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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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