Think of it as the North Fork’s only farm-to-butcher-case experience.
Last month 8 Hands Farm, the 28-acre sustainable livestock and produce operation in Cutchogue, unveiled a new butcher shop in its farm store. A new wraparound glass case is stocked with a rotating selection of fresh, farm-raised meat.
The farm previously only offered its meat, like rack of lamb and pork shoulder, vacuum-packed from its freezer.
“As a kid growing up in Northport my mom would take me to the butcher and I would see the saw dust on the ground. That kind of old school butcher shop is what we wanted to create,” said 8 Hands co-owner Tom Geppel. “We always wanted to take this [operation] to the next level. We’re super excited to have it open”
Pine paneling in the butcher section mimics the original siding found in the mid-century barn. In the store you’ll find items like thick slabs of bacon, provençal sausage made with tomatoes, garlic and herbs and pork liver with salted anchovy.
Other items of note are pork paupiettes, sausage stuffed with bread crumbs and milk and wrapped in caul fat ($16) and coddled egg, which is made with clarified butter and sea salt and is sold read-to-boil ($1).
All the meat offered is made on premises with animals grown on the farm, which include heritage breeds like Tamworth pigs and Icelandic lambs and pasture-raised chickens. And although the farm is not certified organic, Geppel and his wife Carol Festa feed their animals organic grain and adhere to sustainable practices.
“We’re very transparent,” Geppel said. “Anyone can ask any question they want.”
The food is all the creation of chef Julien Shapiro, a 1992 Shoreham-Wading River High School graduate who has studied under Hugo Desnoyer, one of Paris’ most well-known butchers.
Shapiro, who the Washington Post once called a “charcuterie master,” joined 8 Hands full-time in March after a stint as sous chef at North Fork Table and Inn. He said he looks to Old World techniques in the kitchen and adheres to seam butchery, a technique which involves separating the meat by cutting along its joints.
“I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel,” he said. “I look back for inspiration.”
The farm store also offers prepared items like chicken coq au vin, ratatouille and fresh pasta made with the farm’s eggs.
The animals are slaughtered at a USDA meat processing facility in upstate Canaan and butchered in the farm’s recently opened restaurant kitchen.
Regular customer Bennett Brokaw of Mattituck stopped by on a recent afternoon to pick up ingredients for Sunday dinner. A passionate home cook, he said he was “in pig heaven” to have such a store so close to home.
“It lives here, it’s processed here and it’s purchased here,” said Brokaw, who planned to make a meal with lamb, local sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts that night. “It’s a single source. That’s what I like.”
Other plans for 8 Hands Farm include a soon-to-open food truck — which will stay parked on the property — and a cheese-making operation.
The 8 Hands Farm store and butcher shop is open Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Find it at 4735 Cox Lane in Cutchogue.