Two Rivers Meats Turns Trimmings Into Edible Treasure
Two Rivers Meats has built their reputation on supplying restaurants and grocery stores with ethically raised meat, but as they continue to expand they’ve discovered that they have an ethical dilemma of their own – what to do with all the trimmings?
“You know, we buy a whole cow and people want to buy the tenderloin, rib eye or strip loin, but what about the rest?” said Jason Pleym, owner of Two Rivers Meats.
Pleym’s decision to do something with ‘the rest’ inspired Two Rivers’ first charcuterie creation – the common yet delicious pepperoni stick. The stick was a hit among breweries, which drove Pleym to expand the line to a stunning array of cured meats from prosciutto, to elk salami and nitrate-free ham.
In order to expand the charcuterie program, Pleym brought in experienced charcutier, Ryan Byrd. His ability to turn trash into edible treasure helped scale New York-based Fleishers Craft Butchery from a tiny commissary operation to a 10,000 sqft production hub with two restaurants and four shops.
“The reason why I fell in love with this particular part of food culture is that the entire point of its existence is to not throw food away,” said Byrd. “Essentially, it’s taking all the stuff you can’t sell, mix in some spices, put it in a casing, dry it and the result happens to be delicious.”
Byrd may make it sound easy, but when he explains the process it is anything but, which is why few companies are willing to take on the challenge.
“The reality is that making charcuteries is actually really challenging. The food safety science behind it isn’t widely accepted in North America, so there needs to be a heavy amount of food safety knowledge and hiring a consultant is really expensive,” said Byrd. “The other half of it is that it’s really hard to source material and overhead is high, which is why I think charcuterie programs almost need to be a byproduct of business.”
A byproduct of Two Rivers’ charcuterie program is demand and, according to Byrd, lots of it. The program has grown fivefold, especially in the Okanagan wine region where vineyards need something easy and elevated to serve when plying guests with wine. Fortunately, charcuterie pairs perfectly with BC’s naturally acidic wines.
Until recently, Two Rivers’ charcuterie weren’t available domestically. They only supplied commercially, but since opening a new eatery in North Vancouver – aptly named ‘The Shop’ – the program has opened up to the public. Charcuterie boards for all!
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