We mentioned yesterday the sad passing of Marengo, Il.-based cattle rancher Frank Morgan, one of those figures who shaped what you eat (at least, if you eat in Chicago’s farm-to-table restaurants) but didn’t get the kind of press afforded to celebrity chefs or flashy restaurant group owners. We received this comment from Dave Rand, the former Green City Market forager who joined Morgan’s Q7 Ranch to help expand his market for naturally-raised, grassfed beef, about where the ranching operation and business will go without its key leader:
In general, we do intend to maintain Frank’s vision, and do our best to keep Q7 moving forward. However, he was the engine, and there is still a lot of unknown. We are in close contact with our restaurant and retail clients, and have been overwhelmed by their support. This city is amazing, and our chef and retail community have solidified our belief in direct producer and consumer relationships. This is a handshake business through and through, and we are proud of that. Frank was the most important friend and mentor I have ever had, and he taught me what it means to really work, I know he will be in my heart and mind in everything I do from here on forward.
In the meantime, one of Morgan’s customers, Rob Levitt of The Butcher & Larder, posted a piece at his shop’s blog about why he wanted to work with someone like Frank Morgan for his meat:
Why is it so important to us? Watch Food Inc. That will help explain it. Read Michael Pollan- that will help. My usual quick answer is that besides the socioeconomic importance of eating real food and knowing it’s provenance, it just plain ol’ tastes better. It is more delicious than the other stuff. But for us as butchers, chefs, business owners and people, it is the relationships. The human connection. The visits to the farms. Perhaps it is too romantic a sentiment, but I sleep better knowing that every week I will shake the hands of the people raising the animals I cut before I help them unload their trucks.