This post signals the beginning of something new and exciting at Rettland Farm.
Those who have been regular readers may remember my interest in terroir--the concept of food or drink tasting a certain way as a result of the environment in which it was raised. Historically, terroir has been associated with wine, but recently it has been applied to broader categories of food by "food people".
In past posts, I've wondered about what influence pasture has on the taste of meats that we produce. While we're still developing and defining the effect on pork, I think it's safe to say that there is a noticeable influence of green grass (and all the other associated goodies) on our eggs and pastured broiler chickens.
But I wanted to take the concept of terroir further. I wanted a product that could, through terroir, sort of define the "Taste of Rettland Farm." This product would be firmly based on our meat products, but would also include other food ingredients besides meat.
So, the result of all this brainstorming, mulling and wishing is this:
In the very near future, I will be rolling out the first (of hopefully many) original sausages that will include our pork (and maybe chicken) and also other simple, all-natural ingredients. These sausages will serve as a kind of taste compilation of all things "Rettland", stuffed into a casing. There will be breakfast sausages, dinner sausages, grilling sausages--you name it. We'll have a sausage for every occasion. And since pork can now be considered a health food, you'll be able to eat a sausage daily...
The sausages will be hugely influenced by seasonality and the origin of the ingredients. In other words, the sausages containing springtime ingredients won't be available in November, and you can bet that there won't be many ingredients grown outside of Pennsylvania. There will also be some influence by holidays or other local events or celebrations.
The Rettland Farm Sausages will all have several things in common though:
1. The meat that we use in the sausages will be of the highest quality, and will include some of the best cuts of meat from the animal. Unlike commercial sausage, Rettland Farm sausage is a premium product, not just something to do with the leftovers.
2. All of the ingredients in our sausages will be used in a state as close to their natural state as possible. Aside from some grinding and perhaps some occasional heating, I don't expect or want a whole lot of processing.
3. There won't be many ingredients in the sausage. Some meat (usually pork), some salt, and maybe some herbs or other seasoning ingredients. Most importantly, none of the ingredients will sound like something you worked with in your college chemistry lab--that's a promise.
4. On a related note, my ultimate objective is to showcase the meat. This means that the seasoning ingredients will only be used to that end. I hope to have the supporting ingredients be just that--complementing and not overpowering the meat. Subtlety will always be the goal.
5. All of the manufacturing of the sausages will be done in a USDA and Pa Department of Agriculture inspected facility. Our good friends at Charles Nell Meats in Littlestown are going to be key partners in this venture by manufacturing the sausage for me to their own strict quality and safety specifications.
So that's the basics on the sausage. In the coming weeks, I'll feature each new addition to the sausage line right here on the blog, and I'll include some discussion on the ingredients and their origin, and the thought process behind the theme.
Check back often! This is going to be great!