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The Founding Farmers Cookbook, Second Edition: 100 Recipes From the Restaurant Owned by American Family Farmers

The Founding Farmers Cookbook, Second Edition: 100 Recipes From the Restaurant Owned by American Family Farmers

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The Founding Farmers Cookbook, Second Edition: 100 Recipes From the Restaurant Owned by American Family Farmers

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5 мар. 2019 г.


Look at what you put on your table through the eyes of a farmer with this cookbook by one of America’s most popular and sustainable restaurants.

Nestled in the nation’s capital, Founding Farmers offers delicious food made from scratch with ingredients sourced primarily from family farms, ranches, and fisheries across the country. Now you can use that same scratch-made philosophy at home. With more than 100 different recipes, indulge in traditional American dishes and Founding Farmers favorites, such as Yankee Pot Roast, Southern Pan-Fried Chicken and Waffles, and Seven-Cheese Mac & Cheese. Best of all, they’re easy to make using ingredients grown right here in the United States and can be found at your local farmers’ market or grocery store.


In addition to 100 accessible farm-to-fork recipes, The Founding Farmers Cookbook takes you straight to the source of the foods you enjoy every day, with profiles of hardworking American purveyors from Virginia and Maryland, to North Dakota and Texas, and beyond.

Keeping in line with the Founding Farmers mission to support local producers, proceeds go to a collective of family farmers, ranchers, and fishermen.

With its focus on people, fresh food, and local communities, this cookbook with a mission is a must-have for anyone who wants to bring true American food and drink to their home table.
5 мар. 2019 г.

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The Founding Farmers Cookbook, Second Edition - Founding Farmers


The Founding Farmers Cookbook copyright © 2018 by Founding Farmers, LLC. Photographs on pages xiv and 54 copyright © 2013 by North Dakota Farmers Union. Food photographs © 2013 by Renée Comet. All other photographs © 2017 by Ken Fletcher and Eric Laignet. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by The General Design Company. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of reprints in the context of reviews.

Andrews McMeel Publishing

a division of Andrews McMeel Universal

1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64106




ISBN: 978-1-4494-9723-1

Library of Congress Control Number: 2013938126

Design Concept The General Design Company

Photographers Renée Comet, Ken Fletcher, and Eric Laignet

Photography Assistant Steven Redfearn

Food Stylist Lisa Cherkasky

Prop Stylist Audrey Weppler

ATTENTION: SCHOOLS AND BUSINESSES Andrews McMeel books are available at quantity discounts with bulk purchase for educational, business, or sales promotional use. For information, please e-mail the Andrews McMeel Publishing Special Sales Department: specialsales@amuniversal.com




Through the Eyes of the FarmerTM

The Toolshed

Cupboard & Icebox

Pickles, Seasonings & Sauces

Starters & Snacks

Garden Fresh Salads

Sandwiches & Burgers


Fresh Catches

Handmade Pasta

From the Ranch

Holidays on the Farm

Crop List Sides

Desserts & Baked Goods

Breakfast & Brunch


Sodas & Sippers




You hold in your hands a cookbook that is deeply rooted in family farm agriculture. We planted the seed for The Founding Farmers Cookbook in 1999 when the North Dakota Farmers Union challenged a group of our members to dream. We were seeking a way for farmers and ranchers to capture a greater share of the U.S. food dollar by earning more income from our raw commodities rather than the usual pennies on the dollar.

Over and over, the idea of a farmer-owned restaurant kept percolating to the top of the list. Not only would farmers and ranchers have a better chance to improve our income if we were at the top of the food chain, we could build relationships with our consumers. It would be an opportunity to showcase U.S. farmers and ranchers, the people who grow your food.

Seven years later, the North Dakota Farmers Union partnered up with two renowned restaurateurs— Mike Vucurevich and Dan Simons—and opened Founding Farmers in Washington, D.C. Since then, we have opened a small collection of sibling restaurants in and around our nation’s capital, each individual and special, yet part of a family we call Farmers Restaurant Group.

The recipes on these pages are some of the tried and true favorites from our restaurants. They are delicious and as unique as every family farm and ranch in America. The millions of family farms and ranches across our great country produce low-cost, high-quality food that is second to none, which allows Americans to spend less than 10 percent of their disposable income on food.

