Meigan Cameron

Recipe Roundup: January 2022

Even in the depths of winter, Meigan Cameron finds the beauty in nature. She has mastered bringing the outside in, turning her home into a haven for plants and herbs. And, despite the Nanking cherry and apple trees in her yard being draped in white, she strives to include fruits and veggies in her family’s meals.

“In wintertime, fresh veggies are precious, so I like to make good use of what is readily available,” she says.

Jeff Benda, the Wild Game and Fish Chef, and daughter, Lucia, 6, prepare venison stroganoff at home in Fargo. Photo by NDAREC/Liza Kessel

Recipe Roundup: October 2021

After spending most of his 20s “running from North Dakota” and working at resorts and restaurants in Minnesota and Florida, Jeff Benda changed directions.

The Grand Forks native and son of a U.S. Air Force veteran found himself working toward a teaching degree in Valley City and surrounded by a group of friends who introduced him to

“It was hunting that kept me here in North Dakota,” he says. “Being out in the country, in a small town like Valley City, I’d finally developed a sense of place and belonging, and just fell in love with it.”

Spirit Lake Food Distribution Program Director Mary Greene Trottier (right) and Nutrition Educator Mattie Merrik (left) stand behind a portable cooking station. These stations are used to provide free cooking lessons to students and clients of the food distribution program. PHOTOS BY NDAREC/KRISTA RAUSCH

Recipe Roundup: September 2021

A new project on the Spirit Lake Reservation is connecting the Dakota people with their cultural heritage, while tackling the issue of food insecurity.

Construction of a new indoor gardening center is underway at the Spirit Lake Food Distribution building. Once completed, the gardening center will provide more than 1,000 tribal members with access to fresh, locally sourced food year-round, in addition to providing skilled jobs on the reservation.



Why eat vegetables and fruits?
Let the wide assortment of fresh produce available at summer’s end inspire you to add some color and nutrition to your plate. Fruits and vegetables provide fiber, vitamins A and C and minerals, such as potassium. Eating more fruits and vegetables can lower our risk for cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Eating more vegetables and fruits also can help us lose weight or maintain our current weight.

Indian Springs Bison owner Roy Krivoruchka and his family have raised bison near Belfield the past 30 years, expanding the ranch’s reach to the consumer with the opening of 701 Meats just a mile down the gravel road from the ranch.


“It’s a niche market, but it’s getting more popular,” Jayden says. Restaurants and grocery stores on the coasts have a demand for bison meat, pushing the retail price about $1 a pound more than beef.

Jayden attended Canada’s National Meat Training Center in Alberta and graduated as a professional meat cutter after four months of full-time training. While he was training, he and Roy sent 25 or more sketches back and forth, detailing their dreams of a processing facility.

The plant opened in December 2019, on the cusp of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deb Pacholke recently retired after more than 25 years as head cook for the Northern Cass school district.  Photo by NDAREC/Liza Kessel


“I’ve always tried to make things fun as best I can,” Deb says.

Fun meant the lunch line was always decked out for the holidays or changing seasons. Rabbit droppings disguised as Cocoa Puffs cereal littered the way to Deb’s office door around Easter. October brought a spooky thrill, with Halloween lights and themed menus that included “ogre fingers” and “eye of newt.” Her lunchroom Halloween spectacle even drew a TV news crew from Fargo one year.



NDAREC President

▶    FAMILY | Wife, Helen. Four children and eight grandchildren.
▶    BOARD SERVICE | Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative board since 1981, currently vice president. NDAREC board since 1998, currently president.
▶    WHY I SERVE | I believe in the mission to improve the quality of life for every member through the delivery of electricity. It is so enjoyable to be involved with all the important issues we are involved with in our local communities and state.

Aftin Boling looks on as her 10-year-old daughter, Addy, gets busy in the kitchen. Photo by NDAREC/Liza Kessel


“Clean-up is the hardest part about cooking!” says 10-year-old Adelyn “Addy” Boling.

(Agreed, Addy. Agreed!)

And based on the sheer volume of meals, recipes and cakes Addy has made, she’s done her fair share of dishes.

A fifth-grader in Miss McDonald’s class at Des Lacs-Burlington Elementary School, Addy plays volleyball, flute and ukulele, enjoys art and has become quite the chef.

“She’s been cooking since she was 4,” Addy’s mom and mother of four, Aftin Boling, says. “She’s always been my creative one.”