I find it embarrassing. It’s beyond merely sad or disappointing.
The comment I received recently from Greg up on the farm only served to solidify my position. It’s embarrassing that our local restaurants don’t support this world-class local pork producer and that all of their output is being sent down to the big city.
Admittedly, Flying Pigs Farm is expensive. I would agree with Greg that it is not expensive for what it is. But compared to conventional pork from Sysco, it’s in an entirely different league.
So naturally when Flying Pigs Farm pork is on the menu it’s not cheap. At Telepan it’s on the menu for $31 and at Il Buco it will set you back $29. Mind you, these are Manhattan restaurants with Manhattan prices where restaurants need to pay Manhattan rents.
Obviously there is still something about restaurants in Albany that I’m missing, because it’s not uncommon for these price points to be in line with some of our local top tables.
One of my mantras over time has been that Albany restaurants should be less expensive. However, if they are going to charge the same prices as Manhattan restaurants, they should at least be able to deliver the same quality ingredients. Right? Especially since these ingredients come from our backyard.
Allow me to demonstrate how restaurants in our area would seem to be able to charge enough for an entrée that includes restaurant quality ingredients like the pork for Flying Pigs Farm. In no particular order:
Angelo’s 677 Prime has at least 11 entrées that are more than $30.
Taste has 8 entrées that are $28 or more.
McGuires has 11 entrées over $32.
Yono’s has 12 entrées at $28 or above.
The Brown Derby has 5 entrées at $28 plus.
Jack’s Oyster House has 11 entrées over $30.
Provence has 5 entrées priced at $28 plus.
Nicole’s has 8 entrées priced at $28 plus.
And this is just scratching the surface of Albany without even venturing up to Saratoga Springs.
A few of these restaurants would be a natural fit for Flying Pigs Farm’s delicious pork products. The Brown Derby carries a Pride of New York seal on its menu. The restaurant has shown a commitment to local products and having pork from Flying Pigs Farm would be consistent with that. 677 Prime is grill centric and its guests seem to be insensitive to price, so primal cuts of heritage pork seem like a match made in heaven. Chef Yono is into the unusual, so much so that he has kangaroo on the menu. Unique breeds of pigs that most people have never tasted seem right up his alley.
There really isn’t a serious butcher here that I would expect to carry this pork. Honest Weight Food Co-op seems to reluctantly have some frozen meat on hand for some of the most ridiculous prices I have seen anywhere.
With any luck Flying Pigs Farm will decide to start selling direct to consumers at one of our local farmer’s markets in the near future. I’m pulling for the Troy market. Yes, it’s been a long time since I’ve been. But it seems to be the most convenient for those coming from the three cities to its north, west and south. Plus it’s four seasons long, and there are great donuts nearby (both glazed and Boston cream).
The Schenectady Greenmarket would be another good option.
But for now it is really up to the restaurants. Perhaps if they know that people are paying attention, one or two of these places will step up their game. I’d be thrilled to help promote each and every fine dining establishment that puts pork from Flying Pigs Farm on their menu. Hopefully you all would be equally thrilled to eat it.
Then we could all hold our heads up, just a little bit higher.