Sponsored by Oregon Business

The farm-direct meat revolution

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

By Linda Baker


Camas Davis runs the Portland Meat Collective, a year-old mobile butchery school.
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.



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
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

Company Present Accepted

November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

’Tis the season of giving — and that goes far beyond trees drowning in Lego sets and ironic knitwear. Santa Claus knows corporations are people too, in need of gifts to warm the hearts (and stomachs) of even the most Grinch-like CFOs.


Seven questions about mandatory sick leave

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
102815-contributedthumbBY DIANE BUISMAN

Many employers have questions about what mandatory sick leave means for their company. Take a look at the top 7 questions Oregon employers are asking.


Hot Topics/Cool Talks: Tinker, Tailor, Portland Maker

The Latest
Friday, November 20, 2015



Photo Log: Vigor Industrial, Swan Island Shipyard

Tuesday, November 03, 2015



Straight shooter

Linda Baker
Thursday, October 08, 2015
100815-bradleyBY LINDA BAKER

In an era dominated by self-promotion and marketing speak, John Bradley, CEO of R&H Construction, is a breath of fresh air.


OEN takes Portlandia route in new video

The Latest
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 3.27.58 PMBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Several Portland entrepreneurs make appearance in patently silly "The Dream of the Startup is Alive in Oregon" promo.


100 Best Nonprofits: Working for equality inside and out

October 2015
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Striving for social equity is the mission of many nonprofits, and this year’s 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon survey shows employees are most satisfied with their organizations’ fair treatment of differing racial, gender, disability, age and economic groups. But as a national discourse about racial discrimination and equity for low-income groups takes center stage, data show Oregon’s 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For still need to make progress on addressing these issues within their own organizations.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02