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The taste of terroir this weekend. An ox braai at Spier on the 31st.

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Terroir is a term that has become as meaningless as free range and sustainable and natural and organic. It is supposed to encapsulate the unique aspects of what happens in a place over a period of time, at least a year. It is mostly weather related but there are many other factors that go into creating that sense of place.

The true terroir of our farm is in our beef as they graze everywhere (even at specific times managed in a very specific way in our vineyards) and throughout the seasons. They are on the farm for a minimum of a year before they are slaughtered. The minerality of our soil is expressed in their meat through their only source of food, namely the  grasses and legumes that grow on the farm.

This Saturday we, my grass fed beef colleagues from Boschendal and I, are teaming up to give you the true taste of terroir from our respective farms. We are going to spit roast two forequarters, one from each of our farms. Above is photo taken of their half ox braai they had on National Braai day on the 24th of September. Mark Muncer, their butchery and grass fed beef expert, is attending to the meat on the spit that he designed. 16 hours on the coals.

You can start eating at 9am and I hope you come hungry and have stamina as the market only finishes at 2pm and we don’t want to take any meat back home. My beef is also the only official Carbon negative beef in the country so you can feel extra good about eating it. Saturday is the launch of the Spier Market that will be held every Saturday. Details below of what you can expect at my stall.

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Spencer is holding the forequarter we are going to braai. This was taken at the beginning of the 2 week dry ageing process. All our meat is dry aged at 0.3 Celsius before we touch it with a knife. The forequarter weighed 106kgs when he was trying to get his arms around it. Spencer is just one of the benefits you get for free with our beef.

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The ox that Spencer was trying to come to grips with was half Limousin. This is a French cattle breed that has the highest dressing out percentage (carcass as a % of live weight) amongst cattle breeds. As a butcher/farmer this is a very important metric for me. The folk at Boschendal have realised that they want higher dressing out percentages and last week introduced Limousin and Brahman bulls into their Angus herd as the pure Angus cattle cannot compete with these crosses. The Limousin’s are the light brown guys with the big backsides and the Brahmans are the grey guys saving themselves for mating season.

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Of course if you want to come and see a proper Limousin bull then you need to come and meet Jeremiah, Spier’s god of fertility.

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Another good reason to come to Spier this Saturday is that when the meat becomes too much for you then you can get to try as many breads and pastries as you want in the fabulous new bakery that opened last weekend. It is run by PJ Vadas who managed to get the head baker and head patissier from Ile de Pain in Knysna to show their skills in what is known as the Hoghouse Bakery and Cafe.

At my stall I will be selling eggs from our outdoor hens (we don’t use the meaningless term free range anymore), biltong, droewors, bone broth (the most nutritious product from our farm, click here for more on this elixir), books that have inspired me to farm, t-shirts from the amazing guys at Hemporium and my 2009 Ezibusisweni Straw wine.

Hope to see you there.

Angus and Jeremiah

27 October 2015

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