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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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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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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National FFA Week by Ruthie Carpenter

National FFA Week is the (second) most wonderful time of the year for me as an FFA Member and Niman Ranch Farmer!  I serve as our FFA chapter’s Vice President, and help to plan many of the events that go on throughout this celebratory week. Our activities align with their motto: “Learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live, living to serve”.

Ruthie Carpenter and Father, Mark Carpenter, on FFA Sunday.
Ruthie Carpenter and Father, Mark Carpenter, on FFA Sunday.

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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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Uncle Rich’s Thick Cut Pork Chops

I’ve met many people who’ve had an amazing Niman Ranch pork chop at some fine establishment and wish they could make it at home. Purchasing thick cuts like this doesn’t happen very often, however, and they end up returning to the restaurant to enjoy their favorite pork-centric dish.

You may be one of those people who’s intimidated when it comes to cooking a pork chop up to two inches thick, but figuring out the right way to cook it is well worth the effort. Though this may not be the same way great chefs are doing it today, this is a sure-fire way to get the job done with great results.

If it’s nice outside, follow the directions using your grill. If it’s too cold outside to start the coals, stick with the instructions for the oven.

Have fun cooking something for someone you love,

Uncle Rich

Grilled Asian Pork Chop with Corn and Edamame Salad- Guest Blogger Drew Calvert

Finished dishAs the summer heats up, we have been firing up the grill to stay out of the kitchen. Grilling everything from steaks to pizzas but this recipe is a staple in our family. We use the marinade on beef and chicken but pork chops are our favorite. Paired with steamed rice and a Corn and Edamame Salad, it is an easy dinner much of which can be prepared ahead of time.

Instead of purchasing pre-cut chops, I found a packaged Niman Ranch pork loin at my local Sprouts grocery store in Boulder, Colo. and cut my own chops at home. Pretty easy, all you need is a sharp knife and sturdy cutting board. I cut five chops from the quarter loin, each about ¾ of an inch. They were well marbled and perfect for the grill.

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Edible Institute

Edible 1 On March 16-17, Edible Communities hosted its Edible Institute in Santa Barbara, CA. The weekend was full of great speakers, panels and discussions, including an interview of our very own Paul Willis. The Institute touched on many aspects of our food system – from farming through consumption. Here are a few of the highlights of the two-day event:

Saturday morning started off with a bang with a presentation from the event’s keynote speaker, Dr. Marion Nestle, NYU Professor and best-selling author. A dynamic speaker and personality, Dr. Nestle spoke about the increase in the American population’s consumption habits since 1980 and how advertising can affect our perception. She mentioned that as a country, we are consuming more calories per day and our portion sizes have increased. Additionally, she spoke about how the deregulation of health claims has allowed advertisers to target children more effectively. Dr. Nestle advocates social responsibility and is currently writing a new book about the food system for kids.

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Grilled Leg of Lamb with Cranberry Salsa Verde

Chef Michael Schwartz, chef/owner of Michaels Genuine, Harry’s Pizza and The Genuine Kitchen, uses Niman Ranch meat on the menus of his restaurants  in Miami and the Cayman Islands. In 2011 he honored our farmers by cooking at the Niman Ranch 14th Annual Hog Farmer Appreciation dinner.

He recently published Michael’s Genuine Food Down-To-Earth Cooking for People Who Love to Eat, in which he shares recipes for dishes you know and love from Caramelized Onion Dip with Thick Cut Potato Chips to Crispy Sweet & Spicy Pork Belly with Kimchi and crushed peanuts. Find a delicious recipe for leg of lamb perfect for your holiday or summer grilling celebrations.

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