Matt Mullins

In one kitchen cooler, a large piece of pork hindquarter hangs with the telltale layer of lard covering the open cut, a whole prosciutto emanating a sweet, musky odor. In another you'll see a foreleg, coppa, that carries a similar olfactory punch. Nearby you may see a head. "We usually do get the whole animal," says Michael Pruett of Steenbock's on Orchard. "The off cuts, I'll grind them and make sausage." more

Dec 22, 2011 3:00 PM Cooking

The chill of winter can hit the committed locavore like a slushball in the neck. The outdoor farmers' markets have ended. The grocery store features peppers from Mexico or Israel. The specter of four months of leek soup looms, and it threatens the determined farm-to-table chef. more

Nov 23, 2011 3:00 PM Cooking

Dairy purists trumpet raw milk's health benefits and superior flavor. But aside from being able to occasionally obtain raw milk from a dairy farm, they have to turn to the black market for the white fluid. more

Oct 27, 2011 2:00 PM Cooking

Farm dinners take place at restaurants and sometimes on location at the featured farms. The events connect diners to producers through the work of chefs. "It's just about cultivating these relationships and building the community," explains sous chef John Nodler of Merchant, which is planning to hold such a dinner for one of its smallest produce providers, By George Farm. "For small farmers," explains Nodler, "it gives them a good chance to have their products showcased." more

Sep 22, 2011 2:00 PM Cooking

A ruminant bleating in the distance, goat remains for Americans an afterthought, the kind of ingredient you might find in an obscure Mexican restaurant on the edge of a Texas town. It's not usual in mainstream American cooking, though, and in Madison it has typically been confined to Indian and Jamaican restaurant kitchens and has been on menus at Chautara and Dobhan for some time as well. Goat is headed for the mainstream, though. more

Aug 25, 2011 2:00 PM Cooking

Tiny restaurants have, for me, density akin to a collapsing star: They draw me gravitationally. Remember Pel'Meni on State Street? Its menu contained two dishes of reasonably Russian origin: potato dumplings and meat dumplings. You could add some toppings and walk out with a box of 10 or so for $5. I thought it was brilliant. more

Aug 18, 2011 2:00 PM FOOD & DRINK

"Wild ramp crepes with smoked oyster mushrooms. Jordandal Farms pork loin, asparagus, rhubarb aioli and baby arugula. Rushing Waters rainbow trout, warm green garlic potato salad and spicy baby greens". This is not from the menu of the latest locavore hotspot. "We focus really on local ingredients and local farms," explains Promega Corp.'s "culinary experience manager," Nate Herndon. more

Jun 23, 2011 2:00 PM FOOD & DRINK

Pete Kelly spots our quarry behind an elm root standing like a fin at the base of a dying tree: two fresh morel mushrooms, their pocked conical caps protruding from the duff on a horizontal trajectory. He gestured toward a third, drier morel a yard away. This was our bounty for a few hours of wandering through stands of oak and elm, through calf-high groves of mayapples and ostrich fern on various public and (sanctioned) private lands near Spring Green. more

May 26, 2011 2:00 PM Cooking

Tony Schultz responded somewhat sheepishly when asked what impact his recent political speech, a minor viral hit on the Web, had on business for his family farm. A downturn in business was something that had crossed his mind before he made the speech. "I don't have so many customers that I could just make [lost customers] up," says Schultz. "We were taking an intensely political stand. I was worried that it would hurt us." more

Apr 28, 2011 2:00 PM Cooking