Hoof to tail: Cooking up a beef heart

We recently dug out the last of our whole cow from a farm down the road and the big unlabeled package was the heart.  My husband chopped it up and threw it in the crockpot, I doused it in this stout and added a little water and spices and here we are with the result a day later.

We got tender meat in a good sauce that goes well with mashed potatoes.  Heart ends up around the firmess of roast but less stringy in texture.

The main thing I’m learning cooking the various organs is that there’s a lot of slow cooking involved to get them tasting all right.

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Local Foodshed Spotlight– A Successful Everett Area Pig Farmer

Sustainable farming has many more successful, thriving farms than just Joel Salatin’s.  There are lots of farms making enough profit to keep going and pay down or even pay off infrastructure, and some of them are local to me.  Yes, even in the regulatory nightmare that is Puget Sound, there are farmers making it happen.  One of them is a local pig farmer, Bruce King.  He is on my blogroll, and writes the most fabulously cool posts about the nitty gritty details of farming and navigating the regulatory maze in Snohomish County.  His latest post as of this writing is about wetland regulations and how they have placed local farmers in a Kafkaesque bind.

When he’s not writing about regulations, he’s writing about his very clever methods of squeezing revenue out of the unlikeliest places, like being able to make money off the pallets he uses to feed his pigs grocery store delights such as slightly bruised produce and excess dairy.  That sort of round-the-corner thinking is pretty important for a farmer.  A certain inventiveness tends to separate the successful small farmers from the ones who work hard but ultimately go out of business.  It indicates adaptability, which is absolutely crucial for smaller-scale farming.  By all accounts, his pork is good stuff and I hope to actually succeed in buying a pig from him one of these days.  I tried while pregnant with my latest child, but pregnancy hormones, moving out here to the country and various other stuff conspired to have it not work out.

But dude has a lot of pigs to sell, as his operation has grown and matured over the years into a steady, going concern.  I feel that one will turn up when we’re ready to get a pig or two for the year.

Cool farmer, awesome blog, happy animals.  What more could a locavore need in a regional foodshed?