Our Top 10 Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

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.


Cornbread Dressing


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An Odd Food Pairing: Chili with Cinnamon Rolls

farm shotIt’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.

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The Next Generation of Farmers

Scholarship Winners
The 2015 Next Generation Scholarship Winners in attendance at the Farmer Appreciation Dinner with Jim Wallace, Director of the Niman Ranch Live Team

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.

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17th Annual Farmer Appreciation Dinner

The menu from the 17th Annual Niman Ranch Farmer Appreciation Dinner

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.

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Niman Ranch Lamb Chili by Cody Hiemke

Few things are more satisfying on a cold Wisconsin day than a tasty chili and some homemade bread. I’m not sure I’ve ever made a chili the same from one time to the next, but the one consistent ingredient is lamb!  I tried to document this version, made for sampling at the Outpost Natural Foods in Milwaukee .

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Niman Ranch Joins the Perdue Family

It was announced today that Niman Ranch’s parent company, Natural Food Holdings, is being sold  to Perdue. This will not change the way we raise our animals, the quality of our products or our dedication to family farmers, ranchers and their local communities. It will allow us to grow our sustainable business and help our brand prosper into the future.

As many of you know, Niman Ranch began in the early 1970’s on an 11-acre ranch in a small coastal town north of San Francisco. The idea was to provide the community with the highest quality meat by practicing traditional, humane and sustainable animal husbandry. Fast forward 45 years later: Niman Ranch has grown to include a network of more than 700 independent family farmers and ranchers, spread across the country.

The growth of Niman Ranch is a direct result of your conscious eating. Like you, more and more people want to know where their meat comes from and how the animals are treated. By merging with Perdue, we’ll be better able to provide greater access to sustainable meat by growing the number of family farmers in our network and expanding our products into more cities to reach more consumers.

Perdue is an ideal partner to support Niman Ranch in this venture. Perdue is a US, family-owned company. In recent years, Perdue has become the leading producer of organic chicken, the leading producer of no-antibiotics-ever chicken and they also have no-antibiotics-ever turkey and pork. Niman Ranch matches Perdue’s leading position  as a trusted supplier of premium, branded proteins and aligns with Perdue’s belief in responsible food and agriculture. Together, Niman Ranch and Perdue will continue to raise the bar for raising and processing meat.

From Table to Farm: A Story of Giving Back to Farmers

The term “Farm to Table” was created in response to the growing desire of people to know where their food comes from and how it is prepared. Farm to table is more than just taking produce from a farm and putting it on your table, however; it’s fundamentally about how the produce is raised, how the farmer is compensated and who creates the final product that ends up on your plate.

But what of the term “Table to Farm?” What can both chefs and diners do to give back to the farmers who work so hard to feed us year round, and how can the farmer identify with them? Whether their farm is local to its customers or located in a rural community in the heart of this country, all farmers deserve recognition for their desire to master humanity’s most necessary craft.

Since 2007, we have partnered with several businesses in the food industry to raise money for the Next Generation Scholarship Fund, a fund that helps pay for the higher education of students from Niman Ranch family farms. This scholarship has awarded over 100 students, the majority seeking degrees in agriculture to return as the next generation on their farm.

One of these award winners is 19-year old Anthony Scheer of the Scheer Family Farm in Iowa. He was given the David Serfling Memorial Scholarship in 2014, which is awarded to the top applicant each year.

Next Gen Schol Blog - Scholarship Winner
The 2014 David Serfling Memorial Scholarship winner, Anthony Scheer. This scholarship is part of the Next Generation Scholarships given annually by Niman Ranch.

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Our 10 Favorite Labor Day Recipes

Whether you choose to host a festive barbecue or a low-key gathering this Labor Day, this is the perfect opportunity to put good food at the center of your celebration.

Here is a list of our 10 favorite Labor Day recipes that will satisfy everyone from the simplest of chefs to the most adventurous of guests.

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