Easter and Passover are upon us! As you scramble to get ready for the big meal that is such an important part your celebration, consider serving a main dish that is truly special. I’m talking about locally sourced eggs and lamb or ham. You know it will be delicious, but there are even more reasons to feel good about what you’re putting on the table. Most livestock raised in the Savannah area is free of hormones, steroids and antibiotics and is grass and forage fed. There is research touting the higher quality of the resulting meat and health benefits for consumers. Also appealing for some is the humane treatment of the livestock and the environmental impact of using pastures versus stockyards. While the value of these methods is arguable, there is no denying that the demand for locally sourced meat is growing.
For me, buying local is simply about supporting local farmers. True, I was intimidated by higher prices, but these farmers are our neighbors, stewards of the land and employers whose income goes right back into our tax base and local economy. What comes around goes around, you might say.
Haven’t figured out where to find locally sourced meat? There are a growing number of Savannah area chefs who are committed to buying local, so chances are good that you’ve already eaten local meat in a Savannah restaurant. For at home preparation, farmers markets and food co-ops are good opportunities to let the farms come to you. Also, check out the following spots where you can purchase exactly what you need. As always, check websites or call for more locations and information.
Hunter Cattle Company of Brooklet, Georgia – This family operated farm raises beef, pork, lamb, poultry and eggs and they are Animal Welfare Approved. Meat is butchered on site. Lamb will be available at farmers markets while supplies last. Their other meats are sold at the Ogeechee Meat Market, Polk’s Plus, Fragli’s and starting next week at Whole Foods. Check their website for participating co-ops. Feeling cooped up? Head out to the farm for one of their family oriented events (the next one is April 26th). They offer overnight accommodations including campsites but if “glam-ping” is more your style, reserve one of the fully equipped and utterly charming studios in their barn lofts.
Ogeechee Meat Market on Ogeechee Road just south of Abercorn – This full service butcher shop carries a dizzying array including Hunter Cattle Co. meat and eggs, Claxton chicken and eggs, Georgia Buffalo from Townsend and DL Lee ham and bacon from Alma. This is the only place where you can buy fresh, not frozen custom cut Hunter Cattle Co. beef. Want your steak 1-1/2 inches thick? No problem! Need frog legs and goat? Yep, they’ve got that and much, much more.
Polk’s Plus on US 80 in Pooler – This beloved little produce shop and nursery is like a step back in time. Munch on some hot boiled peanuts while you peruse every nook and cranny of this cozy shop. Here you’ll find Hunter Cattle ham and beef, Southern Swiss Dairy products, in season produce, homemade pound cake, frozen stewed veggies, preserves, honey and pickled everything. Call ahead to verify that they have the type of meat and cut that you want.
Savannah River Farms in Newington – This fifth(!) generation family farm raises beef, pork, lamb, poultry and they are Animal Welfare Approved. Meat is butchered on site. Lamb will be available at farmers markets while supplies last. Other meat is regularly sold at Brighter Day and through food co-ops, but they also deliver pre-orders to Guyton Pet Lodge.
The Butcher Block in Bloomingdale – For old fashioned, personal service, visit this friendly little butcher shop in Bloomingdale. They carry DL Lee Hams from Alma. While you’re there, pick up some thick sliced, rind-on or rind-off bacon or homemade sausage for breakfast.
Ottawa Farms in Bloomingdale – Well known for their berry farm, they also raise Black Angus beef which is sold in their store and if you’re lucky, they’ll have a batch of their homemade strawberry ice cream. Call for availability and store hours. There are lots of fun outdoor play structures and friendly animals to keep your children busy and entertained.
Whole Foods – Currently, they sell White Oak Pastures beef of Bluffton and Thompson pork of Dixie, Georgia and Hunter Cattle Company.
Kroger on Mall Blvd. – If you haven’t been to this new store yet, you are missing out. It is the largest Kroger in the state of Georgia. It’s like a mall of food. Work your way from left to right because you could spend two hours here easily, so you’ll want to get the cold food last or bring a cooler. I love this place because there are both low priced everyday items as well as higher end gourmet items. Especially exciting is their rather large Kosher section including Kosher lamb, chicken and beef. This is a much needed resource for our Kosher-keeping community. At the meat counter, I picked up lox trimmings for a bargain price and the woman behind me was having her Kosher brisket trimmed to her liking. How cool is that? As we say in Savannah, “Shalom y’all”!