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The Ultimate Holiday Burger

December 12, 2016
The Ultimate Holiday Burger Recipe - Grass-fed Bacon Burgers with Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, Pickled Onions and Cranberries, and Garlic Parmesan Black Pepper Mayonnaise | Fake Food Free | Free product review

The holidays always seem like a good time to go all out. Attempting to do just that, this is a go big or go home kind of burger. 

In an effort to celebrate the season, I did all I could to infuse as much holiday flavor as possible. Those touches reach everything from the seasoning for the meat to the toppings I piled on top. 

Another name for it could be Grass-fed Bacon Burgers with Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, Pickled Onions and Cranberries, and Garlic Parmesan Black Pepper Mayonnaise. See. It’s a little long.

I think Ultimate Holiday Burger suits it pretty well. 

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Grass Fed Sirloin Steaks with Spinach Horseradish Pesto

March 23, 2016
These grass fed steaks are perfect  for a special occasion, but they are also simple enough for a quick weeknight meal. Both the pesto and steak pair well with Cabernet Sauvignon, like the 2013 Leaky Lake Cabernet Sauvignon sent to me by Cultivar Wine.

Recipe for Grass Fed Sirloin Steaks with Spinach Horseradish Pesto | Fake Food Free

I try to stay aware of my environment. It’s something that I find easier to do after living in several places across the country. I realize that my food seasons and local selection aren’t always the same as yours. So I try to highlight what is so great about living in California without causing you to say, “Great, thanks for another post about a rare citrus I can’t get.” 

I may not show it here often enough, but I still remember the days I couldn’t get good strawberries in early March or 10 varieties of greens in January.

I also want to keep you from thinking things like, “There’s another grilling recipe in the dead of winter.” Or in early spring, for that matter. I mean, did you see the snow in Colorado this week. My goodness. It made me well aware that you might not be able to dig out your grill as easily as I can. 

So I like to make sure I throw in a standard in-the-kitchen recipe that everyone can make. 

These steaks are it. 

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Braised Boneless Short Ribs with Citrus Garlic Slaw

December 16, 2015

These boneless short ribs make the best winter comfort food when braised in white wine and served with a seasonal cabbage slaw. The short ribs were among several cuts of high-quality grass-fed beef that I recently received from Butcher Box.

Braised Boneless Short Ribs with Garlic Citrus Slaw | Fake Food Free | Made with grass-fed beef I received from Butcher Box!

Beyond burgers, I don’t claim to be an expert at cooking beef. That’s why I like it when I receive a little something that makes me step out of my comfort zone. This time is was grass-fed boneless beef short ribs. 

Last minute gift idea alert. If you have a beef lover in your life or someone who loves to cook it, Butcher Box is the answer. 

A little while back, I was sent a Butcher Box full of high-quality grass-fed beef. Sirloin tips, steaks, short ribs, ground and bacon. It was loaded with good stuff. 

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Beef Medallions with Spinach and Arugula Paired with Cultivar Wine

January 26, 2015

Special meals don’t have to be complicated. These beef medallions are quick and easy. They pair so well with the excellent 2012 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon I received from Cultivar Wine. 

Beef Medallions with Spinach and Arugula Paired with Cultivar Wine | Fake Food Free   

Fancy is not a word that I would use to describe my cooking. Most often from scratch, sometimes simple, other times complicated, but not exactly fancy. 

But every now and then I get the opportunity to make something a little special. Like when you receive an elegant, yet approachable bottle of fine wine. 

