Niagara Gazette — It doesn’t take much for a small, family-owned farm to find itself in some trouble.
A family illness, broken equipment, bad weather, “any of these things can send a tiny farm into a spiral,” said Christa Glennie Seychew, owner of Feed Your Soul, the production company responsible for developing the Nickel City Chef series.
Feed Your Soul also produces Big Fuss, an annual fundraising event, co-organized by Seychew and Steve Gedra, that up until this year benefitted local farmers struggling financially for one reason or another.
This year Big Fuss 3.0, which is also sponsored by Bistro Europa and Slow Food Buffalo Niagara, is taking a different approach. Instead of helping a struggling farm, the funds raised at Wednesday’s event are going to T Meadow Farm in Lockport to help expand its pork business.
Big Fuss features “farms and chefs coming together to advance and bolster an already-successful farm to be able to grow and meet the demands of its customers,” Seychew said.
T Meadow Farm, owned and operated by the Tilyou family, specializes in heritage breed swine and has some 150 pasture-raised Tamworth and Gloucestershire Old Spot hogs on its land on Ewings Road. The farm provides pork to several local restaurants, including Bistro Europa, Carmelo’s and Tabree, and sells wholesale to the Lexington Co-op and Spar’s European Sausage.
“T Meadow Farm is an integral part of the buy-local movement particularly for chefs and restaurants, who are their primary customers,” Seychew said, explaining that all the farm’s workers have other full-time jobs. “They may provide pork to 10 restaurants and three farmers markets, but they’re still working full-time jobs. In order for the farm to go to the next level and produce as much pork as is asked for, one of the workers needs to make it their job.