MEAT AND FISH:
—Gary West Meats Silver Fork Natural Steak Strips, www.garywest.com. For reasons unclear to me, a good deal of jerky is made in Oregon, but this is some of the best I’ve tried anywhere. It’s not too spicy or too desiccated, it’s a little moister than most jerky, and it contains no hormones, antibiotics, steroids or added nitrites. But this small business has a lot more to offer than just one kind of steak jerky! You can find their Buffalo and Elk Jerky, Certified Angus Beef Jerky, jerky for your favorite canine, and smoked meats (turkey and ham). A surprising number of other specialty foods are packed into this shop, and many are very good (Barry Kepner’s Ooga Booga Sauce can be purchased here, among others, and Sarah Jo’s caramels are a must-have). If you can’t get to the store, at 690 North 5th Street in Jacksonville, you can order many items online.