Maribelle’s chef/owner Mike Florea and his friend Jason Jones had never farmed before forming Queen City Livestock Company. In their first year, they’ve grown from four pigs to 60 using restaurant waste for feed, and they’re selling the pork to local restaurants like Metropole and Salazar.
Whose idea was it to raise pigs? JJ: I bought the place and thought it’d be cool to farm so I called him because he owns a restaurant.
You’ve grown fast. JJ: Yeah, people tell us we’re crazy. But when you have a problem you figure it out and learn from the problem.
The pigs eat food waste from Maribelle’s but also Blank Slate and Sixteen Bricks? MF: We’re calling it community-raised pork. The idea is to make food full-circle. JJ: The food that they eat here is the food that he serves in his restaurant and then he’ll serve the pork at his restaurant.
How do you balance farming with your day jobs? MF: It’s hard to align our schedules with the pigs. We are lucky to have quality people to run the restaurant. The idea is to make this happen and quit our day jobs.
Has preparing meat become more meaningful? MF: As a chef, I respect the animal and use the whole thing, but that’s good business. I’d rather eat something that was cared for than something nobody cared for.
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