There are no doubt dozens of incredible meat producers in America -- small farms, independent collectives, high-end branded puryeyors. I haven't eaten all of their meat, much as I would like to. But I've eaten a lot, and thought about it long and hard, and I am ready to give my short list of what I consider to be the country's greatest small-scale independent meat people. If you have a chance to get meat from any of the follwing producers, whether in a retail store or in a restaurant, don't hesitate. I should also say here that I know most of these guys, and have even had a few involved in Meatopia at one time or another.
Border Spring Farms, Patrick Springs, Virginia
A small farm of just a few acres, tucked away in the southwestern corner of Virginia, Border Springs Farms is a kind of secret weapon of southern chefs, many of whom descend on the place in summer for an annual outdoor bacchanal called Lambstock. The farm's lamb is raised on an all-grass diet, like every other lamb, but the grass is itself carefully planted and farmed. The meat is rich and well-marbled and has a lovely, piquant flavor that doesn't really taste like anything else. I really like it.
Eco-Friendly Foods, Moneta, Virginia
Winner of the "lamest name" award, Eco-Friendly Foods is a collective of small farms represented to the world by Bev Eggleston, an eccentric but charismatic former farmer known for his eccentric behavior and eloquent advocacy about food policy. I say "eccentric." Really, Eggleston is a stone weirdo, although loveable. Eco-Friendly's best and rarest product is 100% ossabaw pork, the same rare breed used in Spain for the legendary jamon iberico. Typically, much of Eco-Friendly's pork is from various hybrid animals, but all of it is incredible. I've had tough pork blade steaks from the place that were better than any berkshire pork under the sun.