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A Tell-All Guide to Artisanal Butchery

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

Changing Roles in the Local Food Economy

The DIY craze has shacked up with the local food movement to produce some inspiring examples of entrepreneurialism: Mason jar magic made by suburban fruit salvagers powered by pedals; workshops on wild-crafting, axe-making, rooftop bees and city-living chickens; lecture series that focus on the how-to rather than just why, when and where; and more.

But we can’t just take pictures of these ingenious innovators for the glossies and call our work finished. We have so much creativity (and cabbage) fermenting at the intersection of craft, food, and agriculture–now we need to connect the dots. Read more

Two Ice Cream Entrepreneurs Talk About Starting a Food Business

On one of the hottest days of 2010, Santa Cruz, California was blessed with the unveiling of The Penny Ice Creamery, one out of a handful of ice cream shops in the country that are licensed pasteurizers.  Just a few short months later, business partners Kendra Baker and Zachary Davis are seeing their dream realized, a difficult balance to achieve in our current economic climate.  However, despite the financial crisis, or perhaps because of it, they are the first people to admit that much of their success was made possible by Obama’s stimulus plan.  On the heels of the Penny’s now famous YouTube video, thanking the administration for the Recovery Act (which prompted a live call from Vice President Biden), I sat down with the pair to hear directly about the ins and outs of their business. Read more