"I’m trying to find money for African start-ups. But I’m much too African for this cold weather."
"What sort of start-ups?"
"Most of them combine agriculture and mobile technology."
"How do those two things go together?"
"Africa is is an interesting case because it skipped the PC age and went straight to mobile. The economy is still largely based on agriculture, and farmers are beginning to use mobile technology to keep track of weather updates, market prices, and improved farming techniques."
"Everyday at the market is kind of hilarious. Everyone here is a character…That’s when working at the Essex Street Market stopped being just a job. It became my community."
Over the next few months, we will be featuring the characters who make up the bustling corner of Delancey and Essex Street.
A historic culinary destination on the Lower East Side, Essex Street Market is home to more than 20 independent merchants. This week we spoke with Emilie, an employee at Heritage Meat Shop (pictured with a chicken above). The story behind the shop reflects the market’s diversity and how the people behind its businesses contribute uniquely to the NYC economy.
Business: Heritage Meat Shop
Owner: Patrick Martins
Sells: Non-commodity, pasture-raised meat
Been open for: Over 2 years
Who started the business and why did they want to be in the market?
Patrick Martins is the founder of Heritage Foods USA, a distribution company that sells directly to chefs, restaurants, and online customers. He started Heritage Meat Shop in 2011 after Jeffery’s Meat Market had to close its doors.
The space we occupy has actually been a butcher shop in one form or another for over 100 years. No one wanted to see Jeffery’s close and I think Patrick saw an opportunity to keep a tradition alive while also supporting his mission to make sustainably-sourced, heritage breed meat available to as many people as possible. Patrick asked Silva, who started working at Jeffery’s in 2004, to stay on board. Silva is an institution. If you don’t know him for his dry-aged steaks, then you’ll recognize him by his smile and loud voice. He likes to shout out to the crowd to hock the daily specials.
That’s the official reason, but we all really suspect that Patrick was just trying to get noticed by Anne Saxelby, the owner of Saxelby Cheesemongers. I think it worked. They’re now married and have a kid together.
What is your favorite memory at the Essex Street Market?
Everyday at the market is kind of hilarious. Everyone here is a character, but if I have to choose, it would be when we first started breaking down whole animals at the shop. That’s when working at the Essex Street Market stopped being just a job. It became my community.
What is Heritage Meat Shop’s specialty?
We sell non-commodity humanly raised meat with an emphasis on traceability. Our beef is grass fed, and all of our animals are pasture raised on small family farms.
Our pork chops are probably our most popular item. They’re a great deal, and the tastiest pork chop you’ll ever try! All of our pork is heritage breed which means they are genetically different from pigs found on commodity farms. These are the animals that historically were raised before industrialized farming came into practice.
Each breed is different, with their own unique characteristics. They vary in ways like fat content, texture, and size, but the most notable distinction is in flavor. Some breeds are creamy, with a taste that might remind you of buttermilk, while others can be described as mineraly or earthy. I’ve even had a customer point out that one breed had a red winey flavor. The fun part is experiencing the difference and coming up with your own descriptions.
Silva, our head butcher, has his own loyal following. You really can’t beat his dry aged prime rib. We always try to keep it in stock. We also carry more exotic products like goat, geese, and bison—things that you wont find just anywhere. And of course, we have a great selection of cured meats and charcuterie.
What is your favorite time of the week at the market?
My favorite time to be at the market is Saturdays when it’s busy, when we’re really moving, or Tuesdays when we get in whole animals and break them down for the week. Every culture has thier own cuts. I love the story that’s told by the different cuts that people request. There are so many ways to butcher meat; I am ALWAYS learning more and new things.
If you ever want anything custom-cut, just call us or stop by on a Tuesday. Our number is 212-539-1111 and we are more than happy to take requests for custom cuts.
Do you source any products from within the market?
Do wives and families count? If they do, then I think we are winning that game. (In reference to owner Patrick Martins and Saxelby Cheesemongers owner Anne Saxelby, who are married)
We’re all from different backgrounds with a dedication to heritage breeds and the farmers who grow them. Kieran is a drummer in a band. Silva was a rancher in Brasil—a genuine gaucho. Emilie has been a farmer and a professional horseback rider. Aldo was a butcher in Mexico. And Dick is a dot-com refugee who worked with Patrick at Slow Food USA.
What’s your favorite part about Essex Street Market? Let us know in the comments. Be sure to pay Heritage Meats a visit or call to order custom cuts, (212) 539 - 1111. You can learn more about the market at the Essex Street Market website.
via @iamparagon: Economic Impact of Immigrants
Immigrant New Yorkers comprise around 40% of the city’s population, making them key to its economic success. Parts of our Blueprints for Immigrant Integration aim to help immigrant New Yorkers maintain and surpass their economic impact.
The Newest New Yorkers 2013 immigration report released yesterday depicts the important social and economic role of foreign-born residents. Did you know?
- The City’s immigrant population has reached a new peak at more than 3 million residents, or 37% of the City’s population
- The largest immigrant group in the City hails from the Dominican Republic, followed by China
- Immigrant influx has been essential to maintaining the City’s record population growth
This is the latest volume in The Newest New Yorker series, which began in 1992 with the publication of The Newest New Yorkers: An Analysis of Immigration to New York City in the 1980s, and continued with The Newest New Yorkers, 1990-1994,The Newest New Yorkers, 1995-1996, and The Newest New Yorkers, 2000, which was released in 2005. The 2013 edition of The Newest New Yorkers builds on the preceding volume and provides detailed analyses of the latest available data. It continues a tradition of providing comprehensive information on the foreign-born to policy makers, program planners, and service providers, to help them gain perspective on a population that continues to reshape the city.
The latest edition of The Newest New Yorkers Report is out. Check it out to learn more about our immigrant population and quote statistics like a true member of team MOIA!