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Grounded by the Farm

Food & Cooking Podcasts

Grounded by the Farm brings food lovers conversations with farmers every other Wednesday. We learn about how the foods are grown, tips on storing & preparing and how their family prepares it, and more.


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Grounded by the Farm brings food lovers conversations with farmers every other Wednesday. We learn about how the foods are grown, tips on storing & preparing and how their family prepares it, and more.






Artisan Cheddar from the Farm: Cheese Curds & Conservation

Cheese farmer made be a made up term but when you make artisan cheddar cheese from the dairy cows you milk, it seems fitting! This episode we visit David Hemme, a Missouri dairy farmer who began making cheese seven years ago! The Hemmes are committed to "better from the beginning" and the result is incredibly tasty products with an eye on the future. We cover all the topics from cheese curds -- did you know small batch cheesemakers as they make a 42-pound block of cheese are left with about 27 pounds of leftover curds? -- to regenerative farming techniques being used on the farm. Topics in the interview: The process of making cheddar cheese and the production of cheese curds.The search for artisan pizza places and finding cheeses that may be best suited for the preferences of the Hispanic community.David's discovery of higher-quality cheeses and recommendations for some of the best farmstead cheeses. The American Cheese Society event and the vast variety of artisan cheeses available. Key Links: hemmebrothers.comHemme Brothers on InstagramHemme Brother on Facebook


Uncovering Cahokia's Food History & Forgotten Farmscapes

With Cahokia on our minds after our last episode, we turn to my backyard of St. Louis and are digging into more Native American food and farming history. Joined by guest expert Dr. Gayle Fritz, an anthropologist and professor emeritus from Washington University, we uncover the mysteries of this once-thriving metropolis and its food and farming footprint. Get ready to have your mind blown as Gayle delves into the incredible discoveries and hidden histories of Cahokia. It was major city and the largest metropolitan area long before Europeans arrived here. It was the largest city north of Mesoamerica between 1000-1400 CE. Did you know that the original residents of Cahokia cultivated crops we still grow like corn, squash and nuts? They also grew so-called "lost crops" as they are no longer in production?They even had their own version of quinoa! Plus, we'll explore the various purposes of the mounds found in Cahokia, from ceremonial rituals to burial grounds. Whether you're a foodie, history buff, or curious about native heritage, this episode will leave you hungry for more knowledge. So grab a snack and tune in to "Grounded by the Farm" as we dig deep into the culinary legacy of Cahokia! Key topics and moments from the episode: Links Mentioned: The book on Cahokia's food Dr. Gayle Fritz has written is Feeding Cahokia: Early Agriculture in the North American Heartland (Archaeology of Food). It's available through this affiliate link on Amazon Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site:


Cahokia Rice and the River: Intertwined Story of Improvement & Adaptation

Did you know that rice is grown in Southern Illinois where the Ohio River meets the Mississippi? And there's actually a rice that has been bred to deliver a higher protein content that makes it low glycemic too! We talk with farmer Blake Gerard of River Bend Farms about the unique challenges of growing rice, how he came to grow and market an enhanced variety of rice, and some of the ways it's grown. His operation is very different from many farms as he's right along the river... so even in a year where many Midwestern farmers have had issues of drought, the water table on his farm kept everything growing. We explore the intersection of food and farming and shed light on various environmental pieces that touch rice from filtering muddy river water into crystal clear water, thanks to the soils natural filtration powers. See photos, a video farm tour and more: A post that provides definitions of some of the rice farming terms we used: Cahokia RIce online Website on instagram at Facebook at and YouTube at


Beyond the Ordinary: Wagyu Beef's Unmatched Tenderness and Marbling

The marbling of wagyu beef adds benefits to the tenderness and flavor that makes it stand out according to Jeff Swanson. We visit Jeff & his family in Adams, Tennessee -- just an hour or so from Nashville. We delve into the history and flavor profiles of this extraordinary beef in this episode. Find out what makes wagyu different -- on the plate as well as the pasture -- as we hear the history of the cattle and how the Swansons settled on this breed and have been building their family operation from the ground up. Whether you're a steak aficionado or simply a fan of delicious food, this episode will have you salivating. From chuck eye roll roasts to sirloin tips or ribeyes, Jeff shares their expertise on utilizing different cuts of wagyu to create exceptional steaks. For photos & video: Find the Swansons on Instagram at and Facebook at


