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Meat Moves

Side Dishes: Orsini's BBQ tries out local

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After a Seven Days article (“Season’s Eatings,” April 21, 2010) pointed out how much of the prepared fare at the winter Burlington Farmers Market was sourced from afar, Angel “Sonny” Orsini of Orsini’s BBQ decided to see if he could make some changes.

Although he says he recognizes the value of using local products — and has read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma — Orsini was having trouble sourcing Vermont meat for his smoky, traditional ’cue. Smaller local suppliers couldn’t sell him just the cuts he needed — many deal in whole animals — but he wasn’t ordering enough to contract with bigger businesses.

With a little perseverance, though, Orsini was able to buy brisket from Boyden Farm and locate a supplier of natural pork. For now, he’s offering one localvore item a week at the Saturday market. That will help him gauge whether consumers are willing to pay the premium: A small, conventionally sourced pulled-pork sandwich costs $4, while the local version is $7.

If eaters are on board, Orsini notes, he’s more than happy to phase out the conventional offerings. “I think a fresher product, preferably a local product, would be far superior to something that’s packaged out in Texas,” he says. “That’s the long and the short of it. I hope it becomes a mainstay on my menu.”

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