Where's The Beef?


The East End is undeniably a foodie paradise, but while fresh, local farm produce and seafood are plentiful, quality meat can be much harder to find. Some may remember the days when it was commonplace to see cows grazing happily in East End pastures, but it has been decades since a South Fork farm has produced beef for the hungry public. There are some options nearby for chicken and poultry, but you’d have to look considerably farther for a locally sourced steak or sausage—until now. Acabonac Farms (yes, spelled with one less “C” than the harbor or the road) is bringing high-quality, conscientiously farmed beef to the East End and your front door.

Spearheaded by Stephen Skrenta, a businessman turned food producer, Acabonac Farms, which rents pasturage from farmers and is based on Shelter Island, opened for business last May with an online store that delivers to the tristate area. Acabonac Farms meat is grass-fed and “pasture finished,” which means the animals are healthier and the meat is lower in fat than beef that comes from factory farms. Acabonac’s mission statement mentions its commitment to environmental responsibility. Some of Skrenta’s cattle graze on the fields of the bucolic and historic Sylvester Manor, on Shelter Island (above), and are said to actually be helping to revitalize the soil there.

The beef is now being sold online (at acabonacfarms.com) in prepared single-purchase or subscription boxes, from the ’Burb Box, a whopping 12.5 pounds of steaks and ground beef, to the Bone Box (for broth or your favorite English bulldog). The boxes can be pricey—the Burger Box is about $106—but they reflect the quality and scarcity of the products, and the two-day FedEx shipping is free. Combining deliciousness with sustainable practices, this is a burger you can feel good about.