Terry Wehrkamp (l) of Cooper Farms, Rachel Heimerl (r) of Heimerl Farms

Dash of Passion

Some of the best ingredients in a meal won’t be found on a recipe card. They are the stories that connect the people who love to grow food and those who love to eat it.  In that spirit, we asked four Ohio Farm Bureau members to share the joy they find in the work they do, the animals they raise and the meals they prepare.  We hope you’ll visit OurOhio.org to try one of their recipes and that knowing them adds something to your next meal.

Terry Wehrkamp | Cooper Farms

Paulding County Farm Bureau member Terry Wehrkamp works for Cooper Farms, which contracts with farmers to raise about 5 million turkeys per year as well as pork and eggs.  As the director of live production, he’s responsible for the breeding, hatching and growing of the animals and oversees three feed mills.  He attended Ohio State University where he majored in poultry science.

“I grew up on a very small hobby farm, you know, two of every animal. That was from age 5. I have raised poultry almost my entire life.”

“I like the challenge of the breeding and hatching aspects of poultry, and that you have to be so attuned to the animals’ needs. You have to understand nutrition and physiology, and there are a lot of things you need to know in order to raise good, healthy animals.”

Recipe: Marinated Grilled Turkey Breast, prepared by Terry Wehrkamp

Nick Forrest | Forrest Family Farms

Butler County Farm Bureau member Nick Forrest raises sheep on a small farm and works in meat retail for Kroger.  His goal for his lamb: “to have the best product out there in the market.”

“It’s always nice to come home and relax and get your hands dirty, work with the livestock or with your ground away from the hustle and bustle of city life. I enjoy watching the lambs grow—from being born at our place, taken to county fairs and watching the kids develop and show them—then bringing the females back to our farm and hopefully do a better job with our genetics the following year. If we can get it a little bit better, that is what we try to achieve.”

“The most popular cut right now is leg of lamb, bone-in or bone-out. The main thing you want to avoid is cooking lamb at a high temperature. 350-degrees is the highest you want to go. You can go a little bit higher if you want to just get the meat brown but then back it down to 350. Cooking bags are great with lamb if you are going to do any kind of roasting. Lamb on the grill is excellent with loin and shoulder chops. Cooking lamb is just like cooking any other protein.”

Recipe: Grilled Lemon Pepper Lamb Chops, prepared by Nick Forrest

Rachel Heimerl | Heimerl Farms

Licking County Farm Bureau member Rachel Heimerl works with her husband, Matt, and his family on a farm that includes hogs, cattle and grain.

“We cannot, as a family farm, raise all of the animals we need ourselves, so we are able to provide opportunities to much smaller farmers and other families so that they can raise hogs for us…We are spreading that agricultural foundation and opportunity to other families.”

“I really like what I’m doing…being able to be close with our family and know what we are doing is benefiting our family and lots of other people as well.”

Recipe: Pork Fajitas prepared by Rachel Heimerl

Laura Sutherly | Sutherly Family Farm

Miami County Farm Bureau member Laura Sutherly enjoys the dedication of raising beef, the many months of commitment required to bring cattle to market.

“(As a child) I remember spending a lot of time in the garden with my grandfather. At harvest time, my mom, grandmother, sister and I would spend days freezing vegetables and preserving jams. My dad shared his knowledge on proper animal husbandry and how to respect our resources. I am blessed to be married to a guy who has the same passion for farming. Together, we are taking the lessons we learned from our relatives and we are sharing them with our kids… I take pride in the fact that when we gather for a family dinner, most of the meal comes from our farm.”

“The thing I learned talking to the meat cutters at our local store is they are willing to help consumers out with anything. I think we tend to forget they are there to help us whether it is to tenderize your meat, to season, to get the right cut or whatever you need.”

Recipe: Bonnie’s Marinated Flank Steak, prepared by Laura Sutherly (from her mother-in-law Bonnie Sutherly)