Rejoice, ye lovers of bacon, ye hoarders of ham, for the first-ever Tour de Pork is upon us!
But actually, don't hoard ham. That sounds icky. DO however venture out in Durham any time between now and July 29th to any one of the 20 restaurants participating in Firsthand Foods's Tour de Pork and join in the celebration of one of nature's most tasty animals.
The Tour de Pork is both a contest and a consumer awareness event, drawing attention to the importance of humane, pasture-based livestock production and whole animal butchery. Firsthand Foods is the Triangle's premiere purveyor of just such meats, and they've teamed up with a number of their customer restaurants to launch this fun contest.
Before I tell you how it works, let's have a quick primer on Firsthand Foods and why they do what they do.
Firsthand Foods works with local NC farmers to bring their sustainably-raised, hormone-free, pasture-raised meats to market. The farmers only have to worry about farming, and Firsthand takes care of the rest. No concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), no corporate agribusiness, and certainly no bland, tasteless meat.
But back to the Tour. The idea is simple, you eat one of the 20 dishes on offer at restaurants across Durham, snap a photo, and post it to your public Instagram account with #tourdepork (or e-mail it to them at firstname.lastname@example.org). Each entry earns you a Piggy Point. Five Piggy Points earns you a Firsthand Foods meat thermometer and 10 gets you their sausage sampler box. Try all 20 dishes and you've earned a deluxe steak box. PLUS every Piggy Point you earn qualifies you to win two tickets to a nose-to-tail dinner put on by Chef Andrea Reusing at The Durham Hotel this fall.
In keeping with the goal of highlighting whole animal usage, the dishes on offer range from the deliciously familiar (the NC Pasture Raised Pork Chop at Bleu Olive or any one of the tasty Firsthand Foods sausages at Black Twig Cider House) to the unique and droolworthy (I'm looking at you Dim Sum Plate at Geer Street Garden and Deep Fried Devito at Pie Pushers).
Firsthand also worked with some of the chefs to make sure parts of the hog that aren't often used, or perhaps aren't in season, get featured this summer. Alley Twenty Six is offering a pork shank special, a cut you'd normally see in the colder months, while East Durham Bake Shop is utilizing pork leaf lard in a traditional cookie from New Mexico called the biscochito.
You can find more details on the contest and register to compete in the Tour de Pork at www.tourdepork.com.