Cultivating Curiosity: Food and Farm Books Janice Recommends

So often, a podcast interview opens up whole new areas of discovery and here, food and farm books can help provide additional depth. In fact, the last few episodes opened that curiosity for host Janice Person who jumped on a friend's book recommendation. Now Janice shares recommendations for 10 books in the food and farm space! The books Janice talks through here are: To Boldly Grow: Finding Joy, Adventure and Dinner in Your Own Backyard by Tamar HaspelTomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Foodby Pamela Ronald & Raul AdamchakThe Wizard & the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World by Charles C MannThe Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing and the Future of the Human Race by Walter IsaacsonThe Fate of Food: What We’ll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World by Amanda Little The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eatsby Dan Stone Cuisine & Empire: Cooking in World History by Rachel LaudanTwo books by Edna Lewis -- The Taste of Country Cooking and In Pursuit of FlavorThe Complete Food & Nutrition Guide by Roberta Larson DuyffWe Are Each Other's Harvest: Celebrating African American Farmers, Land, and Legacyby Natalie Baszile Access links to in-depth reviews, where to purchase, etc at


Revitalizing Native Foods & Farming at Ramona Farms

We continue discussions about food and farm on the Gila Indian Community in Arizona. In this episode we talk to Terry Button about the work he and his wife Ramona are doing at Ramona Farms. Terry shares some of the foods the Pima people have eaten for generations, sharing the roles of corn and tepary beans and some of the foods that can be foraged in the desert. Sourcing heritage corns from friends with backgrounds from other tribes has allowed them to expand the native offerings. Tepary beans were a key staple for the Pima and yet few in the US are familiar with the bean. Terry has developed a deep appreciation of them and explains the unique flavors of tepary beans, native to the Southwestern region and cultivated by indigenous communities. We share insights from their kitchens including recipes too. We also explore the rich history behind American Pima cotton, a crop developed by the USDA and named after the Pima reservation because of the connections to traditional production and genetics. This episode is filled with fascinating stories and knowledge that food and farming enthusiasts won't want to miss. So tune in and get ready to be grounded by the farm! See our tour of the farm on Youtube at Get more photos and video on the podcast's website at


Digging Up Ancient Desert Farming Practices

Let's go on a journey to the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona's Sonoran Desert, to travel locations and understand differences in time. We look at water use over time as host Janice Person interviews two expert archaeologists, Kyle Woodson and Wesley Miles. Together, they discuss the prehistoric use of irrigation in the Gila River region and the historical significance of the Akimel O’otham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) people. Join us as we explore how farming practices have taken root in these fascinating cultures and learn how the past informs the present and future of agriculture in the area. Whether you're a foodie, farmer, or simply interested in learning more about the rich history of food cultivation in the US, this episode is a must-listen. The following resources are mentioned in this episode: Grounded by the Farm website Video of tour of Gila RIver This is the Gila River Indian Community's website providing information about the tribes and their culture.Huhugam Heritage Center: This museum, located near the casinos on the northern boundary of the reservation near Phoenix and Chandler, presents the stories of the community and their peoples.An article the Smithsonian Magazine recently did on the community & the water issues.


The Farm Willing to be Your Backyard Garden & Event Space

I love veggies from a backyard garden but I have to admit, I am not the most committed gardener. And I definitely have never kept my backyard in event space shape. After visiting Mortimer Farms in Dewey, Arizona, I'm pretty sure I would leave the food production to them and enjoyment to me! That would be fine to Ashlee Mortimer who's family started farming this property years ago on a lease and was later able to purchase it. And they are now growing 54 crops here, many open for u-pick customers as well as available harvested for sale in the farm's market. You won't want to miss some of the foods they make themselves in the market or the Windmill Kitchen. We talk about all of that as well as more in this episode. See our tour of Mortimer Farms on Youtube: Read the blog post: Mortimer Farms website:


Rich Flavors and History of Midwestern Vineyards

We offer a deep dive into the world of winemaking, sustainability, and the family-run business of St. James Winery in Missouri talking with Brandon Hofherr (marketing director) and Sam Cobb (vineyard manager). From the rich history of Missouri as the first AVA in the US, settled by German and Italian immigrants, to the challenges of overturning restrictive laws on winemaking, the story of St. James Winery is a testament to the power of persistence and passion. It's also a great stop along Interstate 44 with a tasting room & brew pub on the grounds. We get into the vineyards themselves, taking a closer look at the importance of sustainable practices in winemaking and the use of AI technology to develop better blends and optimize water use. As we learn, the decision to invest in technology is a balancing act in the quest for better quality while remaining eco-conscious. For those who love food and the environment, this episode is filled with interesting information on the vital role that grape growing and winemaking play in our ecosystem. It's a reminder that what we eat and drink encompasses not just the ingredients on our plates but also the people who grow them, the environment that nurtures them, and the history and innovation that drive them forward. So pour yourself a glass of wine, relax, and tune in to this fascinating story of a family and their winery, rooted in tradition and inspired by the future. See video of the vineyard tour on our YouTube Channel or on the website at Learn more about the winery at


