One of the reasons I often love hearing from the people who produce the food we put on our table is that a lot of them are what I call straight shooters. They shoot from the hip and often they aren’t afraid to tell it is like it is. I guess you’d call them not PC these days. And I have to say, I admire them for that. I travel quite often to attend farm or Agriculture related conferences. I meet a lot of folks who take part in producing the food we put on our tables. And one thing remains consistent within that group of people, they are all salt of the earth people. Don’t let that hard facade fool you, they really are kind people and they’ll most often give you the shirt off their back. Today we get to meet Jeff and although I haven’t met Jeff in person, I can tell he’s a straight shooter. Most of all, I can tell that he loves the beef cattle animals he raises and is proud of the work he does in California, especially in the middle of a serious drought.
San Joaquin County, California
When did you start farming? What brought you into farming?
I started farming at birth! I was raised farming almonds and Gelbvieh beef cows
What chores did you have growing up?
Moving sprinkler pipe and checking cows every morning before school.
Are there any differences between your farm now and when you were a kid?
Solid set sprinklers, and school was along time ago!
What has been the hardest part of farming for you?
Dealing with water!
What has been the most satisfying part of farming for you?
The calf output!
What crops (or animals) do you grow and why?
Almonds and beef cattle. It’s what I know!
What do you think was the most useful advance in farming such as machinery, genetics, chemicals, etc.?
The flail mower, and roundup herbicide!
What is one thing you’d like to get across to the general public about what you do?
We put food on your table! Raising beef calves is not an easy thing to do these days with dealing with water shortages!
What advice would you give to anyone interested into getting into your field?
You are crazy! **Editor’s note: this made me seriously LOL. At least he’s being honest!? **
I love a good meatball recipe. This one combines beef AND bacon with a peach bbq whisky sauce. These can be eaten as an appetizer or as a main with rice or noodles. I cooked these in the oven, but these could done in a crockpot as well! I also froze half the recipe and sauce for quick use.
- 1/2 pound bacon
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs or crushed crackers
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons A-1 steak sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Season salt and pepper to taste
- Peach Whisky BBQ Sauce
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons shallots, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 cup peaches, pureed in food processor
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons Whisky
- 1/2 cup water (if needed)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the bacon (uncooked) into a food processor with the half of onion, process for 1-2 minutes or until bacon is finely ground up.
- In a large bowl, add the bacon/onion mixture, ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, A-1, and spices. Stir well to combine, I use my Kitchen Aid mixer for this.
- Using a scoop or your hands, form the mixture into 24 one inch meatballs and place either on a baking sheet or in a casserole pan.
- Bake meatballs on 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until internal temperature of 165 degrees is reached.
- While your meatballs are baking, start your peach whisky sauce.
- In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and garlic, saute for 1-2 minutes or until softened. Reduce heat to medium.
- Add the brown sugar, paprika, ketchup, peaches, Worcestershire sauce, and Whisky to the saucepan. Stir to combine.
- Cook until thickened about 15-20 minutes. If sauce becomes too thick to your liking, add 1/2 cup water. Once thick, remove from heat and set aside.
- Add the sauce to the meatballs and stir to coat. Place back into the oven and increase temperature to 400 degrees. Bake meatballs in the sauce for about 8-10 minutes or until sauce has started to caramelize on top.
- Remove from oven and enjoy!
- Meatballs can be frozen and then put into a crockpot with sauce, cook on low for about 3-4 hours.
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 to find more great recipes with farmer features!