It is not common place for farmers to review restaurants nor their events, but this is an exception. Plenty of writers and attendees of the supper club will write in depth opinions detailing the nuances of each dish so I will leave the culinary details to them. I wanted to talk about the wrap up of the event itself and share some of the farm families thoughts. The concept of a boucherie circles around using the whole animal, cooking it in many different styles, then sharing the bounty with family and friends. The chefs at the bull and the pearl used the concept of a boucherie featuring Barry Farm lamb and other products that came off the farm to put together a wonderful meal at Kraftmen Bakery in the Heights. Products used during the dinner from our farm included of course lamb from our pasture, serranos and dill flowers from the garden, sorrel and purslane foraged from our fields, and honey comb served during the bread course.
One of the chefs commented that 90% of the ingredients came from Needville, Tx as two other family farms provided goat milk, swiss chard, tomatoes and basil. That makes me really proud to have been able to include real working family farms in the whole experience. Which brings me to my over riding thought for this little review. Here is why The bull and The Pearl was a homerun in my mind. They made a very real but subtle transition on thursday night and changed the conversation from local to transparent which is much more meaningful.
Attendees did not just gather for a unique and delicious meal they were offered a full circle experience from farm to fork celebrating the process not just supporting marketing buzz words. Too much emphasis has been placed on proximity with "local " given the highest honor in the food and farming scene. Being close to the source is somewhat important but it should not give us farmers a hall pass to put things like excellence, relationship, availability and consistency lower in the ranking. At the barry farm we have made particular effort to make world class pastured lamb and consistent marbled and delicious red wattle pork, and have left the term "local" to marketers of far inferior offerings. Ben, Matt and Spencer from the bull and the pearl bridged this gap by not only sourcing from a farmer friend that was able to offer many products but also were able to offer products of the highest quality.
This is where we as farmers and eaters should be taking our message and our effort to. Leave the marketing buzz words behind, stop preaching local is best and instead make an awesome product and share it with hungry people.