On Monday, August 25th, our team from PRINT. visited Raven and Boar Farm in East Chatham, NY. Raven and Boar is one of the most sought-after pig farmers in the Hudson Valley and supplies PRINT. with pork loin and belly from their sustainably raised, whey-fed pigs and swiss chard, green beans, tomatillos, and tomatoes from their lush organic vegetable fields. Owner Adam Block, Executive Chef Charles Rodriguez, Forager Meghan Boledovich, and Pastry Sous Chef Kristina Wagenti all trekked to the northeast corner of Columbia County, looking forward to some good company, fantastic fresh ingredients, and a chance to cook together.
The seeds for Raven and Boar Farm were planted in 2008, when Ruby and Sather Duke relocated from Brooklyn to East Chatham, along with their young daughter and an active furniture and design business. Their original goal was to grow as much of their own food as possible on the land surrounding their charming and rambling house. Within a year they were selling their pork to restaurant friends and as word spread about how special the meat was, the Dukes were able to raise an increasing number of pigs, and build the business. The greatness of the meat comes down to both nature and nurture. The pigs at Raven and Boar are all heritage breeds — mostly Large Blacks, Gloucester Old Spot, and Red Wattle, with some Berkshire, Tamworths, and Herefords. These heritage breeds inherently have more flavor than conventional pork, which has been bred for leanness and economy. The pigs at Raven and Boar are allowed to roam free and eat whey soaked grains, and naturally foraged grass, clover, roots, and acorns. Feeding pigs whey is a tradition in northern Italy, where the whey from Parmesan cheese is used to feed the pigs whose legs are destined to be turned into the region’s famed sweet and nutty prosciutto di Parma. Raven and Boar uses the whey from local cheese makers, who would normally have trouble disposing this byproduct of cheese making, creating a sustainable circle of reuse.
The visit started with a tour of the small family farm. The team got to see piglets, rabbits, a variety of vegetables, and the construction for Raven and Boar’s soon-to-be charcuterie kitchen where they will make their own cured meat products. The PRINT. team got a preview and tasted some salumi, including coppa and sopressata. After the farm tour, the PRINT. team and the Raven and Boar family all cooked together. Lunch consisted of rabbit, roasted pork sirloin, a tomato panzanella salad, and more.
The visit to the farm was truly memorable for our team. Executive Chef Charles Rodriguez brought his daughter, and she and the children from the Raven and Boar family had a great time playing around the farm. Charles hopes PRINT. will be doing more of these visits in the future with more of our purveyors!