|The time-honored preservation method of curing and smoking is very popular due to the intense flavor it adds to meats. Everything from quotidian bacon to exoticÂ prosciutto di ParmaÂ falls under the category of charcuterie, whose humble roots reach back thousands of years. Here in the Berkshires and Hudson Valley, farmers and chefs are working together to make the best products possible using local, farm-raised animals and honoring those animals by utilizing every part. Many chefs butcher whole animals raised on local, sustainable farms and smoke hams, cure meats, prepare sausages, salami and other charcuterie as part of their culinary practice.Read the full story â€“ Say Cheese & Charcuterie â€“ written by Jake Levin in the July issue ofÂ Berkshire Magazine.
BERKSHIRE FARM & TABLE CHARCUTERIE TRAIL
A. Mezze Bistro + Bar â€“ Williamstown, MA
address: 777 Cold Spring Road, Williamstown, MA 01267
About: Mezze Bistro + Bar serves contemporary American cuisine highlighting the best of the season in support of independent farmers and artisan producers using sustainable practices. The food is handcrafted by Chef Joji Sumi and his team; they take great care to source local and seasonal ingredients including farm-fresh produce, meats and cheeses. The full-service restaurant is part of Mezze Restaurant Group, committed to buying locally and providing a wide diversity of fresh, seasonal foods from neighboring family farms. The group offers an extensive beverage program featuring a curated selection of spirits, seasonal craft beers and many natural wines. The group changes their small wine lists seasonally and supports smaller wine producers with similar agricultural principles to regional farmers. Mezze Restaurant Group also includes Allium of Great Barrington and Mezze Catering + Events, which provides full-service event design and planning. For additional information, visit mezzeinc.com.
Charcuterie: Mezze Bistro + Bar prides itself on making everything from scratch â€“ from pasta and pastry to ricotta and bacon. Chef Joji purchases one pig a week and always offers Housemade Sausage and Bacon on the menu. For years, Chef Joji has been crafting charcuterie, serving up an ever-changing seasonal charcuterie platter. Dinner and bar guests can find Lomo, Lardo, Coppa, PÃ¢tÃ© and Speck on the charcuterie plate. Mezze Bistro sources their animals from a few small farms including pigs from East Mountain Farm in Williamstown, MA, beef and veal from Black Queen Angus Farm in Berlin, NY, and veal from Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown.
Hours of Business: Sunday – Thursday (5 PM â€“ 9 PM) | Friday and Saturday (5 PM – 10 PM)
B. The Red Lion Inn â€“ Stockbridge, MA
About: A charter member of Historic Hotels of America and winner of the Wine Spectator award for excellence, The Red Lion Inn (c. 1773) has been providing food and lodging to guests for more than two centuries. It offers 108 antique-filled rooms and suites, formal and casual dining, a gift shop, pub with nightly entertainment and a full range of amenities including free WiFi, a year-round heated outdoor pool and in-room massage therapy. The Inn is recommended by National Geographic Traveler, The New York Times and The Boston Globe and has won awards and been noted for its commitment to sustainability.
Charcuterie: Executive Chef Brian Alberg offers a Summer-style Sausage and Soppressata-style Dry Salami on the Red Lion Inn menu for every season. The salumi offerings change week to week, based on animal availability from local farmers. He also serves housemade Hot Dogs and French-style Brats daily in the Lionâ€™s Den. Lamb Sausage is made in house with lamb and mutton typically coming from Lila Berleâ€™s Farm in Great Barrington. Other farm sources include Berkshire Valley Beef and Punsit Valley (beef), Bacon on the Side Farm for pork, plus veal and goat from Black Queen Angus Farm in Berlin, NY. Chef Brian chooses to buy from these particular farmers because of their farming style and quality of their product as well as his relationship with each of them personally.
Hours of Business: Seven Days (12 PM â€“ 4 PM) | Sunday through Thursday (5:30 PM – 9 PM) | Friday and Saturday (5:30 PM – 9:30 PM)
C. The Meat Market â€“ Great Barrington, MA
address: 389 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, MA 01230
About: In 2004, Jeremy Stanton founded Fire Roasted Catering with a commitment to using local food, cooked on site over an open fire. His experience with the catering company, both from an excellent reception with clients, as well as the enthusiastic response of farmers, encouraged him to explore the possibility of a butcher shop using only totally local, pasture-raised meats. In 2009 with the help of his wife (veterinarian Emily Newman Stanton), a serious and successful campaign for support was launched. In May 2011, construction began in earnest with many friends and family lending a hand. They opened their doors on August 29, 2011.
