Cooking with Rebecca Landman: Spicy Roast Pork
Rebecca runs Landman Gardens and Bakery while her father, Eric, who builds dry stone walls and often works off-site, and her three younger brothers operate the farm.
Rebecca Landman has been a farmer her whole life. And in that time the 26-year-old granddaughter of Dutch immigrants has seen a lot of changes in the business of agriculture. To ensure the continued success of the 80 acres her grandparents purchased near Grand Valley in 1969, Rebecca and her family have had to change with the times.
“If you’re going to be a small-scale farmer these days,” says Rebecca, “you have to diversify.”
And the Landmans did exactly that. Today, Rebecca runs Landman Gardens and Bakery while her father, Eric, who builds dry stone walls and often works off-site, and her three younger brothers operate the farm. This means caring for goats, pigs, lambs, chickens and turkeys, as well as two acres of vegetables, which the Landmans sell directly to consumers through their CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) program and at farmers’ markets in Shelburne, Orangeville and Elora. But Landman Gardens is more than a farm, it’s also a thriving agri-destination with an on-site store that carries vegetables, frozen meats, baked goods and preserves carefully prepared by Rebecca herself.
A graduate of the culinary arts program at Canadore College in North Bay, Rebecca is an accomplished chef. Up to three times a week from April through October, she prepares five-course dinners for 10 to 16 people and serves them in the “blackhouse.” Built by her father, the blackhouse is a replica of a traditional 19th-century Scottish stone cottage which features a living roof planted with wild alliums and six varieties of sedum. A typical blackhouse dinner menu might include homemade pickles, greens from the garden, oven-roasted root vegetables, a choice of farm-raised roast chicken or pork, and freshly baked pie for dessert.
And every August at the peak of the harvest, Landman Gardens hosts its annual Savour Fair, a day-long festival of food, crafts, farm tours, art and children’s games. Proceeds go to help local students complete their education in agriculture.
We asked Rebecca to share her recipe for slow-roasted loin of pork. She serves it with a robust kale and apple salad and her house-made tomato salsa. The key to ensuring the roast remains moist and flavourful is to coat it with Dijon mustard and a sweet and piquant spice rub before cooking it on a bed of garlic, onions and apples in a covered roasting pan at low heat for an hour or so.
The salad is best made a couple of hours in advance to allow the lemon juice to tenderize the kale.
“This is a great salad for potlucks because it travels so well,” says Rebecca.
In addition to earning her chef’s credentials, Rebecca studied agriculture at Fleming College, where she was one of only two classmates who had ever farmed. “They had some pretty romantic ideas about farming,” she says. Although she acknowledges the days are long and the work is endless, she can’t imagine any other life.
“It’s hard work,” she says. “But it’s fun hard work.”
We did it for the love of farming. The kids do it because they love it too, and see a future in it.