Local Meat and Poultry, Fresh from the Market
The holiday season is a time of year when home cooks often seek out special meat to bring to the table. Several local farms at Saratoga Farmers’ Market offer humanely-raised meat and poultry, including beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, and, by special order, rabbit and duck.
The cuts are most often kept in lidded coolers at each vendor’s table, so customers should feel free to ask for help in locating exactly what they need. Contact information for each farm is on the market’s website (saratogafarmersmarket.org) in the Vendor section; if a special cut is desired (like prime rib, tenderloin, etc.), customers are encouraged to call or email in advance, to ensure availability.
Liza Porter of Longview Farm (known also for its cheese) is proud of the farm’s pastured poultry, available fresh in the warmer months and frozen all winter. “Our chickens are raised on grass, eating bugs and seeds and weeds, running around in the sun and the rain, stretching their legs and wings. We move them to a new space each day. Their feed is all local, non-GMO, and freshly ground.”
“We also grow a limited number of pigs each year. In addition to foraging, they are fed whey from our cheese-making operation,” says Porter. Currently, Longview Farm has lots of bacon, Canadian bacon, sausage, and ground pork, as well as ham slices, both smoked and fresh.
Arnold Grant of M&A Farm is often seen at the market behind the griddle, cooking up sizzling egg sandwiches. The farm sells “tender, nutritious and delicious” Angus beef, with the calves born on-site and raised on a combination of mother’s milk and green pasture, before being weaned around six months of age.
M&A Farm’s products include pork and poultry, too. “Our pigs are fed grain which has no growth hormones, no antibiotics, and no animal by-products,” says Grant. The chickens are fed a GMO-free ration that has no animal by-products and antibiotics. Fresh chicken will be available one more time this Saturday, December 13, and then frozen chicken is available for the rest of the winter.
Bob and Mary Pratt at Elihu Farm in southern Washington County always loved to eat lamb and have raised them since 1985. “Today we raise over 100 lambs each year, mostly on pasture and hay in winter,” Mary Pratt explains, “with some grain as a supplement. Lambs raised on this type of mixed diet are known to be especially flavorful and tender.”
Market customers will find just about every cut of lamb imaginable, along with sausage made from their older sheep. Elihu Farm’s lamb is known for its quality, illustrated by repeat customers including a number of area chefs. For the upcoming holidays, customers can order fresh cuts of lamb until December 16, for delivery on December 20. Elihu Farm also has some of its older egg laying hens processed for soup chickens, and will raise duck again in 2015.
At Lewis Waite Farm, Nancy and Alan Brown raise pastured pork and Angus-Hereford beef, using organic methods on certified organic land. The farm includes 450 acres, and it leases an additional 165 certified-organic acres nearby. The pigs are fed local corn and soybeans, as well as kelp, alfalfa, diatomaceous earth and crop leftovers. The pork is free of hormones, animal by-products, antibiotics and preservatives.
“Our cattle consume certified organic hay or grass, a little kelp and some salt,” says Alan Brown. The beef is dry-aged, which contributes to concentrating the great flavor. The farm’s table at the market has a catalog of recipes for customers to access, since cooking grass-fed beef requires some simple adjustments for best results.
At Longlesson Farm, Bob and Melanie Mason work together with their daughter and son-in-law, Shannon and Christophe Robert. The family raises Angus cattle that graze on the pastures, and are never fed any grain.
“People sometimes wonder what grass-fed cattle eat in the winter, when the pastures are covered with snow. The answer at our farm is that they eat hay, harvested from our own fields. That, with some extra minerals and salt, is all they need to stay healthy,” explains Christophe Robert, who staffs the farm’s table at the market.
Two market farms known primarily for produce also bring meat and/or poultry. Malta Ridge Orchard & Garden, well-loved at the market for its fruits and vegetables, as well as pies and cider donuts, also brings beef, pork, chicken, and turkey to the market, and offers special orders of whole rabbit and whole duck.
Kilpatrick Family Farm is a large market vendor selling USDA certified organic produce, but it also sells chickens, which are raised in an integrated manner on the farm, helping the vegetable crops to flourish.
Slow-Cooker Short Ribs
Courtesy of Longlesson Farm
*Ingredients available at Saratoga Farmers’ Market
4 lbs. meaty short ribs*
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 ½ cups apple cider*
1 cup beef broth
¼ cup dark brown sugar
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar*
1 tsp. prepared horseradish
1 cup dried cranberries
1 onion*, chopped
2 cloves garlic*, chopped
Heat oil in a large skillet and brown ribs well on all sides. Transfer to slow cooker.
In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients and pour over ribs, stirring to coat. Cook on LOW for 8-9 hours, stirring once about halfway if you are present. (If not, it will be fine without being stirred.)
When the ribs are fork tender, transfer to a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Skim and discard as much fat as possible from the sauce. Transfer juices to a small pitcher or gravy boat for serving.
About 10 minutes before serving, heat the broiler in oven. Broil about 4” from heat for about 5 minutes until crisp. (Watch them carefully!) Transfer to serving platter and serve with the pitcher of juices.