eating high on the (whey-fed) hog

posted February 8, 2008

Marlow & Sons

This week a covey of Brooklyn-based Greenhorns contributors sat down together at Marlow and Sons in South Williamsburg. We were there to hear Mateo of Jasper Hill Farm talk about his farming ethos and experience setting up a large-scale affinage operation in Greensboro, Vermont. [ See video Jasper Hill 101 on Diner Journal blog and a few other Jasper Hill videos on Annaliese Griffin’s site.] Greenhorns Director Severine Fleming, artist Rosey Keser, cinematographer Aaron Wolf, fundraiser and event planner Peter Hale, some friends, and I got the back corner.

Jasper Hill recently brought in pigs to turn whey, a bi-product of cheese-making, into salable pork. We dined on celery root & crispy pork belly salad, pork milanese, and a few other courses featuring cheese and pig along with a generous supply of wine.

Mateo

The whey-fed pig and beloved constant bliss were good, but it was the story that stole the show. We were awestruck by Mateo’s eloquence and his vision; we believe his experience to be a harbinger of the great potential for future innovative greenhorns. He came to farming from a finance background, buying land with his brother in Vermont where they’d spent summers as children. In less than five years they have built the infrastructure to age and store cheese from local dairy farmers who do not have the capital or expertise to do it themselves. Mateo hopes to recreate a European-model affinage system to support and save what’s left of the independent Vermont dairy industry as well as to turn a substantial profit. To read more about him and Jasper Hill Farm, check out the latest issue of Diner Journal or Issue #75 of The Art of Eating.