Author: Catherine Greeley

Cesare Casella

Pork with Peppers by Chef Cesare Casella of Thanksgiving Farm


Serves 4



2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 boneless center-cut pork chops, each 1 inch thick
1 each red, yellow, and green bell peppers, halved and seeded
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon drained capers
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup white wine



1. Mix together half of the chopped herbs and the red pepper flakes and rub them into the pork chops. Wrap the meat in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 48 hours. (If you don’t have time to marinate the pork, the dish will be less flavorful, but still good.)
2. Preheat the broiler. Place the peppers, skin side up, on a broiler pan. Broil the peppers, watching them carefully. When the skin blackens, turn them over until they are black on both sides. It will take about ten minutes. Remove the peppers and place them in a closed plastic bag for 5 to 10 minutes. Rub off the skins, and slice the peppers into thin strips.
3. Pour 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a large frying pan. Add the garlic and the onion, and cook over medium heat until the mixture colors lightly, about 5 minutes. Add the other half of the herbs, the sliced peppers, and the capers. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
4. In another large frying pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and pork chops. Saute the chops over medium heat for 7 minutes on each side. Add salt and pepper and the white wine. Continue to cook until the wine reduces completely, about 5 minutes. Add the pepper mixture, warm through and serve.


cesarecasella Chef Cesare Casella is best known as “the chef with the rosemary”. For the past 20 years, Chef Casella has been sharing his passion for authentic Italian food with Americans. Today, Chef Casella is the owner and executive chef of two Italian restaurants in New York City. He is the Dean of Italian Studies at the International Culinary Center and serves as Chief of the Department of Nourishment Arts at The Center for Discovery, where he works to raise awareness about sustainability and nutrition.

The Angus Breed

Pure Black Angus is the premiere cattle breed for beef in the United States. The breed has ancient origins in Aberdeen and Angus, Scotland. The first Angus bulls arrived in Kansas from Scotland in 1873, garnering negative attention due to their naturally hornless heads. Because only bulls were originally brought over, many cattlemen bred them into existing herds, diluting the genetics. Later, more cows were brought from Scotland to from purebred herds, but it remains difficult to find 100% purebred herds in the US. “Certified Angus Beef” only requires 51% Angus genetics and that the meat and fat ratios are favorable.
Angus is now the most commonly used genetics in America. Black Angus is most common, but a recessive gene makes some cattle Red. Most European and Canadian breeders do not distinguish between Red and Black Angus, but register than as separate breeds in the US. Breeders favor Angus genetics because they are easy to calf and they are naturally hornless.

The Cost of Water

By Dick Bessey
Farmers across the U.S. have been hit hard by the drought last summer, and those raising heritage breeds have not been spared. Prices for feed and pasture have skyrocketed as precipitation has disappeared, water supplies have dwindled, and temperatures have soared. (Does anyone still think climate change is “bad science?”)
What does this mean to consumers? Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a recent interview that farmers represented “only 14%” of total food cost, so even if farmers had to raise their prices to record levels the average consumer would see only a slight change. We should ask why 86% of what we pay for “regular” food disappears into processing, marketing, etc.
Because meats from family farms aren’t processed and don’t go through many stages of distribution, the drought’s effect on prices will likely be much more dramatic. Subsidies – a government effort to shield farmers from market fluctuations – are sent more and more to large agribusiness holders and less over time to small farmers, hastening the decline of family farms in the U.S.
To be sure, the Obama administration has worked very hard this summer to provide aid and financial assistance to drought-affected farmers, from water assistance to opening more public lands to grazing. But the fact is that large numbers of farmers are being compelled to bring their herds to market early because they can’t afford to feed them further or they have no food available. It is interesting that in this period of extreme corn shortages the corn ethanol industry continues to thrive.
A couple of things come to mind:
First, the cost of corn will continue to rise sharply until enough water – rain or irrigation – allows enough corn to grow that it is no longer scarce. The 2012 season is effectively over for many farmers so we need to hope for better in 2013. This higher cost will force farmers to raise their prices, and in many cases the lack of corn will force some farmers to bring their herds to market long before they would normally do so. In the short run this may force meat prices down, but in the long run they will inexorably rise.
Second, our food future is inextricably linked to a fundamental change in our attitude toward water. In the West, water has always been more valuable than gold, but this year has shown that perhaps westerners were right all along. Water is not a limitless resource.
A quick look at where our water comes from should make everyone think twice. For many, water comes from reservoirs that are fed by rain and/or melting snow. In dry years the reservoirs do not stay full and restrictions on watering, washing cars, and industrial uses are common. Water is also drawn from aquifers – underground rivers, essentially – that cover vast areas beneath the surface. The largest of these in the U.S. is called the Ogallala aquifer (map to the right), and lies under the middle of the country, supplying over 1/3 of water used for irrigation. Aquifers are tapped for farming and city uses at an ever-increasing rate, and the Ogallala may be dry by 2025 unless steps are taken. It takes millions of years to “fill” an aquifer, so simply waiting for rain to run down into the soil will not suffice.
There have been conflicts over water since the 1800’s, most notably in California between the city of Los Angeles and the farmers in the Owens Valley east of the Sierras. (Watch Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown” for a good idea of how deep the conflicts run!) Cities have nearly always managed to lay claim to ever-increasing amounts of water to the detriment of farming in the areas where the water sources lie. In addition we now face tremendous demand for water for energy production; hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to release subterranean natural gas, uses huge amounts of water for both the process itself and the required cleanup. Energy companies are able to easily outbid farmers for water and the results are predictable.
All of these uses of water are legitimate. However, when we allow short-term market forces to determine water allocations, or simply allow urban expansion without some thought of reducing per capita water use, we run the risk of losing agriculture, whether or not we ever see another dry year.

