Vendor in the Spotlight: Scratch Meats - by Katrina Emery

Vendor in the Spotlight: Scratch Meats – by Katrina Emery

July 6, 2016 |  by  |  Blog, Vendor Profiles

Jeff Garritano is passionate about sausages. So passionate, in fact, that he gave up his job teaching middle school science and algebra to throw himself into making sausages full-time.“It’s a family thing,” he tells me, citing his heritage and the family Italian sausage recipe as the first hints of passion.

After a stint working in the meat department at a national food chain, Jeff started making his own sausage for friends. He was still teaching then, and as his customers grew to a longer and longer email list, he figured he’d try selling at some markets during his summers off. That first summer, three years ago, he did two markets–one of which was Montavilla. “I was more tired at the end of the summer than the beginning,” he laughs, adding, “That’s not how you want to start a school year.” That marked a decision for him: teach or make sausage. He couldn’t keep doing both. As he entered the school year in the fall he gave notice that it would be his last year. The following summer he expanded to five markets, then to seven this year.

Along with his partner Sabrina, Jeff once lived in Italy and Switzerland, where a lot of his recipe’s flavor profiles come from. Hoping to expand his repertoire, the two of them recently took off on a month-long trip to Eastern Europe for sausage research. The inspiration was plentiful. “Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, they all use spices like cumin and coriander, and add offal and rice to the sausages,” he says, which aren’t found in his classic recipes. In Budapest, Hungary, they tried a Lamb Merguez sausage from North Africa, with Hungarian paprika in the mix. His version of that dish is now on the menu, sitting amongst a variety of flavors like Chicken Spinach Feta, Chorizo, Cheeseburger, Bratwurst, and a pork braising sausage.

All the sausages are made fresh from raw cuts of meat and local ingredients. After processing, they’re vacuum-sealed and quickly frozen, ensuring complete freshness. That freshness is the differentiating factor between them and other market sausages, which are cured, smoked, or otherwise pre-cooked. As we chat, the market opens up and people begin to file past. Jeff pivots to the first few browsers, switching gears to shout out, “Best sausage in the world, can’t pass it up!” He creates seasonal specials every week: the sample he’s passing out this week is Blueberry Breakfast, their maple breakfast brat with added fresh blueberries. The Cherry Brat (available for a few more weeks) showcases cherries from the market’s own Baird Family Orchards, two tents down.

To cook, Jeff advises going slow, with low, indirect heat. On a grill, place the charcoals on the opposite side of the meat. To steam, splash some water in the pan and cover, keeping the heat low and steady.

 

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