I would not be lying if I said I am a huge fan of pastured meats. I love Nourishing Traditions and all things Weston Price Foundation. I love the idea of eating food grown close to home. I often think that if a plant or an animal has learned to thrive in the conditions in this current spot on earth, given the things we can scientifically measure and those things we don't yet know to measure, well if that animal or plant can flourish in these here parts, then it must be that when I consume these foods, I must then in turn take on some of those characteristics. Which would then mean that I may be better able to handle the local elements, those things we CAN measure as well as those we don't yet know to look for. Maybe far-fetched? Maybe dreaming? Maybe not.
In any case, once a year, our family purchases a side of beef and a whole hog from a local small-scale farmer that we split with good friends of ours. It makes it more affordable, and also allows our farmer Iain to know that he has a customer waiting at the end of the season for the food he has been working hard to produce. It's a win/win/win. We are forever grateful to Iain for the wonderful meats and BACON we have been blessed with over the years, and for the updates we get and the thought and intentions he brings to his work every day. Every time we crack open a package of ground beef or a package of chops, we thank Iain at our table and I think of his family, and wonder how he is going to get along with his move to Manitoba. See, they (the ubiquitous 'they') will be fracking the land immediately next door to his this year; he knew it was coming for a few years. After much thought to the animals, and to his customers and his family too, he just didn't feel right continuing to farm on the land he has called home for a while. Concerns for the environment, the resulting impact on groundwater and fear of contamination really helped him and his family to make the decision to move away, to greener pastures as it were. And so we bid adieu to Iain and his family, and thank him for the many years we have been lucky to be on the receiving end of such quality meats. We wish you well in Manitoba, Iain. Sayonara.
APPLE SAGE BALSAMIC PORK CHOPS
This is one of my recipes. Dreamt it up one late fall day, when we got our first chops from Iain.
Good quality olive oil (I used the Lemon Fused Olive Oil from Blue Door in Calgary.)
1-2 apples, cored, sliced in rounds
Good quality balsamic vinegar (I used the Red Apple Balsamic Vinegar from Blue Door in Calgary.)
Fresh sage leaves
4 Pork Chops, bone-in
Bacon grease (leftover from the most delicious pastured pork bacon EVER)
Sea salt & Freshly Ground Pepper
In the bottom of your pan, drizzle some good quality olive oil. (Good quality means it can take the heat and won't go rancid; make sure yours isn't cut with another vegetable oil. Olive oil = you get what you pay for.) Layer the apple slices to make a base. Lay your pork chops over top the apple slices. Slather each pork chop with leftover bacon grease. (THAT STUFF IS RICH IN VITAMIN D3 MY FRIENDS! Say yes to good fats.) Put 3 leaves of sage per chop. Drizzle the whole thing with more good quality olive oil, and the balsamic vinegar. Add your sea salt and ground pepper. Pop in a 350F oven for 35-40 minutes, until the chops are done. If you have quite a bit of juice in the bottom of your pan, put it on the stovetop at medium high heat to reduce, until it is good and thick and syrupy. Serve the chops, along with apple slices and pour some of the pan drippings on each plate.
I guess we'll be shopping around for a new small-scale farmer. Any recommendations out there?