Surprise Guest Butcher @ The Hillsdale Farmers’ Market Cooking Class Tomorrow!

With new classes every week at Hillsdale Farmers’ Market this season, there’s hardly a moment between wrapping-up one week’s agenda and diving head first (or knife first) into the next lesson plan.  So when Market Manager Eamon Molloy stopped by the “kitchen” (meaning my canopied kitchen at the Farmers’ Market) as last week’s cheese-making demo wrapped up, I posed the question, “From whom will we get the pork for next week’s meat curing demo?”

Kookoolan Farms was a natural choice.  Farmer Chrissie Zaerpoor is now bringing pasture-raised heritage breed Red Wattle Pigs, that she tends with her husband Koorosh on their family farm, to market.  The pork is sold in half & full carcass shares, and sometimes USDA cuts.  “Talk to Chrissie and see what she has available,” offered Eamon.

What Chrissie had available took me aback a bit.

Chrissie posed, “In your ideal world, what would you like to have for the demo?”

“Well, a belly piece, to demonstrate how easy it is to make bacon, and a piece of a hind leg to cure a ham in brine.  That way, I can show 2 types of curing – brining & dry-rub.”

“I can get you a 5-pound pork belly,” she said.  – Great!

“And I have a 19-pound bone-in, skin-on leg.”


I mean, well, honestly, my butchering skills are ok, but the thought of wrestling a 19-pound leg while demonstrating and talking sounded more challenging than I anticipated for this demo!  I mean, I’ve already had one curve thrown my way when the “whole fish” for the fileting class arrived with guts in tact.  A very spiny channel rockfish at that! (unlike me, the class was thrilled to see fish-gutting added to the demo, and cheered me on as I staggered through the process).  I wasn’t sure I’d be up for another big undertaking in my primitive outdoor makeshift kitchen (professional kitchen with accoutrements is another story…as I say at the market – if I can do this out here, while talking as I go, you’ll have no problem in the cozy comfort of your home kitchen!)

But…thinking….dawning….my husband, Benny is a butcher….maybe I could persuade him….

And I did!

Ladies & gentlemen, I present an addition to Hillsdale Farmers’ Market’s Feed Me Fresh Cooking Series: Benny the Butcher!

Benny will lead the class in a whole pork leg butchering demonstration.  He will skin, remove the tricky aitch bone, seam-butcher, and show how to appropriately cut the leg for ham, including a bone-in shank-end ham.

Then we’ll get to the meat of the matter (bad pun intended) and proceed to curing.  American-style brined ham is on the agenda (which will later be smoked & glazed), and fresh bacon (which can be smoked or roasted).

Join us – the class is free & open to all.  Hillsdale Farmers’ Market, Sunday, June 17th, 11am-1pm.

See you at the market!


About Kathryn LaSusa Yeomans

By offering Sage Culinary Advice, The Farmer's Feast assists Farmers' Market shoppers in making the most of their purchases, and helps vendors realize the culinary possibilities of their products. We create culinary education programs at Farmers' Markets. Through food preparation and cooking demonstrations, recipes focusing on technique, samples, stories and free advice, we're encouraging people to cook more often, from scratch, with market-fresh ingredients. Our goal? To cultivate domestic culinary arts. Once you've tasted the Farmer's Feast - glistening local produce, pastured meats, artisan cheese, wild seafood, rich nuts, grains and legumes - and see how easy cooking this bounty can be, you'll be hungry for fresh. Visit The Farmer's Feast on Facebook / E-mail
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