As more and more consumers and restaurants are purchasing whole, 1/2, or 1/4 animals, more chefs are looking for employees with some butchering and preservation skills. Manna's Culinary Arts Department lucked out when Neal Drysdale agreed to teach a class on charcuterie. Neal Drysdale, Chef De Cuisine of The Strater Hotel is leading the way in the local meats movement. As a Board Member of Local Brands Cooperative, Neal works hard to make local + regional meat accessible to restauranteurs and consumers.
Charcuterie, or preserved prepared meats, are growing in popularity and are a great addition to a new chef's toolbox. But is Charcuterie a new skill? Absolutely not! Charcuterie has been around since the first century AD and was an effective way to preserve meats pre-refrigeration. Charcuterie is a great and diverse way to prepare meats from a whole animal. But first, let's talk about why!
Why do chef's buy local whole animals rather than individual cuts?
1. Freshness + Flavor - Fresh local meats have better + fresher flavors (even rapidly cooled local meats hold onto their juices + flavor better). Once chef's create a relationship with local farmers, it may also become easier to attain hard to find products or quantities.
2. Affordability - Buying whole animals makes it more affordable but takes more labor on the part of the chef. While at the same time the chef can make the cuts that they want and sell. Local chefs who purchase whole animals are finding that they can offer better meats to consumers at a lower price than what it would cost to purchase premium individual cuts from distributors.
3. Ethics - Chef's are able to see how humanely local meats are produced. They can find out what they eat, where they roam, and ultimately how they die. Additionally, chefs are making decisions for consumers about energy usage, grazing techniques, methane gases, and numerous other food system ethics.
4. Diversity of Product - Chefs and consumers have the opportunity to be creative with offal and other parts that are not always available. Chefs are able to purchase something other than the most common varietals as well. Much of the pork sold in the US comes from the same pig breed. Why not try something different?
Now that you know the whys, let's talk more about charcuterie. Different types of Charcuterie include:
And many many many more, think NY Deli on steroids!
The Culinary students learned how to create rilletes (potted meats), cure bacon, and grind and mix sausage. They will take the recipes and education on local meats to their restaurants where they are currently interning or working. Thanks Neal!
VEGETABLE GARDENING 101
Ohana Kuleana Community Garden, April 25, 2017
Compost Team Captain at Shared Harvest
"Keoki has transformed the garden,
All projects start with a vision: Start small and keep your garden manageable. In gardening, you don’t have to learn everything all at once. Your vision becoming real is the end product of work, time and thought. This is where planning comes into the picture. If your vision is to be seated at the dinner table with your family eating a stew made from veggies that you grew yourself, then start from that point and work backward, making each step part of the vision. Let’s say your vision is to have carrots, leeks, potatoes and onions in your stew. When you are new to gardening, you may not be equipped with the information that you need in order to proceed.Read more
Who's itching to get out into the garden? The Garden Project is excited to get the gardening season started early this year! We not only offer a beautiful setting to get outside, but we also focus on making each work day a learning experience for volunteers. Questions about gardening? Bring them to the workday. This is a great time to quiz our staff about cool weather crops and seed starting (which should be on your mind right about now). We welcome all volunteers, no gardening experience required!Read more
Bringing your inspiration, insights, and ideas back from over the mountains in Denver!
Last week Garden Project Staff headed to Denver to figure out how to expand the impact of school and community gardens.
School Garden Committee awareness and recruitment has begun!
We are in the beginning stages of supporting schools with existing garden infrastructure (in use or not) to form school garden committees.
These committees are made up of staff, parents, neighbors, local master gardeners - really anybody who has a direct connection to that school and wants to be involved in maintaining the school's garden.
The Garden Project’s school garden educators created hands-on garden based science activities for Durango 9-R Elementary Schools Kids’ Camps!
In 2016 our 35 groups of garden 'ohana harvested over 2,600 lbs. of produce! Yum!
Here are some of the highlights from the season...Read more
Our school garden programs have been expanding greatly this past year!
We are making Garden-Based Science Lessons available to ALL K-5 Durango 9-R Schools! Have your student's teacher sign up today!
We collaborated with Durango School District 9-R’s Science Curriculum Department to align lessons with Foundational Evidence Outcomes (FEOs) and semester pacing.
During the '15/'16 School Year we brought garden programs to Needham Elementary, Riverview Elementary, Park Elementary, Animas Valley Elementary, Sunnyside Elementary & Miller Middle!
We reached over 1,300 indvidual students with 4,239 educational hours! Our School Gardens at Needham, Riverview, and Park harvested 727lbs. of produce!Read more