Our country’s highly successful family farm model of food production and our ability to be self-reliant is the envy of the world. The intrinsic, immeasurable value of farm families passing land, and knowledge of that land, on to the next generation, like secret family recipes, is the foundation of our agricultural engine. It is the bedrock of our country.

I grew up on a family farm in north central North Dakota, in Velva, where my wife and I still farm today raising wheat, soybeans, canola, barley, and other crops. My parents, my brother’s family, and my nephew’s family all farm in close proximity. We share the workload like the generations before us. It is this same sweat equity, attention to detail, and love of the land that’s evident in our restaurants and in the food and drink we serve, some of which are captured here.

May this cookbook become a staple in your kitchen and a reminder of how closely tied you are to farm families across America, to those of us living and working on our great and fertile soil.

We are grateful for your support of family farm agriculture. Enjoy!

Mark Watne

President, North Dakota Farmers Union

August 2017

Out on the plains where the wind blows free/ That is the place I am longing to be.

The Plains I Love, words from a song sung at North Dakota Farmers Union events


When you sit down to eat at Founding Farmers, the biggest question you might face is: Do I order the Frisco Burger or do I go with the Low Country Shrimp and Grits? We know it’s a tough call, but enjoying food is all about making choices.

Before your plate arrives at the table, we make dozens of decisions about every dish. The process begins beyond the kitchen, out in the golden fields of the heartland, the green forests of the countryside, and the midnight blue coastal waters. There we connect with the farmers, ranchers, and fishermen who carry on America’s distinguished agricultural traditions.

Some of these independent sharecroppers play a pivotal role in the restaurant, since our owners include more than 47,000 American family farmers of the North Dakota Farmers Union (NDFU). Their passion and values are ingrained in our DNA, so we see the world through their eyes. We understand the journey your food takes from farms, fields, forests, and waters to the table and your fork, because we make sure to know our suppliers. We take care to learn about their philosophies and practices, because we want to make sure that they align with ours.

We’re continuously striving to offer regionally sourced, seasonal ingredients that are naturally and sustainably raised. Now, this may sound like a grand idea, but it’s actually the simplest. It’s the way our ancestors worked the land and ate for hundreds of years. By taking this approach, we are getting the freshest and best-tasting foodstuffs. Simultaneously, we’re helping to preserve our precious natural resources and the family-farming community that forms the backbone of this country.

When this bounty arrives in our kitchens fresh daily, we figure out the best way to highlight these ingredients so that our dishes honor the hard work and dedication that went into them. To ensure peerless quality, almost everything on our menu is made from scratch—from the red wine vinegar–laced Tartar Sauce for our Fish and Chips to the autumnal Butternut Squash–Mascarpone Ravioli and the luxuriously rich Chocolate Cream Pie. Our culinary team works tirelessly to create signature recipes inspired by all-American classics, historical favorites we discovered while researching at the Library of Congress, and inventive new dishes that still retain the authenticity and rusticity that is the hallmark of our cuisine.

We aren’t just making choices about the food. To honor the stewards of the land, we must honor the land and how we impact the earth. Founding Farmers flagship restaurant is a three-star Certified Green Restaurant® that operates with a minimized carbon footprint, which we offset with carbon credits. The restaurant is LEED Gold certified, and it was the first full-service, upscale-casual restaurant in the whole country to be so. In early 2013, the restaurant was named to the U.S. Healthful Food Council’s REAL (Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership) Certification list. In all of our restaurants we pursue Green Restaurant and LEED certifications. We recycle everything we can, we compost all of our organic waste, and we continue to find ways to decrease landfill waste. Even this book is green. The pages and band are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)–certified paper and are printed with eco-friendly soy inks. Since it was produced overseas, we bought carbon credits to offset the environmental impact.

We may be grounded in the ageless philosophy of sustainability, but we look forward to discover the best ways to achieve it. That’s why when you visit Founding Farmers, you feel like you’re walking into twenty-first-century modern farmhouses where rustic traditionalist touchstones are melded to a contemporary aesthetic. Our restaurants are warm and welcoming—we want them to feel like a home away from home. Look around and you’ll see references to our philosophies—in the quotes that spangle the walls, on the menu, or when your server tells you the backstory on a dish or drink that you’re about to enjoy. However, it’s most important to us that you get great value, impeccable service, and delicious food, so you keep coming back.

