Wednesday, January 8, 2014

East Fork Farm Feeds Pigs Local Grain


WHERE TO BUY

Visit the Neighborhood Y at Woodfin Indoor Winter Tailgate Market 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturdays through March at 51 N. Merrimon Ave., Building 51, Office 117.
In this mecca of small businesses and producers, Asheville’s food entrepreneurs fuel the local economy by encouraging one another’s success.
This point was made clear during a conversation with Dawn Robertson of East Fork Farm on the opening day of the Woodfin indoor winter farmers market, Saturday mornings at Reynolds Village.
East Fork Farm has added pork to its impressive list of pastured poultry and lamb. The pigs are fed by the output of another local entrepreneur — East Fork supplements the pigs’ diets with excess grain from Farm and Sparrow’s artisan bakery.
David Bauer, founder of Farm and Sparrow, is known for his honest approach to baking, just as the Robertsons have become well-known for their honest farming practices.
Farm and Sparrow’s products are made with locally grown grain, milled on site on Bauer’s homestead in Candler. The “middles,” or unusable grain parts, are collected for the Robertsons to feed their pigs.
“For us, the key to raising hogs is finding a reliable, quality feed source that is affordable,” East Fork’s Stephen Robertson said. “Without this source, the hogs are too expensive to raise.”
Bauer’s middles are nutritious additions to the animals’ diet, and feeding them to East Fork’s pigs is also a way to make use of Farm and Sparrow’s waste. It’s the foundation of sustainability, when the circle of production is made stronger through collaboration.
The camaraderie among producers is highest when both parties gain by avoiding waste, and the final product is improved as well, Robertson said. “As in all the animals we raise, I think the quality is a result of how they are raised and what they eat. Having Dave’s organic byproduct is a definite bonus.”
Support within agricultural communities is an age-old practice. As farming villages evolved to specialize, individual producers saw the advantage of each other’s success as a means to strengthen local communities.
This practice is kept alive here in Western North Carolina as, for example, vegetable and fruit growers utilize manure from livestock producers to fortify their soil. Whey from cheese making is used to fatten hogs, along with the large quantities of spent grain mash from Asheville’s many breweries. “The point here is finding alternatives to conventional, high-priced feed,” Robertson said. Not only is Farm and Sparrow’s grain high quality, it can be locally sourced, cutting costs.
East Fork Farm has plans to purchase a community palletizer for local farmers to utilize. “My hope is to convert the middles as well as grass trimmings, hay and other waste to a consistency that other animals can digest,” Robertson said.
While producing products that speak for themselves, this example of community stewardship seems quite digestible indeed.

EAST FORK FARM BRATWURST WITH BLACK BEANS AND CORN

1 package bratwurst
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 green bell pepper, seeds removed and chopped
1 sweet onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup marinara sauce
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 cup frozen sweet corn kernels
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Sea salt
Black pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
Rinse bratwurst and pat dry with paper towels.
Place a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add butter. Saute bell pepper and onion until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic. Saute for 2 minutes.
Push contents of pan to the sides and add bratwurst. Sear on each side until well browned, about 2 minutes each side. Reduce heat to low.
Add marinara sauce and vinegar and cover. Allow bratwurst to cook completely (about 7 minutes) then stir in corn, beans and basil. Season with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Remove bratwurst and slice into pieces. Return to skillet.
Serve over brown rice.

3 comments:

  1. Rock-n-roll (hoochy coo). This sort of industrious efficiency really fires my burners.

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  2. Every time I look at the foto I think I have to make it; maybe this weekend. As usual it looks good.

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