Cheers to 2022!

January 3, 2022

I was one of the crazy people who played a New Year’s Day PDGA tournament in near zero windchill in Wisconsin.

I managed to putt well enough to win my division.  TD Aaron DeVries handed out a fancy gold medallion to division winners.  It said “1st” on one one side and “Champion of 2022” on the other.

Made me feel so special, I carefully hung it over my 2 sweatshirts, 2 flannel shirts, and 2 t-shirts, around my neck.

I went down the street to grab a take out lunch for me and my wife, who graciously stayed at home with our two year old son while I played disc golf.

The guy behind the counter said, “what’s this?”, pointing at my medallion.

Grow the sport, right?  I whipped out my phone and showed him a photo and told him about disc golf.  

“Frisbee”, he said, and made a throwing motion with his arm.  This guy gets it.

“You know what?”, he said.  “This is for you.”  He pulled out a punch card and started punching holes throughout the entire card.  “Next time, free lunch for you.”

Wow, I thought.  This guy knows how special I am.

It was only after I walked in the door at home, and my wife started laughing at me and my fancy medallion, I realized the guy at Teriyaki Express may have thought I was a different type of special.

It’s all good.  Sometimes we “Grow the Sport”,  sometimes we get a free lunch.

In all seriousness, though, disc golf does make one feel special.  No matter how your round is going, disc golf always gives us a moment or two to keep us coming back.

My cardmates all had their moments.  Jim Hendricks crushed several drives and putted great all day.  John Hunter nailed a 100 foot putt.  And Mike DeVries parked hole 1 with a delicate turnover shot.  

After the round, my cardmates went back out and helped me find a lost disc in the snow. The disc golf community is the best.

Cheers to 2022!

Matthew Walter #69516 


The Stockings…

December 19, 2021

It’s that time of year. The turkeys are gone. The days are short. Why am I always surprised by how short the days get?

We are back to our winter email marketing and its going as smooth as ever, but we’re missing some of you. In the interest of saving time, I used an email service, and I suspect it ended up in many of your spam!

If you would like to check, December 11th is when you should have received an email from us. Below is some of the email you should have received if you’re on our list.


Hello from Isabel, Romeo, and Matthew, Curiousfarmer!

Our winter season has started!  We are taking your orders for delivery to 3 locations in Madison, twice per month.

Weather permitting, our planned dates are Jan 8, 22, Feb 5, 19, Mar 5, 19, Apr 2.  If you don’t hear from us and would like something, email. 

If you need help remembering what we have, check out our “food for you” page at Curiousfarmer dot com.  I’ll try to update what’s “out” regularly to help with ordering.

Email, with questions, or if you know what you want.


Enough business, time for some Gratitude!

Thank you to all who supported Curiousfarmer during the pandemic!  You help us continue to farm the way we do.

Some of you have been with us since the beginning of the pandemic as we figured this out together.  Thanks for keeping us going during the lean days.

Many of you are new in 2021.  It’s been great getting to know you!  Some of you even made it out to the farm for turkey day.  Thank you!

Thank you also, to all who took home quarters of beef and half hogs.  We don’t get to see you as often, but we’re glad you are enjoying Curiousfarmer meat.

A special thanks to those who picked up their quarters and halves at market or at Avon Locker.  That saved us a trip to Madison, valuable time we could spend on the farm.  Thank you!

Your Farmers,

Matthew, Isabel, and Romeo

Sows in Sweet Corn

March 16, 2021
Susie, our oldest, most favorite sow, grazing last summer’s sweet corn.

I usually graze the sweet corn with the pigs after harvest, but this winter I let it stand.  Corn makes an excellent wind break and I wondered if it would help collect drifting snow and keep it off our lane.  

It did.  The snow was at least a foot deeper inside the corn than out.

I got the idea driving on highways in Iowa and Minnesota as its common to see 8 rows or so of corn left along the roads as a windbreak.  I’m not sure if the farmer is paid to do this by the county or state, but regardless, it works well, and the farmer will be able to harvest his corn in the spring with some loss.

Our extremely cold and snowy February gave way to a mild start to March and I started thinking and doing spring jobs.  

Winter has returned for a short stay, but I’m happy to have the sows knocking the corn down now.  Should make for easier tillage, soon I hope.

UPDATE: Taking orders for delivery every other Saturday to Madison. Next date March 27th.  Email Matthew with order and/or questions: Thank you!

Compost Pile

October 30, 2020

I’m sharing my compost this year, so I’ve been working more diligently on it and am happy how its turned out.

Its hard to believe that a cow we lost to lightning in the spring has almost completely turned into soil.

UPDATE: Taking orders for delivery every other Saturday to Madison. Next date November 14th.  Email Matthew with order and/or questions: Thank you!

Canadian Bacon and Tomato/Onion

August 30, 2019


Our version of the BLT uses Canadian Bacon.  Look how nicely it fits on the toast.

