Goin’ to the fair!

By Christopher R. Raines

Not just any fair! Thanks to someone in my “meat science cloud” of online contacts, I have learned of an upcoming Extension event organized by personnel from Cornell University that is being called a “Local Meat Fair.”  Apparently, there are about 18 different regional meat producers (famers who raise cattle, pigs, goats, ducks, sheep, chickens, rabbits, turkeys … the list is pretty comprehensive) who will be showcasing their products to the public, and there are about 55 people registered for the fair. I’m a bit perplexed – isn’t this what the county 4-H fair is all about?  Isn’t there usually a livestock auction (by which people are supporting local agriculture and ag youth)?  [10/23/09 4:27 pm I have been informed by a colleague that it is not uncommon to find counties (her specific examples were for NY state) without youth livestock auctions – and the learning curve continues – and the local meat fair makes much more sense to me!].

The project organizers told me that they are learning of some vegetarian “converts” who are okay with buying meat from livestock raised on small farms, and that there was as similar event in April-ish which had about 65 attendees.  This is just one town in one region; I wonder if this idea would take off elsewhere (?).  Also, there will be a chef there to provide sample products from each of the farms represented.  I, of course, had to ask if there would be any butcher shops represented, perhaps sampling their summer sausage, or jerky.  Sadly, I once again think the butcher was (albeit inadvertently) overshadowed or omitted.

See you in Ithaca this Sunday.  There will be a full report next week!