New Director of Meat Processing- Welcome Tyler
Our team means a lot to us here at Maple Wind Farm. So when we welcome someone new, it’s always a reason to celebrate!
This spring we hired a new Director of Meat Processing, Tyler, to oversee all poultry and pork production at our USDA meat processing plant. He joins us in Richmond, Vermont from Richmond, California - a coincidence that felt a bit like fate.
When Tyler traveled from California he brought his Master Meat Crafter certification with him. This two-year meat science certification from the University of Wisconsin proves he has the skills for processing high-quality meats like those on our farm.
A Director of Meat Processing is important for our quality standards. Tyler’s job is to make sure our meat processing plant is safe, efficient and delivers the highest quality products for our customers. And all with respect for our animals.
We work hard to give our animals a healthy, happy life - one that yields better flavor and nutritional value. Everything Tyler does is focused on our shared value for the animals and the planet.
But it's not always about butchering for Tyler. His wife, Clare, and two three dogs and two cats also joined him here in Vermont. Playing with his dogs is one of Tyler’s favorite ways to unwind and enjoy the outdoors. He’s also into woodworking and is currently making Adirondack chairs and a lid to his newly built pit smoker.
Tyler is a skilled butcher and a good human being. What more could we ask for?
But when we reflect on why we thought Tyler would be a great fit here at Maple Wind Farm, a few reasons stood out:
- He’s a leader and educator. In the first two weeks on the job, Tyler taught us new hog butchery skills and made our sausage-making and linking process more efficient. Our team has benefited from his leadership since the moment he walked in the door. We love his eagerness to share and empower others!
- He has a passion for using the whole animal. Tyler believes there’s a use for every part of the animal and nothing should go to waste. He wants to teach customers to enjoy new cuts of meat than what they’re used to eating. When you learn to use an entire carcass, it opens up new flavor possibilities and added value. We also appreciate how this helps limit waste on our small-scale farm.
- He’s always adding value. Tyler is always coming up with new ideas for products. He creates new options that add value to our customers so that there’s always something delicious for you to try!
Get to know Tyler a bit more in our video interview with him.
Tyler’s Taste of Something New
Speaking of innovation - Tyler has already introduced three new products for us. Have you tried them yet?
This classic Italian pork roast is rubbed in our house blend of herbs, garlic, and spices and wrapped in succulent pork belly. We even tied and cut the meat for you so that it’s ready to go straight in the roasting pan! Tyler also made 2.5-3 pound portions suited for smaller crowds.
Porchetta is traditionally slow-roasted for hours. But our mini porchetta roasts can also be cooked easily in your smoker or offset grill.
We can’t wait for winter to return so we can try this porchetta browned in a dutch oven and braised with wine and tomato sauce. It’s a perfect base for Sunday gravy or served over warm polenta.
Tyler will keep perfecting his porchetta so you can enjoy it all year round!
Pancetta is sometimes known as “fancy bacon” - but the two are quite different, though equally delicious.
Tyler makes our pancetta by curing pork belly in salts and spices for 2 weeks. Over time the seasoning draws out the best flavors from our pasture-raised pork. Bacon is also made with pork belly, but it’s smoked for a more earthy flavor and cured in a shorter time frame.
So if you love bacon, you’ll love pancetta. Add it to your picnic potato salad or farro salad with fresh vegetables. Pancetta is also essential in any bolognese or carbonara pasta dish.
Give Tyler’s pancetta a try - we think you’ll love it! When its on our store or at farmers market, IT GOES FAST!
Tyler continues his Italian theme with our third new product: guanciale.
Italians love guanciale and often prefer it over pancetta in the classic pasta dishes we mentioned above. It’s not always easy to find in the United States, but Tyler is bringing this treat right here to Vermont.
Guanciale means “pork cheek” in Italian because that’s exactly what it is!
Tyler makes our guanciale by curing our pasture-raised pork cheeks in a mix of salt and spices for 14 days. The result is a rich, salty piece of pork. Tyler recommends cutting a thin slice and enjoying your guanciale as it melts in your mouth.
We’re feeling extra fancy with Tyler’s guanciale in our product mix. We can’t wait for you to give it a try.
Tyler is working hard to produce enough porchetta, pancetta and guanciale for you all. Each product requires time to achieve the best quality flavor, which may impact the availability on our website. Keep an eye out for when we’re fully stocked - the wait will be worth it!
Flavor Tips from Tyler
We’re as happy as a pig in mud to have Tyler on our team. His passion for pasture-raised meats comes through in everything he does and we’re continually amazed at all he’s bringing to the table. Plus, Tyler’s work gives you more pasture-raised products to enjoy!
If it’s not clear already, Tyler is a big fan of meat. To him, nothing beats the taste of a big, fatty shoulder pig roast fresh out of the smoker. And Tyler wants you to enjoy every bite as much as he does.
Tyler shared some guidelines for getting the most flavor out of our cuts of Maple Wind Farm meat. Follow these three cooking tips and you’ll always have a delicious dinner to enjoy.
- Cook over the fire. Our ancestors were on to something when they cooked meat over fire. Nothing compares to the taste that comes from hot embers. The fat on the meat transforms over a hot grill, dripping juices onto your charcoal and wood that add even more flavor. Your oven or stovetop can’t reproduce the same smoky, tender meat like a hot fire. For best fire-cooking results, Tyler suggests moving embers or charcoal to create heat zones on the grill: one side for searing and one for a “low and slow” cook.
- Get a good sear. Searing your meat over high heat renders the fat, browning each cut for an extra burst of flavor. Chops especially love a good sear. Get your grill hot and then cook each side for a few minutes, flipping once that perfect brown caramelization starts to occur. Then move your meat to the “low and slow” side of the grill where it’ll get more tender. According to Tyler, it’s just not the same taste and texture when you skip the sear.
- Keep it simple with salt and pepper. Our pasture-raised meats are already full of flavor from the grass-fed, non-GMO diets our animals enjoy every day. So while you can use spice rubs and marinades, they’re not necessary. Tyler encourages you to season your next cut of meat with just salt and pepper. It’s the best way to enjoy the simple but profound pasture-raised flavors.
Tyler and the rest of us would love to hear more about how you’re enjoying our pasture-raised meats at Maple Wind Farm. Reach out via email or message us on Facebook and Instagram with any questions or comments on Tyler’s hard work. We’re lucky to have him and we can’t wait for you to taste the positive impact he’s having on our team!