One of the reasons I am LOVING this Thirty Days of Food series is the fact that I am getting to cook and try all sorts of new things! Lentils are something I never really think about cooking, but thanks to Shauna I found one of my new favorite soups! Honestly this soup is so delicious and so easy to make! But first, let’s here from the lovely Shauna of Farver Farms in Montana.
Terry & Shauna Farver
- When did you start farming? What brought you into farming?
Shauna, a small town Idaho girl with rural roots, and Terry, a 4th generation farmer & rancher from the windswept Northeast Montana prairies, were introduced to each other by mutual friends in 1994. In 1997 they were married, joined the existing family farming operation and purchased and moved to Terry’s maternal family farmstead.
- Who farms with you and what are their roles?
After losing Terry’s father in 2004, Terry & Shauna took over the family operation & run that as well as their own. They are the owners, operators, managers & hired hands, with lots of help from the little hands, Kaitlin (16) & Martin (13). Terry is the brains, brawn & green thumb behind the operation. Shauna helps punch the numbers, keeps the books in order, & lends a hand running equipment & working cows. Terry’s Uncle and a neighbor help during seeding & harvest.
- What has been the hardest part of farming for you?
The most challenging aspect of farming for us, is the uncertainty. The fluctuating price of commodities, market manipulation & the weather make farming a risky game. Learning to manage those risks is a full-time job in itself.
- What has been the most satisfying part of farming for you?
The most satisfying part of farming is hard to define. It’s the intangible’s. The miracle of planting a tiny seed & watching it grow. The knowledge that we’re growing the food that feeds the world. The pride in carrying on a heritage & leaving a legacy for the next generation.
- What crops (or animals) do you grow and why?
We grow hard red spring wheat, winter wheat, field peas, lentils, corn, alfalfa, & run a Black Angus cow/calf herd. The wheat crops grow well in our climate, & are the backbone of our operation. Corn & alfalfa are grown under the few irrigated acres we have, & are mainly feed crops for the cows. The pulse crops (peas & lentils) are playing a larger and larger role for us. By using them in rotation with the wheat, they help with soil health. They’re nitrogen ‘fixers’, which means they help draw nitrogen through the air & put it back into the soil. Plants grow better in soil that has adequate nitrogen levels—so we see increased yields on fields that have had a pulse crop in them the previous year. They also give us an alternate market to help manage risk when the small grain market is down. The cows are another way to diversify financially & manage risk by providing a return on pasture land that can’t be farmed.
- What is your favorite thing to do with a food crop you grow?
Most of the crops we grow are delivered to local grain elevators and pulse processing plants, where they’re loaded on trains & shipped to major processing facilities. We like to keep some of the lentils for ourselves though, & have a few favorite family recipes we’re happy to share!
Future of Farming
- What is one message you’d like to get across to the general public about what you do?
American farmers provide the safest, most abundant, least expensive food in the world. We’re encouraging less arguments about food production, & more discussions about ways to continue to provide an endless supply of food choices for consumers.
- What advice would you give to anyone interested in getting into farming?
Being successful as a farmer is like anything else—you have to LOVE what you do. Through all the long hours, late nights, hailed out crops, lost calves & market fluctuations, you have to get up every morning, still wanting to be a farmer. If you’re new to agriculture, get educated. Go to school. Take part in Ag Extension programs. Spend some time working on an operation like the one you want to own. Get your hands dirty & be absolutely certain farming is what you want to do. It’s almost a guarantee you’ll have tough years. You have to be committed.
To find more of Shauna and Terry of Farver Farms, you can visit their website Farver Farms. Shauna is currently doing her own series right now: 30 Days of Dirt Roads, I love it! You can also find them on their Facebook page, Tweet with them on Twitter @farverfarms, see some of their pins on Pinterest, or even follow the photos from Shauna on Instagram!
I would highly recommend not subbing any other beef cut besides chuck for this recipe. The chuck ended up being perfectly tender for the time I cooked this soup. Honestly, this soup tasted just like comfort to me. It was beefy and loaded with vegetables. The lentils added the perfect touch!
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 lb. boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 1 inch cubes
- salt and pepper
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 3-4 carrots, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 beer (I like a porter, stout, or brown ale)
- 64 oz. beef broth
- 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes with juice
- 2 cups lentils, rinsed
- Melt the butter in a large dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper. Brown the beef in the pan in batches and transfer to a plate.
- Add the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, and spices to the pot. Saute for several minutes or until onions are translucent. Return the beef to the pot.
- Add the beer, broth, tomatoes to the pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for an hour or until meat is tender.
- Add the lentils. Cover and continue simmering until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Enjoy!
This post is part of my Thirty Days of Food series where I am writing about food and farming for the entire month of November, to find out more about it all or how to follow along, visit my Thirty Days of Food page or click the photo below to find more great recipes with farmer features!