Local Meat: Future Farmers Fair Auction Meat Cuts Available at Big John’s in Healdsburg
This evening I stopped at the meat counter at Big John’s supermarket to find out the status of the livestock purchased from 4-H and FFA boys and girls at the auction two weeks ago. Here’s a discussion of the auction.
The lamb and pigs are available now. The cuts are just starting to appear in the case and seemed to be priced at about the same level as the usual sources of meat in the case. The steer is still hanging for further aging, and will probably be available for cutting late next week.
None of the lamb was in ready cuts, but I was told that there’s plenty of it for just about any custom cut, as the market purchased several animals. Likewise, there’s a good supply of pork available, and he said I could just call with requests, e.g., a crown roast, Boston butt.
Some pork chops on display were identified as “FF Fair”. The boneless sirloin chops are $2.99/lb. and loin chops are available in thick or thin cuts for $4.99/lb. They’re trimmed quite closely with little fat rimming the muscle. I asked for something with more marbling, and the butcher suggested a sirloin chop. Nearly an inch thick, one chop weighed almost a half-pound and cost $1.46.
At home I rinsed the chop, patted it dry, then gave it a good sprinkling of sea salt all over. I left it on the counter for about an hour to lose the chill before cooking it. To keep the flavor as true as possible, the chop had only a light dusting of flour with no other spices, not even black pepper, then I pan-fried it in olive oil. The internal temperature was 118 degrees when I took it off the heat, then I let it rest briefly to settle the juices.
The most immediate impression is how clean the taste profile is for this piece of pork. Fresh and clean with none of the earthy funk too often found in supermarket pork. The chop was made up of two principle muscles, the larger quite white in color and coarser-textured and the other part darker with richer flavor and smoother and softer texture. The meat was quite moist and tender with a light texture in the mouth. The natural juices were delicious with a minerally flourish. After the tasting evaluation, I gave it a squirt of lemon juice. This made me think that the cut might be good for pounding into schnitzel, to be breaded, and fried and served with lemon wedges.
Big John's Market
1345 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448
Beef was in the case on Friday, after hanging for 15+ days. I got the tongue, oxtails, a couple ribeyes ($15-ish per pound), and ground beef for $3.99/lb. Yesterday we made hamburgers on the Weber with the ground, it's quite lean, probably more than 85% lean. I asked for cheeks, flat iron, hanger and tri-tip but those were already gone. I was told that Big John's bought two steer this year, so maybe there's another one to come.
The boneless leg of lamb ($12.99/lb) from the auction grilled yesterday was great. Naturally sweet, delicate flavor and very tender. Also picked up boneless pork shoulder for $2.99 per pound and thick cut bone-in loin pork chops for $4.99 per pound, wrapped for the freezer.
These prices are a significant discount from the actual costs on the hoof paid at auction. Kudos to Big John's for supporting aspiring farmers.
Yep, plus or minus 2 degrees. I was shooting for 125, but pulled it off a little early since I usually miss it. The whiter colored section was completely cooked through in appearance but still had a little give to it when I poked it. The darker section was still pink in the middle.
Hey celeryroot, good to have you posting after many years of silence!
I'd thought about pork belly took, sounds like you got a full side. I probably use the belly and shoulder cuts more than anything. I wanted to point out that the market pays more than that price for meat on the hoof, so this is a really good deal for consumers.
Also, I forgot to ask about rabbit. I know that Big John's bought some at the auction.
Hope that the 'hounds in Santa Rosa can let us know what's going on at Willowside and Martindale's.
Willowside Meats & Sausage
3421 Guerneville Rd, Santa Rosa, CA
Martindale's Quality Meats & Deli
5280 Aero Dr, Santa Rosa, CA 95403
re: Melanie Wong
I should have looked at list , I didnt realize they had rabbits. I'll ask tomorrow. They have a few pieces of belly left (smaller) and frozen. I wanted jowls and cheeks , beef or pork. They said they did not get any heads. Next year Ill remember to order ahead of time.
If you want beef call tonight or early tomorrow before they butcher. I might order a big (3lb) porterhouse. Hard to find at reasonable price. I also ordered veal sweetbreads for next week, not FFA. One problem is they are not too up on "different" cuts , but are very willing to work with you. Ask for Leo.