PURDYS, N.Y. – Purdys' Farmer & the Fish restaurant is expanding its farmer image to include fresh pork, delivered directly from Amenia’s Meili Farm.
“We’ve been serving grass fed beef from the Finger Lakes,” said chef Marc Alvarez, as he admired the 187 lb. Tamworth Berkshire hog carcass on Friday. “The first game plan for this hog is to make some fennel sausage for pasta.
“I’m saving one leg for prosciutto,” he continued, “the other one will be a southern ham, cured and smoked right here. We’ll make some bacon. We’ll cure the jowls and make guanciale (Italian bacon). We’ll cook the loins and ribs. And make some classic liver pate.”
“The curing will take a few months,” he continued, “but we’ll feature fresh pork specials all week until it’s gone.”
Tim Purdy was on hand to greet the restaurant’s first hog. Purdy’s daughter, Sophie, is married to Meili Farm’s Craig Meili and oversees much of the animal care at the farm. “Some of those pigs are almost house pets,” said her father. “They all have names.”
“The pigs are very happy there because it’s a nice place,” Purdy said, and he and the farmer and the chef agreed that “happiness shows in the quality of the pork.”
Meili Farm hogs are raised outdoors, “from farrowing [birth] to finish,” said farmer Craig Meili. “Pigs like the wintertime. The heat is tough on them.”
“Our farm is Animal Welfare approved,” Meili continued. “We grow our own corn and the pigs have access to all the whey they want along the way.”
“Whey-fed pigs develop soft, unsaturated fat which creates more flavor, more mouth feel, and gives us the rainbow of scents and flavors with the aging of meat,” according to The Natural Farmer magazine. The magazine adds that the monounsaturated fat is “good stuff,” and “contains oleic acid and nice levels of linoleic acid.”
In addition to its herd of about 145 hogs, including 15 sows, Meili Farm has 700 beef cows, a half-dozen honeybee hives and 300 laying hens. Deliveries of pork to the Farmer & the Fish will be an ongoing routine.
Purdys' Farmer & the Fish is at 100 Titicus Road in the historically-listed Purdy Homestead.