Farmers Market Take, Today

My trips to farmers markets are usually about protein & fat. I rarely know what I want to accompany a dish with, and more often than not I’m content with a salad. I’ve no beef — ha ha — with the "mostly plants" folks, but this is one corner of the paleosphere where we unapologetically celebrate a "mostly meat" eatstyle, with a middle finger raised high if necessary.

Unlike so, so many out there, we don’t give a shit about being perceived as "balanced" or "moderate" — besides which that usually means "mostly plants, whereas "mostly meat" is unbalanced, immoderate, unsustainable. But most of all, we just care about being healthier and far higher nourished than the "mostly plant" dupes.

So in addition to the three fresh oysters on the half shell I consumed on site, here was today’s haul.

Farmers Market Haul
Farmers Market Haul

The fennel bulb is explicitly to flavor a crock pot roast (truly amazing). Then there’s…

  • Raw milk from Organic Pastures
  • Leaf lard, 3 pounds of ground beef, and a cross rib roast from Prather Ranch
  • Beautiful, 100% grassfed/finished flank steak from Knee Deep Cattle
  • 100% pastured bone-in bacon chop, enormous shoulder chop and pork scaloppini from Range Brothers

What you see above was about $115 total. And, I’ll actually consume every last bit of it. This is another problem I have with vegetables and fruits. I waste a LOT. I just don’t feel like eating them, so I don’t and before too long there’s no choice but to dump it. Another reason why potatoes are a good option. And they’re good nutrition and a quality source of protein.

One thing to note about Prather Ranch, listed above. While certified organic, it’s not 100% grass finished.

For all organic feed production, no synthetic herbicide and pesticides have been applied to feed crops for a minimum of three years. The animals spend the majority of their lives grazing on organic forage in irrigated pastures or on grazing land. The organic cattle are finished on a diet of chopped forage, with some organic barley and organic rice.

But only a few minutes reading about their history and practices ought to be enough to convince anyone that this is a super-quality operation. Practices that stand out to me are that they have their own abattoir and only their own cattle are processed there, they transport only in their own vehicles, and they have not introduced any cattle from outside their own herds since 1995.

But here, take a look at this flank steak from Knee Deep up in Oregon. The guy at the Prather booth highly recommended it to me as a grilling steak. I’ll find out on Monday.

Flank Steak
Flank Steak

And here’s an interesting cut that they call the "caveman" cut.

Bone in Bacon Chop
Bone in Bacon Chop

Part pork chop, part bacon, with the bone to form the shape of a club. It’s perfect. That’s going in the sous vide.

Here’s what I’d like to see from all you vendors out there, and pastured eggs guys as well (no retail place or farmers market to get pastured eggs here in the south Bay Area that I’m aware of). Try to get into more farmers markets, more of you. How many dammed fruit and veggie stands selling the same things does a farmers market need. Jesus, already; it’s like a goddammed mall and women’s shoe stores.

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  1. Katelyn on June 6, 2010 at 14:20

    Yummy! What time is dinner, Richard?

    • Richard Nikoley on June 6, 2010 at 15:03

      I suspected you might like the general theme of this post, Katelyn.

      • Katelyn on June 7, 2010 at 06:25

        I love flank steak! Skirt steak is even better, but very expensive. I love your sentence about not caring about “balance.” I hate hearing about “moderation” and “balanced diets” all the time. All I eat is meat and I feel and look great; who wants to balance that out with substandard food?

  2. Andy on June 7, 2010 at 05:26

    My wife grabbed me some Prather Ranch jerky while we were in SF a few weeks back — amazing stuff.

    As for pastured eggs, my area (NH) is swimming in’em. In the winter farmer’s markets, virtually every booth included eggs, and the same trend is occurring now that it’s springsummer.

    Yum. Also, a lot more meat purveyors this year (yay!), which will give my friend the elk farmer some competition finally.

  3. Shebeeste on June 6, 2010 at 15:50

    Dang, I’m 500 miles closer to Eugene (in the same state even) than you are and I hadn’t heard of Knee Deep Cattle–I’ll have to keep an eye out next time I’m in town. Thanks for the heads up! You are so right about meat producers getting into farmers’ markets. My grass-fed beef supplier (the only dedicated beef vendor) at the local market can’t keep up with demand.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 6, 2010 at 17:04


      Exactly. When I got there at 10, hour after opening, already Prather was sold out of a bunch of stuff. I got the last tub of lard.

      But I wanted a brisket or too, amoung a few other things. No joy. There’s room for plenty more.

  4. BenJ on June 6, 2010 at 16:00

    Prather Meat Co. is good stuff — I love talking to the guys at the Temescal farmer’s market in Oakland and they typically have interesting cuts on sale from week to week.

