The local supermarket can be a real bummer of a source for high-quality meat these days. Unless you’re lucky enough to live in a neighborhood with a meat specialist, it’s likely that your meat choices do not reach beyond the familiar, commercially-raised chops….genetically-modified, corn-fed, and suffering from antibiotic overload.
If you’re serious about the meat you serve and consume, I don’t have to go into detail about the hazards of the aforementioned options. But what I can excite you with is my New Yorker’s guide to artisanal farm-raised meat purveyors, assembled through my very own experience. One favorite example lives right in Manhattan, some others vend their bounties at the Union Square Greenmarket, and still a few others market themselves online and will ship right to your door. Whether you’re in the market for something exotic and free-range, or simply on the hunt for an exceptional grass-fed steak to grill, you can’t miss with any of these providers.
IN NEW YORK CITY:
Ottomanelli & Sons Meat Market (Bleecker Street, West Village)
This butcher of fine meats has been at it for over a century, and their behind-the-counter sales staff is as versed in and excited about the product as a chocolatier would be about truffles. You’ll be delighted with their pricing, which doesn’t show much of a premium over the grocer’s. And a little hint: if you are crazy about lamb, their offerings are particularly fine.
AT THE UNION SQUARE GREENMARKET (OPEN MON, WED, FRI, SAT):
Hudson Valley Duck Farm (Mondays only)
For all things duck, visit this outstanding farmer’s booth. Their cage-free ducks, which are raised in upstate New York, are offered whole, as butchered breasts and legs, and even as sausage, prosciutto, and salami. During your visit, pick up a container of rendered duck fat….it’s an amazingly flavorful alternative to oil for starting a sauté.
Roaming Acres (Mon, Wed, Fri)
This Sussex County, NJ farm specializes in natural ostrich, bison and Berkshire pork with a farm-to-table philosophy. Their free-range livestock is free of hormones and antibiotics, and are fed with natural local ingredients. Their grass-fed buffalo is a highlight, and is becoming more and more available at the Greenmarket.
ONLINE OR BY CAR:
Fossil Farms (NJ)
I’ve been ordering organic, free-range boar, bison, venison, duck, rabbit, elk and lamb from this online purveyor since 2013, and have found everything to be of superb quality. All meats are sourced from small farms in the U.S. and abroad, and ship from NJ right to your door in industrial cold packaging. Have your chimichurri prepared and your grill fired up!
Hemlock Hill Farm (Westchester)
Beef on the brain? You’ve just discovered a top local source. Located outside of Peekskill, NY (only 35 minutes from the Bronx), Hemlock Hill is a 3rd generation family-owned and run farm, raising cows, chickens and ducks, and growing outstanding vegetables. The same sense of farming integrity applies to them as with the above mentioned, and they even offered me freshly-slaughtered duck upon request (Thursdays only). My latest feast included some of the finest burgers I’ve ever grilled at home, made from their grass-fed ground beef.
Berkshire specialists, this Sergeants Bluff, Iowa farm deals with only select Berkshire Hog farmers in Iowa and Minnesota who implement no antibiotics, hormones or steroids. It’s no wonder the pork from such hogs is coveted in Japan for its insanely exceptional umami flavor and fat distribution; I served a boneless rack of it over last holiday season, and my family has been asking for more ever since.
Who can you recommend for more carnivore’s delights?