2018 Chefs Collaborative & Niman Ranch Scholar Stories

20th Anniversary Hog Farmer Appreciation Weekend

In partnership with Niman Ranch, Chefs Collaborative offered a Members-only Scholarship for chefs to participate in the Niman Ranch Hog Farmer Appreciation Weekend, September 7-8, 2018.

39 Chefs Collaborative Members applied for this scholarship opportunity, and three Members were selected for the 2018 cohort: Adam Hegsted (Eat Good Group, WA), Daniel Muggli (Bon Appetit at Google Seattle, WA), and Sonya Yelder (Smith College Dining Services, MA).

These three chefs travels to Iowa, toured A Frame Acres, learned about responsible animal husbandry, and participated in a special dinner celebrating Niman Ranch hog farmers.


Chef Daniel: “Thank you Chefs Collaborative and Niman Ranch! This was both an awe-inspiring and enlightening weekend. The tour hosted by A Frame Acres was a true highlight. Being able to connect with family farmers and a company like Niman Ranch shows that there is a right way to do things. When we concern ourselves with the food system as a whole, great thinks like this are what happen. Family farms stay in families for generations, knowledge is passed to young farmers, farmers are able to succeed and thrive, and the people get a product that is held to the highest standard. The standard extends from animal welfare, to environmental stewardship, to fair market value, to the supplier network, and well beyond. And what you see on your plate or offered in your local restaurant had positive impact at each step in its journey.”


Chef Adam: “I had a great time and it was interesting to get a look at their program. They are doing some innovative things to progress the future of farming. Being able to see the whole process from birth to wean to feed to table was an amazing experience, and it’s hard to beat melting your heart with baby piglets.”


Chef Sonya: “It was a great experience being a part of the Hog Farmer Appreciation Weekend. I got to sit across from two of the farmers and their wives at dinner and talk food and the importance of how we care for it.

I also love what Niman Ranch is doing for every day people that are such an intricate part of this business with their fair practices, concerns, and look towards next generations of farmers.”