The farm-direct meat revolution

| Print |  Email
Articles - June 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

By Linda Baker

 

0611_InTheCut_01
Camas Davis runs the Portland Meat Collective, a year-old mobile butchery school.
0611_InTheCut_03
At a recent Portland Meat Collective class at Kitchen Cru, Adam Sappington, chef and owner of Country Cat Dinnerhouse and Bar, shows participants how to carve a lamb. // Photos by Teresa Meier

Camas Davis is sipping tea in the Pearl Bakery, expounding on the lost art of butchery. “The knowledge of what constitutes a good cut of meat is completely gone,” says Davis, a former food editor at Portland Monthly magazine who is now the proprietor of the Portland Meat Collective, a year-old mobile butchery school. ”We don’t know how things are slaughtered or why. We don’t question quality or price. So the meat world gets away with a lot.”

A few blocks from the bakery on NW Broadway is Kitchen Cru, a shared kitchen space where Davis, 34, and an alternating crew of instructors teach students — single moms, hunters, hipsters — how to carve up whole lambs, pigs and sides of beef. “I’m trying to get consumers to understand meat enough that they can own a big part of the process,” says Davis, whose clients leave class with the meat they have mastered.

PMC is one of a small but growing number of businesses that are pushing the boundaries of Oregon’s local meat industry by offering “farm-direct” meat purchasing and products and classes targeting the craftsmanship of how that meat is butchered and prepared. Bridging urban and rural, the eclectic outfits include “private meat clubs” such as Portland’s Gorilla Meats, as well as family farms such as Kookoolan Farms in Yamhill, which last year offered its first how-to-humanely-kill-a-chicken class.

The sold-out class will be offered several times this year, in addition to workshops on curing bacon and ham without nitrates, says co-owner Chrissie Zaerpoor, “It’s a natural extension of buying meat from your farmer,” she says. Capitalizing on demand, farms are also diversifying into “meat CSAs,” in which customers purchase in advance a “share” of the animal harvest, be it a side of grass-fed beef or a dozen free-range chickens. About 50 farms offer such community-supported agriculture programs today, up from only a few in 2007, estimates Chris Deck, co-owner of Deck Family Farm in Junction City.

One of the pioneers, Deck’s CSA is now growing 25% annually. About those boundaries. It’s not happenstance that Davis’ operation is called a “collective,” or that farmers usually refer to CSA “shares” instead of ground pork or sirloin. Federal regulations require meat processed in facilities without an on-site USDA inspector to be consumed only by the owner. That means businesses bound by those rules must technically sell live animals — or portions thereof — to their clients, who become the “owners” before processing.



 

Comments   

 
Ermintrude
0 #1 Congratulations Ms Davis!Ermintrude 2011-05-26 08:43:04
We at Home Grown Cow love hearing about people like Ms Davis. We wish her well as she spreads the word of the many benefits of purchasing meat directly from a farmer.
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #2 MrGuest 2012-07-08 19:26:38
i've always been fascinated with butchering and am on youtube loads watching all. i found ms. davis one of the best for info and fun to watch. pretty too. thanks
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Storyteller in Chief: Power Player

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY LINDA WESTON

In 1996, after a 17-year career in the destination marketing industry, where I gained national standing as the CEO of the Convention & Visitors Association of Lane County, I was recruited by the founders of a new professional basketball league for women. The American Basketball League (ABL) hoped to leverage the success of the 1996 USA women’s national team at the Atlanta Olympics — much like USA Soccer is now leveraging the U.S. Women’s National Team’s victory in the World Cup. The ABL wanted a team in Portland, and they wanted me to be its general manager.


Read more...

Baby. Boom!

September 2015
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

A new co-working model disrupts office sharing, child care and work-life balance as we know it.


Read more...

Reader Input: Road Work

March 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Oregon's roads are crumbling, and revenues from state and local gas taxes are not sufficient to pay for improvements. We asked readers if the private sector should help fund transportation maintenance and repairs. Research partner CFM Strategic Communications conducted the poll of 366 readers in February.


Read more...

Balancing Act

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY DAN COOK

The Affordable Care Act has triggered a rush on health care plan redesign, a process fraught with hidden costs and consequences.


Read more...

Up on the Roof

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

In 2010 Vanessa Keitges and several investors purchased Portland-based Columbia Green Technologies, a green-roof company. The 13-person firm has a 200% annual growth rate, exports 30% of its product to Canada and received its first infusion of venture capital in 2014 from Yaletown Venture Partners. CEO Keitges, 40, a Southern Oregon native who serves on President Obama’s Export Council, talks about market innovation, scaling small business and why Oregon is falling behind in green-roof construction. 


Read more...

Downtime with Debra Ringold

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Dean of the Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University


Read more...

Farm in a Box

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Most of the food Americans consume is trucked in from hundreds of miles away. Eric Wilson, co-founder and CEO of Gro-volution, wants to change that. So this past spring, the Air Force veteran and former greenhouse manager started work on an alternative farming system he claims is more efficient than conventional agriculture, and also shortens the distance between the consumer and the farm.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS