Late last month, I zipped over to New Hampshire to give a presentation at the first New England Meat Conference. I was invited by the conference co-chair, Sam Fuller of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont.
This was the first conference to focus specifically on meat production in New England, and brought together a diverse group of meat folks: farmers, chefs, professors, distributors… you get the picture. About 275 in all.
The aim of the conference was to (ahem) “enhance the production, processing, and marketing of sustainable, nutritious, humanely-raised, and delicious meat from New England farms by providing educational and networking opportunities for meat producers, processors and consumers.” Whew.
Lots of interesting sessions, from an exploration of how farmers and processors can work together, to humane handling, to the economics of grass-fed beef, to training the next generation of butchers. Right up my alley.
I did a presentation with the wonderful Kari Underly. She cut a beef chuck, and I did a honking big pig. Seems like the older I get, the bigger the pigs are. Why is that?
Great food, drinks and workshops. I received an award (“professional of the year”) which was – wait for it – a cleaver engraved with my name. The award was presented by the Vermont Commissioner of Agriculture. I wore pink tights and light blue undies. Ooops, how’d that get in there?
Also met up with two of my fellow butchers, Ron Savenor and Adam Tiborio. We were all part of the book Primal Cuts: Cooking with America’s Top Butchers.
As for my own book, finally finished the manuscript. You’ll soon be hearing much more about this. Chelsea Green Publishing will be releasing it this fall.
Its title? The Gourmet Butcher’s Guide to Meat.