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Farmers Market Archive
Wednesday
Jan232019

Vendor Spotlight: Sunshine Harvest Farm

Article by Jenny Heck, Marketing and Events Manager, Mill City Farmers Market

Learn about Mill City Farmers Market’s long-time meat vendor

Sunshine Harvest Farm is a 4th-generation family farm in Webster, Minnesota–about 40 miles south of Minneapolis. Owner Mike Braucher, his son Brandon, his brother Patrick and neighbor Sharron bring a variety of cuts of beef, bison, lamb, pork, chicken and eggs to the Mill City Farmers Market year-round. The Braucher’s beef and lamb are 100% grass fed, including hay in the winter. Their pasture-raised chickens and hogs are fed non-GMO corn, peas, beans, alfalfa, kelp & minerals (when they’re not eating grass and bugs!). Like all of Mill City’s vendors, Sunshine Harvest Farm never uses antibiotics, hormones, or chemicals on any of their animals, believing in sustainable farming and management-intensive grazing on pastures.

Mike Braucher assisting a customer at the Mill City Farmer Market.

“Our passion of farming and love of good food is what helped us create our business,” explains Mike. “We work to bring the highest quality food from our farm to your table. As we go through our work day we think about our patrons by name, and it is a reminder to us of how important our work truly is.​”

Market sales really are an important part of the Braucher’s business model. Ninety percent of their sales come from direct-to-consumer retail, including their popular meat CSA and sales at the Mill City and Kingfield farmers markets. The remaining ten percent comes from wholesale and sales to local restaurants (has anyone tried the “spoon burger” at Spoonriver Restaurant?).

“We apply healthy farming and business practices so we can develop strong relationships with customers, family, and friends who count on us for safe, clean, sustainable and nutritious food,” Mike adds.

You'll find several freezers full of premium meats (and a cooler stocked with fresh eggs) from Brauchers at every indoor and outdoor Mill City Farmers Market.

Even though the Super Bowl won’t be in town this year, you can still bring local flare to your party by picking up a few things at Mill City’s indoor Winter Market on Saturday, January 26. In addition to MN-grown carrots, radishes, cheeses and salami for crudité platters, get the local ingredients you need for these wild rice meatballs. The market will be open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. inside the Mill City Museum, 704 S 2nd Street. No admission required. Learn more at millcityfarmersmarket.org.

Wild Rice Meatballs

Recipe courtesy of the Mill City Farmers Market. Makes 12 meatballs.

Ingredients

Method

Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Gently combine without over mixing, until evenly incorporated. Form into small meatballs. This can be made less messy by getting a bowl of water to dip your fingers in while shaping the meatballs.

Note: Plan ahead for cooking the wild rice. Hand harvested wild rice will take about 15-20 minutes to cook. Commercial wild rice will take much longer. You can also use cooked quinoa in place of wild rice. Burgers can also be made with this recipe. Freezes well.

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil to cook meatballs. Cook a few at a time, being careful to not lift them up until they release from the pan. Set them aside, and finish with the rest. When all meatballs are seared, place BBQ sauce in the same pan, no need to wipe out the pan. Cover and bring to a low simmer, then add the meatballs. This can also be done in a crockpot. Cook gently for about 10 minutes.

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