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Stuffed Cabbage Roll Recipe

March 6, 2013

I’m into my third month living in California, and aside from the typical missing of friends, family and horses, things are going wonderfully. Ok, a move across the country probably doesn’t include missing horses for most people, but it does when you move from Kentucky.
We’re fully unpacked, the house in Kentucky finally sold and I’m happy to say I actually feel kind of settled. As a result, we looked ahead to our travel schedule for the year. I feel a little like my entire life in California is one big travel adventure; there is so much to see here. But I’ve been aching for Europe. 
Christmas 2012 was a bit of a bust. There was no Christmas tree and very little baking due to all the packing. We squeezed in a quick trip to celebrate with family only to have it cut short by an impending snow storm. Three days later we were on a cross-country drive to California. 
I won’t lie; I’ve done my fair share of pouting ever since. I know many people are overwhelmed by the stress of the holidays, but I absolutely love that time of year. So when we talked about where we would travel this year, I insisted that Christmas be a big part of it. 
As a result, we are now scheduled for one of my ultimate, must-do, bucket list worthy experiences – the Christmas markets in Europe! Not to mention that this will be preceded by a few days in New York City to see the tree there. Then we will head over to Vienna, still one of my favorite cities in the world, and then off to Krakow, Poland. 
I don’t want to wish a year away, but I can’t hide my excitement for this trip!
In addition to all the Christmas action, my husband comes from Polish descent so we are very excited to finally travel there. And I have my mind on Polish recipes. I thought it was high time I try my hand at stuffed cabbage rolls.
Aside from the multiple steps, they are much easier to make than I expected, and this is coming from someone who is awful at rolling foods. Burritos, spring rolls, wraps – I might get one good looking roll out of 10. I’m happy to say that cabbage rolls are very forgiving when it comes to rolling them up.
This isn’t exactly a traditional recipe. It’s one I made by combining a quick look at recipes on the web with what I had on hand in the kitchen.

If you’ve never made stuffed cabbage, there are quite a few things going on at once, which I wasn’t expecting. You have to boil the head of cabbage, make the sauce, and then add some of that sauce to the filling. Just take your time and you won’t get overwhelmed. I suggest getting your cabbage leaves cooked and separated, and then concentrating on the rest of the recipe. 

Grass-fed Beef Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Recipe

1 small head green cabbage
1 tbsp olive oil
1 green bell pepper, cored and diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
14 ounces diced tomatoes (fresh will work, no-salt-added if you used canned)
¼ cup red wine
1 tbsp mascavo sugar (or brown sugar)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
½ of the sautéed vegetables from the sauce (see preparation below)
½ lb grass-fed ground beef
1 cup cooked rice
2 tbsp cabbage roll sauce (above)
1 tbsp hot sauce
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Fill a large soup pot ¾ full with water. Bring to a boil. Remove any dirty or bruised outer leaves of the cabbage. Place the whole head of cabbage in the boiling water. Let it boil about 2 minutes, or until the outer leaves begin pull away from the head. 
Remove the cabbage from the water (I used a ladle). Use kitchen shears to cut off the outer leaves at the stem. They should be partially cooked and flexible. Set them aside to dry and cool. Return the head of cabbage to the boiling water. Repeat this process until you have 10 to 12 cabbage leaves.
Reserve 1 to 2 cups of the cabbage cooking water.
For the sauce, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Add the onion, garlic and bell pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to brown and soften. Remove half of the vegetables from the pan and place in a glass mixing bowl. (This is for your filling.)
Back to the skillet, add the tomatoes and wine. Cook, stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sugar, salt, basil and pepper. Cook 1 more minute. Stir in the 1 cup of reserved cabbage water.  
Transfer the sauce to a blender and puree until smooth. Add more cabbage water if you want a thinner sauce. (I used only the 1 cup.) Pour the sauce back in the skillet to keep it warm.
Add the ground beef and rice to the bowl with the reserved vegetables. Add 2 tablespoons of the finished cabbage roll sauce, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Use a fork or your clean hands to mix the filling well. 
First spoon about ¼ cup of the tomato sauce into a 5 quart Dutch oven and spread it over the bottom of the pan. 
Place a cabbage leaf on the counter top with the inside facing up (it should curve up like a cup), and put about ¼ cup of the filling towards the stem end of the leaf. You will have to judge how much filling to use based on the size of your leaves. I had a huge variation so I used anywhere from 2 tablespoons to a ½ cup. Just ensure that it isn’t so much that it squeezes out the side.
Fold in the both sides, and starting with the stem end, roll the leaf around the filling. Place seam-side down in the Dutch oven. Repeat the process with the remaining leaves.
Pour the sauce over the cabbage rolls, and cover the pot with the lid. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the cabbage has softened and the meat is cooked through and no longer pink. Serves 3 to 4.

