Good Butcher/Fresh Meat & Poultry in Eastern CT
My husband and I are looking for a permanent alternative to the not-so-good meat and poultry available in the supermarkets (actually, we're trying to get away from the big chains for good!).
Anyone use a good butcher, delivery service or perhaps farm-sold goods for beef, pork, veal, lamb, chicken, turkey, eggs, etc? I am especially looking for a source of good pork and pork fat for my sausage-making endeavors.
We love to cook, are interested in using more of the cheaper and "nasty bits" as we expand our culinary range, so any help is much appreciated!
I second Four Mile River Farm and Old Maids Farm cited above.
Big fan of Four Mile River Farm's grass fed beef. They do pork too, which I have not tried; but if it's anything like the beef, it will be excellent. Also great eggs. FMR does sells parts for making pet food, so it may be possible to purchase nasty bits as well.
Old Maids Farm has great poultry and eggs; I don't do the CSA because I live an hour away, but I think Farmer George is a great guy - he's always throwing in value added items.
I second Beaver Brook Farm in Old Lyme.
I have never really liked lamb, or I should say the lamb that was available in the grocery stores and restaurant It always had such a gamey taste and after a few bites I just couldn't eat any more. Beaver Brook on the other hand has amazing lamb.
You have to9 realize that supermarkets, Highland Park Stop and Shop and IGA etc are all buying from the same vendors...the namnes may be different but the only way pork, beef, lamb and poultry are rpoduced is by large cooperatives and mega companies...most in the midwest.
All the cutting and processing is done the same and thise guys you see in the back of the supermarket may be grinding some hamburger...but all the steaks, chops etc are coming from cryovac packaged cust made at the factory.
The reason this is done is because there are preferences for certain cuts...and sendinga whole hog to the supermarket means many of the by products donlt get used.
In New England the loins, hams tenderloins are popular...but down south...b utts, necks and other less attractive cust are more popular...
Bell and Evans does have good chicken and while they might not be as large as tyson, koch or perdue...they are basically processd the same way.
Biogners is no different than a supermarket...except they make their own hot dogs and sausage.
The only difference you will see in protein products is if the farmer raises the product themselves.
keep inmimnd that while local and organic are popular in certain areas...these small farms may noit have access to the sanitation, testing, qualoty standards that are in place at the larger processors...it costs money.
All chain restaurants buy from the large distributors becasue there is an indemnification step between the buter and the seller.
These are not a reason not to buy from a local guy..just something to be aware of..
and regarding the coop...oit;s not expensive...people need to make a living..the decision to buy local is going to cist money because the small guy has no leverage to reduce costs...it is an honor to pay more for something hand made and locally initiated.
Locally made should not equal 'expensive' - if it does, someone's profiteering.
Organic means a saving to the farmer on pesticides and fertilizer - just their transport costs stay the same. If that isn't passed onto the consumer - someone's more than just making a living...
That said, from observing the prices of Willimantic co-op, it is ridiculously expensive, putting 'healthy food' beyond the reach of regular folk - which defeats the object of having decent food available in the first place. Unless healthy food should only be for those who can afford to pay 40% or more above market prices for simple vegetables.
The majority of working folk in this area clearly feel the same, and tend to avoid the co-op, for this reason.
We've talked about doing a CSA, but I have some concerns about the amount of produce - there are only two of us! Geminigirl, let me know what you've got cooking!
Thanks to everyone else for the great options. We tried going to Bogner's on Saturday, but we forgot to look at the closing time...by the time we got through at the Willimantic Co-op and got over there they were closed. I'm sending my husband on the way home this week.
Great to see some interest in this topic. Not a big fan of Bogners, the prices are good but I've never really been happy with the quality. For poultry I think Bell and Evans chickens and ducks are the way to go. I buy most of my everyday meats at Highland Park. Not the best but they have good service, the meats are stored correctly (not wrapped in plastic), and they can get you odd cuts with some notice. For a real treat try Lobel's mail order out of NYC for some of the best prime cuts in the country. If your in to sausage making I would try to get half a pig and freeze some, cure some (bacon) and turn the rest into sausage.
I wish there were some better butchers around here to recommend.
here is the CSA I mentioned, alot of the members are 2 family homes as us so it's do-able. Do contact them asap if you are interested because last year he had to turn folks away...
also, I just found out that Bliss has a weekely e-mail flyer with their specials in cause you just want to check out their prices.
re the Willimantic Co-op - as I stay a few blocks from it, and its a constant bone of contention for me, I thought I'd sound off.
Yes, the Co-op has some goodies here and there. BUT - and this is a big one, especially in this economic climate - it is expensive, with fairly seriously marked-up prices.
That said, they do have a range of 'bulk' grains, nuts etc which one can dip into. And 'speciality' imported cheeses and breads.
But again - another whammy - if you're not a member of the co-op, (I'm totally open to correction here on the figure, as I forget the exact % amount )- but at the till they then add 10% or a little more, onto the final price.
In addition, as a carnivore who's also a bit of a health freak - they have a supposedly 'vegetarian-only' approach. (Even though their pets food contains meat)
So no meat at the Willimantic co-op. And you'll rarely find the poorer locals loading up there on vegetables - as its prices are so high in comparison to the much cheaper standard Stop n Shop supermarket.
Living in this area, I can recommend - for cheap meat and chicken, the local IGA - just across the river (over the frog bridge) - they sell pretty decently priced meat for a fraction of the Stop n Shop or Walmart. And no injected broth to mess the meat up either. You can pick up big bags of chicken pieces for around $7 or so. I routinely go load up on chicken there, and when I'm in the mood for meat/ribs - the IGA is the place of choice. Can pick up very cheap pork and pork ribs at a fraction of the price of the bigger supermarkets.
I think this is the correct site for IGA Willimantic:
For what its worth though, the Stop n Shop is the cheapest in the area for vegetables - don't get suckered into buying the overpriced Co-Op goods - or for that matter the IGA veg either. IGA breads though are pretty good, and you'll find some nice oddities from their bakery at times.
Hope this helps :)
I just learned of this via a flyer sent to me by my local organic farmer.
Winter’s Farmer Market beginning the first Saturday in February through the last Saturday in April from 10-2pm at the Fiddlehead’s location in New London, CT at 13 Broad Street. There will be over 22 vendors, including organic meat vendors.
email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.