Where to buy meat in the Pioneer Valley?
We just moved out this way from Boston. In Boston there are some great butcher shops that have awesome meat and poultry and good pre-marinated stuff (think Whole Foods but cheaper). Any advice on where to guy for this in or around South Hadley or Northampton?
Sadly, I don't think there are any butchers, or at least good butchers in Western MA. At least I don't know of any. I get my meat from local markets, but the quality is variable, even when you pay higher prices. I wouldn't recommend any of them as a great place to get meat.
There are some farms in the area that raise beef, but they need to be shipped East for slaughter, and thus end up back here frozen. River Valley Market in Northampton probably has the best selection of truly local beef, mostly frozen, rarely fresh.
(Regarding Arnold's, I've never been, but my impression of it is it's a place where people go to get large amounts of cheap meat, like the WalMart of meat. So it's a butcher, true, but I wouldn't go expecting special high-end quality meat. Just my two cents.)
While I no longer live in the area whenever I'm back I try to plan a visit to Hatfield Beef in Hatfield, Ma. I bring a cooler with freezer packs.
Its not easy to find, I highly recommend GPS. The building is run down, but don't let that stop you from going and check it out, Very good prices and quality. These folks have been operating for years., they know their products.
Ye Old Butcher in West Springfield is a great place for meats. They'll give you any cut, any size right in front of you. They have a lot of marinated chicken, beef and pork skewers too. All at great prices. If you're into Italian sausage, Frigo's in Springfield has the best around. They also have outstanding prepared foods as well. I wish I could find a place around here that sold Dom's original steak tips. I can only find them in the Boston area. Those have to be the best steak tips I've ever had. Every time I'm out that way I buy 3 or 4 packages.