Chef Jason Tostrup of The Inn at Weathersfield enjoys any opportunity to talk about his experience with Frank Manafort and Black Watch Farm. When Chef Jason first approached Frank about using his prize winning Highland Cattle at the Inn, Frank wasn’t even raising his cows for meat, just for show. The Highland breed is especially suited to the Vermont climate. Its tender and flavorful beef is also rich in omega-3’s. Frank and Jason worked together experimenting with feed, finish, and hanging weight to develop the most delicious product possible. Black Watch was the first of Jason's many farmer partnerships, it helped him develop his philosophy which guides all of his farmer relationships.
For Chef Jason, a strong partnership has three components; quality product, an understanding of the farmer’s usage and intentions towards his land, and the ability to create a mutually sound financial agreement. “Taking the time to listen to each other and understand one another’s business and practices is crucial to forming a working relationship” Chef Jason explains, “when partnerships fail, it’s usually due to misunderstanding each others businesses.” Respect and understanding is clearly at the core of Frank and Jason’s relationship. Black Watch Farm is now supplying over 20 restaurants and retail stores, and is a highlight of The Inn at Weathersfield’s prestigious menu. Chef Jason was generous enough to share his recipe for Braised Black Watch Beef Short Ribs with a Delicata Squash Puree, Cider Soy Glaze, and Mango Salsa.