Pure Beef: Tamarind Beef Satay

May 24, 2012

I first made this delicious beef satay recipe back in 2012. Every summer it continues to be a great go-to meal or snack when we fire up the grill for some outdoor cooking. 

Grilled Tamarind Beef Satay Recipe | Fake Food Free


The email subject read, “As far from fake beef as one can get.”

That was enough to spark my curiosity.

Before I opened it I wasn’t aware of the cookbook that awaited me, of the story that would later have me nodding my head, or the fact that it would be so educational that my husband would hijack it for a day and read the first 70 pages.

Pure Beef Cookbook

The title says a lot, but it does not say it all. I’ve found this cookbook to serve as a novel as I have read through Lynne Curry’s story. Lynne is a former vegetarian who now finds herself in Oregon’s Wallowa Valley enjoying what I can only imagine is one of the most beautiful places on earth with some of the best food.

I live in central Kentucky and it’s pretty beautiful here, too. As I write this I just happen to have a chorus of cows singing from the farm behind our house, but I’ve been to Oregon and I love it. This can be considered – how I related to this book #1.

Number 2, is the story of how a vegetarian came to enjoy the flavor of grassfed beef, culturally, nutritionally, and ethically. To paraphrase roughly, the moment was during her international travels in Guatemala when she was graciously offered grassfed beef as a gesture of hospitality.

Tamarind Beef Satay recipe from the Cookbook Pure Beef


While I have never been a vegetarian, I fully believe that culture and respect for the people of that culture should override what we will and will not eat. I’ve tried many things, and maybe one day I will be put in a position where I just can’t stomach it, but as of now this is my view. It was a view that I felt I shared with the author as I read, making this book even more meaningful.

I was never all that crazy about beef until I enjoyed the local grassfed beef of the Bluegrass. This opportunity occurred only about 2 years ago when we returned to the States. Now it is the only beef I will buy. There are many reasons for this, and I will let you read through these when you get your copy of Pure Beef. Considering my background, nutrition is one reason.

As I moved past the why of the book, I got to the how. How to cut beef, how to buy it, how to cook it. I still have a lot more to read, but this is as much a resource for my library as a cookbook.

Then you get to the recipes. There truly is a recipe for every cut, and an endless amount of tips on how to cook it all. Coffee Bean-Chile Rubbed Sirloin Roast, Boneless Oxtail and Buckwehat Crepe Purses, and Baked Argentinian Empanadas to name a few.

There are side dishes and condiments galore as well, with and without beef, such as Roasted Corn Salsa, Butternut Squash Bread Pudding, and Lemony Chard Bundles. There are also variations on recipes such as the gluten-free meat loaf.

There were too many great recipes to choose from, so I had to use a bit of a spin-the-bottle approach to select one. I landed on Tamarind Beef Satay.

Tamarind Beef Satay


We picked up a tri tip from our local grassfed beef source, Marksbury Farm Market. It worked beautifully and all the credit has to go to my husband. One tip he picked up from the book was to freeze the meat for about 20 minutes before slicing it thinly for the beef satay. He sliced, I mixed the marinade.

This recipe is simple and the beef satay cooked up on the grill quickly. The sweet and tart flavors of the tamarind, honey and fish sauce go so well together. Next time I’ll probably add just a little more chile sauce because we are spicy food fans. We served up the satay with grilled corn and a green salad. Easy and delicious!

Tamarind Beef Satay

Recipe reprinted with permission from Pure Beef © 2012 by Lynne Curry, Running
Press, a member of the Perseus Book Group.

From the book:

Tamarind is an intoxicating sour and sweet fruit from Indonesia where satay is the go-to snack on a stick. It is incredible with beef, so I created a tamarind marinade that lacquers thin beef strips to grill or broil. Satay makes a wonderful appetizer; to fill it out for a main dish, I accompany it with another Indonesian favorite, a fruit salad called Rujak, which has as many renditions as pasta salad does in this country. My version is a beautiful chopped salad of cucumbers, jicama, pineapple, and mango that’s crunchy, juicy, sweet, and tart. Served along with Sticky Rice or steamed rice, it turns satay into a tantalizing meal, just the thing to wake up your taste buds in the middle of winter.

