• Feature

Stillman Quality Meats

Melissa Dipalma

Right now the pigs at Stillman Quality Meats are polishing off the last of the farm’s peaches, apples, and heirloom tomatoes from the summer. And that’s not out of the ordinary; it’s customary for animals here to finish fruit and vegetable scraps throughout the fall.

“We always say, ‘You are what you eat,’” says owner Kate Stillman. “This really brings that mantra full circle.” Stillman, who grew up on a vegetable farm in central Massachusetts, has always had agriculture in her blood. In fact, she was running her own cut flower business at the ripe age of nine in order to save money for college.

A pasture-raised philosophy sets Stillman’s meat apart. Her animals are grass-fed, raised in natural environments, and never exposed to routine antibiotics. Her farm is also the only one in the state to feature an on-site poultry abattoir and red meat butchering facility—which means Stillman has control of meat processing from start to finish, an approach that takes the “farm-to-fork” concept to a new level.

Located in Hardwick, about two hours west of Boston, the farm carries a varied selection that includes pork, chicken, beef, lamb, turkey, and waterfowl (upon request). Products range from ground chicken, chorizo sausage, and roast beef tenderloin to more unusual items like lamb shoulder, kielbasa turkey sausage, and oxtail. There are at least 12 different kinds of roasts to choose from and more than 30 seasonal sausage flavor combinations (think Smoked Apple & Apricot, Roasted Beet & Dill, and Red Wine Rosemary). Meat can also be bought in bulk—package varieties include breakfast, braising, and stock. As for the item everyone lines up for, no surprise here: Customers are head over heels for the bacon. The farm smokes more than 10 different types, including Jalapeno, Maple Bourbon, and Raspberry Gin.

Several times a year, Stillman Quality Meats hosts events for locals to scope out the farm and sample some of its bounty. For example, the first annual Thanksgiving Open Barn will launch in 2017; here, customers can pick up holiday turkeys and sample cheeses, baked goods, and wines from other local vendors, plus watch demonstrations and tour the farm.

Stillman’s meats are sold online, as well as at a bevy of local farmers markets including Harvard Square, Copley Square, Somerville, and Needham. The farm also has an outpost at the Boston Public Market, where you’ll find a full range of products, plus fresh deli meats and sandwiches, charcuterie, frozen meat pies, and soups.

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