last night i attended an event hosted by 18 reasons, a fabulous non-profit community space started by the bi-rite family with the mission of getting us back in touch with the people who feed us. what a lovely idea, eh? last night it brought us a bit closer to one of my favorite proteins pork (probably not a surprise from the title of this blog) and a local winemaker. jude becker of becker lane organic farm flew in all the way from iowa to share with us a rich and flavorful assortment of his pork products and to educate us on his mission to change the decisions we make as consumers of food in america. luckily for him and us, he's had some great supporters, including oprah winfrey to help him spread his message.
becker's family has been farming in the midwest since 1850. even though he's a sixth-generation farmer, i wouldn't be surprised if his current farming methods are quite similar to the original becker farmers. all the feed for the pigs is raised organically on the 400 acre farm. one of the interesting points that becker brought up was that while it is important to eat locally, just because a pig was raised in iowa doesn't mean that its carbon footprint is greater than one that's locally raised in california. it takes four pounds of feed to produce one pound of pork. since most california pig farmers would be shipping in their feed from the midwest anyway, they'd be shipping in four times the weight of the finished product. so to truly eat locally, we'd have to know the source of a farm's entire supply-chain and weigh that into our decision. just something to chew on as you decide between that iowa vs. california raised piece of hog.
aside from enriching our social conscience, there was also a lot of enriching of our palates too. carl sutton of sutton winemakers was also in attendance pouring four of his wines. chef morgan maki of bi-rite showcased the natural taste of becker's pork in many different forms: pancetta, bacon, ciccioli, rilletes, roasted pork loin and "omg! this is the best thing i've ever eaten" crepinette (essentially an enhanced fat sausage). i was in pig heaven.
menu for becker lane pork party (the best kind of party i've now realized)
ciccioli and apples on brioche trotter
rillettes with pickled shallots, whole grain mustard and cornichon on brioche
pancetta crisp and bacon lardons with a salad of frisee, apples, fennel and radishes in a lemon vinaigrette
cold smoked pork loin with brown butter-sage pumpkin puree
crepinette (juiciest, most delicious sausage ever)
sutton cellar wines
2005 merlot, sonoma county
2004 "el tecolate" syrah
2004 syrah, remonda vineyard