Earlier this month, I accompanied food bloggers from coast to coast on a tour of a modern pig and row crop farm in southern Iowa. This tour, called “Pass The Pork”, gave bloggers an all access pass to learn about modern pig farming from the Brenneman family. These influential women, on the continual journey to ‘find out where their food comes’ from, came to the right state to check out pork, if you ask me.
As a fellow food blogger/pig farmer, I got to join in the fun, and meet some of the most dynamic, lovely women, and casually poke fun at (easy target) Chris Soules during a cooking event on the tour. If you’ve been living in a box for the past year and a half you wouldn’t know he was the most recent “Bachelor”, but now off the love-train, he’s out and about advocating for agriculture. He’s got a great sense of humor and bowed to our wishes for an ‘awkward family photo’ type of picture with him (see below). There was a fluffy cat in this photo, but it was .02 seconds away from attacking Chris, so we let it go.
Anyway, carrying on… after each of the blogger tours I’ve been on, I find myself looking back and realizing how much I learned from the bloggers, about how beneficial it truly is to “open your barn doors”.
Yes, have a chuckle, have a laugh… but understand I’m not talking about the zipper on your jeans, rather the doors to every farm in the United States. People like my family, and the Brenneman family hold the proverbial keys to knowledge that consumers are hungry for today. So, the question ends up being: how can we show the masses what we do on our farms and why we do it?
We host blogger tours. (“We” as in The Pork Checkoff, Iowa Pork Producers, National Pork Producers Council, #RealPigFarming) In turn, we get to show trusted influencers (in this case, food bloggers with large audiences) life on our farm, with our families, firsthand. An experience that few get to have because the people guiding the tours (farmers) live very busy lives, but the reach of the bloggers extends the visibility of the tour into the email inboxes of their followers through newsletters and blog posts, some with the most delicious recipes I’ve EVER seen.
Since we were in the middle of corn and soybean harvest during the tour, I had to come in late, for the last day and a half. The day I arrived, the ladies toured the various stages of pig barns at Brenneman Pork. Most of the ladies got assist in the delivery of a newborn pig. They were accompanied on this part of the tour by none other than Erin Brenneman, (@sowmomma), a dear friend of mine and fearless farm woman extraordinaire. She is married to Tim, the oldest son of Rob and Char Brenneman who started their farm together in 1980.
At Brenneman Pork they use cutting edge technology along with good-old-fashioned hard work and know-how to be one of the most successful pig farms in the U.S.A. The best part: they offer up their farm, food from their table, and best of all unmatched kindness that makes everyone feel comfortable and appreciated. They are leaders in pig farming, but also leaders in agricultural advocacy, showing people from near and far how #RealPigFarming works, firsthand.
This tour was incredible, the women who attended were nothing short of amazing and I have made connections that will last my entire life, I’m positive. My biggest takeaway from this experience and other blogger tours I have been involved in is to keep opening the doors, keep talking to people and showing friends, family and followers what honest farm life is really like.
Each of the bloggers wrote about their experience on the tour and some posts have delicious recipes, you can read along below:
(Bring a bib to dab your drool… you were warned!)
Sandra from A Dash of Sanity: Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches
Kirsten from Comfortably Domestic: 5 Minutes with a Farmer: Brenneman Pork
Lynne with her Rosemary Pork Medallions with Mushroom Wine Sauce from 365 Days of Baking and More
Cathy from Noble Pig: Iowa Farming: Pass the Pork Tour
Ashley with her Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Meatballs from Wishes and Dishes
Lynne on the Pass the Pork Blogger Tour: The Experience of a Lifetime… from 365 Days of Baking and More
Sandra with her Pork Rice Balls from The Foodie Affair
Jen from Yummy Healthy Easy with her Pork Lettuce Wraps
Taylor from Food Faith and Fitness with her Pass the Pork recap
Lauren from Climbing Grier Mountain: 5 Things I learned on the Pass the Pork Blogger Tour
Ashley from Wishes and Dishes: Pork Tenderloin with Apple Cider Reduction and Pass the Pork recap
Emily from Busy Mommy: How Long Should You Cook Pork?
Taylor from Food Faith and Fitness: Chipotle Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin Tacos with Apples and Cranberries
Kirsten from Comfortably Domestic: Apple Cider Pork Chops
*Thank you to the National Pork Board who sponsored this post, my travel and lodging to be able to take the time off of harvest and join these bloggers on the tour. As always, opinions in this post are 100% my own.