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FAQ’s and Answers

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  • Do you have any apprenticeship/internship opportunities?  Unfortunately, no.  We are a single, small-family homestead and business and haven’t the time to manage labor, though we are very much encouraged by their enthusiasm for our work.
    By simplifying what we offer, we find this opens us up to having more classes and opportunities for folks to learn via our regular education outlets (e-chapters, films, etc.).  We sincerely hope that you can take advantage of these opportunities.  They really are the best way to learn our craft in a focused, intense environment.  Please do stay in touch by signing up for our occasional newsletter so you can hear of these classes, etc. as they are offered.
  • How do you make headcheese?  Recipes, curing advice, etc…   We cannot answer these questions in detail over email.  We hope you can attend a class for uniquely intimate education on these items.  Please also make sure to visit our On the Anatomy of Thrift films for  good coverage on many of these harvest products and topics.  For a several other topics, we’ve also created our The Butcher’s Salt series, which we hope to expand in time.  Please do acquaint yourself with each of these resources.
  • I want to become a butcher.  How can I create a ‘meatsmith’-type operation where I live?  Hardwork, ingenuity and endurance.  There is no template for what we do.  Again, please attend a class if you are serious about starting a similar operation and we can share all our experience.  We built our shop over the course of five years using craigslist and helpful neighbors.  Our business growth has been entirely organic, letting necessity be our guide.

For Small Farmers seeking our processing:

  • What’s the difference between you and other custom processors?  How much more meat do I get back?… Together with your good, small-scale husbandry, our processing will produce a very unconventional product for you and your customers in a number of ways. First, for pork, the skin stays on, making natural curing a possibility as well as yummy crackling on all roasts, pork rinds, etc.  This also ensures that most of the exterior fat (back fat) stays on the pig too, making for a full 100% of hanging weight possible on slaughter day–not to mention that any of the offal is available to harvest if you like.  Most other custom processors skin pigs and in the process remove at least 25% off the hanging carcass including skin, fat, as well as the head and feet.  With us, you get all of this back increasing your return by dozens of pounds.  Once in the butcher shop, it is also standard in other shops to remove another full 1/3 of the hanging weight in fat and ‘trim’ scraps.  With us, you get back, again, 100% of hanging weight.  Essentially you get what you pay for.  Alongside this is all the obivous things like not using nitrates/nitrites in the cures, MSG in the sausage, and other unhealthy additives.  This should go without saying, but you’d be surprised at how many other processors use these.  We use simple recipes and allow the good husbandry of the pork to speak for itself on the palate.  With us you have the option of old-world cures hanging right in your kitchen.  We educate all our customers how to finish their cures if they’d like to tackle it themselves.  We only use sharp knives (i.e. no band saws which only shred–not slice–the meat leaving it susceptible to quicker spoilage).  Our sharp knives (from antique carbon steel, not stainless) also allow us to slaughter sheep and goats with the knife only; no captive bolt stunning which actually registers longer consciousness and more pain in the animal.  We cut for culinary ends to each part of the animal…not ‘portioning’ as the restaurant industry has made standard.  We want to help homes and families create better meals and we make ourselves available to customers long after they pick up their meat for questions.
  • Do you process poultry?  If you have a flock of over 40 meat birds we can process for you.  Anything less and we suggest you attend one of our summer chicken harvesting classes to learn the skill yourself.
  • How much should I charge for shares of my lamb, pork, etc.?  It’s different for everyone.  We always tell our customers not to try and fit within any certain market, but to simply add up your costs and add in whatever markup you need to make it worth it for you.  For many of our customers this means finding a price between $4 and $9/pound, depending on if that includes any or all of the processing costs.  What most folks do is charge for the hanging weight and then each customer pays us for their processing costs directly.  Most of all, charge what is fair to your good husbandry.
  • How do you raise your pigs? and other husbandry questions… Unfortunately we cannot attend to these questions individually as every farm is different and requires different advice.  If you want, when we come to your slaughter, we can consult you on better management methods, diet to fit your needs, and other points of interest for your operation.