And we also use onions instead of lettuce.  I don’t like all that bulky lettuce crowding my sandwich.

And lots of tomatoes.  Yum.


Broiler Chickens to Pasture-April 2019

April 23, 2019


Right on schedule, we moved the broiler chicks out of the brooder house into their pasture pens on Good Friday, last week.  The first night was cold, so we put down some wood shavings for bedding, but its warmed up nicely.  They’ve been enjoying their daily moves to fresh pasture.  We should have freshly frozen chicken at market, Memorial Day weekend.


A new addition to market is our brown and blue eggs from our layer chickens.  Many have remarked about the quality, flavor, and orange yolks.  If you have any doubts about the benefits of pastured meat, eggs, or milk, the dramatic change in our eggs when the snow melts and the hens begin to forage for pasture and other critters would make you a believer!

Late Winter Market

January 21, 2019


We had been experiencing the warmest, driest, winter any of the old timers could remember.  But winter is back and reminding us who is in charge, with inches of snow and below zero F temperatures.

We have been enjoying the Late Winter Market at the Madison Senior Center.  Its a cozy space with enough room for all the vendors.  Plus room to sit if you partake in the breakfast.

Chef Laurel Burleson of the Ugly Apple Cafe sources from vendors and cooks up some wonderful breakfasts.  Next week Laurel is using our sausage links.  Its been good staying connected to many of our regular customers.  Hope to see more of you next week!

Jeremy’s Ham and Bean Soup

April 19, 2018

This is a guest post from longtime customer and friend, Jeremy.  Jeremy is a professional landscaper, and amateur chef.  I asked him to share his ham and bean soup recipe.  Thank you, Jeremy!

We will have plenty of ham available this Saturday at market.




Ham and White Bean Soup
Nothing says home cooking like a good ham and bean soup. Ham, as with bacon, elevates practically anything it’s with into tasty territory. It’s versatile and works in many different ways; with pasta, casseroles, stuffed in cordon bleu, baked with vegetables, as breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And boy, ham is wonderful, especially from my farmer who raises happy, healthy, acorn fed hogs. I give him money and the occasional garden vegetables. I get his meat and eggs. I’m lucky to have him as a friend.

2 Cups Dry White beans; Cannellini, Lima, or other
1.5-2 lbs Smoked Ham or Smoked Pork Hock, bone in preferable, fat trimmed and diced
2 small Onions, coarsely chopped
1 Celery stalk, coarsely chopped
2-3 small Carrots, coarsely chopped
2 cloves Garlic, peeled and smashed
Bouquet Garni: 1 Bay Leaf, 2-3 Thyme sprigs, and 2-3 Parsley sprigs, tied with kitchen string (or dried herb equivalent; about ½ teaspoon each with a dried bay leaf.)
½ Cup White Wine
2 Cups Stock, Pork or Chicken
2-3 Cups Water
White pepper, Salt to taste


1. Sort and rinse beans. Soak overnight in cold water. Or if pressed for time, in a separate pot bring beans and water to a boil and then simmer for an hour or so while prepping above ingredients.

2. Trim excess fat off of ham, dice into small cubes and fry in soup pot. Stir and cook until fat is rendered and you are left with fried ham cracklings. Drain cracklings on paper towel and reserve.

3. Fry vegetables in rendered fat. Stir occasionally until onions and celery become translucent.

4. Add wine to vegetables to de-glaze pot. Boil off alcohol for a minute or two and add whole ham. Drain beans and add to pot with herb bouquet, pinch of pepper, salt, and stock. Add just enough water to submerge beans, vegetables and ham. Bring to a boil, cover and then simmer for 3-4 hours or until the beans are tender and the ham begins to fall apart.

5. Turn off heat, remove ham with bone, herb bouquet, and about half of the beans. Pull ham apart into pieces and strips reserving the beans and ham. Blend slightly cooled soup with immersion blender until creamy and smooth. Place reserved herbs, beans and ham bone back into pot and reheat, season with more salt and pepper if needed. The ham bone and herbs continue to add flavor as it reheats.

6. Serve soup, topped with pulled ham and cracklings




Summer Litters, Link-Love Sept. 2013

September 19, 2013


Duroc gilt in the woods with her litter of eleven piglets.  Fourteen gilts farrowed this summer.  It’s amazing how well they do in the warm months compared to the struggles I had last March.

Most farrowed in a shelter, or I put a shelter over them after farrowing, as I let each choose her own spot to farrow.  Two gilts were in a spot in the woods inaccessible to a shelter so I left them alone.  They raised ten and eleven piglets each.

I wouldn’t have had the courage to farm this way without reading other bloggers, specifically the granddaddy of farm bloggers, Walter Jeffries.  Recently, he posted a photo showing a 300 lb, eight-month-old boar, raised on nothing but pasture and dairy products.  Walter is a paradigm shifter for me.

I’ve been without a computer for the past couple of months, hence my lack of posts, but I’ve kept up on the farm blogs I read and enjoy and wanted to share some more with you.

