When it comes to shopping locally, it would be instructive to go alongside chef Jonathan Justus. Unfortunately, those without a restaurant kitchen can't always buy what he buys. So we asked the chef and co-owner of Justus Drugstore for a few recommendations on where home cooks can find some high-quality local ingredients.
Today he discusses some of his favorite vendors that make their products available on the retail market. If you missed our conversations with him earlier in the week, click on the following links to learn about what his restaurant represents and why it's not always bad to wait for your food (parts one and two).
Shatto Milk -- He [Leroy Shatto] doesn't use BST or rBGH [bovine growth hormone]. On top of that, his cream and butter are the best I've ever worked with. The butter changes flavor over the course of the year based on what the cow is eating. It's nice and light and lower in fat in the summertime, and then in winter it tastes like pecorino has been cut into it because of that higher fat content.
We make a lot of soft cheeses in here. So during that huge freeze where Shatto couldn't produce, we had to buy commercial creams and milks for two weeks. But none of them worked. The antibiotics in the milk meant the bacteria wouldn't take. We couldn't make cheese.
Campo Lindo Farms -- Their eggs have never tested positive for E. coli or salmonella. Their chickens have great flavor, and they're easily available.
Paradise Locker Meats -- They may be the best kept secret. They're used by super, high-end chefs, but they don't know anything about merchandising or marketing. Their products are impeccable. It's where you go if you need to make head cheese or a pig's head, ears, snout, or tails. They have some of the best pork raised in the country and the finest beef. It doesn't look fancy, but the best chefs in the country use them.
Martin Rice Company -- Associated Grocers. One-pound bags. I was invited to participate in a best recipe contest [the World Rice Conference recipe contest in 2009]. I won $5,000, and they flew me out to the Philippines. I then had the chance to judge the world's best recipes, and I was shocked that rice from Missouri was right up there. I was in the Philippines, and everybody knew about this co-op in southeast Missouri. The rice is milled beautifully with very little broken content. It's an amazing product.
Providence Farms -- They're out of Trenton [Missouri]. They're in the summer at the farmer's market in Kearney and at Briarcliff. I like them, Lisa and her husband [Gerry Newman]. Their produce doesn't have blemishes. That's hard to find here.
The Rare Hare Barn -- Callene Rapp is helping to raise threatened livestock species. I love to come to tables and tell them the rabbit you just had is an endangered species. But if nobody eats it, it's not sustainable. We lose the genetic lineage. Her rabbits are great, and this is all about biodiversity.
[Image via Culinary Idea Lab]