Prepping for a late November opening, Sustain Restaurant + Bar's managing partner Jonathan Lazar and chef Alejandro Pinero took a sourcing trip to three Florida farms. When it opens, the eco-conscious, eco-friendly Sustain will feature a menu that will change with the seasons and include, among other things, pasture-raised Berkshire pork for its porchetta, regionally raised grass-fed beef will be used in house-made hamburgers, sausages, and corned beef and a "50-mile" salad, made with ingredients sourced within 50 miles of the restaurant. In an Eater Miami exclusive, Lazar recaps the experience with photos and words.
We started off the journey by driving from Miami at four in the morning to meet Jan Costa at Florida Fresh Beef Company, which is where the slaughterhouse is. Jan was our fixer for the day. Upon arrival we saw the entire process of how the cattle are slaughtered and butchered. We also got to take a peek at how they dry age their beef the old school way, doing the whole cow for 28 days.
From the office of Florida Fresh Beef we drove over to Pasture Prime Wagyu to meet the owner of the ranch Torm Silverson. Torm is raising 100 grass fed start to finish Wagyu cattle that are 100% traceable genetically. They are given no antibiotics or hormones and only eat varieties of grass that are on his ranch. Truly sustainable and humane. These cows were gorgeous animals and we were granted full access. It was really special to be standing a foot away from a real Wagyu cow.
Besides the cattle, Torm is also raising Mangalista pigs and Berkshire pigs, not to mention turkeys and Golden Nugget chickens. We spent a couple of hours with Torm viewing the whole operation and learning a lot about the animals that we would potentially be serving at Sustain.
After leaving Pasture Prime Wagyu we drove to 4 Arrows Ranch in Citra, Florida. 4 Arrows Ranch is the “Mecca of sustainable farming.” Noting leaves the farm, Manure is used to fertilize and there are no pesticides fungicides or herbicides used---everything is given back to earth to make it as fertile as possible. It is truly the most magical and beautiful farm I have ever been too.
Upon entering a huge gate that has the symbol of 4 Arrows on It we drove to the main house, where we were greeted by the ranch's owner, Lee Windham. If they ever make a Food Inc. 2, Lee and her farm should be the main focus of the movie. Windham is a truly inspiring woman who was raised on a farm and then left it to only find out that the stuff she was eating from the Industrial Food Grid made her deathly ill and the doctors told her she needed to change her diet.
She and her husband purchased 4 Arrows Ranch which is an 800-acre farm that takes 6 hours to tour by electric ATV. Lee’s love and knowledge is unparallelled. She even knows most of her animals by name calling them up to us and they followed. The farm raises 100% traceable Aberdeen Angus cattle, grass fed start to finish. These cows get to graze 800 acres eating clover, alfalfa, spelt, wild blackberries, millet, rye grass, oat grass, and wheat gras---a true salad bar for these cows to eat.
The land is incredible with feelings of Africa, tropical jungles, and Midwestern pastures. The variety is amazing. Along with raising the Black Angus cows, Lee is raising the happiest Berkshire pigs I have ever seen. Free ranging on the pasture, they eat everything that the cows eat including sweet potatoes. These pigs come right up to you as if they were pets, running around wagging their tails and being as friendly as a house dog. Visiting Lee and seeing the operation was truly inspiring.
Sustain’s mission is to provide its consumers with the purest and finest local ingredients and to support farmers who take such great pride and passion in their work and, as such, Lee Windham is our hero. [EaterWire]