Brandon and Lauren Sheard – Husband and Wife; Owners and Operators. Brandon and Lauren met in the spring of 2007 in southern California while finishing up their graduate degrees; Brandon in Renaissance English Literature, Lauren in Religion and Theology. They dated that summer and fall, turning each other on to Kierkegaard and John Milton, and by Christmas of that year, were engaged. On the very date of their engagement they were introduced to a home-building project on Vashon, where Brandon’s parents live, and made the move to the Island the following February. They were married June of 2008, when Brandon simultaneously left his job at Whole Foods in the supplement department, in search of more rural work closer to home.
A month later, Brandon was hired by Sea Breeze Farm on Vashon Island. There he was introduced to the arts of small scale animal husbandry, abattoir, butchery and charcuterie and worked there from August 2008-August 2010. After one year on the farm and managing markets, Brandon transitioned to la Boucherie, their restaurant and butcher shop, as head butcher and charcutier. While pregnant with their first child, Lauren helped Brandon in the shop by wrapping meat late into the night before market days, reading various culinary books on the shelves and taste testing recipes (and house made wine) at mid- work day lunches.
As their family expanded, in the fall of 2010 Lauren and Brandon created Farmstead Meatsmith. They work well as a team; Brandon on the front lines of farmers’ fields, butcher blocks and home larders, and Lauren as the accountant, scheduler and professional washer of greasy cutting boards. They both are visionaries for the business and, above all, love witnessing good food bring people together.
Wallace Dietrich Allen Sheard, 5 years in training – Senior Jr. Meatsmith.
John Luke Benedict Sheard, 3 years in training – Jr. Meatsmith.
Brandon Simon Lewis Sheard, 1 year in training – Jr. Meatsmith.
Mary Josephine Mattea Sheard, 2 months in training – Nursing Meatsmith
As of January 2015, New Additions to the Crew:
Lauren Garaventa, Butcher
Lauren Garaventa is a whole animal butcher on Vashon Island. She got her start in butchery taking over for Brandon at Sea Breeze Farm & La Boucherie in 2011 where she found a love and talent for curing meat and making sausage.
After leaving in 2013 and working in Seattle at Rain Shadow Meats for a bit, she started a small livestock operation, raising pigs, sheep, cows and poultry, and has been providing butchery and charcuterie services to other island farmers. She believes that being a small farmer gives her a different perspective as a butcher and has helped focus her skills to create a distinct whole animal butchery style without using mechanical saws. She believes that the slower and more old fashioned practices pay more respect to the animal and hopes to further her knowledge in the craft of by-hand meat cutting at Farmstead Meatsmith.
Lauren also runs Meat & Noodle, an island based food club, whose main focus is getting well raised local meat to its members through pop ups on Vashon and in Seattle. Read more about Lauren’s work here. Needless to say, she is a very talented butcher and we are excited to have her work with Meatsmith.
Bethany Dilworth, Butcher’s Assistant
In the four years she has lived on Vashon, Bethany’s interests in food and farming have increased exponentially. The biggest learning curve thus far has been the raw milk micro-dairy at Cornerstone Farm that she co-owns and operates here on the island. In addition to all things dairy, her culinary passions include natural fermentation in all its forms, traditional preparations for cooking and curing, utilizing the abundance of fresh ingredients from the farm, and baking for any and every occasion.
*****‘Sowse us therefore, in the Powdering- Tub of thy Mercy, that we may be Tripes fit for the Heavenly Table.’