Recipe Roundup: March 2021
When pigs swim
by Cally Peterson
|Charlotte Meier, board director and member of Slope Electric Cooperative
Photo by NDAREC/John Kary
Some of the best storytellers have got to be farmers and ranchers, because naturally, they have some of the best stories.
Charlotte Meier has hers, too.
“I’ve always been connected to the farm,” she says.
Raised a farm girl in Mott, Charlotte and her late husband, Sebastian, purchased their own farm near Regent after getting married. There, the Meiers raised their three children – Gregory, Brian and Carmel. They farmed the land, growing primarily wheat and barley, and began a farrow-to-finish hog operation.
With the purchase of the farm came an inground swimming pool. It was one of two farmstead pools in the area, installed by the farm’s previous owner. With the raising of pigs came the stories.
A fence kept the Meier hogs maintained to an area of the farm. But as farmers and ranchers know, fences need fixing at times. The hogs broke out of the fence and ended up in the swimming pool!
“I’m not sure if pigs can fly, but they can swim!” Charlotte says. “I don’t know how to swim, so I wasn’t about to go swimming after them. I don’t recall how we got them out, but I know we did!”
With their commitment to hog production, the Meiers were looking for opportunities to get more involved in the pork industry, gain more knowledge and meet other producers. They found a landing pad in the North Dakota Pork Council. Through this organization, Charlotte became involved with a women’s group, served on the state board and eventually became executive director, a position she held for 23 years.
“For a lot of years, I’ve been promoting pork in the diet and everyday meals,” she says. “Pork used to be thought of as a fatty-type meat, but through the years, pork producers were able to change their genetics to make it a leaner protein.”
As a pork advocate, it is no surprise Charlotte chose to share some of her favorite pork recipes, Cok-A-Que Pork Ribs and Cowboy Beans (For a Crowd!).
“They’re popular in my family and also easy to make,” she says. “Pork is so versatile and economical. You can stick a pork roast in the Crock-pot. Grilling pork is just awesome. It’s easy for families to incorporate pork into their daily meal planning.”
THE COOPERATIVE WAY
Charlotte has since retired from her roles with the pork industry, and there are no more pigs on the farm – or in the pool. Despite her retirement from active farming and ranching, Charlotte was called to serve again. This time, as a three-time member of Slope Electric Cooperative’s Nominating/Elections Committee.
“That exposure left me wanting to learn more about our cooperative,” she says. “I’ve always believed in the cooperative way of doing things.”
Then, in the last moments before the election of directors at the co-op’s 2019 annual meeting, Hettinger County was left without a potential candidate. Not wanting her home county to be left out, Charlotte decided she would run for the board position. She was nominated from the floor, and the membership voted in Charlotte’s favor.
Now in her second year on the Slope Electric Cooperative board of directors, Charlotte is learning as much as she can.
“One of the biggest surprises is how much there is to learn about the electric business, and like a sponge, I try to absorb as much as I can,” she says. “Learning the whole process, from generation to distribution, it takes exposure and being involved with other cooperative members.”
The pandemic has put a damper on some of the immersive, firsthand experiences electric cooperative directors traditionally experience, from in-person board trainings and meetings to site tours and community activities. But it hasn’t changed Charlotte’s outlook.
“Being a board member of my cooperative gives me the ability to help our members to serve areas of need in our communities, and I think that can be accomplished through our electric cooperatives, because they are very community-minded,” Charlotte says. “We can help our members learn that they are not only a member of the cooperative, but it also gives them an opportunity to relate to the needs of the community that they live in.”
COK-A-QUE PORK RIBS
4-5 lbs. pork ribs
COWBOY BEANS (FOR A CROWD!)
1 lb. bacon (reserve drippings)
Cally Peterson is editor of North Dakota Living. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.