When we started working in the meat industry back in 1976, most independent butcher shops were family owned and operated. Families inherited the business from their fathers and in turn left the business to their sons. In fact the store name "Father & Sons" was common in the industry. Their meat was delivered in large refrigerated trucks. Inside were rows of whole sides of "hanging" beef that the butcher kept in his cooler, cut and sold as needed...fresh! In the 80's and 90's the migration of families moving to suburban areas led to a big increase in large supermarket chains and they began to pop up all over the country. Sadly, the small family run butcher shop got hit hard and we saw so many close their doors after generations of doing business. During these years we serviced these supermarket chains along with the dwindling number of mom and pop butcher shops in the northeast. But it wasn't long before we began to see a decrease in the amount of band saw blades and meat grinder plates and knives needed to keep the supermarket meat cases full. The reason for this was that they were buying "boxed beef"...wholesale sides of beef that is cut, vacuum sealed and shipped to supermarkets all over the country. Presently, it is estimated that 90% of all beef sold in the USA is boxed. As consumers, we noticed a big difference in the quality and taste of this meat. Then slowly, we began to see an interesting shift in the independent meat market industry. We saw young men and women opening butcher shops, but with a twist.
Our first organic meat market account was owned at the time by Joshua and Jessica Applestone now owners of Applestone Meats. The same quality meats with an innovative added feature of 24/7 shopping with vending machines! The shop was modeled after their vision of providing a quality product from cows that were grass or grain fed, sourced locally and raised humanely and organically. Young, hip and tattooed, clearly inspired by the "slow food" movement, these young people understood the demand in the market for good quality meats, sustainability and the need to support local communities...and in the end, the result was evident in the first bite! It was that taste...the taste I hadn't had since I was a child in the 50's and 60's!
It wasn't long before Josh also recognized the need to train men and women interested in learning the art of butchery aspiring to open their own shops in towns across america. He offered eight week classes where...in his own words, "no one leaves without knowing how to cut". After completing Josh's course, many of the students went back home to open their dream shop. Now they needed equipment! New meat cutting equipment is expensive. Especially for young people with little capital. After maintaining, repairing, and rebuilding many a piece of meat cutting equipment for Josh, he was confident in sending his students to buy from us. We've rebuilt meat cutting equipment for shops are far away as California and Colorado. Even with the cost of freight, we were able to furnish these shops
with most of the equipment they needed at less than half the cost of new.
So if you haven't yet started buying your meats from a local butcher, give it a try! You will
be supporting local butchers and farmers who raise healthy animals and delicious healthy
meats for your table!