Charcuterie: A locally sourced, nose-to-tail butcher shop and cafÃ©, The Meat Market works with local farmers like Whippoorwill Farm in Salisbury, CT, Kinderhook farm in Ghent, NY, and Climbing Tree Farm in New Lebanon, NY to fill the case with pasture-raised beef, pork, lamb and chicken. In addition to American and European cuts in the butcherâ€™s case, they have an ever-changing selection of fresh sausages including Hot Italian, Breakfast, Garlic and Rosemary Lamb and Kielbasa. The market offers a large selection of housemade traditional charcuterie including PÃ¢tÃ©, fresh Sausages, Bacon, Rillettes, Coppa, Pancetta, Guanciale and a variety of Dry-cured Sausages. They also offer more unusual charcuterie items like Shacon (Mutton Bacon), New Lebanon Baloney and Testa in Casseta.
Hours of Business/Visit: Wednesday – Sunday (11 AM â€“ 6 PM)
Visitors can see the meats curing as well as watch the butchers break down animals and stuff sausage. The Meat Market regularly offers charcuterie and butchering classes. Visit www.themeatmarketgb.com/classes/ for more info.
Prairie Whale â€“ Great Barrington, MA
About: The Prairie Whale, a farm-to table/nose-to-tail restaurant by the formerly Brooklyn-based star restaurateur Mark Firth, is dedicated to sourcing local ingredients. Opened in 2012, their menu changes daily based on what is available. Led by the combined efforts of three talented cooks (head chef Stephen Browning, sous chef Dan Studwell and pastry chef Megan McDiarmid), all of whom relocated to Berkshire County to work with Firth, seasonal and locally sourced menu items change daily and everything on the menu is a special except for the first-rate burger and fries.
Charcuterie: Owner Mark Firth and Chef Stephen Browning buy produce and whole animals from local farms based on the quality of product and farmersâ€™ standards for raising livestock. The Prairie Whale works with Chestnut Hill Farm, Firthâ€™s farm in Monterey, MA, Blue Hill Farm in Great Barrington, MA, Flying Pigs Farm in Shushan, NY, Raven & Boar in Chatham, NY, Kinderhook Farm in Ghent, NY, and Black Queen Angus Farm in Berlin, NY. Menu staples include Coppa, Prosciutto, Bresaola, Housemade Terrines, PÃ¢tÃ©, Fresh Sausages, Smoked and Dry-cured Sausages, Lardo, Guanciale and Bacon.
Hours of Business: Seven Days (11 AM â€“ 3 PM) | 5 PM – 10 PM
E. Allium â€“ Great Barrington, MA
About: Allium specializes in casual, contemporary American cuisineÂ highlighting the best of the season in support of independent farmers and artisan producers using sustainable practices. TheÂ food is handcrafted by Chef Daire Rooney and her team; they take great care to source local and seasonal ingredients includingÂ farm-fresh produce, meats and cheeses.Â The full-service restaurant is part of Mezze Restaurant Group, committed to buying locally and providing a wide diversity of fresh, seasonal foods from neighboring family farms. The group offers an extensive beverage program featuring a curated selection of spirits, seasonal craft beers and many natural wines. The group changes their small wine lists seasonally and supports smaller wine producers with similar agricultural principles to regional farmers. Mezze Restaurant Group also includes Mezze Bistro + Bar of Williamstown and Mezze Catering + Events, which provides full-service event design and planning. For additional information, visit mezzeinc.com.
Charcuterie: At Allium, Chef Daire Rooney purchases a pig about once a month and makes use of the whole animal. There is almost always housemade Sausage and Bacon on the menu as well as PÃ¢tÃ© and Dry-cured Sausages. She is beginning to develop a more intensive charcuterie program including Lomo, Lardo, Pancetta and Coppa for the restaurant. Allium and its sister restaurant Mezze source animals from a few small farms in the region including pigs from East Mountain Farm in Williamstown, MA, beef and veal from Black Queen Angus Farm in Berlin, NY, and veal from Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown.
Hours of Business: Sunday – Thursday (5 PM â€“ 9:30 PM) | Friday and Saturday (5 PM – 10 PM)
F. Moon in the Pond â€“ Sheffield, MA
About: Moon in the Pond is a small, educational bio-dynamic farm nestled on a quiet and picturesque dirt road in the southern Berkshire hills in Sheffield, Massachusetts. Raising food naturally and sharing the experience has been a strong and growing commitment throughout the farmâ€™s 22-year history. Farmer Dominic Palumbo invites visitors to rediscover agricultural roots with some of their great farm meats, a tour of the farm or by participation in short or longer-term workshops, internships and programs. Moon in the Pond Farm maintains a strong focus on the elegant integration of history (raising heritage breed livestock and heirloom vegetables, using select traditional farming methods) and contemporary technology.
