Veal Can Be The Green Meat To Eat
by Christine Burns Rudalevige, Portland Press Herald
Posted: 2018-01-05 15:33:17 EST

Tonight, for the first time in his tenure as chef at Gather in Yarmouth, Colin Kelly will serve veal. He’s put a veal roulade, seasoned with roasted garlic and herbs, on his New Year’s Eve menu, alongside celery root confit and topped with a proper demi-glace sauce reduced from stock made from the very same animal’s bones, a calf that was both local and whey-fed. Until now, Kelly has avoided serving the tender, sweet protein because of the veal industry’s reputation for animal cruelty.

But as the calendar rolls over into 2018, Kelly is buying what a growing number of Maine farmers are selling: the notion that veal can be raised humanely and sustainably. In fact, veal proponents argue that if you regularly enjoy drinking milk and eating value-added dairy products – cheese, yogurt, ice cream – the green thing to do is also to consume a critical byproduct of the dairy industry: bull calves born to dairy cows.

Female dairy cows – like Jerseys and Holsteins – need to deliver a calf about every 15 months in order to maintain milk production. Female calves can grow up to join the milking herd. But the males, it goes without saying, can’t, and farmers can’t afford to raise them to adulthood for their meat because both the yield and quality pales in comparison to that of cattle breeds like Angus and Hereford. Veal is the only profitable market for these bull calves.

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