Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Heirloom Restaurants Serving 4-H Local Beef

  A few weeks ago, representatives from Heirloom Restaurant Group  (Communal, Pizzeria 712 and Mountain West Burrito all in Utah County) went to the Tooele County Fair and bought a couple of steers at auction. These animals, one Black Angus and one Red Angus, had been raised from birth to market by high school students as part of a 4-H project.
   Now it’s finally time for this very special beef to hit the tables. Starting Wednesday, September 5, Communal will be featuring this particular locally raised Angus beef on its dinner menu. 
   I am pretty familiar with the Tooele County auction of these beef.  Quite a few years ago (too many to count!) I was a raised a steer through the Future Farmers of America club at Tooele High School.  That summer, I took my steer — which I called Henny — to the fair and received a red ribbon for him. I washed and brushed him so he looked very spiffy as I led him around the ring during the auction. I received something like $700 for him. I was ecstatic, knowing that money would help finance my first year of college. After the auction, my ag teacher Mr. Beckstrom suggested that I go with some of my FFA friends to get some lunch. When I came back, Mr. Beckstrom handed my Henny's halter, and said his new owners had already picked him up. I burst into tears, realizing that Mr. Beckstrom had tried to save me from a sorrowful good-bye.
 No, the experience didn't make a vegetarian out of me; it was more of a rite of passage in realizing that this is part of life. Nowadays it's popular to say you want to know where your food comes from; but I know it's wise not to get TOO close to the source. 
   Meat comes from animals. It’s true. For most people, this fact is kept at a distance. Heirloom Restaurant Group prefers to embrace and respect the origin of the food they serve. The Utah County chefs at Communal, Pizzeria 712 and Mountain West Burrito buy their hogs from Christiansen Family Farm in Vernon, Utah, and cut their own chops, smoke the bacon and stuff the sausage. A local farmer, someone they know, put in the work and care to raise the animal, so they feel it’s only right to take equal care processing and preparing it. Heirloom Restaurants Group is now applying that same philosophy to beef. 
    All of the Heirloom restaurants will be serving our 4H Angus over the coming weeks. Along with the Fall harvest produce streaming in from local farms like Jacob’s Cove, La Nay Ferme, and Clifford Family Farms, it’s possibly the best time of year to eat local at Communal, Pizzeria 712, and Mountain West Burrito. 

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