Sunshine Harvest Farm is a fourth-generation family farm in Webster, about 40 miles south of Minneapolis. Owner Mike Braucher, his son Brandon, his brother Patrick and the rest of the crew bring a variety of cuts of beef, bison, lamb, pork, chicken and eggs to the Mill City Farmers Market year-round.
The Braucher’s beef and lamb are 100-percent grass fed and fed hay in the winter. Their pasture-raised chickens and hogs are fed non-GMO corn, peas, beans, alfalfa, kelp and minerals — when they’re not eating grass and bugs!
Like all of Mill City’s vendors, Sunshine Harvest Farm never uses antibiotics, hormones or chemicals on any of their animals, believing in sustainable farming and management-intensive grazing on pastures.
“Our passion of farming and love of good food is what helped us create our business,” explains Mike. “We work to bring the highest quality food from our farm to your table. As we go through our workday we think about our patrons by name, and it is a reminder to us of how important our work truly is.”
Market sales really are an important part of the Braucher’s business model. Ninety percent of their sales come from direct-to-consumer retail, including their popular meat CSA and sales at the Mill City and Kingfield farmers markets. The remaining 10 percent comes from wholesale and sales to local restaurants. (Has anyone tried the “spoon burger” at Spoonriver?)
“We apply healthy farming and business practices so we can develop strong relationships with customers, family and friends who count on us for safe, clean, sustainable and nutritious food,” Mike adds.
Even though the Super Bowl won’t be in town this year, you can still bring a local flare to your party by picking up a few things at Mill City’s indoor Winter Market on Saturday, Jan. 26. In addition to Minnesota-grown carrots, radishes, cheeses and salami for crudité platters, get the local ingredients you need for these wild rice meatballs.
The market will be open 10 a.m.–1 p.m. inside the Mill City Museum, 704 S. 2nd St. No admission required. Learn more at millcityfarmersmarket.org.
Wild rice meatballs
Recipe courtesy of the Mill City Farmers Market
Makes 12 meatballs
- 1 lb ground bison or beef from Sunshine Harvest Farm
- 1/2 cup wild rice, cooked from Prairie Hollow or Sunrise flour Mill
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 Tablespoon shallot, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 egg, mixed
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated hard cheese from Shepherd’s Way or Cosmic Wheel Creamery
- Barbecue sauce for serving
Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Gently combine without overmixing until evenly incorporated. Form into small meatballs. (This can be made less messy by getting a bowl of water to dip your fingers in while shaping the meatballs.)
Note: Plan ahead for cooking the wild rice. Hand harvested wild rice will take about 15–20 minutes to cook. Commercial wild rice will take much longer.
You can use cooked quinoa in place of wild rice. Burgers can also be made with this recipe. Freezes well.
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil to cook meatballs. Cook a few at a time, being careful not to lift them up until they release from the pan. Set them aside, and finish with the rest.
When all meatballs are seared, place BBQ sauce in the same pan. No need to wipe out the pan. Cover and bring to a low simmer, then add the meatballs. This can also be done in a crockpot.
Cook gently for about 10 minutes.