San Francisco residents Ryan & Cesalee Farr are the self described "Mission rat" couple behind 4505 Meats, producer of popular meaty products as chicharrones and Spicy ‘Zilla Dogs that buyers freely gobble at events and the company's Ferry Building booth. Working at the Ferry Building has its advantages; Cesalee said, "We buy all of our vegetable, fruits, eggs, and crackers and any other goodie we may need here."
Ryan is the butcher/chef/teacher and front man of the 4505 venture, and his wife Cesalee does much of the administrative and logistical work. The two also have an eight month old son, named Tanner, who may soon try Fatted Calf liverwurst (more on that later). Cesalee & Ryan Farr answered Bay Area Bites questions via email and phone interview. Comments have been edited and condensed for clarity.
THE WORK TOGETHER
Cesalee Farr said, "I run the (Ferry Building) Farmers market booth, work in the office. I try to take care of all details on outside events." She also manages "the kitchen flow… you name it, I do it." If you book a spot for Ryan Farr's pig butcher classes at La Cocina, Cesalee is the one answering the phone, and processing credit card info. Her imprint can also be found on the the 4505 Facebook page, which is regularly updated with market menu, product and class information. Her husband of nearly four years is the main chef, as Cesalee clarifies: "I don't make sausage, but I don't mind getting my hands dirty. I help out if needed."
THE RELATIONSHIP AND MARRIAGE
Cesalee: "We met in Calistoga, which is my hometown. I moved home from school and we happened to be working at the same restaurant, All Seasons Bistro. I was the front of the house, and he was back of the house. Our first date was skydiving. On the second date, Ryan picked me up with tomato dripping down the front of him. I was like 'this guy is weird' but he kept saying he 'never knew what a real tomato tasted like till then….' It’s been love ever since. That was 2002, 8 years together and we’ll be celebrating our 4 years wedding anniversary in August."
Cesalee: "Our house for date night has been the case a lot lately with us having a new baby and a crazy work schedule. We try to make it special, by having caviar & Champagne, but some nights it’s a roasted free range chicken and homemade beers from a friend."
ON ART MADE FROM DEAD ANIMALS
Ryan Farr mentioned that his wife makes and gifts bone/skull related art to friends and families. She makes her art from the bones and skulls of "deer, cows, goat, lamb, rabbits. But mostly, I do pig skulls, since that's what we have most of…" Each skull is individually handcrafted in San Francisco. (Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.)
Cesalee: "(The) skulls are sourced from local farms in the Northern California area. It's a small production of handcrafted skulls, bones and more. Created solely for my own passion, with my love for nature and science it all came together."
THE ART PROCESS
Cesalee: "It depends if I get the animal with or without the fur, skin and meat on them. I de-face/de-skin the animal. I know that sounds kinda crazy. Then (I) boil them, changing the water often. I de-meat the skull/ bone, boil it some more, til I have a meatless/ skinless piece. Drying it ideally in sunlight, boil it some more and then in a bath it goes… hair peroxide works best about a 20vol with water. It can't be hydrogen peroxide from a drug store. I found this out by trial and error, I also may have read it somewhere. I also do hair so it works out perfect. (I'm not practicing hair right now, other then for friends.) After a long 36 hour or so soak, it's time for more drying, when the bone is no longer wet, I seal it with a clear kind of epoxies spray. (Then it's) ready for painting or paper mache. I style it out with swarovski crystals, crystals/rhinestones, eyelashes, colored paper, bright colors, etc… Each skull is totally different."
BABY FOOD, THE 4505 WAY
So far, Tanner has been out to eat with his parents to Hana, Starbelly, Tartine Bakery, and Delfina. For eating at home, this baby has meaty options:
Cesalee: "Tanner's 8 months old, and yes, we're looking into what kind of liver he'll be eating. I was thinking Fatted Calf liverwurst, it's to die for. Our 3-year-old niece loves it! She eats it with our chicharrones and doesn’t share. It's smoked with a little garlic and herbs so I haven't actually given it to Tanner yet. I bought some for the last two weeks to give to him and I've eaten all myself. We started buying it for our friend's son when he was about 10 months old.
We make all of Tanner's food. He gets fresh ground lamb from his Dad, fresh egg yolks, strawberries & bananas, pears, apples, avocado (his favorite) and yams. He's not a big fan of asparagus. Meat is our next step. I'm thinking liver mousse and pate is what I want to start making for him next."
THE FOOD FAVORITES