'Here's the beef' burger dinner -- Taste the difference

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STOCKBRIDGE -- If you've ever taken a bite of a juicy burger and wondered "Where's the beef come from?" then this dinner might be for you.

This weekend, the nose-to-tail butchers at Red Apple Butchers in Dalton are flipping burgers -- not just any burgers -- for guests of the Inn at Stockbridge for a special "Here's the Beef" dinner featuring local, single-origin beef.

"All of the beef is going to be sourced from local farms," said James Burden, co-owner, chef and butcher at Red Apple Butchers. "Except for one ringer from the supermarket, but we'll be transparent, so you know which one you're tasting."

The six-course meal will feature six different 3-ounce burgers for guests to taste, compare and discuss alongside the farmers who source the beef.

"This is the first time we're doing one of these," said Jeff Bell, co-owner of the Inn at Stockbridge, with his wife, Lisa Morehouse. "We're intrigued by this new food movement in the Berkshires and we really wanted to support this."

Guests at the intimate dinner -- which starts at $95 and goes up to $450, including dinner, a night at the inn and breakfast the next morning -- will be able to compare the tastes of different breeds of cow, including a heritage breed, Randall cattle from New York farmer Cynthia Creech.

Bell said he is the extremely interested in tasting this heritage breed and learning from Creech about her efforts to save the dying breed.

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For anyone who hasn't tasted beef outside of what the average supermarket offers, Burden promises you can taste the difference, and a deeper flavor.

"We want to let people know how brilliant grass-fed beef is," said the butcher, who speaks passionately about the local farmers and their cattle that source his shop. "Hopefully, we'll keep educating people, keep talking about it. We've lost sight of what good flavor is, what the purpose of good breeding was for."

The varieties of beef will come from Black Queen Angus Farm, Tilldale Farm, Cricket Creek Farm, Artemis Farm and Ioka Farm, which will provide a mixed-breed cow that eats corn grown right on the farm. "They have a grain finish with their beef," Burden said of Ioka Farm cattle.

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Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown will provide Jersey beef, which is a dairy cow not raised to be beef to eat, according to Burden.

"It has a grassy flavor," he said of Cricket Creek cattle. "Just beautiful."

Burden said Berkshire County residents are lucky to have a bounty of beef farmers in the area, who understand the different aspects that go into what creates the flavor of beef -- from what territory the cattle is raised on, to what they eat, right down to understanding the different blades of grass.

Red Apple Butchers' passion for local, responsible agriculture is what attracted Bell and Morehouse -- who makes the inn's breakfast offerings from scratch every morning -- to hosting the dinner.

"We also serve Red Apple Butchers' bacon and sausage for breakfast," Bell said. "We're really intrigued with their drive and passion around the food -- the sourcing of it. Their interested enough to understand where the cattle have come from. We want to support any business that has that kind of drive and vision."

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It's a passion that Burden wants diners to understand and feel, too.

"We are looking to support responsible agriculture," he said. "Purchasing from a local farmer sustains local economy. We also know the cow is eating grass and is 100-percent happier and healthier than a cow in a giant, [big-business meat farm]. ... Just know that [these local farmers] are doing some good work."

If you go ... 

What: ‘Here's the Beef,' burger-tasting dinner with Red Apple Butchers and event organizer Josh Young 

When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday 

Where: Inn at Stockbridge, 30 East St., Stockbridge Cost: $95 for dinner only, prices also available for overnight package at the Inn 

For tickets: Visit http://www.eventbrite.com/e/heres-the-beef-a-burger-dinner-featuring-single-origin-beef-tickets-13267500451?aff=eog. Or phone the Inn at Stockbridge, (888) 466-7865. Tickets are limited for this event.


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