April is the month of Earth Day, and the ideal time to remind ourselves that what we eat affects the health of our planet and our own well-being. For organic farmers, though, every day is Earth Day, so who better to inspire a celebratory Earth Day meal?
This month we feature organic beef, pork, chicken and turkey in recipes from Organic Valley and Organic Prairie farmers. We asked six meat and dairy farmers from around the nation to share an ethnic tradition or a favorite family dish, but the catch was that it had to use organic meat in moderate amounts—something delicious enough to signal “special occasion” but not too fancy or costly. Something to serve for an Earth Dinner, or an everyday meal. You’ll find our farmers’ choice recipes below, along with their additional ideas for using organic ground meat, sausage, and other “small cuts.”
(at right: CA farmer Rosie Burroughs; Burroughs family sits down for Earth Dinner; Ohio farmer Charlene Stoller and daughter; Oregon farmers Jon and Julie Bansen. Meet more Organic Valley farmers here.)
Straightforward but high-quality ingredients are layered in an appealing, multi-textured pie from Cori Lindley of Snow Camp, North Carolina. She also makes:
There are four components to this Danish specialty: home-simmered beef broth, meatballs, dumplings, and raisin-studded rice. It comes from Jon Bansen, an Organic Valley farmer who grazes Jersey cows in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Jon says: “Another way we use small amounts of meat in our meals is cooking ground beef with a little minced onion and put that on a tortilla shell with other ingredients, depending on the season. In winter it's refried beans, rice, cheese and salsa. During the garden season we put on lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, corn, or any other vegetable that is in season. The refried beans are mixed with a little milk and heated on the stove.”
A luscious layered bake of sausage, onions and a delicate cheese-egg custard comes from Organic Valley dairy farmer and on-the-farm inn operator Patti Brunner of upstate New York.
Patti also makes: "Uddie’s Chicken Divan," a recipe named for her sister-in-law of broccoli, chicken breasts, mushrooms and a sour cream sauce baked with cheddar-breadcrumb topping. “Of course, it's especially good with home grown chicken,” she says.
Chunky turkey and vegetables in a creamy, broth-rich veloute sauce topped with whole wheat biscuits, from Charlene Stoller of Sterling, Ohio. Charlene also says:
Rose Marie Burroughs, whose parents are from New Mexico, shares her mother’s recipe for traditional ground beef enchiladas—but with a twist or two.
Rose Marie, who owns a dairy farm with her husband Ward in Denair, California, also makes “Something I call ‘Summertime Vegetable Medley’; it’s made with whatever in the garden—zucchini, peppers, whatever you have--all chopped up and combined with leftover meat like ham or chicken. It’s like a quiche, but it doesn’t have a crust. It’s always changing because you use whatever is on hand.”
A family heritage dish from Maria Vakulskas Rosmann of Harlan, Iowa. She also makes:
Start a meaty conversation with your friends and family. With many Americans switching to organic beef, pork and poultry, Earth Day, April 22, is the perfect time to gather for a memorable Earth Dinner and share the story of the food on your table. Visit Earth Dinner on Facebook for ideas.