NOFA 2019 Summer Conference

Photo Credit: © Keller + Keller Photography

Smoking Meat at Home, Sunday August 11th 8-9:30 am

Franklin Patterson 108 | WKSP # | 64

This workshop will establish the basic concepts, elements and techniques necessary to build one’s own smoker and produce smoked meats at home. I will take people through the basic elements of smoking, the various techniques used in smoking meat, and how to build various types of simple smokers at home.

Mother Earth News Fair- Frederick, Maryland

Photo Credit: © Keller + Keller Photography

The Fundamentals of Smoking
This workshop takes the audience through the fundamentals of smoking meat. Butcher and charcuterie expert Jake Levin begins by giving a basic introduction that situates the process in its historical roots as a way of preserving meat. Emphasizing the humble nature of the work, Levin explores the idea that, with some basic equipment and knowledge, anyone can produce high-quality smoked meats at home. He shares a brief history of smoked foods throughout the world. Learn how smoking meat involves the interplay of three basic elements: the meat itself, the temperature, and the wood. In terms of the meat, Levin describes what cuts are best suited for smoking and why. He also talks about the importance of various kinds of salt, as well as sugars and other spices for flavoring (as well as helping with preservation). Find out about the differences between hot smoking and cold smoking. Discover some of the most common fuels or sources of smoke (such as oak and fruitwood), as well as some of the less familiar (such as hay, tea, and even dung). Levin introduces various smoking techniques, including smoking on a grill, pit roasting, stove-top smoking, barbecuing, and using a smokehouse. Next, he covers the basic tools and pieces of equipment needed to produce smoked meats at home, from the most rudimentary to the fairly involved and high end. Hear about some of the smokers you can buy and various kinds you can make in your own backyard (including grill pits, barrel smokers, offset smokers, and the design for Levin’s tri-purpose smokehouse).

Available In:
Maryland, Saturday June 1st 3:30-4:30 p.m., Real Food Stage

Me and My Smoker
This workshop focuses on the smoker that butcher and charcuterie expert Jake Levin designed and built with his brother. He reveals why they made the design decisions they did, and how their project resulted in a working tri-purpose smoker. Levin’s first experiment with it was cold smoked lox, and that same winter they pit-roasted a whole pig for 60 guests using an ancient Mayan recipe. Levin now celebrates his birthday and his brothers’ by smoking anywhere from five to 20 ribs, a couple of pork shoulders, beans, and more. Follow his personal journey learning to smoke meat (and writing a book about the process) in this workshop that includes descriptions of various smoking techniques and styles of smokers.
Available In:
Maryland, Sunday June 2nd 10:00-11:00 a.m., Real Food Stage

Smokehouse Handbook

I have a book coming out April 30th published by Storey Publishing. Click here for ordering information.

For backyard grilling enthusiasts, smoking has become an essential part of the repertoire. Butcher and charcuterie expert Jake Levin’s comprehensive guide, Smokehouse Handbook, guarantees mouthwatering results for producing everything from the perfect smoked salmon to a gorgeous smoked brisket.

Levin demystifies the process of selecting the right combination of meat, temperature, and wood to achieve the ultimate flavor and texture. Detailed step-by-step photos show the various techniques, including cold-smoking, hot-smoking, and pit roasting. A survey of commercially-available smokers critiques the features of each one, and for readers with a DIY bent, Levin includes plans and diagrams for building a multipurpose smokehouse. Featured recipes include specialty brines and rubs along with preparation guidelines for all the classic cuts of meat, including ham, brisket, ribs, bacon, and sausage, as well as fish and vegetables. With in-depth troubleshooting and safety guidelines, this is the one-stop reference for smoking success.

Photo credits: © Keller + Keller Photography

Thanks, NOFA!

A few pics from our wonderful two-day Pig to Prosciutto Workshop with NOFA/Mass!


From Pig To Prosciutto: Rediscovering the Craft of Charcuterie – December 11, 2016

Saturday, 10 December 2016 – 10:00am to Sunday, 11 December 2016 – 3:00pm

Red Shirt Farm

60 Williamstown Rd

Lanesborough, MA


NOFA/Mass Member – $120 (add $10 for walk-in) Non-member – $150 (add $10 for walk-in)

Saturday, December 10th: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sunday, December 11th: 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Limited scholarships are available for beginning farmers (those growing 10 or less years) who are active NOFA/Mass members. To apply please click here.


