Seven Springs Speaker Spotlight: Cole Ward, Butcher

Reader Contribution by Erica Binns
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Get to know Cole Ward of The Gourmet Butcher.

Hi Mother Earth people… I’m
really looking forward to meeting you in Pennsylvania.  I’m honored to be speaking at the Fair,
and thought you might like to know a little more about me.

I’m Cole Ward of Vermont, and
I’ve been a master butcher for (cough) more than forty years.  Ancient but I like to think, still
cute.  I’m a private butcher, teach
culinary butchering at culinary institutes, agricultural and trade colleges,
and give butchering demonstrations for organizations like NOFA (the Northeast
Organic Farming Association)… or for anyone who asks me.  Can’t help myself.

I’m a charter member of the
just-formed national Butchers’ Guild, and was featured as one of the USA’s top
fifty butchers in Welcome Books’ “Primal Cuts:  Cooking with America’s Best Butchers”.  I write about meat issues on my blog ColesCuts, and recently launched the first
culinary butchering course ever produced on DVD, titled The Gourmet Butcher.

I’ve worked in supermarkets,
in Hollywood (but that’s another story), and in small gourmet butcher
shops.  In all those years, I’ve
seen trends come and go, and witnessed the increasing dominance of factory
farming, and – what really concerns me – the gradual disappearance of the
neighbourhood butcher.  It’s my
dream to see that trend reversed, which is why I can’t keep my mouth shut about
the importance of understanding where your meat comes from, knowing how the
animal was raised and treated, and how cleanly and safely it was
processed.  I cannot stress this
enough.

These are just a few things
I’ll talk about during my presentation at the Fair, as I demonstrate a few ways
to turn cheaper cuts of meat into tasty, tender dishes.  I’d love to show you how to cut up your
own entire pig, lamb, or cow, but that’s a little ambitious for a 45 minute
presentation!  But I do hope you’ll
see that it’s eminently possible for anyone to learn how to cut their own
meat;  I’ve taught many
non-butchers how to do it. 

I’m an informal guy, so it’ll
be an informal presentation during which I’ll answer your questions about
anything meat:  how humane
treatment affects meat quality, the costs versus benefits of local meat,
challenges faced by small farmers who wish to raise and sell their own meat,
the carbon footprint of the industrial meat industry, and… my personal
hobby-horse… what to know and beware of in supermarket meat chains.

I think that anybody who
cares about the food they feed their family will enjoy this presentation.  It may open your eyes to practices out
there that ought to worry every one of us, but hey, knowledge is power.  If we’re going to eat animals, then we
ought to raise them humanely, keep them free of antibiotics and hormones, seek
out and patronize the best local farmers, and honour the animal by eating all
of it. 

I’ve also got a few tasty
recipes that I’d love to share with you. And I’ll tell you how to get your meat
for much, much less… $ 3.50 per pound (using beef as an example)… no matter
what cut (and that includes sirloin!).   So this is really a presentation for everyone:  farmers and homesteaders, foodies and
home cooks, animal advocates and lovers of good eating.

I’m really looking forward to
meeting you – both at the presentation and at my booth The Gourmet
Butcher.  Come visit with me, and
feel free to ask me anything.  Even
if it has nothing to do with meat! 

Finally, the Mother Earth
folks asked me to answer the following question:

If you were
stranded on a deserted island and could have only one thing, what would you
choose?

Tough one.  My gut reaction
is to fire back:  What kind of
island?  Tropical? (so, coconuts
for eating)… or temperate?  (lack
of coconuts, probably only squirrels, yuk).  So guess I’ve got to go for food – like a big ‘ol steak and
some matches for a fire to cook it with. 
But wait!  I’ll get lonely
out there.  Squirrel’s not that
bad.  Final answer?  A lady butcher.

Thanks, Cole. We’ll see you at the FAIR!

Please
visit the FAIR website for more information about the Seven
Springs, Pa. FAIR September 24-25, and upcoming FAIRs in other locations. Tickets
are on sale now.

You can
also get FAIR updates on our Facebook and Twitter
pages. 

Keep an
eye out for Trivia Ticket Tuesdays and Trivia Ticket Thursdays for your chance
to win two tickets to the FAIR!