Tag Archives: Farm to Table

Farm to Table

26 Jan

Hi meat-eaters.  Just got back from the Vermont Grazing & Livestock Conference.

I was asked to do an interactive workshop and beef-cutting demonstration.  There were about 80 people at the workshop and it was great to see that they split pretty much 50/50 between women and men.   Lots of women beef raisers out there.

The workshop was geared towards answering questions from farm producers:  which cuts work best for restaurants, how to cook grass-fed meat, deciding on the best cuts to focus on, and so on.   Overall, providing farmers with a better understanding of raising meat for diverse customers.

I was joined by Joe Cloud of True and Essential Meats in Virginia.  Joe is the business partner of farmer, author and activist Joel Salatin (often called the “guru” of sustainable farming).  Take a look at their website – and read about their mission to highlight the role meat processing plays in a local food ecosystem.

Anyway, I cut, Joe and I talked about meat processing, and we both answered questions from the farmers.
They had questions about grass-fed versus conventional beef, about aging beef and the finishing process, and about merchandising.  As well as questions about the variety of options possible from a side of beef (which I demonstrated).

What was particularly interesting to me was the concern about the percentage of their animal they have to give up just to cover processing costs.   Which is why, I think, farmers are increasingly interested in learning how to cut their meat themselves.  If we’re talking “farm to table”, then why not empower local farmers with knowledge they can use to make more money.  They deserve it.

The conference was hosted by the Vermont Grass Farmers and Vermont Beef Producers and coordinated by Jen Colby of the University of Vermont’s Center for Sustainable Agriculture’s Pasture Program.