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and café to sell their meat. He now has five fulltime and seven part-time employees. Before coming to Wyebrook, chef and butcher Janet Crandall was a butcher for Pat LaFrieda, host of Food Network’s Meat Men, and an instructor at the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan. She met Carlson at a class on the Mangalitsa pig, a Hungarian woolly variety, and began doing occasional events at Wyebrook before she was persuaded to join full time.  “It’s challenging,” Crandall says. “I’m butchering whole animals now as opposed to cleaning or cutting meat that wasn’t as large. I also had to come up with a menu that would work utilizing our meats. We only have so many animals and we have a time frame to sell them because we don’t want to freeze anything; we want everything fresh. I like challenges like that.”  Crandall’s signature dish is the Wyebrook Farm Burger, topped with a roasted corn dressing, cherry tomato pickled with ginger and jalapeño peppers, shallot onion rings, and sweet and dill pickles fried in tempura batter. She also serves pulled pork, hot dogs, cheesesteaks and other fare fresh from the pasture, including chicken nuggets fried in the fat she rendered from the farm’s animals. Local produce and cheeses are available, while a small produce garden supplies the café with additional ingredients. “In a perfect world I would sell everything we raise from our store here on the farm,” Carlson says. “That way 100 cents of the food dollar stays on the farm.” Until he reaches that goal, he will continue to sell some of his meat to restaurants in Philadelphia and Downingtown, and is starting a weekly drop-off at COOK in Center City for online orders. Inspiring a future of farmers Attracting consumers to his farm rather than distributing food is key to Carlson’s philosophy. “I think it’s important for people to have a connection with where their food comes from,” he says. “When you go to the grocery store, you’re relying on that label ‘organic.’ That means something, but it may not mean what people think and it may not mean the same thing tomorrow. Farmers markets and Whole Foods are great, but you can take it even further when you see with your own eyes where your food comes from.” In addition, he hopes the visibility inspires others to follow his lead. “The thing about sustainable [agriculture] is it’s not really scalable, but it is replicable. If we want to raise more food like this, there’s going to have to be more farmers. And that’s a good thing—there are a lot of people unhappy in their jobs who would really enjoy this way of life. So, if I can do something to show that this is a model that works and is economically viable, that’s one of my goals.” Wyebrook Farm is located at 150 Wyebrook Rd., Honey Brook, Pa. Learn more at

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g r i d p h i l m


Grid Magazine August 2012 [#040]  

Toward a Sustainable Philadelphia

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