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FOOD GLORIA'S FOOD - November 2015 - Kansas City
By Gloria Gale
Woman owned farm showcases the pride and commitment necessary to raise a happy flock of woolies.
Sarah Hoffman is the Big Cheese at Green Dirt Farm.
Nestled into the pastoral bluffs of the Missouri River Valley, Hoffman, along with her dozen employees, conscientiously tends to a 100%, grass-fed flock.
Without a doubt, shepherding a herd of 75 ewes throughout their lives is more than a full-time job but it’s a task Sarah Hoffmann embraces since starting the farm in 2002.
Green Dirt Farm’s idyllic setting is light years away from urbanity reached only after meandering the hills and dales 40 miles northwest of Kansas City. Here’s where the lush, high pastures provide the perfect terrain for the sheep.
“Our animals have the opportunity to behave naturally, living comfortably in the 150 acres filled with clover, legumes and flowers. The pastures are protected by cool breezes in the spring and summer; plenty of trees offering shade and shelter in the winter and abundant fresh water,” says Hoffman.
Equally heartening is the genuine attention to sound business practices. “The goal is to operate a sustainable farmstead both economically and environmentally that supports our cheese production,” says Eliza Spertus, Green Dirt’s communication manager.
With a little over 100 sheep dairies in the United States it's no secret that running a grass-based dairy takes a lot of work.
When the farm began Hoffman admits to her naiveté and idealism. Gradually she found her way by promoting good animal husbandry and sustainable farm-steading pointed toward developing a quality product.
It would take another six years to start producing cheese commercially. Today, the farm is a successful operation yielding 18,000 pounds of cheese per year.
Why sheep and not goats or cows? Hoffmann and her team delight in their flock... amused by their personalities.
Happy and healthy sheep is the goal of course, but so is making Green Dirt Farm a happy and healthy place to work.
“We want our employees to have a great time in a great environment,” Hoffmann notes. “We take good care of our people as well as our animals.”
Cheese isn’t the only product promoted on the farm.
Events range from a farm-day tour, cheese appreciation events, and customized occasions.
From May through October, the Farm hosts Farm Table Dinners celebrating the link between landscape and food. We invite area chefs to prepare a four course meal from locally grown, harvested and foraged ingredients,” says Spertus.
During the dinners strangers quickly become new acquaintances while dining on a four-course dinner from dusk till late evening. Staged in a lovely barn lit only by a stained glass window and twinkling votives, it’s a front row seat to the farm’s hospitality. With the season’s luscious sunsets as backdrop the dinners provide a unique farm adventure.
Little wonder the sit-down affairs routinely sell out.
Small pleasures and a host of woolie “Ladies” await at Green Dirt Farm. It’s worth the trip.
Find Green Dirt Farm products online, at the farm, and at area farmer’s markets
Kansas City writer, producer, and photostylist Gloria Gale is a sleuth when it comes to discovering interesting features for the media.
As a native she's compiled a burgeoning collection of editorial features on food, travel and lifestyle for national and local magazines, books, individuals, and corporate clients.
Most recently, Gloria profiled area restaurants as a columnist for 435 Magazine and was one of KCUR's Food Critics radio program.
Want to know where to find the best tastes in town? Contact Gloria: firstname.lastname@example.org