Meet Your Farmer: Thistles & Clover Farm
My name is Christy, and I love farmers! In fact, many have taken to calling me the farmers market groupie. Most folks mingle through farmers markets, select the items they need, and then carry on with their day. There are other folks who mingle, make their purchases, and then hang out for the entire morning shootin’ the breeze with all of the vendors. (Uh…that’d be me!)
Not surprisingly, I get to know a few farmers that way!
Recently, it dawned on me that most city folks don’t have this luxury. So I’ve created this new “Meet Your Farmer” series to help you all get acquainted with some of our local food purveyors—not just the products they offer, but also their motivation for farming and the various methods they use to produce the healthiest, freshest foods possible.
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This article was featured on The Weekly Grind, Omaha’s young professional radio program, on March 12, 2011 - Listen!
Thistles & Clover is a family farm operated by myself, my husband Adam, and our two sons, Luther and Manny. We started Thistles & Clover in 2007 when we moved to the farm where Adam grew up in Western Iowa. The farm is located about a mile outside of Danbury, Iowa (population 200+) and we rent pastureland in two nearby locations as well.
Our farm’s name, “Thistles & Clover,” pays homage to both the good and the bad aspects of pasture development. It refers to our ongoing efforts to increase the amount of clover in our pasture and decrease the amount of thistles. Clover provides nutritious (and delicious) fodder for our cattle and poultry. Thistles, while stunningly beautiful, are not enjoyed by our livestock, and, if left to their own devices, can quickly take over the landscape. We plant, manage our animals’ grazing patterns, and sometimes even get out the shovel to create our fruitful, beautiful pastures. Sometimes, it seems like an uphill battle, but change happens slowly on the land.
At Thistles & Clover, we offer 100% grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chickens and turkeys, and eggs from pasture-raised hens. We also offer pork from a cooperative producer. Our products are widely available in the Omaha area via local stores (Tomato Tomato, Jane’s Health Market, Green Acres Natural Foods) and restaurants (Blue Planet Natural Grill, Dario’s Brasserie). Also, we make regular deliveries to Omaha throughout the winter months and participate in numerous Omaha-area farmers markets throughout the summer.
Adam and I decided to start T&C after spending almost a decade living and working in Seattle. We were both passionate about health and nutrition, and supporting our local farmers. After the birth of our first son, we decided that our time would be best spent living and working the lands back in the Midwest, where we both hail from. Adam’s experience raising livestock coupled with our mutual enthusiasm for natural foods and conservation of agricultural lands found us driving back to Iowa in the fall of 2007 in a rusty pickup with our 10-month-old son sandwiched between us.
The past three years have been a wild ride. We made our debut with two items—ground beef and eggs—halfway through the 2009 Village Pointe Farmers Market in West Omaha. We now offer a complete line of 100% grass-fed beef products, eggs, pasture-raised pork and poultry. We hope to continue to offer new products as we find ways to introduce them into our daily chore routine.
Raising our animals sometimes takes a little longer at T&C because we do not use antibiotics or hormones to stimulate their growth. Our beef and pork processor is USDA inspected and Animal Welfare Institute approved. All of our processed meat products (i.e., jerky, sausages) are MSG-free.
At Thistles & Clover, our beef and poultry spend the green season being rotated across our pastures. This requires extra time and infrastructure but the results are worth it. Rotating the animals means that they maintain optimum health. They are always moved onto fresh, clean grass where they get their pick of nutrient-dense vegetation. Our animals’ health is passed on to our customers in the form of healthy, delicious meats and eggs. Pasture-raised meats and eggs offer increased nutrients (Vitamins A, B12, C, D, E; omega-3s; conjugated linoleic acids; beta carotene; folic acid) and decreased cholesterol, saturated fat, total fat, and calories.
At Thistles & Clover, we believe that good health begins with healthy foods, and we are proud to produce the foods that we do. Adam and I always welcome comments and questions. We produce a monthly newsletter (available at our website) and recently started a Facebook page for the farm. We hope you check them out, learn more about us, and try us out! We also enjoy sharing our family’s favorite recipes with our customers, so be sure to check out our online newsletter for those. In closing, I leave you with one of our favorite recipes to get you started…
Spicy Grass-Fed Beef Short Ribs
Thistles & Clover Farm
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 8 grass-fed beef short ribs (4 packages)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 6 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup drained canned diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 dried chipotle chilies
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Lime wedges
- Trim any excess fat from ribs.
- Mix first 5 ingredients in bowl. Place ribs into Tupperware container and rub spice mix all over ribs. Place lid onto Tupperware and let ribs sit at room temp for 1 hour.
- Heat oil in cast iron pan over medium heat. Brown ribs on all sides and transfer to slow cooker.
- Saute onion and garlic in same pan, about 5 minutes. Add to slow cooker along with any browned bits.
- Add broth, tomatoes, lime juice, and chipotle chilies to slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. When done, season with salt and pepper. If desired, sprinkle with cilantro and garnish with lime wedges. Enjoy with rice and/or corn bread.
Yield: Serves four.
Attention farmers and other local food purveyors! Would you like to be featured in the “Meet Your Farmer” series? Shoot me an email at Christy [at] CompletelyNourished [dot] org for details!