Jeff Linton of Linton Pastured Pork
is my food hero and a good friend. Jeff raises his heritage breed pigs on five different pastures in Huron County. The other farmers think he is crazy, as they raise their GMO cash crops on all sides as far as the eye can see. Jeff, however, is a visionary, who is proving that pigs can be raised on grass with some perseverance and common sense.
When thinking about my food hero it is hard to talk about one person, because as they say it takes a village. That village includes Fridays at my bubbies, growing up in a house where cooking was a focus of family life, learning about other cultures food through my diverse group of friends. But where does all of this food come from? Because the grocery store sure isn’t the answer.
I found the answer and went after it -- with fervor.
Now, I connect farmers with chefs, selling meat to some of the best restaurants around the GTA. Meat that is raised by some of the very best farms we are able to find. We visit the farms to be certain they meet the standards of ethics I want on my own table.
Jeff is one of those farmers.
Jeff and I found each other on Instagram, and I was sold immediately. What he was doing made total sense. Soon after we were bringing his pork into Toronto for both our restaurant and retail clients at our butcher shop in Liberty Village, Bespoke Butchers
. People don’t just like this pork, they are obsessed with it. The first time I cooked one of the pork chops from Jeff’s Duroc-Hampshire cross pigs, and then cut into it and tasted the fat, I knew. I put my knife and fork down and picked up the phone to tell him.
I take my chefs out to the farms we work with; it’s is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. Creating the respect in the kitchen for the product we get to work with is very important to me. Farmers like Jeff love having people out to learn about what they do and why they do it.
Knowing the people who grow your food is a life changer. It makes that food so much more sacred and delicious. Buying your food from the source whenever possible is much better for our food system. Happy animals are better for you and our world, so I would buy it from someone you trust. I buy and eat Jeff Linton’s pork, I trust him.
He is my farmer and my very good friend.
Joel Solish, a long time CFCC supporter, connects chefs and farmers in his roles with Bespoke Butchers and Pristine Gourmet. Joel is also the author of “MEATing Chefs”, for Village Living Magazine.