    Their bacon (Range Brothers?) is the tastiest I’ve had, worth every penny.

    I grab their ground beef on occasion, but I’ve found I prefer Trader Joe’s 100% grass fed or Whole Foods 100% grass fed — there’s something a little odd about the Prather, it cooks up a bit spongy. (Is it just me?)

    • Richard Nikoley on June 6, 2010 at 16:25


      Don’t use Prather all the time and I do use TJs too. But I’ve not noticed that difference. Maybe application.

      • Dr.BG on June 7, 2010 at 20:15

        That’s funny… I find TJ’s ground beef (grassfed) kinda funny tasting sometimes. Maybe because it’s not local (from NZ or Australia?)

        I just missed you Richard — we were there around 11am! What a beaut of a day wasn’t it… The caveman cut bone in pork does LOOK GOOD. I LOVE MEAT.

      • Richard Nikoley on June 7, 2010 at 20:27

        Ha, we headed out just about 5 to 11. See you at dinner in a couple of weeks.

  5. Erin on June 7, 2010 at 09:09

    I have got to explore more farmer’s markets in my area….the pickings for the one I usually go to are super slim for meat which is ridiculous….its Colorado…ranching is not an uncommon thing here! Lack of ‘local’ veggies and fruits is more understandable at least due to the climate. The local and traditional food stuffs seem to be slow to arrive in our markets. I think lard might cause the surbanites at my local market to implode…they could not handle that concept. I find it ridiculous it is easier for me to buy make up and memory foam pillows at my farmers market then to find fresh herbs.

  6. Sean on June 7, 2010 at 03:30

    I don’t think I could pass up anything labeled ‘caveman cut’.

  7. andrew on June 7, 2010 at 05:41

    Since I moved to the UK 5 months ago, one thing i’ve noticed is how much more meat there is there is here in the farmers markets. That includes wild meats like game birds and deer, as well as pork, chicken, fowl, seafood, and beef. Good eggs are easy to come by in the markets as well.

    I used to go to the Marin and several SanFran markets. The difference is huge, much less veg. Maybe it will change during summer though as more crops come in. Still, about 3x more meat then any bay area market in even the smallest markets here.

  8. Primal Toad on June 7, 2010 at 06:09

    I visited my farmers market on Saturday as well! It was so damn packed! And, there were probably about 10 vendors selling strawberries! Why??!?!!?

    I bought 2 lbs. of bacon and lots of produce. I LOVE my vegetables – too much nutrition and you can eat a lot while still consuming less than 150 carbs :)

  9. Paul C on June 7, 2010 at 09:12

    Thanks mostly to you Richard I visited a farmer’s market for the first time. Half the booths were the same looking produce vendors like you said, although it sure is tasty produce compared to typical fare at a store. I also picked up some venison, buffalo, grass-fed beef, mushrooms and local raw honey. Most importantly, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and felt good about supporting local farmers.

  10. peterlepaysan on June 9, 2010 at 02:17

    Potatoes a good source of protein? I do not think so.
    Not even your link went that far.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 9, 2010 at 06:05

      Yes I meant to say that for a veggie it’s pretty decent.

      • peterlepaysan on June 10, 2010 at 01:14

        I have been known to fry them, in lard preferably. Yum.
        They are part of my confectionery (i.e. candy) ration.
        They are definitely not part of my protein ration.
        I even grow them. Definitely candy.

  11. […] you saw my post about last weekend's farmers market, then you saw that wonderful looking grassfed flank steak from Knee Deep Cattle Company. Well, […]

  12. Steve on June 10, 2010 at 17:08

    In small Connecticut I know of 11 farms/ranches where I can get pastured beef/lamb/pork/poultry, plus there are several cheese makers including Cato Corner Farm which has a national following. We also have dozens of farmers markets including four here in New Haven. People like the natural food available here, it’s great and life is good!

    Love the meatza!!

  13. Clover on June 10, 2010 at 21:14

    I went to Prather Ranch’s Ferry Building location today and bought one of their bone-in bacon chops and cooked it up tonight. The guy told me to do a simple salt and pepper rub, sear it in a cast iron pan and then bake it (in the pan) in an oven at 375 for 6 minutes. I failed to fully preheat the oven so the inside was a little pinker than it should have been, but it was incredibly tasty. Until tonight I thought I didn’t really like pork. No way you’re going to get that from a grocery store.

    Without your weblog I’m sure I’d have kept shopping the specials at Safeway, congratulating myself on saving money. Thanks for the clue.

  14. […] I've dabbled in grassfed meats over the last year or so, I never really got completely serious about it. I did a few orders from […]

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