When the team from Café Boulud got in touch last week about posting a Good Food Fighter event, I was quick to notice that their August 21 Farm Dinner featured more than the presence of the supplier, Bill Sharpe from Blackview Farm in Wellington County, and wines from fellow Good Food Fighter and friend of GFR Norm Hardie, it included a guest speaker: author, journalist and columnist Mark Schatzker.
I got to know Mark when he was a guest speaker at Terroir 2011 following the publication of his bestselling book Steak: One Man’s Search for the World’s Tastiest Piece of Meat. The book not only chronicles his travels in search well raised beef, it also describes his own efforts at raising a cow as naturally as possible. From writing the book, and through his ongoing research, Mark has become something of an expert on sustainable animal husbandry, so I called him up to find out what he planned to talk about at the Café Boulud dinner and why he was attending.
Mark explained he met Blackview’s Bill Parke a few years ago at a sustainable farming conference in Grey County. The two hit it off and Mark was impressed with the degree to which Parke was willing to follow through on a purely grass fed program, and the sort of rotating pasture techniques developed by farmers like Joel Salatin. Mark had kept in touch with Parke over the years and sees Blackview Farm’s products as a perfect example of his belief that “foods that taste good are better for you”. (Mark’s next book, due out in May 2015, is in fact based on that very premise.)
Mark went on to explain that as he got to know chef Tyler Shedden at Café Boulud he introduced him to Parke when the chef asked him for the names of the regions top suppliers. “Its the little things that add up,” Mark said, “Bill wants to get everything right from using a fractometer to check the nutrient levels in his grasses to finding an abattoir that will air chill his fowl.” Shedden, whose meticulousness in the kitchen is well known, found a perfect match in Parke, so it makes sense they invited the matchmaker to the dinner.
The GFR listing to the dinner, on August 21, is here.