So this isn’t just a cookbook. It’s a guide to eating well and doing good. You can just use it to make our ever-comforting Grilled Cheese and Roasted Tomato Soup at home on a blustery day, but we also want it to create an awareness of all the decisions you often unconsciously make when you cook. We know from the smiles on our guests’ faces and the positive feedback we receive from our network of partners that the more thought you put into your food—who produces it, how it’s raised, and where it comes from—the better it will taste and the more environmentally friendly it will be. So consider this book a reminder to always take the time to make informed, purposeful choices.

This country has a history of innovation and leadership, which began when the founding fathers declared our independence and set us on the pathway to greatness. We are building on this rich heritage one plate at a time. This cookbook is a celebration of all that we have accomplished at Founding Farmers so far, a deeper look at our story, and, perhaps, a fond reminder of a meal you enjoyed at one of our restaurants. Thanks for choosing to join us as we carry America’s culinary tradition forward.

The Founding Farmers Team

For this is what America is all about. It is the uncrossed desert and the unclimbed ridge. It is the star that is not reached and the harvest that is sleeping in the unplowed ground.

—Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th president of the United States

Through the Eyes of the Farmer™

The Founding Farmers Story

What follows is a conversation with business and managing partners Dan Simons and Michael Vucurevich (known to all as Mike V.), who developed the concept for Founding Farmers with the North Dakota Farmers Union (NDFU).

Dan: The NDFU wanted to get into the restaurant world—so they could use their products on the table and make more money from them—and they were looking for partners to execute their ideas. Our relationship started with some consultation on a previous restaurant that they owned, but that hadn’t been performing well. Then they had an epiphany, which was that—when done right—restaurants could be an amazing tool for them, and that we were the right guys for that job. We had our own epiphany: This wasn’t just a project for us. The farmers struck us on an emotional level. We realized that we couldn’t just see the project through our own eyes but through the eyes of the farmer.

Mike V.: We knew that we had to give it all that we had. It had to be just right. Our executive chef, Joe Goetze, was a big part of the food. A lot of dishes were based on my travels throughout America, which have taken me to almost every state. Sometimes my life feels like that Johnny Cash song I’ve Been Everywhere.

Dan: When Founding Farmers opened in September 2008, it was truly the worst of times and the best of times. We were born in the Great Recession, at a time when most Americans were feeling the crunch; but the restaurant was well received because we gave people value, and genuine sentiment. At every turn, people told us we couldn’t do what we were doing. And we said, Yes, we can. And we did.

Mike V.: When we decide that we’re going to do something, we’re relentless. We don’t let anyone get in our way. It’s tough, because Founding Farmers wasn’t following anyone. We were making it up as we went along.

Dan: As soon as we started working on this project, we realized that it was not going to be a normal restaurant. Founding Farmers isn’t just about the food—it’s holistic. How we built it, the materials we used, what we don’t waste in our kitchens, the lightbulbs we install, the plates we buy—everything makes a difference. Everything matters.

Mike V.: From the beginning, people liked us because of that attention to the small details that add up to make a big difference. They’d go into the bathroom, use the energy-efficient Dyson hand dryer, then come out and tell their friends that they had to go try it. And so a story started and we began to bloom. It was all very grassroots. We’ve made great progress. The restaurant’s sales have grown double digits every year—without increasing our prices. But we don’t ever stop and say, We’ve made it. It’s a lot of hard work every single day.

Dan: My wife keeps asking me when we’re going to admit or acknowledge that there’s success. It happens for me when our farmer-owners come in, look around, eat the food, see that the flour in our bread comes from the North Dakota Mill, and know that what we’re doing is helping farmers across the country. The look on their faces is my idea of success. But we’re not done. In a way, we’ve only just started.

Mike V.: Our focus now is to create more modern urban farmhouse restaurants, but each one will incorporate a part of the place where it’s located, in the same way that regional cooking is reflective of the people and the farms and the history. We’re going to bring in the flavors and lineage of every area we open in. We won’t stamp it out like a chain; we don’t want hundreds of restaurants.

Dan: I’ll be thrilled if this company is around long enough that people who work here now can watch their kids work for it down the line. From a sustainable perspective, Founding Farmers is a labor of love for the next generation. We’re trying to build a company where working at the restaurants is a real craft that you can be proud of and that lets you earn a living, support your family, and eat good food the whole time. If you want to make delicious food and amazing drinks that people will keep enjoying, then you need to love making it and you need to love who you’re making it

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