What's Fabulous: Flying Pigs Farm
Exceptional NY Pork Producers
Flying Pigs Farm is a premium pork producer in the Battenkill River Valley, about 200 miles north of New York City. Every Saturday, farmers Jen Small and Mike Yezzi bring their amazing pork products to lucky New Yorkers, selling at the Greenmarkets in Union Square and Park Slope/Grand Army Plaza.
As their charming and helpful web site states, they "offer something different -- something almost extraordinary -- humanely raised rare heritage breed pork that tastes fabulous." As bold as this may sound, in my view it is still an understatement because Flying Pigs Farm is the best example I've found yet of the world class, exceptional quality food that New Yorkers are blessed to be able to buy, cook with, and eat.
I first sampled Flying Pigs Farm pork when I bought what was to me an unfamiliar cut, something called "fresh belly." Not knowing what to do with it, I asked Mr. Yezzi who was at Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket that Saturday for his advice. He was quick to offer me a convenient print-out of a recipe for "Braised Pork Belly," adapted from a recipe originally by Tom Colicchio and this recipe). The meat is started on top of the stove and then braised in the oven, uncovered, for two hours on a bed of simple vegetables and with nearly a quart of chicken stock. See our link to the full recipe.
Crying Over Fresh Belly
I am not prone to hyperbole or overstatement but I tell you this: this piece of meat, cooked in this perfect manner, was not only one of the most delicious things I had ever cooked -- it was one of the most delicious things I had ever eaten in my culinary-rich life. The shreds of tender meat that my fork could gently pull apart, had rich, complex flavor. Wrapped around the pork was a surface of crisp, golden brown that had been rendered into a cloak of taste and gentle unctuousness. As my first taste continued to the next and next, I was nearly in tears for the remarkable taste of something this good.
The reason for this sheer perfection was not the recipe, nor my cooking skill. It was because of Flying Pig's fresh belly. This quality of pork can only come from rare heritage breeds raised on a wholesome diet of grains, vegetables and fruits without antibiotics or animal parts in their feed, and given room to roam outdoors, in a clean environment, and treated with respect and appreciation. One taste of their product and you'll have indisputable proof that how our food is grown and produced makes all the difference in its quality and flavor.
Flying Pigs Farm is the kind of food producer we all should be seeking and buying from. Visit them on a Greenmarket Saturday, say hello to Jen or Mike, buy some fresh belly or bacon or ribs or some chops and ask for a recipe, and get ready to eat something extraordinary.
If you can't get to the Greenmarket, Flying Pigs Farm also sells from their web site.