Bruce King wrangles with government agents and speaks at government meetings.  I love hearing about his civic adventures.  He also purchased a confinement dairy farm recently and is transforming it to his vision.

Andrew at Green Machine Farm writes about his new life as a farmer.  He educated us on bat houses recently.  Would you believe he made a bat house out of plywood, painted it black, and placed it on the south side of a shed?  How anything could survive a midwestern summer in that box and not cook to death is beyond me, but Andrew informs us he already has bats living in it.

Gordon Milligan is a train conductor in Chicago.  He has a dream to farm and raise his own food when he retires.  He and his wife recently purchased a farm in Iowa and are anxiously awaiting the day they will call it home.

Lastly, I read a blog from a farmer in France.  I like to see what Brent is doing with his farm because the soils and underlying limestone are extremely similar to my farm.  He grass-finishes Salers cattle, grazing alfalfa/orchard grass hay fields.  Check out his blog and see if the photos of his land seem similar to mine, like in the photo below of my steers grazing a fresh hay field.


Michael Pollan Speaks in Madison Wisconsin

October 11, 2009

“What is all the fuss about?  Why are farmers protesting?”  I thought as I sat and listened to Michael Pollan speak at the Dane County Farmer’s Market.   After reviewing my notes I started to understand why he upsets some farmers.

Michael Pollan is an excellent writer and speaker who can convincingly make a case for probably anything he feels strongly about.  I thank him for caring about food and for pointing out a flawed system.  I won’t be signing a petition to appoint him Ag Secretary though.  Because, as even he admitted, policy is not his area of expertise, and I fear the wheels would come off if he were allowed to drive.

I feel strongly about this because I see parallels between the American farm and food system and my own.  My farm is transitioning from commodity-based livestock production to direct-market livestock production with minimal purchased inputs.  We are not relying on an off-farm salary while we make this transition, so changes are made cautiously and evaluated every step of the way.  Whatever the flaws of the American farmer and food system, we do feed a lot of people.  And that is worth something.

I’m intrigued by organic production, but fear I don’t have the time or patience to learn.  I would love to help a young couple start an organic CSA on part of my farm.  Then my curiosity would be filled as I reported on what they did.  And they would have access to land to realize their dream to farm and feed people. 


But enough about me, let me tell you what Michael Pollan had to say.

There is a movement rising to change the American food system.  Nearly 8,000 people turned out for his speech on the UW campus.  And there was evidence of pushback as protesters also were in attendance.

Mr. Pollan said the goal of the American food system should be: “To provide fresh, high-quality food to everyone in USA and a decent return to American farmers and contribute to the solution of environmental problems.”

Hard to argue with that.  But then he connects the dots between the environmental crisis on one side and the health crisis on the other.  Guess what he place in the middle as causative:  Agriculture.

Mr. Pollan said modern industrial agriculture drinks oil and spews greenhouse gas.  He said agriculture used to use one calorie of fossil fuel to produce two calories of food.  Modern agriculture uses ten calories of fossil fuel to produce one calorie of food.  He said it takes 28 ounces of oil to produce one double quarter pounder at McDonald’s.  I don’t know if that was with cheese.

I have seen figures like this before and I question them.  I will be writing a post this winter detailing how much oil my farm uses and how much food we produce because I’ve been curious about this.

Mr. Pollan then says that energy comes from the sun and Photosynthesis is the only free lunch.  He would like to wean the food system off of fossil fuels and put it back on sunshine.  Food can be resolarized.

The health care crisis is code for ‘cost of industrial food production.’  Since 1960, spending on health care has risen from 5% of GDP to 18% of GDP as the amount spent on food has decreased from 18% to 9.5% of discretionary income.  I don’t buy into this simplified argument.

Mr. Pollan says we still need to support farmers.  We just need to change the subsidies to reward quality and diversity and environmental solutions instead of rewarding for quantity. 

I agree that government programs become ‘monsters’ that seek to sustain themselves rather than accomplish whatever it was designed to accomplish in the first place.  I think we need results-based government programs.

Mr. Pollan spoke about our food culture.  “We need to reregionalize food.  People need to learn to eat from a shorter food chain.  He says the USDA is starting to get this and used the example of the new, ‘Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food’ program.

“We need to teach our children how to eat lunch.  This is a controversial statement until you consider that we are teaching them how to eat lunch by giving them chicken nuggets and tater tots and ten minutes.”

Michelle Obama was applauded for her organic garden and for speaking out about the importance of growing and cooking real food.  Claire Strader introduced Mr. Pollan, which was fitting because she is a Wisconsin grower that has become the White House gardener.

Mr. Pollan doesn’t feel there is a lack of farmland.  But there is a lack of farmers.  We have been demeaning farmers for the last 100 years and that has resulted in a brain drain on the farm.  That is something we both agree on.  It is going to take major brainpower to continue to feed people in a sustainable way.