Contact: Chelsea Bardot Lewis
Senior Agricultural Development Coordinator
Vermont Agency of Agriculture
Email: [email protected]
Nearly 200 farmers, processors, butchers, chefs, retailers and other meat enthusiasts gathered at the Grappone Conference Center in
Concord, NH on March 22 for the inaugural “Meat Ball” at the New England Meat Conference. During a special presentation, three awards
recognized a producer, a processor, and a food professional for excellence in their respective fields. The awardees were as follows:
The New England Food Professional of the Year award was presented by Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross to Cole Ward, meat cutter/educator of Morrisville, Vermont. Cole Ward has been working with meat since he started in his godfather’s meat market at fourteen, making 24 cents an hour for stuffing sausage. Since then, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of the meat industry, from running the meat departments in country stores and large supermarkets, to developing recipes, mastering the art of sausage making, inventing new marinades and ultimately, becoming a gourmet butcher. Above all, he is dedicated to teaching the craft of meat cutting, and has shared his knowledge and skills with hundreds of farmers, chefs, butchers and meat enthusiasts.
The New England Producer of the Year award was presented by Pat McNiff owner and operator of Pat’s Pastured, to Heather and Don Minto,
managers of Watson Farm in Jamestown, Rhode Island. The Mintos have been the farm managers at Watson Farm since 1980, raising and selling grass-fed beef and lamb and helping to restore the grassland of the farm. They have been instrumental in setting up the local slaughtering facilities for Rhode Island farmers, and have been strong champions for decades in buying local and preserving the state’s rich
agricultural heritage. They are true leaders in Rhode Island agriculture, and were the first inductees into the RI agricultural hall of fame.
The New England Processor of the Year award was presented by New Hampshire Commissioner of Agriculture Lorraine Merril to Beverly
Mundell, owner of Adams Farm Slaughterhouse, Athol, Massachusetts. Beverly Mundell has managed Adams Farm for 58 years, providing vital
services to livestock farmers throughout New England. Upon the untimely and unexpected death of her husband in 1973, Beverly, at the
age of 36, took over management of the farm and slaughterhouse. In an industry historically dominated by men, she became responsible for
buying livestock, dealing with equipment salesmen, working with USDA FSIS, and all aspects of running a small business. After a 2006 fire,
Beverly led process of rebuilding a new facility that was triple the size of their old building, making it one of the largest in New England. Two of her five children, Noreen and Rick, decided to work full-time at the slaughterhouse; and in keeping with family tradition, this multi-generational business now boasts three of Beverly’s grandchildren in positions of responsibility, Sydney, Chelsea and Melissa.
The awards presentation was followed by a keynote address by Master Butcher Kari Underly, inventor of the flat iron steak, and author of
The Art of Beef Cutting. Dinner was a celebration of local meat, featuring pork donated by Pat’s Pastured in Rhode Island and beef from
Vermont Family Farms, as well as a variety of other products from the region’s food and drink producers. A live performance from blue-grass/Americana string band the Hickory Horned Devils kept attendees dancing into the evening.
The Meat Ball was held as part of the Inaugural New England Meat Conference, which brought producers, processors, and other meat
professionals together for two days of networking, education and celebration. The goal of the conference was to enhance the production, processing, and marketing of sustainable, nutritious, humanely-raised, and delicious meat from New England farms.
This event was organized by a steering committee representing meat producers, processors and service providers from across New England.
Conference presentations and additional information available at: www.NewEnglandMeatConference.