The Superlative Guide to Choosing a Local Holiday Roast

Looking for local meat to serve to your guests this holiday season? Look no further than these 9 East End farms.

Photo courtesy of National Post

Feeling flummoxed by the obligation to serve big, braggadocious, meaty things this holiday season? The weight of locavorism can weigh heavy on even the most dedicated foodie souls. With that in mind, allow us to break down the best and the brightest of the meat scene on Long Island.

Let go of your fears of procuring the perfect roast—for this year anyway—because we totally have you covered. We promise you this: We will help you pull off the merriest, most festive season of all time.

Poultry

It’s best to break the meat decision-making down into categories. Personally, I’m opposed to turkey (enough of that old November bird, already), but I’m definitely down with a bird of another persuasion. Enter Browder’s Birds, the Mattituck poultry farm known for its exemplary birds. In addition to turkey and chicken, Holly and Chris Browder raise two different varieties of duck, perfect for an impressive holiday roast.

Of course, I’d be remiss to omit the King of Long Island Duck, Crescent Duck Farm, which sells fresh and frozen Pekin ducks, all raised here on Long Island. At Southold’s Feisty Acres, Abra Morawiec raises Japanese quail, French Guinea fowl, heritage breed turkeys, silkie chickens, and Chukar partridges, all exceptional options for those looking for an out-of-the-box game bird option. Of course, if you are committed to that December turkey, there’s no shame in hitting up Miloski’s Poultry Farm, which has been raising poultry on 30 Calverton acres since 1946.

On the South Fork, North Sea Farms, which has been operational since 1945, sells turkeys, yes, as well as free range chickens that are nothing short of spectacular. But some may argue that chicken reaches its pinnacle at East Hampton’s Iacono Farm, where roasting chickens and ducks, during the holiday season, are breathtaking to behold.

Browder’s Birds, 4050 Soundview Avenue, Mattituck
Crescent Duck Farm, 10 Edgar Avenue, Aquebogue
Feisty Acres, 45375 County Road 48, Southold
North Sea Farms, 1060 Noyac Road, Southampton
Iacono Farm, 100 Long Lane, East Hampton

Pork

Options may feel slim when it comes to pork, particularly on Eastern Long Island, but know that the choices are truly outstanding. On the North Fork, 8 Hands Farm in Cutchogue raises heritage breed pork, all on pasture. They’re known, specifically, for their Tamworth pigs, an English breed providing a rich, flavorful meat.

At Bridgehampton’s Mecox Bay Dairy, pork products range from bacon to sausage to ribs; with prior notice, you can order a rack for fancy holiday roasting. Pigs are Berkshire heritage breed that are fed whey, what the farm regards as a “symbiotic relationship with [their] cheese production.” Slaughterhouses are few and far between on Long Island (and particularly on Eastern Long Island), so locally raised pink and red meat is less readily available than poultry, but there are still many great options, for those looking to commit.

8 Hands Farm, 4735 Cox Lane, Cutchogue
Mecox Bay Dairy, 855 Mecox Road, Bridgehampton

The Red Stuff

Photo courtesy of Everyday Meals

At Wells Farm in Riverhead, heritage pigs and Black Angus steer roam free on 20 acres of pasture and swamp and are, to hear them tell it, “never handled by people.” In addition to what they sell at the stand, Wells also offers custom butchering from November 1 through March 15, meaning that you can plan your own meat-heavy feast well in advance (and customize it to your liking). The farm also raises sheep and goats and caters particularly to large-format parties.

Also in Riverhead, Goodale Farms is known for its exceptional cows and pigs, all of which are raised without antibiotics, steroids, and growth hormones (“We encourage all of our members to visit our farm and see where your food is coming from,” their website suggests). And although a 12 to 13-pound bone-in rib roast may set you back a cool $260 (to be fair, an 8-pound tenderloin runs nearly $100 less, at $176), you’ll be happy you splurged. All of Goodale’s meats are available for order online, including their pork crown roasts, holiday hams, boneless prime rib roasts, racks of lamb, and veal rack roasts.

Wells Farm, 5004 Sound Avenue, Riverhead
Goodale Farms, 250 Main Road, Riverhead 

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Hannah Selinger

Hannah Selinger is a freelance food and wine writer and sommelier living in East Hampton. Her work has appeared in the such publications as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and RawStory.com. She is the wine columnist for the Southampton Press.