A rumor’s been circulating that sustainable-meat maven Bev Eggleston will soon be selling his wares at a Brooklyn butcher shop. Eggleston tells us that “it’s too early” to disclose any details, except that he won’t be selling through Marlow & Daughters. But he is in a New York state of mind: This weekend, he’ll be at Prime Meats to roast a pig for the restaurant’s Oktoberfest celebration on Sunday, which takes place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
And even more exciting for those craving the same pork served at Momofuku and Gramercy Tavern is this: “We have our eyes set on being local,” Eggleston says. “We’re going to supply New York from New York.”
Since he started his Moneta, Virginia-based company, EcoFriendly Foods, in 2001, “it’s been our mission to go nationwide,” Eggleston says. “We want to bring small, local livestock producers to distribution.” So Eggleston’s planning to replicate his humane meat processing plant throughout the country, and is currently in talks to open one upstate, in Essex, and another in Pennsylvania. With any luck, “in two years there’ll be EcoFriendly New York.” In the meantime, he’s thinking of starting a monthly subscription service to provide monthly meat deliveries to New York customers, CSA-style.
Eventually, Eggleston wants to have “50 plants in 50 states, or 40 plants in 40 states,” and to hit the top 10 major cities. Thanks to the attention given to local food in the health care bill, he says, “the Obama administration has its eye on us. The stars are becoming aligned.
“We’re trying to prove a food model,” he says. “We’re not just a purveyor; we want to supply inspiration to farmers and chefs. We can achieve what people assumed we couldn’t do — we can be responsible, on-time, competitive, and responsible. Farmers don’t usually get that rap.”
Speaking of bad raps, Eggleston harbors no fond memories of the night he spent in the Tombs after getting arrested for driving with a suspended license during a July delivery run. “I was in a pen with 35 guys; it was like a battery cage for laying hens,” he recalls. “It was so cold you could age meat in there. I’m sure there are a few convicts who feel that way.”