Dexter cattle – a thrifty, small cow for small-acre farms offers “right-sized” portions to meet demand for grass-fed beef

Docile Dexters at Birch Grove Farm

I love trading stories and learning from other cattle farmers, or ranchers as they say out West. And being able to attend the Region 12 annual meeting of the American Dexter Cattle Association was a real treat. Held at Birch Grove Farm, Deer Park, Wisconsin, the event was hosted by farm owners Kevin and Barb McAnnany and near neighbors Cherrie and Steven Woods of Plum Creek Little Cattle Company.

Although my husband Dave and I raise 100% grass-fed BueLingo cattle, the Dexter group welcomed us with big smiles. I’m so glad we were invited.

The gathering pulled Dexter ranchers from throughout the Region 12 area: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. The meeting started off with official business, featured three presentations (research on hay storage, about vaccinations, and direct-marketing beef), and a delicious pot luck. I was honored to give the brief talk on marketing.

I was also glad for the opportunity to interview a handful of the leaders and attendees. I hope you’ll enjoy this Deep Roots Radio in-the-field interview.
For another account of this meeting, take a look at detailed news article in The Country Today.


Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin – how rainforest stories of “Green Man” fuel his values and demos of regenerative ag systems in Minnesota

I know you’ll be fascinated by Reginaldo (Regi) Haslett-Marroquin’s new book, In the Shadow of Green Man. Get a copy at your earliest opportunity and be prepared for a memoir unlike any you’ve encountered. Half bio, half legends, it’s a page-turner.

In this Deep Roots Radio interview, Regi describes how and why he weaves his personal biography with the tales of Green Man, an alter ego that personifies the challenges, ravages, questions and watershed decisions within the multi-storied ecosystem of a threatened rainforest – the rainforest in which Regi farmed with his father and brothers as civil war raged.

Regi is the chief strategy officer for Main Street Project, a nonprofit headquartered in Northfield, Minnesota. He is the principal developer and engineer of the innovative poultry-centered regenerative agriculture model that is at the heart of the organization’s work. His focus is on multi-level strategies for building regenerative food and ag systems that deliver social, economic and ecological benefits. He does this work in the U.S., Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras.
He began his work with Indigenous Guatemalan communities in 1988. He served as a consultant for the United Nations Development Program’s Bureau for Latin America and as an advisor to the World Council of Indigenous People. He was a founding member of the Fair Trade Federation in 1994.
Regi served as Director of the Fair Trade Program for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy from 1995-1998, and led in the creation of Peace Coffee, a Minnesota-based fair-trade coffee company.
Regi lives with his family in Northfield, Minn.

I hope you enjoy this interview.

Artisan baking classes scheduled for Oct., Nov. and Dec. Get up to your elbows in flour and fun!

Beef, bread and brewed tea. What can I say, I really enjoy all three.

Dave and I raise 100% grass-fed beef using sustainable practices because of the wonderful results: great-tasting beef, happy cows, restored pastures, living soil.
I love baking bread for similar reasons: using healthful ingredients; employing the power of sourdough to raise the dough and to combat many of the anti-nutrients that make breads, seeds and beans difficult to digest; listening to the “yumm’s” when friends and family savor the loaves, pizzas or biscuits; and, sharing the baking experience with students. YOU CAN all bake artisan loaves in your home oven.
Oh, and the tea? Well, I just like milky, sweet tea – English style.

Please click here for the schedule of baking classes in Oct., Nov., and Dec. Classes will focus either on baking with sourdough or baking with poolish (the basis for focaccia, ciabatta and pizza). Classes are hands-on (minimum 4, maximum 6 students, unless otherwise arranged).
Register online, or send me an email and pay with a check.
I’ll soon post the January and February schedules. Email me if you’d like an alert to the schedule.
You can also arrange for private classes with family and friends. Just contact me to schedule, 651-238-8525,

Bring an apron and prepare to eat well, to get your hands covered in flour, and to have fun!

