Happy Wednesday, Store News and The Usual Chatter
With one of our fridges on the blink as well as our delivery vehicle woes, it’s a wonder that I’m in a great mood. It feels like one thing after the other at the moment, yet still, something special and vital happens at least once every day in this crazy store of ours that keeps me connected to a sense of magic and destiny.
The latest joy has been centred around having the result of the passion and heart of 2 very special people manifest in a calibre of charcuterie in the store that I never knew existed.
What happens when you have of one of the country’s most acclaimed chefs standing for and behind one of the countries most committed pastured pork farmers? It turns out that you get something very special and something we haven’t yet seen. I spent good time last year visiting Charlie Crowther at his farm Glen Oaks in the Hemel en Aarde Valley and then was connected to a special chef , Neil Jewells who is so passionate about this farm that he will only use Charlie’s pork in the charcuterie he makes for Bread and Wine, the restaurant at Moreson wine farm in Franschoek.
He’s passionate crazy about producing the best charcuterie he can and he’s adamant that this farm produces the best pork in the country from the happiest pigs. There is no wonder about the specific x factor that creates this when you drive to this farm in the middle of what appears to look like heaven, and see pigs on grass for as far as your eyes can see just wondering about free to do as they please.
Grass Consumer action group made special mention of the way Charlie rears his pigs and how the piglets and Mums get to bond and stay together in their last Friday smile for Valentines Day, see their post and some pics here.
It’s a beautiful, beautiful farm run by a man committed to giving pigs the best environment he can, with pigs just running free in lush green paddocks with a large part of their diet coming off the land in the form of clover and lucerne. The supplement feed does not contain antibiotics or growth promoters. I haven’t seen anything quite like it and am proud to have it in-store. There is limited pork available from Glen Oaks, it is more expensive than any other at this point in time because Charlie isn’t willing to lower the quality of his farming, attention on the pigs or their quality of life to increase the numbers.
Neil is so excited to be making charcuterie for the Jozi crowd and said he is experimenting excitedly with all sorts of things to send us. HIs first batch was the pork belly bacon, large packs of long bacon strips, Spanish salami and a speciality cured sausage called Salsiccia Sec. The Salsiccia Sec sold out in a tick, there is a lot of bacon still available although it’s moving quickly.
The outstanding feature of this charcuterie compared to what we’ve been accustomed to is that it tastes like pork, a richer flavour of pork than we’re used to, it’s not about the spices or salt. They are the background note, not at the foreground. I’ve never experienced that in charcuterie before.
If you have tasted any of the new Jewell & Co range, please send feedback, I want to put it together for this very special chef and let him know how you feel about the charcuterie.
The salami got a special mention this morning from The Secret Jozi Chefin a post on hisFACEBOOKpage that made my heart smile. See here.
Nobody could accuse us of not being connected to people who specialise in greatness. HavingThe Secret Jozi Chef, another passionate great figure in the food revolution in Jozi then connected to, to these 2 great people from the Cape…well it seems we’re weaving a fabric of food heroes together into a beautiful web of magic and food change. It just gets better and better.
Please let us know your feedback on the charcuterie from Jewell & Co. Please also note that although the packs are very large, Neil says you can freeze and just peel off what you need – there is no water or liquid so it won’t crystallise. To read more about this incredible man otherwise known as The Charcuterie King, here’s another lovely article written about him by Food With A Story – click here.
He called yesterday to say he’s preparing eisbein from Charlie’s pork for us for next week, he’ll send up some pre-cooked and some not because he says it’s would be a tragedy for good cooks to not have the opportunity to make a gorgeous pork stock and gravy with the juices. He says, either poach them with carrots, bay leaf, onions, celery and some mustard or do it in a casserole pot in the oven with the same ingredients. I’ll put notice out on social media as soon as they come in.
Other highlights have been Ruth from New Harmony Farm’s chickens, smaller than The Free Range Food Company are in store and great for those of you with smaller families or couples who can’t deal with the 3kg size. See my latest story about my visit to New Harmony and Ruthhere.She’s also sent me some pictures of the chickens this morning with an update about how they are doing, I’ll post them up on our FACEBOOK page just now for you.
We received new stock in yesterday of Keith Harvey’s wholly veldt reared beef. I use that term because I’m loathe to use the term ‘grass-fed’ when I see what some people are doing to it. This isn’t beef with any grain in the diet at all, they are purely bred on the veldt on a multitude of different grasses and shrubs and that’s the highest standard I know of. Wholly veldt reared is what it is.
Fully stocked on mince, steaks, brisket, chuck, patties and boerewors. We’ve reduced the pepper in the recipe for the wors and patties so they’ll be less spicy this time. I also always cut according to what you’re buying the most of and what the most popular cuts are. I’m super chuffed to see many of you cooking with the more economical slow cook cuts like brisket and chuck because I think they’re the best on the carcass and you’re loving the patties so we did a lot more of them.
You love the mince and the fact that you don’t get a watery gravy from cooking it because there is no brine in our mince at all. The patties and boerewors don’t have anything other than organic coriander, organic pepper, kalahari salt and the beef and fat in them. No binders, no fillers, no additives, irradiated spices, starch, soy, corn, sugar or other such nonsense.
On the organic fruit and veg front – this is our most abundant season. Enjoy it – glut on what is available from nature for the season and appreciate it as much as you can as the season starts coming to an end towards the end of March as the weather changes and we go into root veg and citrus season.
So glut on blueberries and tomatoes for sure! Brinjals are in abundance at the moment along with tomatoes, pumpkins, butternut, sweetcorn and gems. Greens are doing well right now but that can change in an instant if it starts getting wet and rainy but for now we have a lot ofspinach, kale, baby spinach and baby micro leaves in the store.
Many of you are starting to ask when the Mooberry non-GM eggs that I wrote about some time ago will be ready. Mandy had several delays getting the chicks but we’re through that now and she’s hoping for the first eggs to start being ready from Friday.
It will take us a little time to get the volumes up to what we’re used to as the chickens settle in. This is a special flock of chickens being raised on a 100% non-GM diet altogether and the amounts will be limited. As this experiment grows, Mandy will be getting the experience required to go larger when they move to a new farm and then she can do her entire range this way but for now, she has limited space and capacity as she has to grow sprouts in larger quantities and meal worms so she’ll only have enough for our store and any excess she’ll have at her Hazelwood Market. They will have a different colour box so that you can distinguish them from the normal green ones that aren’t 100% non-GM yet.
It’s another exciting pace forward.
I’d best be off now, I can’t think of any other news to share right now.
Oh – the new chicken coming from the Midlands from CTOrganics should be here next week. We’re buying an island freezer to put in-store especially for that, so I’ll finish the story about that farm before then so that I can give you something else to get excited about and finally we’ll have pieces for those of you who adamantly won’t roast whole birds. 🙂
The delivery vehicle is still off the road, I won’t bore you with the details, we have the service open but in limited capacity as Sam is dependant on using my car so we’re coping but not promoting the store at the moment.
I think that’s about all for now. There are a whole load of new dry goods in, I think I’ll do a quick picture story of new things I see and post them up on FACEBOOK. Pop onto FACEBOOK this afternoon and you can also see some new pics of the chickens just being chickens at Ruth’s New Harmony Farm.
Alrighty then, I’ll head off to do my funky funky to-do list….
See you in-store….
On your side fighting for food change, as always,
Yours in the Jozi Real Food Revolution,