Charcuterie: Moon in the Pond Farm raises delicious vegetables and meat, plus many value-added products. All of their meats, processes and products are additive and chemical free.Â Their animals are raised on pasture and supplemented with organic feed. Personal passions of Dominicâ€™s are northern Italian and Tuscan as well as traditional New England charcuterie. The farm regularly offers Liverwurst, Hot Dogs, Weisswurst (a traditional Bavarian sausage made from very finely minced veal and fresh pork fatback) and fresh Pork Sausages.
Visit: Visitors are always welcome at the farm, open daily seven days during daylight hours. Dom, a teacher as much as a farmer and charcutier, is happy to give tips and explain history of charcuterie for the at-home enthusiast. Email in advance to schedule a visit or to book a guided tour with Dom.
G. John Andrews: A Farmhouse Restaurant â€“ South Egremont, MA
About: John Andrews: A Farmhouse Restaurant specializes in regional American cuisine with emphasis on local, fresh and seasonal ingredients and Italian regional influences. The food is crafted by chef-owner Dan Smith and his team and highlights farms and food artisans in the Berkshires and Hudson Valley. Guests enjoy the cozy fireplace in winter months and in summer, al fresco dining is available on the terrace. John Andrews offers a full cocktail bar and a lighter-fare bar menu. A â€˜Featured Farm Prix Fixeâ€™ three-course menu is offered year-round on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday each week.
Charcuterie: Chef-owner Dan Smith has a longstanding connection to local food — the basis of his menu at John Andrews Restaurant â€“ rooted in his childhood. He comes from a long line of farmers and has been working with local farms for 20-plus years to develop his menu. Chef Danâ€™s bar menu consistently features a charcuterie plate featuring Lamb Pancetta made from Lila Berle’s Mountain Lamb and Duck PÃ¢tÃ© and Rillettes made from Normandy Farm Ducks sourced from John Fazio Farms in Modena, NY.
Hours of Business: Sunday – Thursday (5 PM – 9 PM) | Friday and Saturday (5 PM – 10 PM) | Closed Wednesday
H. Raven & Boar â€“ East Chatham, NY
address: 111 County Route 34, East Chatham, NY 12060
About: Raven & Boar is a family-owned farm in Columbia County, NY.Â Each small herd of pigs is raised with care on open pasture and forest. The pigs are all heritage breeds, mostly Large Black, Gloucester Old Spot and Red Wattle, with some Berkshires, Tamworth and a few Mulefoot and Herefords.
Ruby and Sather Duke founded Raven & Boar in 2009. When they moved their business from Brooklyn to East Chatham in 2008, the Dukes partnered with the award-winning Twin Maple Farm in Ghent, NY, and other local cheese producers to use the whey from cheese and yogurt as a source of food for their pigs in the tradition of Italian farmers.Â The pork from pigs fed whey has a unique flavor and texture, is naturally more marbled and is especially excellent for charcuterie.
Raven & Boarâ€™s pigs are fed whey-soaked grains, grass, vegetables, fruits and naturally foraged roots and acorns.Â The pigs are rotated on seasonally managed pasture with grass-fed lambs and chickens, which keeps them all healthy and happy while also providing a fertile bed for next yearâ€™s garden. All animals are USDA processed and are made available year round.
Charcuterie: Owners Ruby and Sather Duke wholesale their animals to local restaurants and butcher shops that specialize in housemade charcuterie. They sell their charcuterie products at farmersâ€™ markets in Rhinebeck NY, West Stockbridge, MA and Lenox, MA. They offer housemade fresh and frozen Pork Sausage at the markets as well as seasonal PÃ¢tÃ©. Their goal is to produce a whole line of housemade charcuterie from their own animals and produce.
Visit: Raven & Boar visits and tours are available by appointment.
I. Creech and Young Charcuterie/Artemis Farm â€“ New Lebanon, NY
address: 230 Cemetery Road, New Lebanon, NY 12125
About: Artemis Farm is home to Cynthia Creechâ€™s Randall cattle. The Randalls are a triple-purpose heritage breed of cattle (meat, dairy, draft power) hailing from southern Vermont. Cynthiaâ€™s Randalls are grass fed and finished, eating grass in the warm season and hay in winter, as well as salt and minerals. Though they are not certified, Cynthiaâ€™s animals are raised using organic methods. They are not given grain, antibiotics, chemicals or commercially processed supplements. Randall beef is typically lean and flavorful, with many health benefits.