Jessica Manderfeld – about sensory exhibit of bees in art, food, drink and agriculture

Honey Bee

Bees – a hot topic in agriculture, food and in art.
Bees are essential to the pollination of hundreds of crops all across the United States. Bees’ critical role is why scientists, farmers and food lovers are alarmed by hive collapse and environmental threats to these pollinators.
Bees’ contribution to food, cosmetics, and beverages, like mead, are on display at the gallery space of the Farm Table Foundation in Amery, Wisconsin. The exhibit was developed by, and features the detailed artwork of, Jessica “Turtle” Manderfeld, the foundation’s marketing and creative director.
With extensive formal training and experience in art and cooking, Jessica’s paintings are reminiscent of the detailed botanical drawings of yesteryear.
For information about similar exhibits focusing on wildlife and habitat conservation, visit
I hope you enjoy this Deep Roots Radio interview and plan a visit to the exhibit:


Amery Ale Works – creative, new micro-brewery with real local flavor

I can practically smell the hops from my farm – the brewery is so near!
It’s a big statement of trust and faith when an entrepreneur brings her funds, hopes and dreams to your community. Amery, Wisconsin, population 2906, couldn’t be happier that Jenna Johnson chose to build and operate Amery Ale Works, a new craft brewery, here.

I hope you enjoy this Deep Roots Radio conversation about Amery Ale Works. It launched to great reception, and Jenna continues building local relationships. For example, she’s reached out to nearby sustainable farmers who will grow the herbs and crops she’ll use to develop unique brews.

Listen in, or download, and then come on out to enjoy craft brews and good food at Amery Ale Works.


Sandor Katz – the ease, great taste and nutritional boost of home-fermented foods.

I hope you’ll enjoy this Deep Roots Radio interview with fermentation guru Sandor Katz. We chatted about the value of making fermented foods at home – just how easy it is to start, and how much you gain in the way of flavor, food preservation and increased nutritional content.

The author of Wild Fermentation, The Revolution Will Not be Microwaved, and The Art of Fermentation, Sandor conducts workshops all over the world. He also continues to gather and document research of the history and effectiveness of these traditional foods over the centuries and in every culture.

Sandor will hold workshops in Wisconsin in early August. Please visit his website to learn about these and other upcoming events.


Just what is a CSA farm? Is there one near you?

CSAs, like farmers markets, have been increasing in number dramatically in the last 10 years. Here’s some basic information about CSAs and why they’re a good source of fresh, local produce. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, each CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. Typically, members or “share-holders” of the farm or garden pledge in … Continue reading

Jim Riddle on the new Organic Farmers Association – the certified organic farmers voice in Washington, D.C.

Although there are hundreds of environmental, agricultural and good-food nonprofits nationwide, Jim Riddle asserts that none represents the voice and influence of the 16,000 certified organic farmers in the US today. In this Deep Roots Radio interview, organic farming pioneer and policy analyst Jim Riddle describes how the Organic Farmers Association, a new member-driven organization, will represent certified organic farmers in the policy and regulation issues debated in Washington, D.C. Jim heads the 18-member steering committee developing the foundational documents and procedures for the Organic Farmers Association.
A certified organic grower, Jim is a former chair of the National Organic Standards Board, was the founding chair of the Organic Inspectors Association, and co-authored their manual. Jim was instrumental in the passage of Minnesota’s landmark organic certification cost-share program, which is now a Farm Bill program.
I hope you enjoy this interview.

Deep Roots Radio, 91.3FM and

Three Wisconsin women farmers battle to legalize sale of home-baked goods

In this Deep Roots Radio interview, Lisa Kivirist describes the multi-year battle to legalize the sale of home-baked goods in the state Wisconsin. The Badger state has been one of only two in the entire country that has not permitted the sale of home-baked muffins, cookies and breads.
Lisa is one of three women farmers who sued the state in this effort, and recently won a state Judge’s declaration that the ban against the sale of home-baked goods is unconstitutional.Her sister champions in this effort are Dela Ends (Scotch Hill Farm) and Kriss Marion (Circle M Farm and Bed & Breakfast).
Lisa is an assertive champion of women farmers and their ability to build their farm-based businesses. The author of several books on eco-entrepreneurship, she and her husband run the award-winning Inn Serendipity Farm and Bread and Breakfast in southern Wisconsin.
I hope you enjoy this lively interview.

French sourdough boules

Peace Coffee: serving up great taste, social justice, environmental stewardship cup after cup

Drink coffee? One, two, three cups a day? Now multiply that simple act by several hundred million people every day. It’s hard to imagine the mountain of coffee beans needed to satisfy that thirst. Now, consider that those beans could work not only to create delicious brews, but also to produce a fair wage for farmers half way around the world. This is the reality for at least a small percentage of coffee harvested for the American market because of Peace Coffee, a firm headquartered in a city you might now automatically associate with the tropical coffee bean – Minneapolis, … Continue reading