Although we have many vegetarian friends in our CSA, I admit to dreaming up meat dishes to pair with my farm-fresh veggies. However, I like to be as careful with the meat I put in my mouth as I am with my CSA veggies. Knowing where my food is from, how it is raised and what it is fed is incredibly important to leading a healthy life. Here are some great meat spots in the East Village for delicious and ethically raised finds:
Honest Chops – New to the neighborhood!
Location: 319 E. 9th St. (between 1st and 2nd Ave.)
Hours: Saturday – Thursday 11AM – 8PM, Friday 2PM – 8PM (but check online, Ramadan is around the corner so hours may shift for most of July)
Reservation: Call ahead or email to reserve what you need plus delivery to 3 boroughs
On the Menu: ABP (not Au Bon Pain, anything but pork)
Honest Chops, a Halal meat shop on 9th St., opened just this spring and is a reliable stop for chicken and beef basics as well as creative sausage combos. As a Halal shop, they do not carry pork, but they aim to have nearly every other kind of meat including goat and lamb (coming soon). The shop owners emphasize the importance of the relationship between patrons and their butcher as well as the importance of the relationship between a butcher and his meat. The Honest Chops team treks to Maryland and Pennsylvania to hand pick each animal themselves. They ensure the animals have been humanely treated, and raised without the use of growth hormones or antibiotics. The animals must also be vegetarian fed without genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to get their stamp of approval. Although not certified organic by the USDA, the team meets all of the USDA’s criteria. Honest Chops is a whole animal butcher too so waste is limited and you can often find (or call to request) rare cuts of meat (sweetbreads, anyone?). The cherry on top is their excellent customer service. They will even customize a meat-to-fat ratio for your ground beef order. If you need something particular, just call ahead to request it.
DiPaola Turkey Farm
Locations: Tompkin’s Square Greenmarket and Union Square Greenmarket Union Market (Ave A & Houston – very select items)
Farm Location: Hamilton, NJ
On the Menu: Turkey, turkey, and turkey
DiPaola is a great stop for turkey - a bird often thought to be a bit more flavorful than chicken. In addition to traditional cuts, they will always have plenty of ground white and dark meat as well as pre-formed burgers and seasoned sausage meat. I keep a small supply of their ground turkey in my freezer, which makes for a great quick, one stop meal if added to quinoa (or any other grain) with loads of veggies. Union Market offers only select products, so be sure to find them at a greenmarket for the biggest selection.
B & Y Farms
Locations: Tompkin’s Square Greenmarket and Stuyvesant Greenmarket
Farm Location: Spencer, NY
On the Menu: Pork, lamb, chicken, and eggs – oh my!
B & Y Farms is run by Judy and Allan, a couple who practice intensive rotational grazing on approximately 10 acres of land. Their pigs spend their lives outside in the forest, the chickens in clover pasture, and the sheep are raised on pasture and unsprayed hay. All of the animals are humanely treated. Having tried nearly everything the farm has to offer, I can say their meat never disappoints. Their Moroccan lamb sausage ($15/lb) and pork apple sausage ($14/lb) are great staples to keep on-hand for an easy meal. Their eggs run $5 per dozen and are pastured, free range, and gluten-free fed. Although not available by default, lamb and pork are also available custom USDA butchered. For notice of discounts and weekly updates of what will be at the market, sign up for their mailing list. If you have special needs, like a pork butt for those 4th of July pulled pork sliders, just shoot them an email and they will reserve what you need. Supply can be limited at the Tompkin’s Square Greenmarket so get there early for best picks!
- When looking at pricing for ground pork, B & Y Farms are priced competitively to Whole Foods at $7 per pound. When comparing prices for ground lamb, B & Y is $1 more expensive per pound as compared to Whole Foods organic ground lamb. Keep in mind that B & Y is of a higher grade than the Whole Foods product, especially as B&Y's lamb is raised on GMO-free feed, and is not treated with antibiotics, or hormones. Their animals are also pasture raised, and heirloom bred.
- Local ground turkey pricing ($7 per pound) is comparable with DiPaola's offering.
- Ground beef at Honest Chops runs $6-8 per pound making it less expensive than Whole Food's advertised sale price on grass-fed beef of $9 per pound.
- Overall, these vendors offer prices comparable to those at Whole Foods or less, and their meat is higher quality. Most of Whole Foods' meat scores a 1 or 2 on their own 5-step animal welfare rating, but the meat offered by these three vendors scores a 5.