Homeless to hopeful: How urban farming is changing lives in an Iowa shelter

Urban farming has so much potential but it can be hard to make a living doing it. With the economy today, every city and town seems to have more people experiencing homelessness. In Iowa, there is a unique approach connecting individuals utilizing services at Central Iowa Shelter & Services (CISS) to fresh local food in a win-win and a unique farm right downtown. The facility has been growing vegetables every summer for years but this winter, they opened a greenhouse. Now, some of the people looking for the next steps to housing and employment are spending time planting seeds and growing skills. Urban farm manager Aaron Thormodsen and Josh Spain who connects the farm program to culinary efforts at the facility and to restaurants in town sit down with Janice to talk about what the program is seeing, how trainees and local chefs are finding more common ground and more. See the greenhouse tour on either our YouTube channel or the Grounded by the Farm website Learn more about Central Iowa Shelter & Services through: The CISS shelter websiteMulberry Farms pageThe Shelter's Facebook PageCISS on Instagram If you would like to support the Mulberry Farms program & planned agrihood, you can donate to the greenhouse program or purchase some things from the farm's Amazon wish list and have it shipped directly! There is also a wish list for the shelter if you'd like to provide some of the items needed there as well.


Could Cricket Farming Be the Next Big Thing?

Shelby Smith never expected to be a farmer, so it may be fitting that she's a kind of farmer almost nobody thinks about. Shelby is a cricket farmer. Right in the heart of the Midwest. She describes this space as one changing quickly and compares it to the reality there was a time most Americans probably thought avocados were odd and wondered why others ate them, while some of us now absolutely crave having guacamole now. We talk with Shelby about whether crickets may be the next big thing in foods and why she believes that. We also talk about: Shelby's background growing up on a farm and stumbling into cricket farming when doing research for her next careerTrying new foods thanks to a diverse palate -- crickets, tongue tacos, etc. Some people may not like the visual aspect of certain foodsWhat a cricket barn is like and why climate control is criticalBuying and growing cricketsFeeding practices for cricketsNew cricket barn excitementBiosecurity and pest control on the cricket farmFood safety considerations for cricketsAge is not a barrier to trying cricket-based products. You can see a tour of the farm at Where else you can find Grounded by the Farm is our hub for photos & videos, blog posts, show notes, podcasts are here and more. You can even get new content emailed once a week as we publish by subscribing.Find yourfavorite foodsor funfood educational resource information on the website.Groundedbythefarm_ on InstagramTikTok @groundedbythefarmGrounded by the Farm on YoutubeGrounded by the Farm Facebook Page


How Our Family Holiday Food Traditions Have Shifted: A Conversation with My Mom

Holidays bring together an amazing combination of foods & traditions, but how often do we step back and talk about how our families celebrated the holidays 25, 50, even 75 years ago? That's exactly the conversation we have with my mom (Ada Person) today. She shares her memories of holiday celebrations in the 1940s explaining what was on the table for meals, the gifts & decorations all. And we talk about some of the factors that have driven changes in the seventies as she raised kids and much more recently as grandchildren and great grands are a bigger part of the equation. Recipes for several of the dishes are now on our website And you can find photos, detailed shownotes, etc at


Holiday Foods and Traditions: Stories from Listeners & Friends

We're off the farm in this episode as listeners and friends share their holiday foods and traditions. As we listen to these five people tell us about the foods that must be a part of their festive season, it's impossible not to reflect more on our own traditions. It's also likely to make you want to visit someone else's holiday table to try at least one dish! You'll hear from: Southern Mac & CheeseSugar Water ManorRosemary Mark We share some more notes on and access our full series of episodes and posts on favorite holiday foods from the farm and kitchen!


Update: Life Beside a Cranberry Marsh: Smoothies, Ecology & a Cran-Baby

We first talked with cranberry farmer Amber Bristow more than two years ago. She did an amazing job helping us understand this uniquely American fruit grown on vines low to the ground with water added at harvest to float the berries to the top making them easy to collect! We catch back up with her picking up on some of the things that have changed in the past two years. Cranberries went viral with a skateboarder, Amber dipped her toe in the TikTok world, we created a lesson plan to help elemntary students learn more about this great food and a cran-baby joined the family farm! See videos, photos and get links to the products discussed at


Updated: Pumpkin Patches and the Passing of Time

Back in 2020, we talked with Shannon Latham who runs a pumpkin farm up in Northern Iowa. Well, now that 2022's pumpkin season has rolled around, we headed back to the pumpkin patch to find out what the latest news is for Shannon and Enchanted Acres. Shannon shared a range of favorite foods -- pumpkin pudding, Pumpkin pie and of course pumpkin muffins for breakfast (and throughout the day) She also shares some decisions to make when it comes to running a pumpkin farm. And while people tend to think about pumpkin patches for six weekends in the fall, farm families have something on the calendar most of the year with planting, pest management and there's all that time thinking about what to plant. The episode from 2020 was edited & remastered and has the update here too!


