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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Trip to Marksbury Farm (and a Prosciutto and Peppercorn Asiago Panini Recipe)

As you may know if you've been reading this blog for a while, I've slowly moved toward organic and local foods since moving back from France in 2009. It has been a slow evolution in our eating habits, but we've decided that the healthier choice is to eat foods that aren't processed and for which we know the origins. We've been able to do this largely because of a CSA that we joined in 2009 (for our vegetables), and we had moved largely to locally and naturally raised beef and pork from St. Asaph Farm, but the opening of a local business, Marksbury Farm, has allowed us to be more spontaneous in our cooking. We often bought in bulk from St. Asaph, which was great, but required a lot of forethought. (I also love that St. Asaph's Preston Correll is one of the partners, so I am still supporting that farm's endeavors.)

A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to have a tour of Marksbury Farm along with local food bloggers Lori from Fake Food Free, Melissa from My McDonald Meal and Sami from A Teenage Gourmet. Marksbury Farm is a lot of things--meat processing facility, butcher shop and farm market--but to me, it quite simply is my favorite place to shop for food in my region. Although Central Kentucky is rife with farms, historically, there haven't been very many meat processing facility for small farmers in the area. I'm lucky enough now to live near one that also has a great butcher shop and market.

Richard McAlister at the meat counter at Marksbury Farm.

One of the things I love about Marksbury Farm is their commitment to selling humanely-raised, natural and antibiotic- and hormone-free meat. (For more information on their requirements, go here.) They will process animals from any farmer who contracts with them, but will only buy from farmers who adhere to these guidelines, which means, then, that when I buy from Marksbury, I know that my meat is natural and safe.

Holding pens for livestock

Marksbury treats the animals with dignity before death, providing livestock with pens that overlook the local farm land and fresh water. For the sake of my readers, I didn't photograph much inside the plant, but I would like to say that the facility was impressively clean and that the thoughtfulness in processing made me feel good about the food I eat. (For example, they stun the animals before slaughter to reduce pain and stress.)


They prepare all of their meats on site, which includes smoked meats, marinated and prepared meats (like meatballs and marinated pork loin), and various meat pies.

Richard at the extensive meat counter in the retail store

The storefront, which is actually down the road from the meat processing facility, has a quaint country store feel. As soon as you walk in the door, you see the impressive array of meats--including beef, pork, lamb, and poultry. In my experience, if they don't have what you're looking for, they'll get it for you. There's even a hand-written list by the cash register for you to list your wanted items. I have never been there when I didn't know another customer, and it's been a great place to exchange ideas, give cooking advice (and get some!), and just chat about our lives.

In addition to meat, Marksbury Farm also offers other local products, including cheeses, milk, bread, pasta, flour, and produce. My daughter is particularly fond of the chocolate milk they carry that contains natural ingredients (like real sugar...gasp!). I have not been a fan of milk since my early childhood, and even I like this chocolate milk.

If you're interested in stopping by, which I highly recommend (as you can probably tell), the shop is located at 73 Fisher Ford Road in Lancaster, Kentucky, only 10 minutes from downtown Danville. They are open on Thursdays and Fridays from 12pm-6pm and Saturdays from 10am-4pm. If you're in the area, make sure to stop by for some delicious, local ingredients!

Prosciutto and Peppercorn Asiago Panini
All ingredients for this sandwich (except for the olive oil and tomato) were bought at Marksbury Farm.

2 slices of whole wheat sourdough bread
2 slices of prosciutto
2-3 Tbl coarsely grated peppercorn asiago cheese
2 extremely thin slices of tomato
Olive oil for brushing

Preheat your panini grill or a pan.

Distribute half of the cheese on one slice of the bread. Layer the prosciutto and tomato on top and then sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Place the other piece of bread on the sandwich. Lightly brush one side with olive oil. Place the oiled side down on your grill (or pan) and lightly oil the other side. Grill your panini until the cheese is melted and the outside is crispy and brown.


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Lori February 22, 2011 at 9:46 PM  

Great post. You got some fantastic photos! I skipped last week, but I'll have to go back this weekend. Everytime I go, I buy so much we needed to catch up on our eating! :)

Peggy February 23, 2011 at 5:27 PM  

Such a great place to have in your area! Definitely love the panini flavor!

Mindy February 23, 2011 at 8:58 PM  

Lori, we didn't go this weekend either--we are so tempted whenever we go that we thought we should eat what we have before going back! :-)

Peggy, we feel lucky! They've started to deliver to Louisville if you're interested!

Darcy March 7, 2011 at 12:03 PM  

I really wish they had been there when I was at Centre!! Rachel and I would've gone all the time! Or at least a few times. It sounds so amazing!

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