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!
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
Did you know that we harvested 1,335 lbs of produce at the Manna Garden this year? An increase of over 450 lbs from last year!
But that is just the tip of the iceberg....
...when there are leftover apples in the Manna culinary kitchen?
The Garden Project led a Canning 101 Workshop to add one more tool to the culinary-arts students' toolbox. Students canned apple pie filling for the holidays with the intention of sharing pie with friends and family!
The hustle and bustle of Manna Soup Kitchen on a Wednesday afternoon has increased this summer with the addition of the Manna Market free produce stand. The number of families attending Manna's wednesday night dinner has increased to an all time high. Prior to the Manna Market season, The Garden Project reached out to local organizations and non-profits who serve food insecure families. In addition to community outreach and community partners, word of mouth is also gaining momentum. The need is certainly here and the demand has for the most part been met. But with increasing momentum, the need for more food rescue efforts in Durango is certain.
August 24th was the largest Manna Market so far this summer...Read more
Thanks to City of Durango TV for creating this film about what we are doing up at the Manna Soup Garden Kitchen.