I graduated in 97 and finished my BA at Prescott College. It was a good place to finish, but I missed the community at Sterling. Prescott had no campus to speak of, and students were constantly out in the field. I barely knew the students I graduated with.
Upon graduation I went back to the Farm School, in Athol, MA where I had interned during my second Sterling year. It was a great place to work with kids (I had majored in education) and pick up farming skills. I knew I would at least want to farm for myself and my family, but I also hoped to be able to make a living doing it.
After a while at The Farm School, I met my wife-to-be (Apple Gifford), and decided to become a classroom teacher. After teaching for a while in Massachusetts, Apple and I decided to move up to Newfane, Vermont to start a little farm, continue teaching, and raise a family.
I had learned that produce farming was not going to work for me, and it was simple to see that good veggies wouldn’t grow well on our property. I had always loved working with animals at Sterling, and thought that I could raise some animals in a way that felt right. They could have the best life possible, eat well, and then have that one, final, bad day. I started a small meat CSA that offered beef, lamb, or pork.
I’ve been doing it for a while now and things are pretty well streamlined. I buy animals in the spring, raise them through the summer, and have them slaughtered in the fall. We’ve added some goats (they sure do teach the lambs what to eat) and meat birds. Every day I silently thank the animals and my customers. It’s hard to rationalize what I do for a living, but I appreciate that people want to eat meat from farmers that they trust.
This soup is from a CSA customer in Boston. She asks for beef tendons, and so I had to find out what she does with them. Beef shanks are my absolute favorite cut in the colder months because of the flavor, but especially for that slippery feel they give. Tendons are pure silk. Unfortunately, I don’t have the recipe for this as it was written on the back of a paper towel. However, there are hundreds to find online. The secret is great ingredients, and real Asian wheat noodles, if you can find them. The flavors can be from anything. But slurping up all that rich broth and noodles, and sinking your teeth into a tender chunk of ethically-raised and organic beef tendon is incredible.