Milk-Fed Pork at Sutton Ridge Farm

Milk-fed pork


Jennifer gathering apples from their orchard for the pigs to eat.

Jennifer gathering apples from their orchard for the pigs to eat.

Milk-fed pork?  This seems like a bizarre combination, but this is what the Jensen’s say makes their pork so tender.

Mark and Jennifer Jensen, along with their four children: Dawson, Audrey, Olivia and Jay own and operate a small, organic family farm – Sutton Ridge Farm – in Jordan, Minnesota, southwest of the Twin Cities. The 80 acre farm is home to 8 pigs, 20 sheep, 31 cows, a few barn cats and a variety of crops.

Eight years ago they bought the farm and moved their family out of the city because they knew it would provide many memories and opportunities for their children and allow Jennifer to expand her passion for gardening.

Raising pigs was not a thought until pork prices spiked. Jennifer thought, “We should raise our own pigs!” Even though she didn’t have experience, but she did have unwavering determination driven by her passion for nutrition. Raising hogs would provide quality meat at a much lower price for their family and neighboring families.

That first year they started with three piglets, and through the help of neighbors six years latter Sutton Ridge Farm is still raising hogs and living out Jennifer’s dream.


Why a Pig’s Diet is so Important-

Jay Jensen picking tomatoes for the pigs to eat.

“A pig, more than any other animal is what it eats. If a pig has a regular diet of apples, the meat will taste sweet. If they eat acorns, the flavor will be nutty. If they eat bakery waste or ‘garbage’, guess what? You won’t want to eat it.” Said Jennifer.

This is why their pigs eat fresh produce from their garden and orchard and a variety freshly-ground grains grown on the farm, in addition of their daily buckets of milk.

Sutton Ridge Farm is forging their own path by not excluding traditional feed- corn and soy beans- from their pigs’ diets. They have found that the grains negatively affect their meat’s flavor profile, instead of enhancing it like the other foods they receive. 



Better Taste through a Stress-Free Life-

When first starting the Jensen’s made a commitment to raise their livestock with respect to ensure they live good lives before transitioning into the food chain. Fostering a stress-free life not only makes the pigs happier, which positively affects the meat. When they are unhappy or stressed their bodies release hormones that creates “off-flavors” in the meat.

Pigs playing with their bowling ball.



Learn More about Sutton Ridge Farm by vising their website 


Tips for Buying & Selecting Quality Pork

Get Your Forks in Pork- Pork Month


Since its Pork Month we wanted to give you some tips for buying and selecting quality pork. Enter to WIN our Pork Month GIVEAWAY by commenting on this post with your own pork tips or questions! Don’t forget to stop by your local Shed to try all of this month’s pork features! Look at the menu here.


Consider your needs: 

  • The average serving 3 ounces of cooked meat (about the size of a deck of cards). Start with 4 ounces of boneless, raw pork to yield 3 ounces of cooked pork. 
  • If time is limited, select smaller quick-cooking cuts such as pork chops, cutlets, cubes or strips.
  • If its for a holiday and have several other dishes to prepare, choosing larger, slow-cooking cuts that require little attention such as roasts. 


What’s on the label:

  1. Type of meat — Listed first on every label, this indicates whether the cut is pork, beef, lamb or veal.
  2. Primal/wholesale cut — This specifies which section of the animal the meat comes from. It is a good indicator of the relative tenderness of the cut and can help the shopper decide which method of cookery to use when preparing the cut. This part of the label may read shoulder, loin, leg, etc.
  3. Retail cut — This gives the shopper the specific name of the smaller cut taken from the primal cut. This part of the label may read blade roast, rib chop, sirloin roast, etc.
  4. Cost — To get the most for your money, calculate the cost per serving. Some boneless cuts may seem more expensive, but actually are a better buy because you are not paying for the bone. Cost per serving = Cost per pound / # of servings per pound.


  1. Pork that is a pinkish-red color will provide a better eating experience. Avoid choosing meat that is pale in color and has liquid in the package.
  2. Look for pork that has marbling, or small flecks of fat. Marbling is what adds flavor.
  3. Avoid choosing any meat that has dark colored bone.
  4. The fat of the pork should be white with no dark spots.


Find more pork tips at

Get Your Forks in Pork for Pork Month

Get Your Forks in Pork- Pork Month









October is National Pork Month, and at The Machine Shed we think that’s a pretty big deal! Here at the Shed Blog we will be featuring the unique stories of four Midwest farm families to teach you more about where your pork comes from and to showcase different methods of raising pigs. In the restaurants we will have weekly pork features, visit your location’s page to see the menu! Check back throughout October for pork recipes, facts, prizes and much, much more!

Thanks to our friends at the Pork Producers we have 10 Pork Month gift baskets to giveaway!!  To enter, respond to this post with your favorite pork dish.  Good Luck, winners chosen October 31st!





The Shed’s Baked Potato Soup Recipe

We’ve been getting so many requests for our Famous Baked Potato Soup, so we’re posting it again for you!

For a printable version and more Shed recipes go here

The Machine Shed's Famous Baked Potato Soup Recipe


Kitchen Basics: most commonly called for seasoning cheat sheet

Knowing what to have on hand in your spice cabinet can be a bit tricky, that’s why we created a cheat sheet of the most commonly called for seasonings & spices. Just print it out and tape it inside your cabinet door to always be prepared.

