May 1-15: Special Menu featuring Mosaic Farms Meat

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It’s that time of year when we like to feature some of our local vintners, meat suppliers, specific regions, and special items created at the farm. Starting us off  is our neighbor, Mosaic Farms. Just up the road from GTF, Mosaic Farms provides us with as local, sustainable, and delicious pig meat as we can get. The farm’s owner and operator, our friend Chris Hansen, describes his holistic farming practices in this video, where you also get a chance to see his pigs roaming in their happy home.

During the first half of May, JC has hams and shoulders, which he will embellish our daily menus with. His grand plan includes the following:

  • polpetti en brodo (meatballs in pork broth)
  • paté
  • rillettes
  • pork cracklins
  • ragu
  • salt pork
  • copa involtini (butterflied pork sholder)
  • …and maybe even sausage

Back in 2012, chef JC broke down a whole pig for a similar special feature – check out the entire process documented at our Flickr photo set here. Below is one of those photos. Fair warning: we believe people should know what their food looks like at all stages, however some of the images are graphic. Pig Break-down

The moral of the story is this: if you like pork even 1% as much as JC does, you’ll want to make a special trip out to the GTF Farmstand in early May to try out these mouth-watering morsels.

 

Back to School Again

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Learning is a never-ending process in the craft of cooking. I spent the day tasting, learning, discussing and laughing with Chef Tim Bass, the charcuterist for King Estates Winery. He loves what he does! That’s why he looks a little bit like the buddha, smiling and holding his cured hams. We tasted salami’s, coppa’s, fresh sausage, country ham, pressed terrines, lardo, more lardo, pancetta, and quanciale.

Sorry doc, I’ll do a few extra laps to burn off all the cholesterol.

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A great nod of thanks to King Estates and head Chef Ben Nadolny for inviting me share in their pork processes.

 

Pig Break-down

The cool winter months are a time of preparation at the Gathering Together Farmstand. While much of the vegetable and on-farm food preservation occurred in November, the start of the new year brings a second phase to the GTF kitchen: butchery.

Less than a mile from GTF, Mosaic Farms grows and produces some of the nation’s finest heritage breed hogs. Using hand-mixed feed, sustainable land management, and so much love, owner/operator Chris Hansen has grown Mosaic steadily over the last two years. He is one of a cadre of young farmers in the region who is putting his own stamp on agriculture through his hard work, smart business practices and full bore commitment to the welfare of his animals. Last week, Hansen personally delivered a whole hog, packed in ice in the back of his station wagon, to the GTF kitchen.

Breaking down the animal took several hours as chef, JC, worked to prepare meat for copa, bacon, salumi and fresh cuts. Of the 200-plus pound whole animal, less than four pounds was determined unusable.

For a gallery of images from the break-down, visit our Flickr photo set, here. A warning: we believe people should know what their food looks like at all stages, however some of the images are graphic.