Makes 4 servings as a main dish; 8 as an appetizer

3 tablespoons tamarind paste*
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fish sauce

1/2 teaspoon chile sauce, such as sambal oelek
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts
1 to 1 1/2 pounds top sirloin steak, sliced into 1/4-inch thick strips

Mix the tamarind paste, honey, fish sauce, chile sauce, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Pound the peanuts in a mortar and pestle or in a heavy-duty plastic bag with a rolling pin to the texture of fine breadcrumbs and stir into the tamarind sauce. Put the beef strips in the bowl, toss to coat, and marinate for about 15 minutes at room temperature.

Preheat a charcoal or gas grill for high heat (425°F to 475°F), scraping the grate clean and oiling it lightly, or preheat the broiler. Thread the slices onto wooden or metal skewers, stitching the beef on and then stretching it along the skewer so that it looks like a miniature banner. Thread any short strips onto the same skewer.

Grill or broil the skewers for 1 to 2 minutes per side and serve the satay warm or at room temperature.

*Note: Tamarind is available from Asian grocery markets in several different forms. Tamarind paste is the easiest form that can be used straight from the jar. If your tamarind is labeled concentrate, use only 1 tablespoon and mix it with 2 tablespoons water. If you have a block of tamarind, chop about 1/2 cup of it, use a fork to mash it with 6 tablespoons of boiling water, and let it soften for about 5 minutes. Use a fine-meshed strainer to extract 3 tablespoons of pulp, pressing on the mixture firmly with a spoon.



Disclosure: A copy of this cookbook was sent to me for review purposes. I was not required to post about it and received no compensation for doing so.

Beef Tenderloin Tips and Purple Potatoes

February 20, 2012

We’ve had about two pounds of beef tenderloin tips in the freezer for a few months now so we decided to serve them up last week for a very low-key Valentine’s Day dinner. If you are unfamiliar with the cut, it is a great option for getting a tender piece of high quality beef for a reasonable price. It is basically the tips from a larger piece of meat that turns into the very popular filet mignon.

I think this is one reason it took me so long to use it. I’m not exactly an excellent beef cook, unless a slow cooker decides to show up, and I didn’t want to ruin it. 
To ensure success, I used a recipe as opposed to creating one myself. And by I, I mean my husband. After dinner I told him his cooking with me was like the boy in the Google video on Valentine’s Day. He jumped rope with me, and that’s all I really wanted for the occasion.
We used a recipe for Tenderloin Tips with Mushrooms and Herbs from the Food & Wine section of the Seattle Times posted last year. We doubled the recipe due to the amount of meat, and we also doubled everything else except for the mustard and rum. We used rum instead of brandy.
Tenderloin Tips with Mushrooms and Herbs

The final result was tender pieces of meat in an amazing sauce with the sweetness of red wine, but the bite of dijon mustard. I rarely like a stew-type beef, but this one far exceeded my expectations.

The rest of the meal was plain and simple, but with a colorful twist. I found purple potatoes in Cincinnati last weekend! I’ve read a lot about their production and health benefit, and about the research being used in the evaluation of the crop so I was interested in trying them. They’re still rare in this area.

The color can’t help but make you happy in the kitchen. It is so deep and rich, and only intensifies when roasted. I chopped them up with some Fingerling potatoes, coated them in olive oil, sprinkled on some sea salt and dried rosemary from last summer’s herb garden. They were ready to go after roasting about 20 minutes at 425 degrees F.

I wouldn’t call myself a meat and potatoes person, but every now and then I can see why people love them so much.

