at my restaurant, woodfire grill in atlanta, we have since day one almost six years now supported small local farms. it has taken me more than 20 years to develop a network of growers to produce enough product for my restaurant on an ongoing basis. i value and treasure these relationships.
for the past couple of years, i have been on a mission to find local farms that are raising animals, such as hogs, beef, trout, etc. in sustainable and humane ways to supply me. i have succeeded with a couple of farms that can produce for me amazing hogs on a consistent basis, and finally, some decent grassfed beef.
these small producers really don't have the capability of supplying me with cases of "cuts" read loins, or ribeyes, hangar steaks etc. so, I feel the obligation to purchase the animals whole or in some cases primal cuts. i actually find enjoyment and pride in knowing how to butcher a whole hog, utilize every part for a different process ie; sausage, pancetta, coppa, lardo and other charcuterie.
today, a health inspector said I can't do this anymore unless i apply for a "special variance" to the code. i cannot serve my house made sausages or cured meats to my customers?? this is quite ludicrous! especially since we have not had an inspection in 18 months! the inspector started by telling me how short staffed they are. should this be my problem? i can't tell my customers that we are short staffed and expect them to feel sorry for me.
in any event, we need help here in georgia. we will never get chefs and restaurants to serve local farm raised meat products if this is how we get treated from local health officials. we were also penalized five points for having quat sanitizer on the cook's stations, in properly labeled new spray bottles, thinking we were looking out for sanitation! i would have been better off with dirty towels in plastic buckets full of water and bleach according to our inspector! just thought you should know. ciao!