Whole Hog Workshop

On Saturday we hosted the Berkshire Food Guild for their Whole Hog Workshop.  The Berkshire Food Guild is a new organization that organizes events with a focus on skills sharing.  They plan to have a few big events (like the one yesterday) and many smaller educational events.

The workshop started with Jake Levin (The Roving Butcher) giving a breakdown lesson of a hog sourced from our friends at Climbing Tree Farm.  He separated out the primal cuts and talked about use and preparation techniques for all the different sections.  He also discussed knife use and care, and how to read the meat to decipher how the animals were raised and slaughtered.

After the morning demonstrations, we feasted on an incredible lunch of pulled pork and grilled corn prepared by Jamie Paxton, Sous Chef atCrossRoads in Hillsdale, NY. 

After lunch I led a tour of the farm.  We went into the milking parlor and I talked all about our cows and production system.  We discussed the cheese production and our system of feeding whey to the pigs.  Then we walked out to the pasture to visit with the cows.  It was a great group of people to have on a tour – full of insightful questions and thoughts.  

The afternoon was a charcuterie demonstration and sausage making. We learned about curing whole muscles and also dry curing sausages like salami.  Jazu Stine led these lessons – he made them fun and educational (and extremely tasty!!!).

 We went through the whole process of making an Italian style sausage.  Workshop participants go to try their hand at stuffing the sausage and twisting the links. Before we sat down for dinner, Jazu took the bacon out of the smoker and we all had the treat of tasting warm freshly smoked bacon.  It blew our minds.  I am a serious bacon lover so this was a real delight.  I was warned that it would ruin bacon for me since none would ever be this good.  I agree that perhaps no packaged bacon (even that from our own pigs) could ever be quite so tasty as that was, but it certainly wasn’t ruined for me – I’ll go on eating bacon to my hearts content!

All day long Jamie was cooking for us over the hot grill.  She grilled eggplants, fingerling potatoes, and cooked a porchetta in the lego oven! She made a gorgeous salad of arugula, spinach, fresh peaches and Cricket Creek Farm fresh cheese and an heirloom tomato salad.  Every bit of food consumed was delicious and elegant!

Keep your eye out for future Berkshire Food Guild events.

Also, if you are interested in hosting YOUR event here (a workshop, class, party, wedding, etc.) then let us know!  We can rent out our space for any events you might be planning.  The location is one in a million!

to see more photos of the day’s events, check out Whole Hog Workshop on the Cricket Creek facebook page.