Farms in the Lens: Hidden Stream

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

About the Farms in the Lens series: Much of what we write within these pages is focused on the restaurants of Minneapolis and St. Paul. But much of what we eat at those tables comes from farms around the state. With underwriting from Clancey’s Meats and Fish, we’ve set out to document a half dozen of these farms, focusing on the relationship between humans and animals. Check out our complete Farms in the Lens series, including: Wild Acres, Hidden Stream, Shepherd’s Way, Redhead Creamery, Twisted Suri Alpaca Ranch, and Paradox Farm.

There used to be a stigma associated with raising pigs — they can be dirty and loud. They are often as curious and rambunctious as toddlers. But Hidden Stream Farm is built on pork, and raising pigs has allowed the family to grow — farmers Eric and Lisa Klein have five kids. This Elgin, Minn. business has grown too, expanding into beef and chicken, all while remaining antibiotic-free.

clanceys-shirt-banner

The Kleins married in 1997 and moved back to Lisa’s childhood farm. She says that they wondered how they were going to make the farm pay: “Pigs were at the bottom of the market, and it’s a small farm. We decided we were going to direct market so we can set our own price. We did our first farmers market in 1999, the same year my son was born. That was 15 years ago.”

Top: Eric Klein walks with some of his cattle to move them to a new pasture.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

When Lisa was a child, Hidden Stream Farm was a dairy farm with a few pigs. “Nobody likes [raising] pigs, but they are money makers, ” she says. Hidden Stream is now home to around 500 pigs and 70 cattle (more of the Kleins’ cattle are kept on a neighboring farm).

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Eric opens a gate to allow the cattle through.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The cattle are moved to a new grazing area every few days. The Kleins credit the healthfulness of pasture grazing with their ability to avoid using antibiotics on their cattle.

Simple, Good, and Tasty Local Food Dinner at Lucia’s

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Who is your farmer?

Simple, Good, and Tasty, a Twin Cities site dedicated to local, sustainable, and organic foods and producers, posed this question as the theme of its most recent local food dinner, co-sponsored by Lucia Watson. The dinner, held last night at Lucia’s in Uptown, connected diners, farmers, and producers in a unique farm-to-table dining experience.

Throughout the three-course dinner, diners sat with the farmers and producers, getting to know them and asking questions about the foods featured in the evening’s dishes. Conversations ranged from farming techniques and crop yields to their family life and driving force behind what they do each day.

Perhaps the most compelling theme that emerged from conversations at this writer’s table was the sense of community that the farmers and producers feel with other producers of local food. Victor Mrotz of Hope Creamery and Sandy Dietz of Whitewater Gardens each spoke of teaming up with other local producers to distribute quality, organic products to the Twin Cities. One example: the bottled cream from Pride of Main Street Dairy in Sauk Centre, one of Mrotz’s cream sources for making his butter, which Mrotz helps to distribute to The Wedge. For her part, Dietz teams with a larger farm that can more easily handle the billing and logistics required to distribute her vegetables.

In his final words of the evening, Lee Zukor of Simple, Good, and Tasty spoke of this sense of community along with the other goals of the site — understanding the true costs of food, building the market for local, organic foods, and promoting cooking at home.

The next Simple, Good, and Tasty local food dinner is scheduled for November 1 at Spoonriver.

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Local greens and spinach salad with Big Woods blue cheese, beets, and vinaigrette
Riverbend Farm, Shepherd’s Way Farms, Hidden Stream Farm, Otter Creek Growers

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Poulet rouge chicken stuffed with chicken sausage and apples, cider creme fraiche sauce, spaghetti squash, and mixed vegetables
Callister Farm, Nesbitt’s Nursery and Orchard, Hope Creamery, Hidden Stream Farm, Featherstone Fruits and Vegetables, Whitewater Gardens

Alternative entree option: Prime rib of beef with roasted onion demi-glaze, mashed potatoes, yorkshire pudding, and mixed vegetables
Hidden Stream Farm, Whole Grain Milling

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Raspberry and wild blueberry cobbler
Featherstone Fruits and Vegetables, Wild Potato First Nation

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Lucia’s housemade chocolates

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Minnesota Cooks at the State Fair

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Minnesota Cooks, a program held annually at the Minnesota State Fair, is a celebration of local food that educates fair goers in the only way possible — through their stomachs. The full-day program is broken into hour-long segments, each akin to the Quick Fire Challenges from Top Chef. With 45 minutes on the clock, chefs use ingredients from local farmers to create dishes to feed three to five hungry celebrity tasters and 200 hungry audience members. Unlike the beloved television hit, however, in this scenario there is no one winner. With beautiful dishes made from local foods served, we all win.

Pictured below is a sampling from the day.

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Mike Phillips of The Craftsman
Grilled Lamb Leg with Chile Braised Potato
With farmer Deborah Pikovsky from Star Thrower Farm

Matt Annand from Prairie Bay Grill & Catering in Baxter
Salad of Confit of Duck Rillette with Roasted Corn and Lavender Vinaigrette
With farmer Gary Pahl of Pahl Farms

Tasters: State Senator Gary Kubly, Jeremy Iggers (Twin Cities Media Alliance), Kirby Schmidt (Future Farmers of America)

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Tracy Singleton and Marshall Paulsen of Birchwood Cafe
Birchwood Cobb Salad with Poached Garlic and Honey Vinaigrette
With farmer John Svihel of Svihel Farms

Jon Radle of Grand Cafe
Grilled Thousand Hills Beef Tenderloin, Local Corn Grits with Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, and Tarragon, and a Grilled Onion-Pickled Ramp Relish
With Todd Churchill of Thousand Hills Cattle Co.

Tasters: Senator Al Franken, Kate Rime (Eco Metro / Blue Sky Guide), Carrie Tollefson (Olympic runner)

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table