Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Am I Becoming a Food Snob?

When I wrote for Epicurious I often wondered what it would be like to distinguish the little nuances of food like their writers did. For me food just tasted good or I didn't like it ... and if I'm going to be completely truthful the list of food that I didn't like (which holds many vegetables and other healthy things) vastly outweighed the list of food that tasted good. Things really haven't changed that much since I started farming, but I do think I am becoming a bit of a food snob. And I kind of like it!

Last weekend we had a family gathering at my Uncles house (which is always a good time ... especially when I bring home a chicken nest box). Like most family events food was involved and we grazed through much of the afternoon and evening on all sorts of stuff. But, the main course was a nice and big spiral sliced glazed ham. This is the kind of thing that I drooled over before I began the farm and I was pretty excited about it.

Don't get me wrong ... it tasted good and everyone was raving about how good it was, but to me it just didn't live up to my expectations. I couldn't really put a finger on it (my palate isn't that well defined yet ... too much fast food from the past messing with it), but it just wasn't as tasting as what I have raised on the farm.

I think the taste difference comes from a lot of different things. The breeding could make a difference, the processing could make a difference, the curing will make a difference, the feed ration could make a difference, and probably a lot of other things. What may make the biggest difference some think (and I might be starting to agree more and more) is just the way the hogs were raised. Maybe the life of a pig does make a difference on the final product? Maybe the sun and the fresh air does matter? Just maybe ...

Either way I know one thing ... I really enjoy eating the pork I raise on the farm!

4 comments:

David said...

Man you are making me hungry!! The only pork product I have ever had was the stuff from the local grocery store (not a fan). I think its good that you become very familiar with your product, and the difference between what you grow/sell and what you can find at a Wall-mart. It seems like raising a heritage breed(s) creates a value added product. Also, knowing the major differences (even in taste) between what you sell and what the grocery store sells can really help your marketing! I don't have any experience in hogs (I hope to get some sooner than later), but as a business principle its always easier to sell your product if you are totally in love with it!!

Teresa said...

Farm fresh is definitely the best. I'm so spoiled for some of the home grown foods that I can't even eat the store bought stuff. Nice to see you've developed that discriminating palate!

Vexed Chef said...

You're not wrong. It may sound funny to say that you can taste the love but I think you can, the love comes through in better feeding, better care and treatment of the animals and the respect for their "pigness" as Joel Salatin puts it. It's much like how you can taste a huge difference between a meal from Applebees and a small independent restaurant where the Chef is the cook, there is a passion imparted to the finished product. Artisan food and farming are beginning to reemerge in the U.S. and I believe it's because people are learning that slow and steady DOES win the race with trophies in the catergory of flavor, lifestyle, health & nutrition. But I don't want to rant, I have my own blog for that. Keep up the good farm work.

Rich said...

How old are your pigs when they are butchered?

I have read that waiting until pigs are slightly older and/or over 300 lbs. before butchering can result in higher quality cured products and more flavorful meat.

I have also read something somewhere about a feeding method of alternating between slightly restricting feed and then providing unrestricted amounts of feed for the last few weeks before slaughter to create more marbling in the pork. It could be possible that varying weather conditions could also cause a similar result.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...