This isn’t a top five like we always do – but an exploration of an idea and something a little more serious than usual. Farmers and ranchers all over Minnesota are turning to grass pasturing their animals, instead of raising them indoors, on grain. This is not about who is the best at this, but an explanation for everyone. Hey, name your animal and traditional farm product, they can be raised out of doors on pasture. Come out to the farm with us and find out about places doing it on grass!
Chicken- Eat Wild
Chickens can be raised outdoors? Yes! Of course they can. Plus, there are literally dozens of local farms in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa that do this and are great places for you to pick up grass-pastured eggs and chicken! Braucher’s Sunshine Harvest Farm and Cozy Meadows Farm on Wheels, both of which do local farmer’s markets, are two of Dara’s favorites. Find lots, and lots, and lots of local farms at the Eatwild.com website. Go and find one! You may be shocked how good a real farm-fresh egg can be.
Pork- Pastures A’ Plenty
4075 110th Ave NE
Kerkhoven, MN 56252
Pigs can live outside too. The VanDerPol family in Kerkhoven has run the Pastures A’ Plenty farm since 1952 and livestock has been the core of what they do. Pastures A’ Plenty is one of Dara’s favorite pork producers and they supply to local restaurants such as Red Stag and the Strip Club along with supplying Co-Ops and to consumers themselves. You can find much more at their website and enjoy some of Minnesota’s finest pork!
25830 Drexel Avenue
New Prague, MN 56071
It’s about more than just meat when it comes to grass-fed and humanely treated, local animals. What about milk and dairy products? Head just southwest of the Twin Cities to New Prague where you’ll find Cedar Summit Farm. Dara thinks this is a treasure of the Minnesota scene on this 4th generation farm. It has some of the best milk, cream and also some of the finest Alemar Cheeses (such as their Bent River Camembert-Style Cheese and the Good Thunder which is washed with Surly Bender Beer!). The family at Cedar Summit takes great pleasure in supplying their community with farm-fresh and high-quality foods!
The Lamb Shoppe
61231 Minnesota 7
Hutchinson, MN 55350
Another Minnesota farm-to-table place to check out is the Lamb Shoppe in Hutchinson! It’s a family-run farm with processing on-site. It’s just delicious, herbal lamb which is as good as you’re going to find. From shepherding, butchering and meat processing, conducting educational programs, marketing to fine restaurants and stores, selling ready-to-eat lamb products at their state fair booth, and operating their own farm store, the Lamb Shoppe does it all. They’re hoping that their daughters and their families will someday carry on the tradition at this family farm.
Thousand Hills Cattle Co.
6492 318th St # A
Cannon Falls, MN 55009
Most Minnesotan’s have now seen or heard of Thousand Hills as it’s made its way onto many menus and grocery store meat racks. The Cannon Falls Meat Company that started it all has grown into a cooperative which represents about 100 local farmers that raise beef on grass. All of those farms do it with sustainable, eco-friendly, humane practices. They’re grass-fed obviously. They don’t spray pesticides, free-ranged, craft processed and once you get it home, you’ll find it to be lean, healthy and delicious.