Monday, January 11, 2010

Back on the farm


I was raised on a beef farm, where I acquired a taste for red meat, and a disdain for farm chores, But strangely, while I still love to eat beef, I have developed an interest in farming. Last night, I had a real craving for a steak. Luckily for me, I own a spa and my chef, although he is a vegetarian, humours me, (and the vast majority of our mostly carnivorous guests), by always offering a nice cut of meat on our dinner menu. However, I felt like I needed a night out, so three of us bundled up and headed to a newish restaurant in Port Hope known as the Black Bean. A couple of years ago, I lamented on this very blog that eating out in the Cobourg/Port Hope/Grafton area wasn't full of great choices. Well, all that has changed with The Black Bean, Zest, The Northside, two Thai restaurants, a Chinese-Japanese joint, and a handful of other great eateries. At the Black Bean, I opted for beef carpaccio to start, and the rack of lamb as my main., both of which were delectable. Luckily the two others joining me had steak, one of whom shared a bite with me, while the other let me finish his frites. If you're right up to date with your reading of the musings of this spa guy, you'll know that I bought the Grand Champion Steer at the Roseneath Fair this past fall, and put him on the menu at Ste. Anne's. I sampled a piece of tenderloin from "the Champ", and it too was delectable. All of this part of a plan to bring locally grown, well aged meat to our guests. All too often, when we shop the meat aisle at the local super market, or bite into a piece of meat, we are oblivious as to how that piece of meat came to be. So, back on the farm at 9:00 this morning we had our local vet down to the barn for a "farm call". I wanted a professional to have a look at our small fledgling herd of beef 10 cattle so that we could make sure we were doing all the right things to produce a superior product. I was absolutely blown away as to how quickly this vet took hold of the principles behind our beef program, and at the quality of advice he was able to give us with a view to making sure the meat that ends up on the plates of our guests will be flavourful, tender, good for the end user, and delectable. We spent the better part of two hours learning about tips for handling livestock, living conditions of the cattle, the kind of and frequency of feed and water, the butchering and aging process and the best breeding practices. It left me energized and enthused about the potential for a Ste. Anne's brand of local, naturally raised beef.

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