Farmer in the Deli
Fresh Food - from pigs to eggs to produce
Every Sunday between May and November, you’ll see a long line of people curving out from under a tent in front of the antiques store in Scotts Corners. Underneath the tent is John Ubaldo, owner of John Boy’s Farm and Pound Ridge’s own local food hero. Ubaldo, who gave up his career on Wall Street to become a farmer after 9/11, sells everything from fresh eggs to Berkshire pork to smoked duck to his fanatic followers, who wait patiently while he takes the time to explain the best way to prepare his ribs to the head of the line, knowing that he’ll provide them with the same attention when it’s their turn to order.
Ubaldo is on a mission: to provide clean, locally grown food to people who appreciate the effort involved (one customer brings Ubaldo acorns for his pigs). From his 185-acre farm in Cambridge, New York, Ubaldo raises chickens, ducks, geese, and turkey as well as pigs. He sells his products at farmers markets in Scotts Corners, Mt. Kisco, and Muscoot Farm.
Born and raised in Pound Ridge, Ubaldo had no intention of farming full-time, or “extreme farming,” as he puts it. But after doing research on the best-tasting pork, he decided to put his efforts into raising Berkshire pigs, a rare breed originally from England. “The idea was to avoid giving the pigs any drugs or medication, and just produce an absolutely insane piece of meat” says Ubaldo.
In 2007, he became the only farmer in the Northeast approved by the American Berkshire Association to raise Berkshire pigs, and he now has a herd of 120. While most pigs are raised to seven months old and 240 pounds, Ubaldo’s aren’t slaughtered until they’re a year old and around 420 pounds. “The meat is darker and more marbled and more flavorful,” says Ubaldo. Chefs from the Kittle House to North Star count on Ubaldo for fresh weekly deliveries. Brian Lewis, chef of the Bedford Post, says: “The pork tastes so good because of the way in which it’s raised.”
But it’s not an easy life. Ubaldo is up at five most mornings, and although he acknowledges that products from small farms may be more expensive than mass-produced goods, he is encouraged by his customers’ support. “Trust me, money disappears faster on a farm than in the stock market. Now that I’m in it, and I see what people are getting out of it, it’s kind of unstoppable.”