Several food writers recently participated in a food and farm excursion to see firsthand how veal calves are raised. The North American Meat Institute, on behalf of the beef checkoff, hosted the tour, which included visiting multiple veal farms in Pennsylvania and Indiana. The writers visited with farmers, animal nutritionists, veterinarians, feed representatives and chefs to learn more about the transformation that has occurred in how veal is raised today.
“There’s so much that has evolved in the world of veal farming,” Holly Sander of Taste & See said. “There are so many regulations and quality initiatives in place to ensure that veal farming meets the highest standards. Think about it: Why would a farmer sabotage their livelihood by cutting corners or mistreating their investment? Plain and simple, they wouldn’t and don’t.”
The ReVEAL Food & Farm tour included visiting veal farms in Pennsylvania hosted by Marcho Farms as well as veal farms in Indiana hosted by Midwest Veal LLC and Strauss Veal Feeds. The food writers on the tour represented Rust Nutrition, Souffle Bombay, Windy City Dinner Fairy, Taste & See, Confetti & Bliss, Claire Matern and Bell’alimento. Combined, these professionals reach more than a half-million food and nutrition followers.
“The culture surrounding raising veal calves has been a taboo subject for as long as I can remember,” the Windy City Dinner Fairy stated in her blog post about the tour. “I’m here today to tell you that veal calves are humanely raised and are actually a sustainable aspect of the dairy industry.”
Paula Jones of Bell'alimento said, “I’ve been eating veal for as long as I can remember. To me, veal is incredibly delicious albeit often misunderstood. I’m excited to share what I personally experienced and learned. What struck me the most is how large these animals are. They are about 500 lb. at 22 weeks at market. That is a large animal.”
Culinary inspiration for preparing veal was provided through a multiple-course dinner featuring veal at Nunzio Ristorante Rustico in Collingswood, N.J., hosted by Catelli Brothers. Lunch featuring a Greek-inspired veal burger was prepared by the chefs at Joseph Decuis Emporium in Roanoke, Ind., concluding the three-day event.
Each food writer then received a delivery of fresh ground veal cutlets and chops -- provided by Mountain States Rosen Veal -- to create their own veal recipes to feature on their websites and social media platforms.
“I encourage you to give veal a try. From a culinary perspective, veal is a specialty meat that’s flavorful and unique,” registered dietitian Rosanne Rust said. “Adding ground veal to your meatballs or meatloaf, for instance, will definitely kick them up a notch.”
According to the beef checkoff, there are approximately 500 farm families that raise milk-fed veal in the U.S., primarily in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. The food writers learned and experienced that while farms may differ from one state to another, farmers share a commitment to raising healthy veal calves, following the gold standards of animal care set forth in the Veal Quality Assurance program and delivering safe, quality meat to consumers.