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Jeremy Stanton Dreams Of A Locavore Butcher Shop

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Jeremy Stanton making pizza at home in Southfield, MA

She’s a veterinarian and he’s a chef, and to watch them cook dinner together is to marvel at how two people whose work involves such different approaches to knives and animals can be so in sync in the kitchen.  The newlyweds (who were married last September on Nantucket where they prepared their own wedding feast on the beach) are passionate locavores. They dream of opening a butcher shop in Great Barrington that will sell only locally-raised meat—grass-fed beef, pork, lamb and poultry along with housemade salami, sausage, bacon, stock and demi-glace.  Their target customer is anyone who believes that eating locally and supporting local farmers is ethically, ecologically and economically the best thing for our region. “With all the talk about ‘grass-fed’ this and ‘locally-raised’ that, and the clear benefits for flavor and health, it is a pity that the only local meats available here in the Berkshires, with all our farms, are found frozen at farmer’s markets and at the farms themselves,” says Jeremy. “This creates barriers for even motivated consumers.”

Rural Intelligence FoodJeremy, who is famous for his catered pig roasts and for running the late Stellar Pasta Company, wants to be an old-fashioned butcher who gives you advice on how to prepare different cuts of meat. He knows that committed community support is crucial for his venture to fly, which is why he is following a Slow Money model. “I don’t want to deal with bankers,” he says. “I’d like to find 50 or 100 people to invest $1,000 each in The Meat Market,” he says. “Their investment will entitle them to a 10 percent discount on all purchases in the first year and then they will get vouchers to redeem their investment with food.”  To generate enthusiasm for the project and raise seed money, the Stantons are hosting a down-home-but-over-the-top five course dinner ($200 a person) at their house in Southfield, MA, on Saturday, August 22. Every course is being paired with a wine or other beverage such as rhubarb cocktails and Monument Valley Hard Cider.

The RSVP list includes many Berkshire foodies—Brian Alberg, Jean-Francois Bizalion, Carole Murko, Dominic Palumbo—as well as weekenders like William Li of Austerlitz, NY, who flipped when he first tasted Jeremy’s cooking at a catered party. “Two hundred dollars actually seems reasonable with all things considered,” says Li. “We get to support local farmers. We get to meet like-minded individuals who care about sustainable agriculture and the farm to table movement. And we get to enjoy a beautiful feast prepared by an extremely talented and passionate chef. For us, it’s about being a part of a community.”

Rural Intelligence Food The menu is designed to show off the skills that Jeremy learned when he worked at a slaughterhouse in Connecticut devoted to the humane treatment of grass-fed animals, where he used Heritage beef to make salamis, sausages, and beef jerky.  If butchers are the new rock stars as The New York Times proclaimed recently, then the Stantons definitely have hit-making potential, according to their freind Maria Nation, the Sheffield screenwriter, who’s an accomplished gardener and cook. “It’s rare to meet a couple so blessed with a combination of intelligence, passion, vision and a commitment to change our world for the better,” says Nation.  “Add to this the fact that they are incredibly beautiful—Emily and Jeremy Stanton seem not to be of this world.”

Dinner at Emily and Jeremy Stanton’s
August 22 at 4 PM
Barking Dog Farm
155 Norfolk Road, Southfield, MA
$200 per person
RSVP and more information:

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Posted by Dan Shaw on 08/05/09 at 03:36 AM • Permalink