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Tequila-Lime Shredded Beef

January 3, 2012

As we enter this New Year I’ve decided I am not taking one single glance back at my 2011 goals. While 2010 was a great year for accomplishing my goals and resolutions, I barely got things off the ground last year. I did learn the basics of knitting, but it stopped there.
Yes, I said New Years goals. Yes, I uttered the word resolution. I know it’s cool to be anti-resolution, but truth be told, I love this time of year. I love new beginnings.
It’s good to set goals for yourself whenever you choose:  at the beginning of every day, week, month or year. I just happen to enjoy the fresh start of a new calendar.
So out with the 2011 (no looking back), and in with 2012.
This year, I decided to take the advice of Chris Brogan andchoose My 3 Words. Words that will guide me through this year; words I will revisit often to keep me on track.
My 3 Words for 2012 are:
Progress.  Learn.  Honor.

I will work to Progress my blog to the next level, a level that really only matters to me. I hope this will be reflected in the quality of my posts and my photographs.
I will be open to all Learning experiences whether it is a cooking method, camera technique, culture or language.
I will Honor my health and my body be revisiting my commitment to real food, and by making the most of the incredible food resources available to me.
Do you have 3 Words for 2012?
Now before I jump too far into the New Year, I need to back track into 2011 for just one day; to New Year’s Eve. We spent this NYE at home which I could not have been happier about. I only wanted to relax, and honestly didn’t even feel much like cooking.
Surprisingly this recipe is perfect for just this type of occasion. This version comes from a recipe adapted by one of my favorite international food bloggers, Tangled Noodle.
I modified the ingredients to meet our preferences, including using beef as opposed to pork. Not exactly because I prefer beef, but we’ve had a roast in the freezer we’ve wanted to use for weeks.
Mix, rub, pour, wait.
Seriously, that is all you need to do. As a result you are left with some incredibly tender meat with a hint of citrus and a bit of a spicy kick.
From there, turn it into a taco, roll it up in an enchilada, toss it on top of a salad or add it to a soup. The flavor is outstanding and the options endless.
Tequila-Lime Shredded Beef
Adapted from Slow Cooker Tequila-Lime Pork Loin Roast from Tangled Noodle
3 lb tri tip beef roast
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp chili powder
4 cloves garlic, minced
Juice and zest of one lime
1/3 cup unsalted beef stock
1/3 cup gold tequila
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 bay leaf
In a small bowl combine the cumin, oregano, salt and chili powder. Rub mixture over the beef roast. Place the roast in your slow cooker. 
Add the garlic, lime juice and zest, beef stock, tequila, chipotle powder and bay leaf. Turn the meat over a few times in the mixture to coat. Set the slow cooker to high, put on the lid and cook 3-4 hours. 
Once beef has reached your desired doneness, remove from the slow cooker and place on a cutting board to rest. Discard the bay leaf. Shred the beef with a fork and knife. Return the meat to the slow cooker and coat with the remaining sauce. Keep on warm until ready to serve. Serves 10-12. 

Classic Chili Dogs Courtesy of Rocky Mountain Organic Meats

March 27, 2011

I connected with Rod of Rocky Mountain Organic Meats on Twitter some time ago. I’m not sure who followed who first, but I remember in one conversation he shared with me how delicious the grass-fed meats were way out there in Wyoming due to the type of grass the cows were feasting on. My response was that we had some pretty good meat right here in central Kentucky due to our beloved Bluegrass. Secretly though, he had peaked my interest in those meats way out west.

Well, a few months later, I was given the offer to try Rocky Mountain Organic Meats firsthand when Rod asked if I’d like to sample a few items. I thought about it a while and after reading more about the company, I decided I couldn’t pass it up.

As you know, we buy most (were at about 95% now) of our meats locally and ensure that they are sustainably and humanely raised. Rocky Mountain Meats fits all that criteria except the local part. However, I decided this could work in the favor of my readers.

Every time I write about the great meat I get around here, I usually have at least one person tell me in the comments that they wish they had access to similar products in their area. In most cases you do. You just have to venture outside the city a bit, but there are likely some cases where you don’t. So sharing these products with you is to let you know that you do have access to some incredibly tasty, sustainably and humanely produced animal products through the good ol’ internet.

