Could you say that I'm a discerning consumer? Possibly. However, I do feel vindicated when one of my favorite places get the recognition that they deserve. The place that I wish everyone knew about is Applestone Meat in Stone Ridge (and now Hudson).

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This is the place you may have heard me reference with the "Meat Vending Machines" that are open 24 hours a day. Crazy, right? You decide that you want to go shopping and get yourself a Tri-Tip or Short Ribs, and maybe even some Lamb Chops, or Hot Dogs or Sausage for breakfast? Yes, you can go there at 3 o'clock in the morning and swipe your card, then boom, head home with the goods.

Bhunter/tsm

Applestone Meat was recently recognized in Food & Wine Magazine for their commitment to the craft of butchering and making it affordable for all. Yes, you get a higher quality of meat that is worth the drive. One of the most underrated professions is a meat cutter/butcher. I see these jobs as ones that can turn a hunk of meat into not only usable products, but can also answer questions for you about how to cook those items. Truly a lost art.

Do you patronize a butcher or do you just look through the packages at the grocery store?  While for the most part, I am ok with purchasing grocery store meat to cook with at home, I long for more. More what? Let's start with more flavor. Yes, the grocery stores do a good job at getting you value-priced options to feed your family, but does the meat taste good? Really good?

I have found that going to a place that specializes in just meat, can really change the quality and taste of the meals that you serve your loved ones. There are a few places that I have been shopping, from Marbled Meat Shop in Cold Spring to The Meat Market in Great Barrington and Hahn Farm on Salt Point.

bhunter/tsm

Each trip I make to Applestone Meat in Stone Ridge, I do try to go while their 'customer service window' is open or I will order one of their online packages and then pick it up. and their meat vending machines. I have been following these guys since they had their other shop under a different name in Rhinebeck.

Will you like their products? You would have to try them to be able to say yes or no. You will have to get over the meat vending machine. Hey, they are temperature controlled, auto-mat style machines that take credit cards and dispense you with taste cuts of lamb, pork or beef that you take home and cook. Simple. Plus in this time of Covid, they are cleaning and restocking the machines to keep everyone safe and the options of meat a'plenty.

Not sure if a butcher is for you? Make time to go into one near you and have a conversation with them. Ask about different cuts, how to prepare a specific item or just what the specials are. Remember, they are doing this because they love to do it. They are the experts, and they can help you make the most out of the toughest cuts or take the most tender pieces of meat to tasty nirvana.

There is a reason that there are more butchers in the tri-state area than there were even 10 years ago. The Applestone's are the reason. Check them out and look for a butcher that is close to you. Try them. Ask them questions. Order items in advance and don't tell your family you made a change, see if they notice.

Of course, when my family is quiet at the dinner table, that is when I get the best compliments. They are so focused on the flavors of what they are eating, they don't have time to fuss and complain about one another, lol.

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