Instead of making reservations at an expensive restaurant this Valentine’s Day, impress your date with a memorable, private dining experience at home.
Feel free to follow the age-old tradition of preparing a four course meal – no one’s stopping you! But we suggest you think outside the candlelight and try one of these four unique ideas with that special food lover in your life.
Growing up, I remember almost everyone raised hogs in the same way: outdoor on pasture or deeply bedded pens. This was an integral part of the overall farming operation. Eventually, things began to change and many hog farmers implemented the latest technology and constructed Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO). These were indoor hog production facilities designed to substantially increase the number of pigs farmers could raise in a limited amount of space.
We think 2015 was a great year. Some of the coldest days on record were experienced in Iowa, we gave more money than ever before to winners of the Next Generation Scholarship, and the best recipes yet were found to help make your time in the kitchen a little easier.
Here’s a look back at your top favorite stories – and recipes – from 2015.
The beginning of winter offers new challenges on the farm. Weather is unpredictable all over the Midwest. Our first blizzard hit us before Thanksgiving, when we received about 2 feet of snow in one day. The snowflakes were beautiful as they billowed noiselessly to the ground.
With Thanksgiving just ten days away, we’ve compiled a list of our top ten favorite recipes to help make your holiday planning a little easier. We’ve covered everything from potatoes to stuffing, ham to turkey, and even bacon bourbon pecan pie!
If you choose to bake a ham for your guests (which we strongly suggest), be sure to find out which local grocer carries our holiday hams by clicking here.
My birthday is the day before Halloween and has always been recognized by my family as a blessing and a curse because it takes place at the peak of harvest. This means dad was always distracted and busy in the field, combining the crops and working against time and weather.
It’s a gorgeous fall day here in rural Iowa; a brisk coolness fills the air. As the temperatures dip our menu at home changes a bit too. We turn to roasting, slow cooking and begin making more soups and stews. All of which creates great dishes to eat as well as warm up the house and fill the air with comforting aromas.
This season makes me recall fond school- time memories, surprisingly of my school lunches- even though we probably complained about them at the time. We were lucky because the cooks at my school actually cooked our food. Regardless, the school lunch menu was always predictable.
Here is where my odd food pairing began: if we were having chili at school, we always had a cinnamon roll to go with it. This has ruined me! I can’t seem to enjoy my chili unless it’s served with a cinnamon roll. Yes, the pairing is not traditional – saltines, corn chips or even spaghetti – but I love to dip this sugary, cinnamony treat into my steamy, spicy chili. It’s just the perfect way to eat it.
Here’s the recipe I make at home. My trick is adding Niman Ranch ground pork. It gives the chili a wonderful rich and savory quality- give it a try.
Over the last 30 years, the average age of farmers has steadily increased to 58-years old, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that half of all current farmers are likely to retire in the next decade, leaving a large gap for the next generation to fill. This makes it incredibly important that we work to persuade our children and grandchildren not to leave the family farm. This is why we created the Next Generation Scholarship Fund, which awards over 20 students from farm families every year with funds to help pay for college.
On September 26th, we hosted our most recent Niman Ranch Farmer Appreciation Dinner. It was a moving experience – a chance for me to see just how close our community of our farmers, chefs, customers and employees have become. We also have a whole host of people here in Iowa that continue to volunteer and support us year after year.