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Field Trip: P&E Mullins – Local

June 12, 2012

One of our favorite Christmas gifts last year was from my sister –a jar of the best bacon jam a piece of toasted bread has ever seen. Now, our love of bacon is nothing new (I bought more bacon and rhubarb just the other day for the scrumptious compote), but that does not mean we’re an easy sell for anything bacon related.

But this bacon jam?

wow.

It was, in a word, perfection. Perfect mix of salty and sweet. Perfect spreadable consistency. And perfectly good eaten straight out of the jar. In a moment of inspiration, we even used it as the “B” in a deconstructed BLT.

And then, like a soap bubble in a forest of pine trees, it was gone.

I’ve researched bacon jam recipes since then, but none seemed like they’d be anything like a good stand-in. When asked, my sister shared that it came from a place called “Local” in New Buffalo. P&E Mullins’ Local, to be exact. We’ve ogled the bacon jam* online since then. the bacon jam… the charcuterie… the fresh sausages…

So when it happened that we found ourselves not only in Harbor Country for the weekend, but driving into New Buffalo, we went off book. Telling the family we’d catch up with them, we headed for the unassuming two story house right on Red Arrow Highway with an “open” flag flying out front. The first thing we noticed walking in was the glorious scent of freshly cured & smoked meat. (apologies to the vegetarians among us, but there is something wonderfully carnal about the carnivorous smell of an old fashioned, working “butcher” shop). The second thing was the case of their current offerings. Bacon! Chorizo! Bacon Burger Dogs?!?! (sadly, no bacon jam, but we’d been warned not to expect any so it wasn’t that much of a let down)

I’ve probably mentioned it before, but one of the things I like about our passion for eating local and knowing – as much as possible – where our food comes from, is the people. A more thoughtful, interesting & engaging group of folks I’ve not yet met. They may be as disparate as ice cream and pizza ovens, but local food folks share a similar passion for their livelihoods that I love. (They are also a font of information. Want to know the difference between organic and sustainable? You could read this article, but it would be a much more engaging conversation with your favorite farmer’s market farmer.)

Being a somewhat lazy-slow holiday weekend day, we had a chance to chat a bit with the proprietors. Pat & Ellie, with their story of meeting in San Francisco and deciding together to move to the heartland and start their own shop, just oozed that passion. The proof of it, as if we needed any, showed up in the amazing bacon burger dogs we got that day. (coming tomorrow, our recipe for the rhubarb ketchup we slathered on the dogs). Handmade at Local, the dogs were a thing of beauty (says the girl raised in the shadow of bratwurst loving Milwaukee who typically shies away from anything vaguely sausage-like). Not surprising, they were all at once a juicy hot dog with notes of bacon hamburger.

If you happen to find yourself in Harbor County, we strongly recommend a visit.

*Sadly, they don’t yet ship the bacon jam far and wide (yet?). It is indeed so wildly popular that they’ve instituted “Bacon Jam Sundays” to give adoring fans a fighting chance of procuring theirs. We missed out on the last visit, but rest assured we’ll be sending big sister to get some for us in the near future.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 13, 2012 1:09 pm

    Those sausages sure look good…

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  1. rhubarb ketchup « after the (farmer's) market…

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