Formerly,Bar None Ranch, of Berlin, NY, we are now Climbing Tree Farm, of New Lebanon. We raise PASTURED POULTRY, LAMB, GRASS-FED BEEF, and WOODLAND/PASTURE-RAISED, MILK-FED PORK. We keep our animals true to their instincts- letting our pigs dig, our chickens range, our sheep graze. We feed rotationally graze on pasture and silvo-pasture (in the woods). We work with a local dairy to feed our pigs Jersey milk. We are conscientious stewards of the land, and our animals.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Berkshire Food Guild: Whole Hog Breakdown

This weekend we had a rare treat. We participated in the Whole Hog Breakdown put on by the Berkshire Food Guild, a group of talented local craft food producers who host feasts celebrating the bounty of Berkshire County and the surrounding area. In addition to a full day of feasting, the guild demonstrated whole hog butchery, charcuterie, and fine, nose-to-tail cooking. We feel so lucky to work with such talent, and with people who treat our animals with just as much tenderness and respect in preparation for becoming a meal, as we do in the field. These guys are the real deal.

The following pictures contain photographs of butchering. Some of the pictures show blood. There is always blood when we eat meat...because it comes from animals. We don't consider these pictures icky or gross, but rather as another part in the life cycle of a healthy, well treated, respected animal.
If you're squeamish, please skip to another blog post.

A beautiful brunch to greet us!
 Local fruits and cheeses, breads and pastries made from local flour by Jill (of

The star of the show-
Half of a 199 lb. Red Wattle/Berkshire hog dairy-fed, and raised rotationally on forage by....
Climbing Tree Farm
Butcher Jake Levin ( demonstrating how to remove a pig head.

Chef Jamie Paxton (of
explains how to make head cheese.

Then Jamie went and made headcheese...

She made head cheese on this fabulous, outdoor stove/oven, made by charcutier Jazu Stine

Cutting the carcass into primal pieces (the five main large pieces- head, shoulder, belly, loin, ham).
Demonstrating where to cut to make gorgeous loin chops.

Separating the ham primal from the loin/belly primals.

Top of the ham.


Ham ready to make prosciutto.
Discussing prosciutto.

Prosciutto begun- just half a year in a dank basement and this stuff will be divine!

Ham with ribs in the background.

Removing ribs from belly/loin primals.

Belly/loin and ribs.
Scoring belly/loin to make porchetta.

Seasoning porchetta.

Tying porchetta.

20 lbs. of bliss.
Cut in half to fit in the field oven.

Pulled pork on perfect rolls, coleslaw, grilled corn, Cricket Creek cheeses, stonefruits, melons, blackberry brownies...all local ingredients.
 Wow, so good!



Suzy Konecky ( gives a tour of the farm.

Trimming Coppa.

Salting Coppa to put under cure.
Sampling charcuterie.

Chopping shoulder for sausage.


15 lbs. chopped pork.  


Ground, seasoned pork.

Filling sausage stuffer- throwing ground meat into hopper to avoid air pockets.


Stuffing sausage-
feels kind of like making yarn on a spinning wheel, or patting your head while you rub your belly...
except slipperier.

Italian Sausage.
Lomo (cured tenderloin)



Panchetta (maybe my favorite of the day?)


Tasso Ham, Smoked Loin, Lomo, Coppa, Guanciale, Pancetta, Saussison Sec, Nduja

Belly ready to smoke- fresh bacon only 4 hours away!
Makin' Bacon (and ribs)

Fresh bacon- as in: out of the smoker for less than two minutes.

Whoa, bacon!
Porchetta almost ready.

And it is done...perfectly!

Crispy, porky goodness.


Finishing up dinner in the outdoor cooker.
The baker, charcutier, chef, and butcher with dinner.
Grilled eggplant and dandelion greens with smoked almonds and vinaigrette, heirloom tomatoes with basil, porchetta, arugula with grilled peaches and Cricket Creek Cheese, marinated fennel.

 Adorable little doughnuts.

Dinner with talented, interesting people, a Cricket Creek sunset, super-fresh, uber delicious food,
 and some soft mooing. A damn near perfect, porky day!

No perfect day is complete without them...soft, puffy doughnuts fried in lard.
The Berkshire Food Guild: Jill, Jazu, Jamie, Jake