Kitchen Basics

The Best School Lunch for Your Kids

The best school lunch for your kids

Packing a school lunch for your child can be one of the most difficult morning activities because finding a balance between nutrition and what your child will actually eat is nearly impossible! Thanks to our friends at the Beef Checkoff we have some great lunch options for your family. Enjoy!

TIP: Did you know lean beef is a great source of vitamin B6 and B12.  These two vitamins are ideal for school lunches because they help your body convert food to energy and help to maintain brain function.

Roast Beef & Vegie Wrap












Click for Recipe


Greek-Style Beef Pita












Click for Recipe


Beef & Cream Cheese Bagelwich












Click for Recipe

Learn more about beef at



Homemade Laundry Scent Boosters

Laundry Scent BoostersSay goodbye to expensive, chemical-ridden laundry scent boosters and hello to this simple, easy and effective DIY alternative.

You will need …

  •  6 cups of Epsom Salt
  • 60 drops of Pure Essential Oil (any scent)
  • Medium Sized Bowl with Lid

To Make: 
 Pour 1 cup of Epsom Salt and 10 drops of essential oil in a bowl. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds to combine the two ingredients. Add another cup of Epsom Salt and 10 more drops of essential oil to the mixture, then shake vigorously for 30 seconds to combine. Repeat 4 more times.

To Use:
  Add 1/4 cup to every load of laundry, placing it directly on your clothes. *Do not use in your dryer. The crystals do not dissolve with the damp clothes, like they do when saturated in the washing machine.*

  We recommend using any pure essential oil because they lack chemicals and other additives that can irritate skin, especially for babies and those with sensitive skin.


Fall Paper Flower Wreath

Paper Flower Wreath

It’s that time of year again … FALL DECORATING!  If you are looking for an addition to your fall decor collection look no further than this irresistibly cute DIY floral wreath.


The great thing about this tutorial is that the size and color scheme can be customized for your space.  Also, it can be hung on your front door if sprayed with a paper preserver, like Krylon Preserve It Aerosol Spray.

Floral Wreath


  • 1- 14inch foam wreath
  • Pins, about 250
  • 1- 4.5in x 6.5in card stock paper pack, at least a 40 sheet pack
  • Martha Stewart hydrangea paper punch
  • 2.5 yards of 3 inch ribbon



Punch out paper flowers. Our wreath has 20 different patterned papers, more or less can be used.  Your wreath should take about 40 sheets of paper, feel free to only punch 30 sheets to start and punch more if/when you run out.


Layer two flowers together and stick a pin thru the center, then curl the edges up slightly. Repeat until all of the punched flowers are used.



Wrap the ribbon around the foam wreath so the foam color can not be seen.



Starting with the inner circle, push the flowers into the foam clockwise to form one, single layer of flowers that flows around the entire wreath.  Applying the same technique, add another flower layer directly above the previous. Repeat this 3 more times.  Rotate the color and pattern of each flower to create a more rustic look.  Make sure that each flower and layer are overlapping with the next, covering as much of the ribbon as possible.



Don’t forget to Pin or Share to Facebook to save it for later!

Make Your Own Dryer Sheets


Reuseable Dryer Sheets

You will need …

  • Fabric softener
  • Water
  • 1 cup measuring cup
  • 3 sponges
  • Air tight container



Add the fabric softener and water to your container using a 2:1 ratio. However, using 6 cups of fabric softener and 3 cups of water is a great amount that should last you for months. Next, cut the sponges in half the “hotdog” or long direction. Submerge them in the mixture, and wah-lah, you’re done!

To use: put 2 or 3 sponges (depending on the load size) with your clothes in the dryer, just ring out the excess liquid first. Once the dryer is done the sponges will be completely dry, just put them back in the liquid the next use.

Rustic Home Decor Sign

DIY rustic barn wood sign


  • 2 colors of paint
  • Stencils
  • 2 foam brushes
  • Board
  • Masking or painters tape
  • Sander or sanding pad (larger grit is better)

MS- Supplies 2



1. Paint a 1 1/2 inch boarder on the front side of the board 1 of the 2 paint colors (this will also be the color of the stenciled letters).  Let dry completely.
MS- outside paint


2. Cover the entire front and sides with a thick coat of the other paint color.  You will cover the boarder that you painted in step 1.  Let dry completely.  If necessary, apply another thick coat.  Let dry completely.

MS- plain board


3. Tape your stencils together, then center the combined stencils on the board and tape it down using a minimal amount of tape.  Fill in the stencils with the paint from step 1.  Warning, if you apply too much at once it can seep out of the stencil. If this happens you can leave it for a more rustic look, paint over the excess, or if it is still wet wipe it off with a damp cloth.   To (hopefully) avoid this problem apply multiple light coats.  Let dry.

MS- stencil


4. Pull of the stencil.

MS- SIgn

5. Using a sander (or sander pad and some muscle) sand the board. Apply more pressure around the outer edges to reveal some of the bare board and the hidden paint.

TIP- To get a more weathered look apply varying amounts of pressure while sanding.

Untitled design

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