With Mother’s Day recently upon us, it only seemed fitting to have our first blog post highlight the Schiltz family matriarch, Kathryn.
After all, it was Kathryn’s great discovery that started the Schiltz family in the goose business. In June 1944, Kathryn and her sister, were out for a walk and came upon five abandoned Toulouse goose eggs.
She gathered the eggs and brought them home to her husband, Marlin, at their farm in Bancroft, Iowa. Marlin was no stranger to growing livestock, as they were already raising hogs, cattle, chickens, layers and Guinea, in addition to farming 320 acres of corn and oats. Of the goose five eggs, Marlin was able to hatch two goslings and grew them each to 12 pounds, selling them for 12 cents a pound.
Kathryn always had a love for all animals – so much so that you’d often find “wild” animals in the yard who were domesticated like a family dog or cat. The geese and goslings were no different – she could have coined the currently-used term “humanely-raised” with her love of animals.
Kathryn and pet deer “Bambi” on the family farm.
As the business grew throughout the years, Kathryn assisted in a variety of ways. As with many “farm wives,” Kathryn ensured the family and employees were well-fed. She prepared a monster of a meal six days a week for the seven children and six hired men. In addition to your typical “meat and potatoes” meal, she would serve homemade bread and dessert daily. The family and employees also enjoyed the homemade canned items year-round from Kathryn’s elaborate garden she kept up to save money on their groceries.
During the goose hatching season, her expertise was relied upon to sort and wing band the goslings that would be kept for breeder geese – she assisted with this hatch process for nearly 40 years.
Kathryn in the early 90’s helping with the gosling sort. Only a class-act like Kathryn would wear white shoes and dress pants in a goose hatchery! She donned that clothing, as she came to hatch directly from volunteering at the nursing home.
Kathryn also had love for the decorated eggs created from infertile goose eggs, and also became a talent in decorating them herself. She and Marlin were instrumental to the current collection of eggs that is housed in the office of Schiltz Foods in Sisseton, SD.
Kathryn admiring one of the many eggs in the collection.
There aren’t many who could cook a goose and dressing as delicious as Kathryn. Her Goose sandwiches particularly became a family favorite – the crunch of the celery, the zing of mustard – yes, a definite family favorite! Below is a recipe card for Kathryn’s Goose Sandwiches – complete with special notes including a nickname for one of her grandchildren!
Goose Sandwich Recipe for St. Michaelmas Day (Goose Day).
Kathryn passed away in April 2012, and her nicknames she gave to her grandchildren and contagious laughter continue to be missed.
We look forward to sharing our Blog with you – from our history, to recipes and all things goose!