Sunday, July 22, 2012

Better Animal Husbandry

Le Point online and Time Magazine are both reporting an interesting story about better animal husbandry in France. In an experiment, Languedoc-Roussillon winemaker Jean-Charles Tastavy partnered with farmer Claude Chaballier after reading about Spanish ad Canadian studies indicating that happier cattle produced better tasting meat. Tastavy suggested that they try feeding a couple of animals on the pomace from his wine-making operation. The cattle were not adverse to the pressed grape leavings washed down with water, and eventually the two decided to try the cattle on wine. Tastavy and Chaballier scaled the wine recommendation for humans up to cattle, and began trying them on ~1.5 litres per day.
Yes, the cattle seemed happier than their teetotal counterparts. But after slaughter, it was noticed that the meat from the imbibing cattle was different. As Time reports:
Michelin-starred chef Laurent Pourcel had a taste of the “viande de luxe” — luxury beef — and hedges that there’s a bustling market for it among a foodie crowd. It has a “very special texture, beautiful, marbled and tender, which caramelizes while cooking.”
Tastavy and Chaballier are expanding their pilot program in the coming year. Because, even though the feeding costs have tripled (from $6 to $18), the price the Vinbovin-labelled meat fetches has gone up as well--to ~$122/kilo. Which, for a small producer, is a heck of a nice return.

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