The New York Beef Council enticed five culinary schools from across New York State to experience a two-day “Farm to Fork” Beef Tour and Cooking Competition here in the Finger Lakes April 11 and 12. This event was made possible through continued support and funding from the South Dakota Beef Council.
Five culinary schools, SUNY Cobleskill, Erie Community College, SUNY Sullivan, Monroe Community College, and Finger Lakes Community College toured Spring Pond Farm in Branchport, and Wilson Beef Farm in Canaseraga.
The first day, culinary students and their instructors toured Spring Pond Farm, owned and operated by John and Anita Kriese. Students had the opportunity to tour all aspects of the farm, learning about the uses of different breeds, particularly the Red Angus and Herefords the Krieses specialize in. The students, many of whom had never even seen a cow in such close quarters, were exposed to the realities of genetics-based breeding choices, artificial insemination, animal care and handling, feeding practices, manure and pasture management, and all aspects of the beef life cycle including birth to finishing to slaughter.
John explained the extensive amount of data and decision-making that goes into raising high quality and efficient beef cattle. He also noted the benefits of vaccination in preventing diseases and the proper uses for antibiotics, being sure to dispel some widely circulated myths about their use in the beef industry.
The culinary students then toured Wilson Beef Farm, processing facility, and market, where they were shown how beef is graded and packaged. Students also had the opportunity to learn more about the aging process, value added beef products, and beef marketing.