If you want to know exactly what this company is all about there is an abundance of information on their website including a little about what they do, who they are and what they sell. It starts like this:

“Rocky Mountain Organic Meats offers the finest Certified Organic grass-fed beef and grass-fed lamb in the country. All of our meats are 100% grass-fed and grass-finished and come from the best cattle and sheep country the Rocky Mountains have to offer. Our livestock is raised the old-fashioned way; no steroids or growth hormones, no antibiotics and no grain. Our only additives are clean water, lush grasses and fresh air resulting in lean and delicious organic grass-fed beef and lamb.”

I was a bit overwhelmed when the box arrived at my door. I couldn’t believe the selection! Along with ground beef, lamb and sirloin steak, there was summer sausage, beef breakfast sausage, pastrami, hot dogs and my new favorite snack, Honey Beef Jerky. Wow, that stuff is good! Considering all the beef jerky lovers in my family, a bulk order will likely be on the Christmas list.

The ingredients used in processing, smoking and aging the products are as natural as the meat itself. I found black pepper, paprika, celery juice and others boldly listed on the front of the packages.

So with all this great meat, you know I had to come up with something exciting to share with you.

I found myself thinking back to some favorite foods that we haven’t had in years. The combination of healthy eating in general, decreasing our support of the current fast food system and increasing our investment in grass-fed meats means that we’ve stopped eating a lot of the foods we might have splurged on in the past.

Enter the classic chili dog. Not just any chili dog, but the most sustainable, from scratch, partially local, mostly organic and all grass-fed chili dog you have yet to see.

First I started on the buns using the same recipe I posted a while back for the Bread Bowl. I just portioned the pieces after the bread doubled and made each into hot dog-bun shapes. The bun recipe makes about six so you’ll have a couple left over.

I got to work with the organic grass-fed ground beef and made a chili-type sauce that was part Coney, part Lori’s tastes. My husband said it was a bit more tomato-y than the Coney sauces he’s used to, but that is where the Lori’s tastes come in. I like that tomato flavor in my chili.

That last sentence in the quoted description above is spot on. The beef was so lean that I had no grease to drain from the pan. It was full of the flavor I’ve come to expect from grass-finished beef. Excellent,and it was a perfect match for the chili sauce.

I cooked up their organic beef hot dogs just to heat them through. You could grill, pan fry or boil them depending on your preferences. These hot dogs had a slight sausage texture to them which we didn’t mind at all. They were just right as the main attraction in this dish.

I saved a bit of chopped onion to top off the dogs, and I shredded up one of our new favorite Kentucky cheeses, St. Jerome from Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese. It has a creamy texture and resembles the flavor of an Asiago to me.

Pile it all together and you have the best dog around. The perfect blend of foods from the past combined with food choices of the present.

Classic Chili Dogs

4 homemade hot dog buns
½ lb organic, grass finished ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp celery salt
½ tsp ground mustard
1 tsp mascavo sugar (or brown sugar)
2 cups tomato sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 organic, grass-finished hot dogs
¼ cup shredded cheese (optional)

In a medium size sauce pan begin to brown the grown beef. Reserve 3 tbsp of the chopped onion for garnish and place the rest in the pan with the beef. Continue to cook until the beef is cooked through.

Next add the chili powder, paprika, celery salt, ground mustard and sugar. Stir in the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Let simmer for 1 to 2 minutes and then add salt and pepper to taste.

Slit each bun down the side, lay a warm hot dog in the bun and top with the chili. Sprinkle on a little chopped onion and shredded cheese for garnish. Serves 4.

 Disclaimer: The products featured were sent to me free of charge from Rocky Mountain Organic Meats. I was not required to post about them and received no compensation for doing so.

Local Meat: Marksbury Farm Market

February 13, 2011

A little over a year ago, when we had finally found the house and decided we would move to a rural county outside the big city of Lexington, KY, an article in a nearby newspaper caught my eye. The article described a business that would be moving to the area soon, Marksbury Farm.

Considering that this came at a time when I was beginning my commitment to buy only small scale, humanely raised and naturally fed animal products, I could not believe my fortune.

You see, according to that article Marksbury Farm was planned to be a processing facility for just that. Local farmers from around the area could have their animals processed at a local facility where they could then sell these products to consumers in the area. This would eliminate the need to drive hundreds of miles to the nearest USDA facility.

