The Fountain Prairie Farm stand on North Carroll Street is a must-stop for beef fanatics at the is home to a herd of over 300 Scottish Highland cattle, along with a drift of Berkshire Hogs. This beef and pork is raised primarily on grass, without hormones or antibiotics, and served at the farm's bed and breakfast, as well as more than a dozen restaurants around Madison. Fountain Prairie also sells more than 30 different cuts of meat at the market -- steaks, roasts, ground beef, and more -- as well as brats, sausages, and other cured products.
The Priskes do not work any other markets, and they are completely content with that fact. "The Dane County Farmers' Market is the best in the country, and it's been very rewarding for us," notes John. "We have great customers and many have become close friends as well."
He spoke to The Daily Page about Fountain Prairie Farms and the market
The Daily Page: How did you become a farmers' market vendor?
We started selling asparagus at the Dane County Farmers' Market in 1986 along with my brother Tom Priske, owner of Priske's Asparagus Farm. In 2002, we added dry-aged Scottish Highland beef. We no longer sell asparagus at the market; Tom and his family take care of that while we concentrate on beef.
What else do you offer through the summer season?
Beef, beef and more beef. We also have brats that are a pork/beef blend and an all-beef summer sausage. Smoked beef strips and all-beef snack sticks are a very popular summer snack for market shoppers.
What's your most popular product?
Ground beef .
What's your most remarked upon offering?
Whatever a customer bought the week before -- how great the flavor was. We get lots of comments on the inter-muscle marbling and size of our rib steaks. People also comment on the chart we have at our stand that shows the different beef cuts, what part of the animal they come from and how to cook them. There are over 300 cuts on a beef cow, with 1,000 different names for those cuts, so our chart helps people become more knowledgeable about what they're eating.
What's your favorite product elsewhere at the market?
My sister Helen's potato buttermilk donuts using our mother's recipe, and any cheese from Bleu Mont or Hooks.
What's your pre-packaged, supermarket-shelved guilty pleasure?
If you were to make a dish incorporating your products, what would you make?
Perfect Pot Roast.
The recipe is: 1 3 lb. chuck roast 1 medium onion, sliced 2 cloves of garlic, sliced 3-4 sprigs of thyme 1 c. red wine Salt and pepper to taste
Place sliced onion, garlic and thyme in bottom of a roasting pan. Sear chuck roast on both sides in large skillet and place on top of onions. De-glaze the skillet with the red wine and pour over roast. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and roast in a 300-degree oven for three to four hours.
Remove roast to a warm platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Discard thyme sprigs. Place roasting pan over medium heat. Whisk juices to incorporate garlic and onions and to scrape up any brown bits from the pan. Taste sauce and add more salt and pepper if needed.