Pork Disappointment

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It’s been so long since I posted…. and to post a disappointment feels terrible. However, I think it’s important.

As you might have guessed from my nickname, I am a pork lover. I usually buy from Tamarack Hollow, and I like Flying Pigs as well. However,  for the past few weeks I have noticed that the Queens County Farm folk have had pork. Well, it’s so nearby, I decided to give it a try.

Unlike most meat sellers, their pork is wrapped in brown paper. Trustingly, I requested a pound of pork loin and forked over my $17 for it.

I got home late that night and went to make my husband and myself a quick dinner. I opened up our pork to find that at least half of it was fat, and another quarter was the bone. We were left with about 5 ounces of pork for the two of us. A serving of meat according to nutritional guidelines is between 3 & 4 ounces per person.

I’m a fan of fatty pork, don’t get me wrong. It’s where the flavor comes from, and it’s part of the animal. I’m fine paying for bones too. But I have an issue when I literally paid $17 for pure fat and bone and less than a serving of meat per person… Especially when I expected (I think rightfully so) to get at least two full servings out of the pound. Perhaps I would have chosen another cut if I could have seen the meat. Perhaps not. I don’t know.

I do know that I feel mistrustful of buying meat from them again. The brown paper packaging, while quaint and lovely to look at, is put on and then the weigh sticker is added to prevent you from seeing the meat. I have an issue with this.

I like spending money on small farms, and I do not begrudge farmers the money I spend. At the same time though, I know that Tamarack Hollow’s pork loin is not sold this way. I am not sure about Flying Pig. Either way, I won’t be buying meat from the Queens County Museum Farm again. Maybe honey (and theirs is more pricy than others in the market), and veg – but I’ll only buy what I can see there.

There’s few things I like less than a bait & switch. Especially in this economy. We market buyers are still buying… and still paying premium prices because of our commitment to local foods. To cheat us of all people is very low. Not all of us are high-paid executives. A good number of us are decidedly middle class in a city that’s priced for the upper-classes.

As to the quality of the meat? It was fine. If outrageous at the cost. If they change their packaging, I may buy from them again. For now though, their meat has left nothing but a bad taste in my mouth.

~baconbit

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6 Responses to “Pork Disappointment”

  1. Michael Grady Robertson Says:

    Dear Blogger,

    A friend directed me to this post and I’m thankful for it. The Queens County Farm Museum is new to the Greenmarket and we are still trying to figure everything out. I welcome all criticism.

    We are looking into alternatives for the brown butcher paper.

    I apologize that you did not find your purchase to be a good value. Please contact me directly and I will surely make amends.

    Sincerely,
    Michael Grady Robertson
    Director of Agriculture
    Queens County Farm Musem

  2. Grocery guy Says:

    OK, first, to think that you were “cheated” on purpose by a farmer who farms at a not-for-profit farm museum is a self-centered lie.

    They’re raising pigs in QUEENS please remember and last I checked there aren’t a ton of slaughterhouses on Long Island. Farmers upstate have the luxury of choosing from any number of slaughterhouses that can custom cut, cryovac the cuts in clear plastic and then freeze them for the farmer. This is just not the case within easy drive of the 5 boroughs.

    Cut the farm some slack. Also, maybe you could have acted like an adultand gone back to the stand the next week and told them about your purchase to get credit for it instead of writing a post complaining about how a farm museum in Queens is trying rob you.

  3. baconbit Says:

    @GroceryGuy
    ONE: I own my own vacuseal – yep. That’s right. I got it at Costco. Since I can vacuseal in my 610SF one bedroom apartment, I’m not really sure why TQCM can’t vacuseal their meat.

    TWO: You don’t know what I have, or have not done, since posting. This blog is here to review whats available at the market. Prior to this, I have NEVER named a single group out with a negative review. This is not to say that I have not had issues with some vendors. I HAVE had issues with a number of vendors who I think are either rude to their customers (multiple times, in fact), or are overpriced.

    THREE: TQCFM, as you can see above your reply, is taking steps to amend it. This was intended as constructive criticism. Since seeing this post, they are now offering their meat on display where customers can see it, which as far as this customer is concerned, is far better than the previous option.

    FOUR: I never said they cheated me ON PURPOSE. I think they made a mistake in how they package their food. However, their food IS more expensive than other options at the market. My favorite meat vendor is Tamarack Hollow, but I don’t buy their eggs because their eggs are $8 a dozen, when I can get as good eggs from another farmer for $4 a dozen. Cost *is* an issue in this economy. Pricing to the market is important. I already am paying far more for my food than most people I know, I budget for it, and I’m happy to do it – but the food at tQCFM is more expensive *accross the board*. Their honey is more expensive, their veggies, EVERYTHING they sell is more expensive. That’s fine, they are not for profit and trying to make a point. But I don’t have to buy it, especially if it’s more expensive and has LESS VALUE. If it’s of equal value to others, I am happy to subsidize the extra cost.

  4. baconbit Says:

    @Michael Grady

    Your meat tastes great, and I’m glad you are looking into alternatives to the brown butcher paper.

    I’m hesitant to contact you personally, because part of what I value on this blog is my ability to remain anonymous to the farmers in the market. I think that if people don’t know who I am, I will be better able to report on the market as a “regular user”. I do not want specialized treatment based on the blog.

    I’ll be back and am happy to poke around again at your stand. Last week I saw that some cuts had the butcher paper open – that’s a good start. Maybe make sure your salesfolk know to tell buyers they can see the meat, if they want. I know that would have made a difference for me. I assumed I couldn’t, because they were sealed with a sticker, which is my own fault. I should have asked.

    I’m glad you took the criticism in the spirit it was intended. I hope that the QCFM is sucessful in the coming seasons.

  5. baconbit Says:

    @Grocery Guy:

    You are right: I did say “cheat” in my post, which is pretty harsh – but that’s sure how it felt.

    I’m amused that you were more offended by the criticism than the actual Farm was though!

  6. BG Says:

    I was at the QCFM yesterday and all the mat is now packaged in see through wrap and the people selling it were only to happy to have me pick thrugh their cooler to get the cut I wanted..I dont really know how to cook a pork shoulder chop but I am going to give it a go..

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