Buying Meat in Northern Bergen County
I have had wonderful experiences at Steve' Market in Ramsey. Right by the train station parking lot the store itself seems tiny and unassuming but there actually is a Steve as well as his mother , wife and other family members and they keep the stock in pristine condition. The butcher counter in the back is the jewel of the place. I don't know if the butcher is related or if there was some connection between the butcher shop and the front end, they seem like two separate operations but both are run under Steve's eye and the meat counter is doing some good things. They handle a selection of the Kocher's sausages and dogs, nowhere near the selection of the main Kocher's outlet but I'm not sure one could call Kocher's (ten per cent discount on Mondays) operation actually in "northern" Bergen County. The meat at Steve's is prime which is getting harder to find in small shops. I just noticed the former prime butcher on Kinderkamack in Riveredge has folded his tent and gone. I am very partial to the chopped meat and travel from Englewood on Sundays to get it while also poking through the Ramsey Farmer's Market, the best one I've run across in the area so far. The meat for the grill is wonderful, tender tasty, no waste, hardly any fat, lots of flavor. There are always Ramsey folks lined up buying huge quantities of all sorts of steaks, chops, ribs, roasts. The chicken is Bell and Evans which is fine though I wish they tapped into the Poultry Farm over in Hawthorne instead. Steve's Market also stocks the usual array of accompaniments found in small stores, not a wide range but well chosen. The meat though is the gem.
There is also Abma's Farm in Waldwick or Franklin Lakes for fresh chicken and pork products, they freeze the pork but the animals are raised there and watched over in a good way. Freshest eggs possible, picked that morning, sometimes a free half doz from the younger, just getting started hens, the eggs smaller until they get a good rhythm going. The Goffle Road Poultry Farm for all sorts of birds I already mentioned.
The Fairlawn Swiss Pork Store is porcine heaven and easy to get to. The Karl Ehmer store in Hillsdale has a nice little grill set up outside during the summer where you can buy a wide variety of grilled sausages as a sampler before committing to the raw or smoked goodies. The Market Basket in Franklin Lakes has about twenty real butchers prepping the meat and those are just the one's you see. They have their own smokehouse churning out dogs, brats, all sorts of bacon and other cuts of smoked meat, all delicious and requiring a full crew to run it as well as the whole hidden catering crew filling what seems to be dozens of floating trucks. A very fine well run operation. Even the wide range of cars in the parking lot is a delicious addition to the food inside!
I suppose it wouldn't be fair to not mention the Fairway on Rt 17 in Paramus. They have a very nice meat counter but it misses the old world edge of the Harlem store's walk in cold case and the mire industrial big business angle is ok but the intimacy of Steve's is enticing. Once the Fairway is mentioned the the various King's should also be tossed in. Some of the King's counters are better than others and the ones manned by good folks are nice and the meat is always good. But, again, there is a little bit of BIG business and jobs here that the smaller places miss out on, the smaller places pack the meat in the same paper but tie it up with love.
There are other places but this should be a start. For a royal hamburger, start with Steve's.