Ham, Lamb, Thank You Ma'am

Easter’s a little earlier this year than it has been the past few years, leaving some of us feeling like we’re scrambling. But we’re here with Easter baskets and Easter treats, a recipe for an Italian Easter dinner staple, and most importantly—The Meats, capital T, capital M. 

For some, Easter dinner is about going all out after forty days of Lent. For others, it’s a family gathering, with Easter egg hunts (or an adrenaline-fueled game of cascarones) and plenty of good food. Either way, if there’s not lamb on the table, there’s probably a big roast ham, instead. (Or brisket!) Our lamb and pork (and beef!) is sourced with all the boxes ticked—local, pastured, ethical, and overall high quality. 

Royalton Farms in Royalton, VT has been providing us with our lamb for years, and there’s a reason we’re so loyal. Unlike some farms that focus on raising a single type of animal, Royalton Farms believes in creating an agricultural ecosystem for the benefit of the final product. What that means is that while beef, pork and lamb are their main exports, as it were, they rely on a whole host of other animals to support the quality of their meats. Chickens, ducks and turkey roam their pastures to add nitrogen to the soil, rather than shipping in chicken manure which takes time, money, and fuel. Reduction of fuel is also why fields are tilled the traditional way with oxen, rather than gas-powered tractors. Goats on the farm can rejuvenate pastures for cattle grazing, and Royalton Farms’ apiaries are essential to diversifying the plant life in those pastures. (The honey is a tasty bonus.) Royalton Farms oversees every part of their animals’ lives from conception to finish, which gives them greater quality control. When our butchers haul whole lambs into Provisions to be broken down into cuts like leg of lamb or a Frenched rack of lamb, you can be sure of a short chain—from farm to butcher to you. 

Roaming Acres, where we source all our pork, is a little closer to home in Lafayette, NJ. Their Berkshire hogs, much like their other animals, are pastured and fed a nutritious vegetarian diet. The breed itself is an English heritage breed, known for its juiciness, heavy marbling, and intense flavor. (It’s part of what makes our house made pork sausages so dang good!) All of this makes Roaming Acres sound like a fairly traditional local farm, with emphasis on their livestock’s health and happiness for a tastier end product, and for the most part, that’s true. But Roaming Acres actually got its start as an ostrich farm! Today, Roaming Acres still maintains their ostrich flock, as well as herds of Berkshire hogs and Bison. Founder and owner Todd Appelbaum is a Board member of the American Ostrich Association, and Roaming Acres’ pork is certified by the American Berkshire Hogs Association; all their meat is USDA inspected. All of this is to say that our house made rosemary-brined ham—ready to be slow-roasted in your oven, just in time for Easter—is the best it could possibly be! 

Of course, our Head Butcher, Lena Diaz, has never been one to stick purely to one tradition. She and her butchers put a twist on bacalao, salted fish eaten on Good Friday. (Not just Good Friday, like most holiday dishes, but certainly on Good Friday.) Instead of the usual cod, we’ve salted tilapia instead, but Lena maintains that this bacalao is just as suited for flaking apart to make cod fritters, curry, and empanada filling, among other recipes; she also suggests cutting it into bite size pieces for a refreshing escabeche. This one’s an in-store special, but if you email us at hello@greenegrape.com we’ll happily add it to your order for same-day delivery!