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Local Spotlight: Revival Meats

WHAT: A local meat company that's as passionate as it is compassionate. That's right -- Morgan Weber, founder of Revival Meats, says he's obsessive about great-tasting meat. But as fanatical as he is, he's also meticulously committed to raising his animals in a sustainable manner, using humane and ecologically sound methods.

What does that mean? In simple terms, it means the beasts are happy. Every member of Weber's ark is pasture-raised and allowed to express natural tendencies. Pigs, for example, have plenty of room to root around, wallow in mud, and get as much exercise as they want. Same goes for the chickens. The Revival Meats birds live longer and get more exercise, both of which give them a different flavor. Some people love the difference in taste, while others don't -- but that's okay, says Weber: "More than anything, we want to bring back the chicken as it was originally meant to taste, and not just use one that has been bred by Industrial Agriculture to be a large-breasted pile of protein."

Beyond the mud and the coops and the pastures, though, the company's additional focus is on resuscitating heritage breeds of livestock, which explains their range of animals. Among the pigs alone, Revival breeds the extremely rare Mangalitsa, as well as the Red Wattle Hog, which is said to have originated in East Texas during the late 1800s. Revival even has Gloucester Old Spots, the oldest pedigreed breed in the world (you might recognize this one from the eponymous Feast logo). This summer, Revival will begin raising Gulf Coast Native Sheep, a breed that began on the Gulf Coast in the 1500s. The breed's ancestors were dropped along the coast by Spanish explorers, and over the centuries only the strongest survived. Today it is one of the most carefree sheep breeds in the world, which helps explain why the meat is crazy-tender and more mild in flavor when compared to the typical New Zealand lamb. Weber says that it's "absolutely delicious" -- and we're licking our chops already.

WHERE: Revival Meats plans to join the fun at the Bayou City Market in the next couple of months. Until then, you can order directly from Morgan Weber via the Web site. Or just skip over to Catalan, The Grove, Stella Sola, Feast, Branch Water Tavern, and Haven, all of which use Revival Meats products on their creative menus.

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