We spent the weekend visiting farms, meeting cute animals and evaluating their potential for deliciousness.
All the farms we visited were teeny, and the farmers were the sweetest people, amazingly knowledgeable about their animals and committed to their welfare. Jesse and Desiree at Holiday Brook produce 60 pigs a year, 6 steers, and the most phenomenal maple syrup we’ve ever tasted. Grade D minus, they jokingly called it, but it has endless depth and fantastic complexity. We’ve been cooking with Belted Galloway beef for the last couple of years, but didn’t realize until this weekend how short and shaggy the cows are.
Robert Kennedy has been raising Black Angus cattle on pasture for years. No grain finishing, no organic certification because it would mean he can’t medicate his cows on the rare occasions when they get sick. When we asked why he raises that breed, he responded, “They just have the sweetest faces, it makes me so happy to see them in the field.” His herd is only 7 cattle right now, and he won’t have any beeves till at least next year while he builds the herd again. We can’t wait.
All of these farms (except possibly Holiday Brook), are too small to supply any restaurant on their own – Maria Amodei at North Face Farm has a total of 3 pigs and 18 lambs, Michael and Anna at Manda Farm sell maybe 12 Gloucester Old Spots a year, and so on. We’re treating this as an opportunity to work with as many of them as we can, picking up a pig here, a steer there – possibly this is really an opportunity to go crazy making the logistics work, but anything for good meat.
We’re doing a meat-off tonight, tasting all the samples we bought. Results tomorrow.