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Issue Date: February 2012


Eat Local: Meat


Tara Golenberke

Blackbird Farms

Who They Are: Working as a full-time farmer for seven years now, owner George Simonoff has developed a love for animals. The original sector of Blackbird's small-scale farmhouse, the homestead of the Graham family for which the road is named, was built in 1872. WHAT THEY HAVE: A variety of meats including pastured pork, pastured chicken, turkey, and grass-fed lamb and beef. The farm sells Berkshire pork as well as its own mixed-pork breed. "I have my own breeding stock on the farm, for pigs especially, because it makes a huge difference in the quality of the meat." TRY THIS: Pork shoulder steak. "[It] is by far the tastiest part of the animal," Simonoff says. Bacon and kielbasa, however, are the farm's best-sellers. Where to GET IT: Contact Simonoff directly via email (blackbirdgeorge@gmail.com).

Four Maples Farm

Who They Are: A few years ago, Bradley Cramer was at a tipping point: go back to college or try his hand in the real world. Then he read Joel Salatin's book You Can Farm. "The book was empowering," he says. "It made it sound like if you're willing to work hard and sacrifice, ... you can do something truly meaningful and profitable." Salatin's teachings became a guidebook for his family-operated farm. WHAT THEY HAVE: Organic pasture poultry TRY THIS: The farm offers one product: a whole roasting chicken. It sold about 500 last year. WHERE TO GET IT: Order by phone or email.

Goatfeathers Point Farm

Who They Are: Nathaniel Point built the farmhouse in 1875 and the barn a year later. "The railroad trailing through the area at the time would take the food to the mills, which really helped the farm flourish," says proprietor Cindy Bechter-Smith. WHAT THEY HAVE: Goat meat (including whole goat, cubed, ground, jerky or leg shank), pork, turkey, and chicken and eggs when available TRY THIS: Cubed goat meat with the bone on the side. "We try to provide the meat like how it is prepared at restaurants, which is cubed and cooked with the bones so you get the extra flavor," Bechter-Smith says. Where To GET IT: For $1, join the farm's Herd Share Program to order by phone or online. Also available at special restaurant events, including at Fire Food & Drink.

Miller Livestock Co.

WHO THEY ARE: Melissa and Aaron Miller, of Miller Livestock, have been farming since the mid-1980s and raising grass-fed beef without use of chemicals, fertilizers or pesticides for 12 years. WHAT THEY HAVE: Grass-fed beef and lamb, pastured pork, poultry and eggs. "We have worked very diligently over the past decade or so to get a mixture of forages that raise a very tender and good tasting beef," Melissa says. TRY THIS: "To get the best sense of flavor and texture, I would recommend trying the rib steak," she says. The most popular product, however, is the ground beef. Where to GET IT: Flying Fig, Fire Food & Drink, and Foster's Meats at the West Side Market

Shady Hill Farms

Who They Are: Ben Calkins, owner and operator of Shady Hill since 1983, has been raising sheep since he was a kid growing up in New York in the 1960s. WHAT THEY HAVE: Polled Dorset and Suffolk sheep, sheep for breeding or showing, lamb, gyro meat, sheepskins, 100 percent virgin wool blankets, scarves and more TRY THIS: Merguez, a popular and inexpensive spicy Algerian sausage Where to GET IT: Several farmers markets, including Shaker Square. Products are sold under the Great American Lamb Co. label.


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