Charcuterie: Creech and Young baloney is a mustÂtry for every devotee of fermented and dried sausage, made exclusively from Cynthiaâ€™s Randall Cattle.A variety of fresh frozen sausages â€” all unique and delicious creations of Creech and Young â€” are also available. Typical fresh sausages include Bockwurst, Bratwurst, a Beef Italian Sausage, a fresh linked Kielbasa, South African Boerewors, Breakfast Sausage, Weisswurst (a traditional Bavarian sausage made from very finely minced veal and fresh pork back bacon) and much more.Creech and Young Charcuterie will be opening a butcher shop in New Lebanon, NY, in early 2014.
Visit: Charcuterie products can be purchased at Cynthia Creechâ€™s New Lebanon farm. Please call for an appointment.
Route 7 Grill â€“ Great Barrington, MA
address: 999 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230
About: Route 7 Grill makes the most of what the Berkshires has to offer by serving a wide array of foods from local farmers and producers, as well as their own kitchen garden. Their focus is on preserving local farming traditions and all of their meats are naturally raised from small family farms. Nestled in the Housatonic river valley of the southern Berkshires, the restaurant serves a diverse menu including soups made in-house from rich stocks and local ingredients, salads with a choice of housemade dressings, fun snacks and appetizers, slow-smoked barbecue and fire-grilled items using hickory and other local hardwoods, house specialties and classic sides as well as a kidsâ€™ menu. There is a full bar offering artisanal cocktails, great local and craft beers and a varied wine list. The full-service dining room features an outdoor patio as well as outdoor facilities for pig roasts, special parties and general relaxation. A catering menu and barbecue by the pound for take-out are also available. Catering, cookouts, pig roasts and clam bakes are available onsite and offsite. Recognized by Saveur Magazine as Number Ten on the Top 100 favorites, praised by Gourmet Magazine as one of the best farm-to-table restaurants and voted Best Barbecue Ribs in New England by Yankee Magazine, Route 7 Grill is a member of Berkshire Grown and Slow Food of Western Mass.
Charcuterie: Chef Christophe Jalbert & Owner Lester Blumenthal team up and bring in whole animals from various local farms including Black Queen Angus Farm, Pigasso Farms, T Johnson, Paul Paisley, Flying Pigs Farm and Cricket Creek Farm. Route 7 Grill always has Housemade Bacon and Sausage (lamb, beef or pork) on hand as well as seasonal specials including Cured Ham, PÃ¢tÃ©, Rillettes, Head Cheese, Terrines, Guanciale, Prosciutto and Cured Sausage. The plates are colorful with local housemade pickles and fun accompaniments.Â In partnership with Rubiner’s Cheesemongers in Great Barrington, they offer curated local cheese platters in combination with housemade charcuterie served with Berkshire Mountain Bakery bread.
Hours of Business: Sunday – Thursday (5 PM – 9 PM) | Friday and Saturday (5 PM – 10 PM) | Lunch service on Saturday and Sunday (12 PM – 3 PM). Closed Tuesdays in spring.
Chez Nous â€“ Lee, MA
About: Chez Nous is the combined vision of the chef and pastry chef, husband-and-wife team of Franck Tessier and Rachel Portnoy. Soon entering the restaurantâ€™s tenth year, this duo worked and met in the world of French fine dining in New York and London, and moved to Lee with the idea of opening a truly casual, high-quality restaurant focused on real ingredients, prepared simply and with skill, without the trappings of fine dining.Â The right ingredients are critical:Â local, seasonal, sustainable â€“ not for the sake of it, but for the clear difference in quality these products bring.Â The menu changes with each season and French bistro classics blend appealingly with vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.Â Truly nourishing foods highlighting unique and delicious ingredients such as the rare ancient Einkorn grain, heirloom beans, locally produced cheeses and meats, and fresh vegetables are offered in full or half-portion options to leave room to taste some very special homemade desserts.
Charcuterie: At Chez Nous the focus is on the origins and quality of each ingredient. Their training in world-famous restaurants gives Franck and Rachel the ability to really hone in and prepare dishes from scratch, paying attention to every detail along the way.Â From the chutneys to the pickles to all different pates, saucisson and cured meats, the charcuterie plates at Chez Nous are justifiably adored.Â We consistently offer house-smoked bacon, pancetta, cured meats, smoked duck, smoked salmon and every kind of pate. Franck learned to make pates at the heels of his French mother in her kitchen.Â His finesse comes from years working under talented French chefs where the ethic was always to respect ingredients and not waste them. Franckâ€™s personal relationships with producers in the Berkshires and New England results in a consistent supply of high-quality, organic, humanely-raised meats, enabling Chez Nous to deliver charcuterie which has the authentic flavor Franck grew up with in the French countryside.
Hours of Business: Dinner only; service hours change with the seasons. Â Check website for details.