That alone had me thrilled, but I was even more excited about the proposed market that was part of this project. The plan was to have a shop where grass-fed, pastured, humanely raised local meats would be sold to the public. A one-stop shop, a place that would mimic the old-fashioned butcher, but with animal products I could feel good about buying and eating.

Fast forward to last summer.

Our community was hosting a showing of Fresh: The Movie and I was asked to speak about the nutritional benefit of local food. It was here that I first met, Richard McAlister, one of the partners behind bringing Marksbury to the area.

It was a busy a time, as they were undergoing USDA organic certification with plans to open the processing facility within that month. The market was soon to follow. It was at that meeting that I realized this wasn’t just rumor or an idea. Soon I would have access to an incredible resource!

Last Saturday, myself and three other Kentucky Food Bloggers – Mindy from Mindy’s Mouthful, Samantha from A Teenage Gourmet, and Melissa from My McDonald Meal met Richard to tour the facilities. I’ve been frequenting the market since the end of December, but this was my first chance to get an up close look at the facilities.

Richard took us through the empty facility and each step of the process for cattle, pigs and poultry. He explained to us each and every precaution they take to ensure humane handling, during this process that, let’s be honest, we really don’t like to think about.

I was glad to hear him mention Dr. Temple Grandin when we took a look at the outdoor holding area. If you haven’t heard of Temple and her research, or haven’t seen the movie that aired on HBO, I highly recommend it.

I have toured a processing facility one other time. As part of my Food Science course at Purdue we explored the facility on campus, and it was interesting to compare the processes there (about 10 years ago) to what I saw at Marksbury. There were noticeable improvements with this facility compared to what I have seen before in terms of respecting the animal and the fact that they are giving their life to nourish us.

We withheld many pictures inside the facility because I know many don’t wish to see that. Then we entered the smoking room, and the storage room. Let me just say, it was a smoked meat lovers paradise.

To simplify, Marksbury processes animals for local farmers. Their guidelines explain the conditions in which the animals must be raised. This meat can be picked up by consumers from the facility who might be ordering a full or half of beef or pork from a specific farmer. In addition, Markbury purchases animals which they process and sell in their market.

Yes, let’s get to the market. Set in a gorgeous old farmhouse is a Kentucky food paradise. Not just meat, but foods of all kinds.

Okay, first the meat. There is every cut you can imagine and some products you might not, everything from pork tenderloin to beef tongue. They are also offering prepared dishes like steak pie and ready-to-cook meatballs. Did I mention that some of the partners are of Scottish descent? So you can imagine the good meats and sausages in the case.

A few things we’ve purchased include Italian sausage, chicken sausage, ground pork, ground beef, whole chickens, chicken wings, smoked brats, prosciutto, braunschweiger and hot dogs. One of the best parts is that because Marksbury purchases and processes their meats their prices are very competitive and affordable in the market of grass-fed and pastured products.
Each time I visit, there are more foods available that aren’t meat at all. There are Kentucky cheeses, including this delicious Asiago Peppercorn from Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese.
Kentucky milk, cream, yogurt, granola, breads, produce, vanilla, flavored sugars, salts and soy sauce can also be found lining the shelves along with many more items.

There are still some farmers around the area whose relationships I value and I will continue to buy from them directly. However, I feel incredibly fortunate to make a short drive and have such variety at my finger tips.
The Marksbury Farm Market truly encompasses the local butcher. The kind of place where you go with no plans for your dinner menu, and leave with a gourmet meal planned based on fresh, local ingredients.

Several media outlets have published articles on Marksbury, so check out the links below to learn more. This coming week I’ll share what we did with the hotdogs we purchased. And of course, if you find yourself traveling through central Kentucky, don’t miss the opportunity to stop by and see it for yourself!
Marksbury Farm Market
73 Fisher Ford Road
Lancaster, KY 40444

Solving the Meat-to-Market Riddle – Edible Louisville
New Garrard operation provides market for local meat producers and consumers – Lexington Herald Leader

Disclaimer: I received no product or monetary compensation to tour or post about Marksbury Farm.