Award-Winning Farmstead Butcher to Host Local Workshops
In less than a week, Cincinnati will play host to a leading voice in the effort to rescale and localize the meat in the American diet.
Adam Danforth is a James Beard and IACP award-winning author of two books about slaughtering and butchering livestock. He is a prolific teacher who hosts workshops and delivers lectures nationwide with a focus on individual farmers who are slaughtering animals for themselves.
On Saturday and Sunday, June 17 and 18th, Danforth will helm two workshops here in Cincinnati, each under the banner of Meat Science with Adam Danforth.
Saturday’s workshop, hosted Turner Farm, will demonstrate a humane slaughter of a sheep and chickens. Danforth will walk participants through the entire process, from stun to cooler, focusing on reverence for the animals while gaining a deeper understanding of the methods employed to get the most out of the resultant carcass. This workshop will offer hands-on opportunities for those interested.
The following day at the Midwest Culinary Institute, Adam will discuss how working muscles render more flavor, the inverse relationship of taste and texture, and why we should be supporting farmers more by consuming their older and cull animals. This workshop will include a rundown of meat science and how we experience it as deliciousness, all the while breaking down an animal into primals and cuts.
Both events are presented by the Chefs Collaborative – Ohio River Valley, in collaboration with Turner Farm and Midwest Culinary Institute, and sponsored by Whole Foods, Ohio Signature Beef, MadTree Brewery, and Edible Ohio Valley.
Turner Farm recently sat down with Danforth to get an insight into his philosophies and what participants can expect at the upcoming workshops in Cincinnati.
Turner Farm: Is there a connection between the taste of meat and the kind of life the animal led?
Adam Danforth: Most definitely. The conditions that promote flavorful, healthful meat are the same that allow an animal to behavior naturally, move freely, and eat a diet intended for its system. Furthermore, a low-stress environment during life and, especially, leading up to slaughter is imperative for the highest quality meat.
Why should farmers practice small-scale farmstead butchery as opposed to simply loading up their livestock and taking them to a facility to be processed?
There are advantages to farmstead butchery, mainly in the low-stress ending to an animal’s life. For farmers able to construct inspected facilities, it is the best ending for the animals life and produces the best product. For those without that option, the closer the inspected facility the better (assuming it is a well-run facility).
What do you see as the future of your profession? What types of changes do you see on the horizon?
I expect that we will start to see animals being utilized at all ages, not just the younger, more tender, less flavorful animals that are currently flooding our conventional meat industry. I also expect to see more community-supported models of processing, be it crowd-sourcing, co-op models, or other iterations.
What can attendees to your events at Turner Farm and the Midwest Culinary Institute expect?
On Saturday, at Turner, attendees will participate in the slaughter of a sheep, with the process centered around animal wellbeing and reverence. Attendees will also get the opportunity for hands-on involvement. We’ll also be walking through the slaughter of chickens.
On Sunday, I’ll be breaking down a side of lamb while discussing the underlying principles of how flavor and tenderness develop while the animal is alive and after death. Attendees will get an opportunity to blind taste about ten muscles, comparing attributes. Unique to this event is that we’ll also get to blind taste some of those same cuts in beef. I will follow tastings with an explanation of the specific muscles and why folks experienced what they did.
For more information on Meat Science with Adam Danforth, including ticket sales, visit the workshops’ registration page.