Working with Gunthorp Farm

Working with Gunthorp Farm

Post on holiday turkeys and working with Gunthorp Farms.

This is our 17th year of sustainable farming,wow! (Sometimes I don’t at all feel like I’m 50, other days…)

My friend Greg Gunthorp has been farming much longer. (He has a schedule that make me feel exhausted, and I pride myself on being indefatigable.) He’s a pioneer in marketing pasture raised meats from his farm to top chefs throughout Chicago (most notable are the Rick Bayless restaurants) and beyond. I knew of Greg long before we met.

I can’t pin down exactly when we first met. The sustainable food world is pretty small and conferences, trade shows, and sustainabilty events are filled with familiar names and faces.

I really got to know Greg when we worked with Richard Wood of the Food Animals Concerns Trust (Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) to get their Fund A Farmer project off the ground. We served as farmer advisors and grant reviewers for several year. Greg rolled off the review committee a few years ago and 2019 was my last year of reviews (I will review grants for the USDA this winter.); but over the past ten years we’ve helped award a couple hundred thousand dollars to 150+ farmers at about $2,000 at a time. Sometimes I feel like we’re not making a dent in helping with the climate crisis on our tiny farm, but knowing that I’ve helped a bunch of other farms grow and improve their practices makes me feel like we’re having some effect.

Getting money to good farmers is great, but influencing and educating is even better. Greg is a member of the Organization for Competitive Markets, the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association, on the board of the American Grassfed Association, and active in the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network. Greg is a tireless advocate for sustainable agriculture and for understanding for our conventional farming friends and neighbors. Our neighbors are even more at the mercy of bad ag policies than niche farmers like us. Too often, the mouthpieces for industrial agriculture and sometimes USDA attack or mock farmers who don’t follow the party line. I admire Greg for calling out bullshit when he sees it.

Lots of bullshit from the Farm Babe, I think Michelle blocked Greg from commenting on her Facebook page.

I’ve, also, crossed paths with Greg in my work with Slow Food USA and Slow Food Chicago. We’ve been on panels together at the Slow Meat conference in Denver. Last spring, I rode with Greg to Storm Lake, Iowa to bring grass farmers’ perspectives to aspiring Demcratic presidential candidates.

So, when you order a Gunthorp Farms turkey from Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm CSA you’re doing a lot more than supporting a couple of sustainable farms.

If you’ve read this far, I think you should order a turkey! Here’s the link:



Working with a Whole Chicken

My go to way of cooking a whole chicken is usually to put the whole thing in a crock pot and, after it’s cooked, removing the meat from the bones and using it in multiple recipes over the coming days. Sometimes though, I want the pieces intact. So, it’s time to get out the knife… Continue Reading

Garlic Burgers

The hands down favorite burger at Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm is the garlic burger. Sure, we have burger patties and they’re super convenient and quite tasty. Given the choice our boys always choose Jody’s garlic burgers! I’ll start with ingredients: 1lb ground beef6 cloves of garlic (or 1 tablespoon minced garlic)1 egg10 Ritz-style crackers1/4 teaspoon… Continue Reading

Beef Barbacoa

Beef Barbacoa

I tend to cook really simple things, one pot, straightforward recipes (or no recipe). But one of the things I really love about this dish is the depth of flavors. I keep coming back to it (and actually following the recipe) because they are so complex and perfectly balanced. Plus, it’s still only one pot!… Continue Reading

New Year New Audiences

New Year – New Audiences We have a serious case of “Winter Brain” this year.  Beth mentioned it in our January newsletter. It’s an attack of new ideas and inspirations for the farm. A couple of ideas are already coming to fruition. In the coming weeks we will participate in 4 pop-up markets.  The first… Continue Reading

Apple Cider Turkey Brine Recipe

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Beef Stew

        Print Ingredients ¼ cup all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper 1-2 lbs stew meat or chuck roast, cut into cubes 3 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 ribs celery cut into 1″ slices 1 onion chopped ½ cup dry red wine 2 medium potatoes scrubbed cut into 1… Continue Reading

Cutting up a Whole Chicken

I often just take the easy route of roasting (or crock-potting) a whole bird and just cutting or pulling the meat off once it’s cooked.  Once in a while though I want to make a recipe that calls for cut up pieces.  Here’s a great resource for learning how to: Cutting Up a Chicken  Melissa… Continue Reading

Italian Sausage Hoagies

 Comfort Food! Italian Sausage Hoagies   This is a family favorite. Using bulk sausage means we can get 5-6 hoagies out of a pound of sausage versus four when we us links.    Italian Sausage Hoagies   Print A quick and easy sandwich. Ingredients 2 T Olive oil 2-3 Yellow onions, sliced 2-3 Sweet peppers… Continue Reading

Turkey Brine Recipe & Tips

So, you’ve gotten your pasture-raised turkey… now what? 24-36 hours ahead of cooking your turkey get it into a brine. Brining is one of the ways to ensure that this will be the best turkey ever! There are a lot of brine recipes, choose one that appeals most to you. Below is a simple brine… Continue Reading