Harvest Time with Cynthia

It’s funny how people always refer to expectant mothers as “Nesters” or that they start to nestle away food, clothes and any other item that might someday come in handy before the bundle of Craziness arrives.  Well, I think I am in a perpetual state of “Nestling”!  Some of my family and very close friends might even say that I am a bit of a closet hoarder.  But I always seem to have that one ingredient, or random sock, when it is most needed!!  MOM, do you have this? Or that? Or what about?  And magically it appears.  So call me what you may, I do love to have things on hand, just in case!  I come by it honestly; my father was an antique collector, second hand shop treasure finder and all round accumulator of unique items.  My mom is the original magician; she can truly pull a rabbit out of a hat at any given moment in the kitchen.  Meaning, she can make something from nothing and it will be incredible.  She somehow made all my father’s finds, food or otherwise into something the family would love.

This might seem like a long winded introduction into the harvesting of our family hogs, but I assure you, it is all part of you getting to know who I am and why I do what I do!

The fall is when the Beretta’s (Mike, Thomas, Lieschen, Marcus and I) harvest and process our family hogs.  These two pigs have been happily feasting on grass, grain and left over organic produce from Beretta Kitchen since they arrived at the farm in early April.  They are also the happy and zealous reciprocates of our family cow, Bessie’s excess milk!  They will overlook anything in favour of Bessie’s warm milk, even my left over pumpkin cheese cake pie, that went a little wrong when I tried to make it low fat and the family wouldn’t have it!  What I am trying to convey here is that they are two lucky piggy’s.  Mike has always put it best “Animals should be treated with the same respect throughout their life as they are when we prepare to turn them into our food source, by using every last bit of the carcass.  This is the ultimate symbol of that commitment”.  I know that I would never say it as eloquently as he does.  So to go along with my “collecting” habit, I use and store all the parts of pigs.

My favourite protein bar down is pork, I find that the fat is the most flavourful of all the proteins. We have a sign hanging in my kitchen that reads “Life without Fat is like Life without Love”, one of my personal mottos!  And pork truly offers the most return on your investment, you can literally use almost all parts for different products.   Mike and I love to make our own bacon, prosciuttos, sausage and keeping the pork ham and shoulders whole for the families favourite “Porchetta”!  After we have all the parts cut and packaged, I get to organize it all in the freezer (back to my hoarding problem!) and then slowly over the winter, spring and summer months use all the meat to sustain and nourish the family.

So when winter arrives, as we know it will, you can think of me eagerly looking through the freezer for some bacon on Sunday morning to go along with my famous Buttermilk Pancakes and of course my Latte, then sitting around the dining room table to listen to the stories of the week and the plans for the days to come.  The one thing that I am most proud of, my family and the precious time we spend together.

Buon Appetito a Tutti!