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Paolo Vasapolli standing next to cows in pen.Executive chef Paolo Vasapolli toured the Pearson Wagyu farm last week. He plans to bring the premium beef to market on campus.

Partnership to bring local premium beef to campus

A UWindsor alumnus will supply high-end beef to campus consumers this fall under an arrangement with Food Services.

Ryan Pearson (BSc 2019) and his wife Lotje Kouwenberg, a veterinarian, operate a farm near Comber raising wagyu, Japanese cattle which produce heavily-marbled meat. Executive chef Paolo Vasapolli plans to sell it in the student centre as part of a line of local foods, as well as adding it to catering menus.

“It’s very exciting. I have a lot of good friends still at the University,” says Pearson. “To be able to give something back to some of those people — that’s rewarding for me.”

While he continues to exercise his computer science skills: developing software and enterprise architecture, Pearson says farming beef is a nice sideline.

“It was originally my wife’s idea,” he says. “She always wanted to raise cattle. We did some research and fell in love with the way the flavour shines through in these animals.”

After a trip to Argentina and seeing farm operations there, they decided to allow their cattle to feed on grass as they approach time to harvest.

“It’s a much healthier and more natural way for the animal to live out its life,” Pearson says.

Vasapolli toured the farm last week and was impressed.

“I got to see the whole process,” he says. “Wagyu is expensive, but if you want to treat yourself, it will be available.”

Pearson acknowledges his meat comes at a premium price, but says it is worth it.

“The marbling goes right through the muscle and the grass-fed fat melts at a lower temperature, so it marinates the beef in a buttery finish,” he says. “The people that will take an interest in this are those who want the best meat they can buy, and those that are major foodies.”

Read more on the Pearson Wagyu website.

Watch for further information on other local products to be marketed by Food Services this fall.