Monday, July 4, 2011

My visit to Newman Farms.

Have you ever been somewhere that truly inspires you?  I was invited to spend a day with Mark and Rita Newman of Newman Farms Heritage Berkshire pork.  From the first moment I stepped out of my car I felt like family. They live on an amazing piece of property and raise their hogs the old fashioned way.  Everything is done as humane as possible,and guess what, the pigs are happy!!
So it all began with a trip to Myrtle Missouri.  About a three hour drive from Memphis TN.  I was invited to attend with my cousin who is the sous chef at Chez Philippe in the Peabody Hotel by Michael Hudman of Andrew Michael's Italian Kitchen.  They were doing most of the cooking for this event. There were Chefs and Foodies from around the country as well.  Everyone wanted to see why the pork sold here was so amazing.  And trust me, you have not eaten pork until you have had some Heritage Berkshire Pork!!

We took a couple hour tour of the farm.  Stopping at all of the different sections for Mark to tell us about the process of raising theses Heritage pigs the old fashioned was and as humanely as possible.  The rolling country side and cool breezes were amazing.  You forget how clean the air is out in the country. 

Here is a Mamma rutting with her babies.

Happy adolescent pigs.  Everywhere we went the pigs were running around and enjoying the pastures.  These pigs will not ever see any growth hormones, they are raises 100% natural.  One way they get extra meat on these piggies is to put there water and food on the opposite sides of the fields for them. That way they have to go back and forth all day. Building up that tasty muscle.  Don't worry these pigs are not to lean, as you will see with some of my charcuterie posts coming soon.

In addition to Heritage Berkshire Pork, the Newman's have started to raise Dorper Lamb.  These are a mix of the Dorset and Persian breeds.  They are very hearty animals as well as being very, very delicious.  So after our tour of the farm we come back to find one of these beauties on the spit.  He would go on to roast for hours to become nice and crispy lamby goodness!!!!

Dorper Lamb....Done!  This was basted with a tomato vinaigrette and herbs. Absolutely amazing!!  In addition to the lamb you can not go to a Heritage pig farm and not have pork.  Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman and team were on pork duty. And damn did they hit that ball out of the park.  Beware there is some serious food porn coming, if you are a porkaholic like myself.  They got two medium pigs, boned them out, made some amazing spicy sausage with fennel and other goodness, and made the best Porchetta I have ever had.

These were sous vide for hours and hours before going into the La Caja China to roast for many more hours.  Until the skin was uber crispy and delicious and juicy as I have never had before.
Little peak at the goodness.  Notice all of the Potatoes on top of the coals..Yum.  I have to admit mom there was not much vegetable eating done by me this day.  I started at the snout, and ended with the tail.  I had the meat sweats for a couple days after this.

Andy slicing up the finished product...... Sorry I think I blacked out a little bit after remembering how good that was.  Another highlight to this event was watching Andy and Michael give a demo on how to break down a pig.  They took it to Primal cuts then showed some of the cuts they use in the restaurant.

These guys have really inspired me to go to the next level with my cooking and charcuterie obsession.  It is great to meet people with your same passion.  There will be more to come!!  I hope you all have enjoyed this post about the Newman's.  Visit them at the Memphis farmers market every Sat from 7am to 1pm.  Or visit their site at  Their pork is known across the country as some of the best, so if you see Newman farms pork on a menu, get it you will not be disappointed.

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