Roast Pork Belly with Crackling and Gravy by Gwen LA

Spicy Azorean Garlic-Roasted Pork: A Tasty Heritage Recipe

This Portugese-inspired heritage recipe comes courtesy of our friend, Sadie Flateman. Sadie holds a certificate from the Sommelier Society of America and is a wine buyer for 67 Wine, one of the best wine shops in New York.

Living the Sustainable Life: Cooking with Dandelion

For some, living a sustainable life is a far-fetched dream. Many lack access to sustainable recipes, markets, or essential ingredients to make this movement a reality. Recently, our friend Anastasia Plakias of the Brooklyn Grange gave us some delicious ideas for cooking with an unlikely, but easy to find ingredient: Dandelion. Below is Anastasia’s featured recipe, which can be made even tastier using Heritage Pork Jowl. To hear the entire segment from Heritage Radio Network, click here.


1lb good quality orecchiette (I’m partial to De Cecco)
Kosher salt
1 tsp olive oil
¼ pound guanciale, cut into ¼” by 1” slices*
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tspn chili flake
½ tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large bunch of dandelions, cleaned and chiffonaded
1 Tbspn flat-leaf parsley, chopped
¼ grated pecorino cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
*Guanciale is cured pork jowl. Often, bacon is subbed for guanciale in Americanized recipes, which is totally bogus. There’s no excuse to use overpowering smoked bacon in place of the subtler-flavored meat. You can get great guanc here in NYC at the Meat Hook, where they cure theirs in house. Don’t feel like making the trip to Williamsburg? No excuse! Heritage Foods USA will ship their amazing product directly to your door!


In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of water to boil, salting liberally (2-3 Tbsp) until briny like seawater. In a colander, dunk the greens into the boiling water and bring back to a boil. Cook for one minute and then plunge into ice water or run under a cold tap.

Add the pasta to the water, stirring so it does not stick together.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large sauté pan (preferably non-stick, if you’re lazy like I am) over medium high heat. Add the guanciale, cooking till the fat has been rendered and there’s a bit of brown crustiness around the edges, about 12 minutes. Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and drain well, squeezing between towels. Reserve until ready to use.

Add the chili flake and garlic and toast for 1-2 minutes, till the garlic begins to turn golden, but not brown. Add butter and greens and sauté for about 2 minutes, till the leaves wilt through. Add salt to taste.

When the pasta is almost a perfect al dente, use a spider to transfer to pan. If you don’t have a spider, you should really go get one, they’re like a dollar in Chinatown. For the purposes of this recipe you can reserve a cup of pasta water and drain the pasta in a colander. The idea is to bring a bit of the cooking water with the pasta into the pan. the heat up to high under the skillet and add the grated cheese, tossing to coat the pasta. Add pasta water as necessary to create a nice emulsification and prevent the dish from getting dry. When all the cheese has been incorporated, toss in the parsley and remove from heat.

Serve immediately with a medium bodied red wine, like a Teroldego.

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