What’s in the food a family consumes matters, more so to Mark Faille than most. And that’s why the former mechanical engineer began raising food free of harmful chemicals, antibiotics, and hormones.

Mallery’s Grazin’ Meats came about because of its namesake, Rebecca Mallery Faille, his daughter who passed away in 1995 from a congenital heart defect he believes was caused by the chemicals in the foods her mom ate during pregnancy. At that moment, he vowed to never let someone else raise food for him and his family.

“I didn’t intend for this to be a business — I started raising vegetables, and then realized we’d have to do something for the meat,” he explained. “I got a couple of cows, pigs, and baby chicks, and took it from there. This was around 1998, and there were no organic farms in New Jersey like there are today. This was novel.”

What continues to make Mallery’s Grazin’ Meats unique is Faille’s approach: From day one, he wanted to do what was best for the animals he raised. So though it wasn’t the standard at the time, he chose to let cattle grass-feed rather than giving them cheap grain. Not only did he taste the difference, but so did local restaurants owners, who started to buy from him. He also reached back to the restaurants for assistance, sending them beef, pork, and poultry for feedback.

“No one could tell me why I should castrate my steers, so I didn’t, and no one could tell the difference when sampling the meat,” Faille added. “Not doing that also meant no need for antibiotics, which we don’t want in our food stream. This philosophy is the same at our farms in New York and Virginia, and among the 10 other families that raise livestock for us.”

Word spread, and so did the products offered, including frozen and fresh meats and poultry; vegetables; dairy and bread; and specialty items. His wife, Lynne, started making prepared foods, and that demand exceeded her ability to produce it. Eateries were born, another happy happenstance.

“We never intended to open the Eateries, but people wanted our wholesome and delicious foods,” Faille said. “We found the Hillsborough location and its big, beautiful kitchen, so now we have butcher shops and Eateries. You can get prepared foods, sandwiches, and take-out meals.”

Which, of course, led to a catering business, home delivery, and a butcher shop inside the Stockton Indoor Market, a true old-fashioned market where customers may haggle with the merchant to get the best, quality foods.

“This really became more than I ever expected,” Faille noted. “We want to thank everyone with Customer Appreciation Day on Saturday, October 11, at the Hillsborough location. From noon to 5 p.m. there will be a free pig roast and other food plus some sales and specials. We’ll be introducing a few new surprise products, too.”

Learn more about Mallery’s Grazin’ Meats at www.mallerysgrazinmeats.com or by visiting the Skillman, Hillsborough, or Stockton shops. Hours and directions are on the web. Like the company on Facebook by searching for “Simply Grazin’ and Mallery’s Grazin’ Meats.”

Mallery’s Grazin’ Meats, 382 County Highways 518, Skillman. 609-309-5451.

Mallery’s Grazin’ Meats & Mallery’s Eatery, 378 South Branch Road, Hillsborough. 908-336-8311.

Mallery’s Grazin’ Meats, Stockton Indoor Market, 19 Bridge Street, Stockton. See ad, page 20.

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