Sunday, March 27, 2011

Liveblogging from the Carolina Meat Conference

Whew! What a weekend it's been!

The Butcher's Guild crew has been hard at work the past few days. Several sessions of butchery classes have gone swimmingly and Craig Deihl is teaching a group of chefs his magic tricks on whole animal utilization as I write this post. In another hall there are discussions on pasture-raised pigs, low stress cattle handling (which I am going to run off to shortly) and pastured poultry genetics. Tia, Marissa and I even got to take a few laps around a racetrack at almost 200 mph in a Nascar!! Talk about perks!

Yesterday, I took part in a timely discussion on ethical issues in meat labeling and the growth of the alternative meats market. It was a lively conversation to say the least and the audience had quite a bit to add. Butcher's Guild obviously has a unique interest in this topic, so it was a great privilege to be included on the panel.

This conference has been a meat man's dream. Farmers and processors, chefs and butchers, all under one roof sharing ideas and solutions and asking the difficult questions. The focus of the conference has definitely been the local meat industry of the region, however, I see a need for this in every part of the country. Local foods means local issues that need to be resolved by the folks on the ground. As I often say in my travels, what works in Kentucky or New York is not what works in California or North Carolina-and that's perfectly fine. The crux is how we unite all of these people working to answer the same question in a myriad of ways. This is where Butcher's Guild comes in, pulling together the voices of butchers, chefs and others across the country who are dedicated to this craft and invested in improving our food system. This weekend has been a blast, now I am really looking forward to the development of a Butcher's Guild Conference!!

James Beard-nominated chef of Cypress in Charleston, SC and Butcher's Guild charter member, Craig Deihl teaches a group of eager chefs the secrets to whole animal butchery and how to best utilize every part of the animal. All kinds of charcuterie, pork butter, head cheese with trotter meat, shoulder hams and more. This dude knows how to make the most of every carcass, so that's one lucky group of chefs in there right now!

More charter member introductions coming this week, and since I missed Friday's post, I'll be putting up some recipes tomorrow!


  1. Great summation, Berlin. The dire importance and relevance of The Butcher's Guild was made apparent to so many of NC's farmers and commercial meat processors this weekend. We're excited about developing our partnership together and advancing the local meat industry in our area.
    much thanks for your work, Berlin
    Casey McKissick
    NC Choices
    Carolina Meat Conference

  2. Thanks, Casey!

    I'll be doing a much more in-depth piece about the conference. I just couldn't pass up the moment to write from the conference while we were still there! We all had such a good time and can't wait to see where this take us all!