Here in the province of Ascoli Piceno we are so lucky to be able to purchase meat directly from the farmers.
The supermarkets are of course full of meat from goodness knows where, animals raised in different countries, with all sorts of hormones, fed all sorts of strange things, then trucked many kilometers to be butchered and then the meat trucked goodness knows how many more kilometers to be packaged, warehoused, distributed, etc. It escapes me why anyone who lives in this area would buy such meat when we have such excellent meat available around every corner.
I’d like to introduce you to a farmer just on the other side of Carassai from us. Lino Porrà, a quiet, shy man with a wide face and smiling eyes.
I discovered him in our quest for quality manure.
Yup manure, gardeners’ gold. Maybe even platinum.
Lino showed up after a phone call with a huge trailer on the back of an ancient tractor full of lovely manure. I am a woman who is easy to please…a truck full of quality manure does it! After dumping the steaming pile in a suitable corner of the farm, I asked him about his farm. He’s not used chemicals for over 15 years; using only his own manure as fertilizer for the grains he grows to feed his cattle and a couple of pigs.
The only feed he buys is corn because he can’t grow it himself (no water to irrigate, no corn)
Not organic, but pretty darn close….no hormones, no antibiotics unless an animal is ill, and so on.
He lets the animals outdoors, believing they need the sunshine.
Pity he doesn’t have any milking cows!
Like most businesses here, the farm is a family affair, in this case started by Lino’s grandfather. In the farmhouse there is a spotless shiny butcher shop run by his 23 year old son, who has been running the shop and butchering for 5 years.
Here’s Hans in the butcher shop
Lino’s dad, close to 80, still works on the farm.
Lino’s dad and me the day before Christmas
They raise a breed of cattle called “Marchigiano” a large white beast, a cousin of the “Chiana” around Siena in Tuscany. Both are famous for superb meat. Lino tells me the animals are delicate though, and need more care than other types of beef cattle that are common in Italy.
Need I tell you that the meat is fabulous?