Friday, October 30, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

RIP Elroy

Today I opened my inbox and received a message from a dear friend writing to tell me that Elroy (mate to Big Pink) had passed.

"I greet you with some sad news. Our benevolent King, the Almighty Elroy, Boar upon High, has passed. He was sick for some time, and has gone to Valhalla, where he now gets to roots in lush pastures and stinky, muddy wallows. In the end, it was his greatest asset that did him in. Some sort of trauma to his testicles led to an infection that was his undoing. He was peaceful in the end, brave and composed and dignified.

It is not the end we would have envisioned for our Farm hero. There were no curing bacchanals or funeral pyres. But I give you this photo, so that you might hold his legacy close to your heart, and possibly your fork."

Elroy and his offspring photo courtesy of Farmer Jake

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bonjour Charolais

While driving from Paris down to Marseille this summer there were a few interesting things I came across..

One thing was this cooling tower with a child playing on it....

Another were lots and lots of white cows!
Having grown up around Holstein's I didn't realize how accustomed I'd become to driving and seeing their big black spots.
The contrasting white cows in the bright green pastures looked beautiful while coasting through the French country side.

I found out this cow was called a Charolais..
In the 16th and 17th centuries they were the favorite in French markets, especially in Lyon.

Brought to America in the 40's via the South, and raised as a beef breed prized for their red meat, they are also good milkers, and are used for cross breeding.

Apparently no other breed has impacted the North American beef industry as they have.
Farmers like them for their large frames, (heavier than the traditional British breeds), their overall ability to walk, graze, stand up to the cold, and raise heavy calves.

I just like their look..

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Italian Butchers

...thanks Passerotti...

I love old images of butchers, especially pre-refrigeration.
It was eat it now, or salt it and eat it later.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


While down in Georgia I had the opportunity to hang out with some chickens..
I moved them to fresh patches of grass everyday, fed them, ran after them, and probably just pestered them with my overall interest and intrigue.

But most importantly I learned about humane slaughtering of the birds.
Everyone has an image of a crazy cleaver clenching grandma and a headless bird running around!

But that of course isn't the preferred way of taking a chickens life.
Instead when a chicken is held upside down it gets disoriented and after a few seconds starts to relax.
They are slid into traffic cones, where the tips are cut off enough to allow the head of the chicken to come through.
Then the main vein in their neck is slit and they bleed to death.
Apparently the birds just feel a rush of blood and then they pass out.

I was also fortunate enough to have an amazing farm lunch in the back of a big red pick up truck, parked in the middle of a field within sight of the chickens. I wonder if those birds could see us tearing apart one of their kin with our bare hands.
Cold roasted chicken, dijonaise, baguette. And ice cold Rose passed around, perfect lunch for some farm hands.

Here's a quick clip of Jake telling me how they butcher the birds so its most comfortable for them.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


The famous Balkan street food!
A casing-less ground meat sausage.. which should be grilled..

Usually served with bread or grilled pita and accompanied by raw onions and kajmak (an eastern european version of clotted cream).

One of my favorite things to eat at a soccer game...
I thought I'd pass on a recipe for this quintessential Eastern European dish.

Of course the recipe I was given makes 100 pounds.. but I shrunk it down and got this:

1 1/4 pounds ground Beef
3/4 pounds ground Pork (feel free to substitute with lamb or veal)
4 cloves fresh Garlic (minced)
1 teaspoon fresh ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon fresh ground White Pepper
3 teaspoons Vegeta
1 teaspoon Salt

- Mix all ingredients together.. Don't work meat too much!

2 slices fresh white bread
1/2 (roughly) water
1 teaspoon Baking Powder

- This is where it gets tricky... You want to break up the pieces of bread into little pieces, add the baking powder and water. You can use a potato masher or handheld blender to get a smooth, soup like consistency.
You may need to add a little more water if the mixture is too dry.

- Add this to the meat and mix just until combined, be careful not to mix too much or you'll end up with tough sausages.
-A sausage stuffer or kitchen aid attachment works best, or you can use a funnel. But the idea is to shape the sausages without rolling them.. again to get the most tender meat.

Let them sit overnight and grill them the next day!

Friday, October 2, 2009