I just got the coolest email. As you may have noticed, I am a big fan of getting involved in the entire process of bringing animals to the table, from them being born to how they die. A local Seattle farm is now offering the opportunity for anyone to learn to process and butcher animals. I am ridiculously excited about this, though sad that I won’t be able to attend all parts of it. I hope that some of you, darling readers, are able to and can give me a full report!
Here’s the email I received, verbatim. [I received the e-mail through the Seattle P-Patch mailing list]
Greetings Washington State Foodies and Farmers,
Farmstead Meatsmith is announcing its June & July class calendar. Chickens and sheep are on the docket and we’re leaving no one behind: we like old layers and mutton just as much as the young meat birds and lamb. See the descriptions below and contact us if you are interested! We’re looking forward to meeting more Puget Sound farmers and farm-supporters. Thanks for your time,
Saturday, June 11th: Retired layer-hen processing at la Biondo Farm and Kitchen Join us on June 11 and bring up to three of your own chickens and learn how to process them yourself. Old laying hens and ornery roosters are most welcome. The class will start at 9am and go until around 4pm.
It will be our goal to demonstrate for you that the old birds deserve an honored place at your table. To really taste chicken, you must cook an old hen. If you wish, we put the knife in your hand during slaughter, scalding, plucking, evisceration, wrapping and cookery. We will make liver pâté and braise a mature bird or two for lunch.
Get your birds processed, learn traditional poultry harvesting and enjoy a fresh farm lunch, prepared by Ms. Biondo herself, for $125 per person. Wear your outdoor clothes and bring your cutting boards and knives. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call206.463.6328 for a spot; we are limited to ten students.
And remember: The older and tougher the bird, the more succulent the reward for your patience.
Tuesday June 28th; Wednesday June 29th; Wednesday July 20th
Pastured Chicken Processing and Cookery Classes
This spring, Karen at la Biondo Farm and Kitchen raised 50 Freedom Rangers (seen here in chick sweaters!) while Natalie atCornerstone Farm raised 25 Delawares and they want to share the processing experience and feast with the community. Come slaughter, scald, de-feather, eviscerate and cook them with us on the farm… the birds never have to leave home. For lunch on each day, you’ll taste the best roast chicken of your life. (It may sound presumptuous and a tad brassy, but it is still true. Who expects modesty from chickens anyway? It’s just not in their nature.)
And you’ll learn how to do it in your own kitchen.
Fat on spring grass, grubs and grain, these meat birds are your opportunity to learn our old-world harvesting methods by participating. We will harvest 25 birds each day. We’ll also glean the innards, make pâté and roast two birds for lunch.
All three classes start at 9am and are located on Vashon Island. Expect to be busy until late afternoon. Cost is $115 per person, including one full day of participational instruction and a harvest day lunch. Class size limited to ten. Email email@example.com or call 206.463.6328 to reserve a spot.
Thursdays, July 14th and 21st & Saturdays, July 16th & 23rd:
Lamb and Mutton Slaughter and Butchery Classes
Join us on Vashon Island for summer Sheep Harvest classes. Lambs born in February, along with the four-year-old ovine founders of Cornerstone Farm, will be harvested in July and we welcome you to learn how we make use of the whole animal in full gratitude for its sacrifice.
As with the old hens, we consider it our duty to restore the noble name of mutton to its much deserved glory through proper cookery.
On Thursday, July 14th and Saturday, July 16th, we’ll slaughter 2 mutton and 3 lambs respectively, showing you our bleeding, offal harvesting and skinning methods. We’ll waste nothing, catching the blood for lunch on both days and demonstrating proper organ extraction, passing along great offal preparations.
The following Thursday (the 21st) and Saturday (the 23rd) will be the butcher days when we’ll carve the carcasses to our farmers’ order. We use nothing but carbon steel knives and cleavers, putting them in your hand to encourage learning by doing. We’ll have blood sausage and a summer soup made with the broth rendered from the heads.
All four classes start at 9am, ending around 4pm. Cost is $125 per person, including one full day of participational instruction and a harvest day lunch.