My new favorite place in Skagit County is the Tenneson Family Farm store! I’d been meaning to get there on a Saturday for a month or so, but just never got the chance. We finally did get there and we’ve been back a few times since.
It’s not really the milk, although that is quite good. It’s not the beef, although I’m sure that is quite good. The eggs are a hot seller so we haven’t seen any of those yet, although the chickens are quite fancy with their feathered feets. The cheese is from Pleasant Valley and they are quite wonderful goudas, flavored or smoked or not. (Otherwise only available at the dairy or Everybody’s Store in Van Zandt or Beecher’s in Seattle’s Pike Place Market.)
It certainly is the wonderful maple honey too, but it most definitively is, for me, the pork! Happy pigs rooting around eating grains and whey until they are big and bordering on unruly and they get turned into the sweetest most succulent pork chops, hams, sausages, and roasts. Oy vey!
When we first stopped in they were having a special on their ham steaks so we got a pair. If you look closely, you’ll see that these ham steaks traveled via Basin City, Wa which is some 250 or so miles away depending on your route. This is unfortunately what some of our local ranchers have to do in order to be able to sell their meat retail in order to have USDA-certification. Since Tenneson will also happily sell you a half or whole hog, you can choose which local butcher to use if you don’t want to go via Basin City.
This is not really their fault as it’s a problem within the system. We don’t have enough USDA-certified meat processors to handle the load. We don’t have enough processors because there are not enough inspectors. Currently, part of the 2007 Farm Bill would make it so processors, approved and inspected by state inspectors, could sell across state borders instead of having to rely on USDA-certified facilities. Some claim that state laws would be less rigorous. I don’t know, would you rather have your meat processed by, say, Silvana Meats of Snohomish County or by Swift & Co. in Greeley, Colorado? That’s a no-brainer for me, no pun intended.
Anyway, despite my unintended lapse into ranting on the issues this time, I’m happy as a pig in poop to find a local source of pork by the retail cut. I adore my Scottish Highland beef, but at heart I believe that pork’s the one you love. 😉
P.S. Visit the store on Saturday noon to 5pm.