year’s special anniversary.

Chef Michael Schwartz continues to support Niman Ranch’s network of independent family farmers through his devotion to good food by exclusively featuring Niman Ranch pork and beef at his restaurants, Genuine Pizza® and Harry’s Pizzeria®.  

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Niman Ranch 20th Annual Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner Featuring Chef Todd Fisher

Chef Todd Fisher
Chef Todd Fisher, Seventh & Dolores Vice President of Culinary Operations

Chef Todd Fisher is an enthusiastic supporter of Niman Ranch. A few short months ago, Chef Todd and his team cooked Niman Ranch beef, pork and lamb at the James Beard House. It was not only an honor for Chef Todd, but an honor for Niman Ranch to be invited to the James Beard House. We look forward to seeing Chef Todd Fisher as a featured chef this year at our 20th annual Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner.

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Shake Shack Leadership Retreat

Last month, Shake Shack held its annual Leadership Retreat for their employees near Albany, New York at Lake George.  Niman Ranch was invited to attend to present a workshop to promote awareness about humane animal care and traditional farming methods. With Shake Shack using only Niman Ranch bacon, it was important for them to share where it is coming from with their employees.

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South Dakota Meets Sarasota

I traveled to Sarasota, Florida a couple of months ago to assist in promoting the Niman Ranch Next Generation Scholarship Fund at Mattison’s Scholarship Dinner. During this visit, I enjoyed speaking to all those that attended the wonderful dinner held at Mattison’s. I enjoyed entertaining questions about Niman Ranch and my family’s seventh-generation farm during the social hour. Questions ranged from why my family supports Niman Ranch to how the scholarship fund has impacted my life to the process of raising our pigs.

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Springtime on a Niman Ranch farm

Spring has finally sprung, which is great because this year we weren’t sure spring would ever arrive. What a crazy month April was – from thunderstorms to thundersnow to blizzards.  Our children are always happy to have a few days off from school due to snow, but farmers never get a day off.

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Honoring Earth Day Today and Every Day on the Farm

Earth Day on the Farm Earth Day, like every day, is a great opportunity to take time to appreciate the earth. Living on a farm, favorable weather and healthy soil are never taken for granted. As Niman Ranch farmers, we are closely connected to the land, caring for the earth as the earth provides for us. We aspire to preserve the land and fresh water for future generations. In order to do this, we practice a variety of conservation and sustainable farming techniques to improve water and soil quality. We truly live every day like it’s earth day with our top 10 sustainable best practices. 

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