It’s an unlikely story: A vegan chef and his vegetarian wife open a butcher shop that becomes a commercial hit and an industry game-changer. It all started thanks to that omnivore gateway meat, bacon, which for years was Jessica Applestone’s one vegetarian exception. When she started craving more meat she searched for meat that aligned with her ethics: Something raised with respect for the animal and for the environment. But she found meat labels confusing.

She concluded her best option was to buy a whole steer from a farmer, but how to deal with a whole animal when she was the only meat-eater in the family? Jessica’s dilemma revealed a gap in the market: Butcher shops that break down whole, well-raised animals for the average home cook. Her husband Joshua saw an opportunity and the couple began the painstaking training and groundwork that eventually became Fleisher’s Grass-fed and Organic Meats in Kingston, New York. Read more

Pig Day starts early in the morning with a rushed drive to pick up a beast and haul it back to our house in Oakland, California. Usually the rendezvous with the our pig is at a farmers’ market or a collaborating restaurant. We pick up the animal – whole and gutted – and realize again that a whole pig is a nastily unwieldy thing as we struggle to get it into the car. At this point, my husband Renato’s grumbling – which has been a low gurgle for the few days preceding Pig Day – grows louder. Read more