2017 Soil-to-Skillet Program

The 2017 Soil-to-Skillet Program April 22 hosted by the Fallon/Carter Extension Office, the Little Beaver Conservation District and the Fallon County NRCS was deemed a success by all those that attended. Fallon/Carter Extension Agent stated “My favorite part of this program is the opportunity to bring a diverse group of people together that have a common interest. The speakers for this year’s program shared that desire as well. Whether it be by using education, food, music, or beer we all had a passion for bringing people together to connect.” Speakers for the program were Claudia Krevat, Pattie Armbrister, Sara Hollenbeck, Sarah Calhoun and Jim Devine.

Claudia Krevat, owner of Claudia’s Mesa in Bozeman, opened with program with her story and background. Claudia’s Mesa is a destination for creativity, food and design, where Claudia Krevat brings together her Latin-American/Caribbean background and her new roots planted in Montana’s soil. Her business is a boutique food emporium that brings to Montana flavors from distant lands using local ingredients. She is currently completing my first solo cookbook and travel journal, focusing on plant protein, or pulses grown in Montana’s Golden Triangle, THE LENTIL CARAVAN.   Claudia shared her story and also prepared the meal for the program using locally source ingredients.

Patti Armbrister is a Local Food Consultant, specializing in agriculture education, Farm to School, sustainable growing practices, urban agriculture and “Eating Your Yard.” Patti is passionate about motivating people on how they can contribute to a healthier Montana. Patti believes “Everyday people, farmers, ranchers and kids can become superheroes and change some basic practices to improve our soils for our children and our future.” Patti shared what she has done in the Hinsdale school system to reduce the food miles. She works with students to plant gardens using innovative techniques. The students than harvest the gardens and learn to cook with the produce and the produce is also use in the school cafeteria. Her story and passion is motivating.

In addition to being a part of the Soil-to-Skillet workshop Claudia and Patti also taught a youth cooking class April 21st. Youth learned about lentils and how to cook with them. The youth worked with Claudia and prepared, lentil ketchup and lentil marinara.

Half way through the program participants partook in four hands-on workshop.  Elin Kittelmann led a workshop on making wool felted dryer balls. Sarafina Claeys taught participants how to make butter. Patrick Claeys showed participants how to make pollinator hotels out of logs. Chip and Ann Fischer gave a demonstration on no-till potatoes.

Another speaker was Sara Hollenbeck she is from Molt, Montana. She started High Five Meats, LLC in August of 2015. High Five Meats sells local beef, pork and lamb directly from Hollenbeck Ranch to consumers in the Billings market and surrounding areas. Sara capitalizes on the local food movement as well as social media where she has gained popularity from sharing ranch stories like her infamous goat “Mr. Totes Magoats”. She was recently in the Emmy award winning documentary “FarmHer,” Montana tourism promotion and selected as a 40 under Forty Entrepreneur in Billings Montana.

The keynote speaker for the event was entrepreneur Sarah Calhoun. Tired of wearing men’s work pants that didn’t fit, Sarah Calhoun designed pants that would fit, function and flatter working women. Opened in 2006, Red Ants Pants is based out of White Sulphur Springs, Montana where the storefront, distribution center, and international headquarters all reside in an historic saddle shop. All products are made in the USA. Sarah’s story is unlike any other. It’s a story about pants and small town Montana. It’s a story about music, chainsaws, and possibilities.  It is about entrepreneurship, working hard, and establishing a rural Foundation. It is about people, the land, and how we need each other. It is a reminder that we can do BIG things in small towns.

Before enjoying a meal prepare by Claudia’s Mesa, Jim Devine, owner of Beaver Creek Brewery shared his business story. Beaver Creek Brewery has grown in popularity, becoming a regional destination for connoisseurs of beer, music and good times.  Participants enjoyed taste testing beer and indulged in a meal of brisket, lentil salad, green salad, herb roast potatoes, Beaver Creek Brewery Beer Bread, and rhubarb cake. Tumblewood tea, Flathead Lake Cheese and High Five Meats Lamb Sausages were also served as appetizers.

“By the end of the program I hope that we inspired people to support local businesses and energized people to make a positive difference in their communities.”

We plan to do a follow-up program with Pattie Armbrister this fall to help get local meats into the local school systems. If you are interested in being a part of the discussion please contact Elin at elin.kittelmann@montana.edu or (406) 778-7110.

If you have any suggestions for future programs or speakers you would like to see, please let us know. Fallon/Carter County Extension office 406 778-7110.