Ever wondered how you can make your own traditional prosciutto? Or sausage? Or maple-smoked bacon using local heritage pork raised on pasture?

This class, taught by Jake Levin, the “Roving Butcher”, will take you step-by-step from a live pig that was raised organically by Red Shirt Farm all the way to the delicious brined, smoked, cured, and stuffed end products that many know and love. Along the way, you’ll learn how to properly and humanely dispatch, break down, and butcher a whole animal and how to use all of those odd bits to make amazing value-added products that will impress your friends and family. You’ll also get to sample some delicious pork products made by Jake throughout the class.

Register Online Now or Mail In This Registration Form

More Info:

This workshop has limited space. Pre-registration well ahead of time is highly recommended.

There will be a potluck/BYO lunch on Day 1 of the workshop. Please bring a dish to share or come prepared with your own lunch.  Coffee and tea will be provided in the morning on both days.

For information on our refund and inclement weather policy, click here.

For more information contact Dan Bensonoff, education events organizer, at or 860-716-5122


Pig to Pork Chop: Hands-on Hog Processing and Butchering – October 2, 2016

Sunday, 2 October 2016 – 10:00am to 4:00pm

Frohloff Farm

East Quabbin Land Trust

236 Church St

Ware, MA

Cost: NOFA/Mass Member – $65 Non-member – $80

This workshop has limited space. Pre-registration well ahead of time is highly recommended.  For more information contact Dan Bensonoff, education events organizer, at or 860-716-5122

Do you raise your own pigs, goats, sheep? Want to gain independence from the slaughterhouse while learning how to humanely and skillfully harvest your own livestock? Come learn with The Roving Butcher, aka Jake Levin, as he leads us through whole hog processing. Starting with dispatching, bleeding, scalding, evisceration, Jake will then break down the pig into various pork cuts along with your help.  He will also share tips and tricks on how to use the odd bits and respectfully make best use of the entire animal.

There will also be an opportunity to tour historic Frohloff Farm, part of the East Quabbin Land Trust, which now hosts a variety of farms, including a 20 acre hog farm.

More Info:
Lunch will be potluck style from Noon-1pm. Please bring a dish to share.  This hands-on workshop is both in and outdoors, so please be prepared for possible inclement weather and dress appropriately.

Click here to register online now or click here for a mail-in registration form

Limited scholarships are available for beginning farmers (those growing 10 or less years) who are active NOFA/Mass members. To apply please click here.

For information on our refund and inclement weather policy, click here.


Whole Hog Breakdown: Breakdown and Curing – October 25, 2015

Sunday, 25 October 2015 – 11:00am to 4:00pm

Mill River Farm, 282 Brewer Hill Rd, Mill River, MA

Cost: NOFA/Mass Member – $45, Non-member – $57

Attendance at this workshop is very limited and we anticipate the workshop to fill up quickly, pre-registration is highly required.   For more information contact Glenn Oliveira, Education Events Organizer, at or 774-678-9644.

During this two-part workshop led by Jake Levin, The Roving Butcher, a whole certified organic pig will be processed on-farm. Participants will gain the knowledge needed to process animals on their own.  Participants can attend one or both workshops.

In this second part of the workshop Jake Levin, The Roving Butcher, will break down the carcass into basic and specialized cuts. Some of the meat will be made into sausage and put under cure.  First, Jake will demonstrate the fabrication of basic and specialty cuts, including ribs, chops and roasts. A porchetta will be prepared. Then Jazu Stine, of Red Apple Butchers, will demonstrate sausage making and the beginning steps in curing bacon, pancetta, ham, prosciutto and guanciale. Participants will leave with diagrams and recipes.

The meat being prepared during the workshop will not be available for sale because it will not have been processed at a USDA facility.

For information on our refund and inclement weather policy, click here.


Thanks, Frohloff Farm and NOFA

We had a great, interesting, diverse crowd today at our NOFA/Mass Pig To Pork workshop. We love sharing our work with other engaged food and farming folk!