This past Sunday, Virginia farmer Alec Bradford made his first New York delivery of storied Ancient White Park steer to 10 of our lucky brethren. The heritage breed, as previously reported, is both extremely rare and extremely tasty: There are accounts going all the way back to the Romans of the steer’s superlative flavor. Although the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy describes the breed as “critical,” its most endangered rating, the cattle’s population seems to be rising: According to Seed Savers, at least 550 were born throughout the U.S. this spring.
And that’s good news both for Bradford and for us. Not only was this Sunday’s delivery a success — “it was fantastic,” Bradford reports. “A very effective way of getting rid of a whole animal.” But the Virginia farmer plans to make more White Park steer available in the near future.
“We’re gonna do it about once a month from here on out,” Bradford says. “We’ll have two steers available every month next year.” While much of the steer’s meat ends up in private kitchens, he says, some of it makes its way to chefs courtesy of Heritage Foods USA, which distributes different cuts to restaurants throughout the city.
Bradford, who raises cattle, hogs, pigs, turkeys, and chickens on his Leaping Waters Farm in southwest Virginia, is also planning to bring meat from Large Black Hogs, another heritage breed, on his New York deliveries. He envisions a “meat CSA” to cater to the “huge group of people who want to find meat that way,” and plans to create a Facebook page for the farm in part to give customers a place to order his products. (For now, they can contact Bradford through his farm’s website.)
In the meantime, Bradford says that he expects to make a second delivery in early October, followed by another in mid-November, along with some “some special Thanksgiving deals.”
Bradford actually lived in New York for two years in the early aughts, before tiring of the heat and “too much concrete.” Still, he seems to have retained a bit of affection for the city. While meat may be at the top of his agenda, delivering it, he says, “is a good excuse to come to New York.”