Beekeeping and Building Leadership Skills at Sankofa Farms

Have you ever considered beekeeping as the path to teaching leadership skills and tap passions? Kamal Bell has been doing that on his first generation farm in Cedar Grove, NC. As we sat down to discuss the farm, we found chairs and sat down in a hot tunnel surrounded by seedlings to be planted soon for fall/winter harvests. We talk through getting the bee hives ready for winter. Kamal admits he wasn't a fan of bees before. Starting hives was actually a suggestion of one of the youth in the farm's agricultural leadership program. The lessons from the hives keep coming and they draw a lot of interest from young and old. See photos, video & more at Follow Sankofa Farms on Instagram


Foraging Pawpaws, Fruit Farming and Making Fruit Leather

Pawpaws are one of a handful of unique fruits and vegetables native to the United States, and yet they are not nearly as widely enjoyed as the holiday must have cranberries! One of the reasons they aren't as well known is the primary way to get pawpaws is foraging for them. Jeff Hake sits down with us to talk about pawpaws and other fruits being grown at Funk's Grove Heritage Fruits and Grains and some of the products they are making too. Katie and Jonathan Funk grew up on the family farm & playing in Funk's Grove. Now, they are working with Katie's husband Jeff to try different practices and crops. They are creating unique food products using heritage grains and crops they grow as well as foods foraged from the grove. They have planted a combination of grains and offer some baking and bread mixes. And with the fruit trees they have planted they offer fruit leathers and other yummies. All of it is available just off the historic Route 66 in Illinois or online. See photos, video & more at Video of our farm visit Jeff shows how to make fruit leather


Finding Environmental Common Ground: Dairy & Nature Experts Talk

Common ground is a phrase that is said less frequently these days, and environmental common ground isn't what everyone expects happens when sustainability experts and farmers sit down together. But maybe we should. The health of our soils, shifting weather patterns and the role of greenhouse gases and more means there is a lot to talk about and work on too. In this episode of Grounded by the Farm, we talk with Missouri dairy farmer Alex Peterson and Alisha Staggs, a sustainability expert who leads the dairy program with The Nature Conservancy's (TNC) North American Agriculture program. TNC is one of the world's largest and most respected environmental organizations. This is the third and final episode in our series on dairy. We visited two dairy farms in Oklahoma, talked to a cheesemonger and now look at the environmental footprint. Shouts out to Midwest Dairy for sponsoring the series and helping us line up participants. Please let us know if you have questions remaining about dairy. See photos and a video on the site


Growing Dates: Coachella's Longest Running Jam Session

Not many of us look at palm trees and immediately think of growing dates and yet, this episode may change that for you! And that's one of the things that visiting a date farmer brings out, but the process of working trees that reach the heights and ages of date palms also brings up more questions. Luckily, I found the right place in the Coachella Valley just outside of Palm Springs to get all my questions answered -- Hadley's Date Gardens where Albert Keck was ready to show me around. And some of the trees I saw have been in the valley for 80-100 years -- that's a lot of jam, cookies, energy bars, etc! The push for taste and nutrition in our diets means dates are a popular item these days. And workers -- called palmeros -- go up and down the trees half a dozen times a year to deliver that sweet treat to us! We talk about the steps in growing them and Albert tells us about the ways dates can help us recover from that hot desert sun. See photos and videos at


Called to Live the Cheese Life, Interview with a Cheesemonger

There are titles that go almost unnoticed, but being a cheesemonger definitely stands out! It took a long time but eventually, I met a cheesemonger. That cheesemonger, Jessica Keahey (founder of Sweet Freedom Cheese in Bentonville, Arkansas), led a virtual meetup and cheese tasting & we later met in person as we toured two dairy farms! We certainly weren't short of topics to discuss and Jessica kept coming up with cheese puns to keep it light! We talk about how to choose cheeses for a cheese or charcuterie board, what to e pair with cheese, how much cheese to put on the board and more. This post is sponsored by Midwest Dairy. Ashley Anderson who also in part of the episode, is the wellness director there. I was compensated for my time, but all wording and opinions are mine or the people sharing them. You can access a lot of photos and a video from the visit to Sweet Freedom Cheese Shop at and a transcript is available at