Friday, August 23, 2013

Carne Bellingham

There has been no butcher shop in Bellingham, Washington, for over 30 years -- until now! In July, Carne Bellingham opened its doors to folks who want to buy locally grown, grass fed, sustainably raised meat from a local butcher. What can you expect to find at Carne Bellingham? All things "Bovine, Poultry, Swine," as the sign on the door says.

For years Chad Johnson worked the meat department in area supermarkets, but he found that there wasn't a way to satisfy the customers' personal requests. Chad says people would come to him and say, "'Well the man/woman on that food show told me to go to my local butcher and say...' and they wondered why the mega-chain super mart doesn't look or act like a friendly neighborhood butcher shop." So he began to dream about Carne Bellingham.

After a short and very successful fundraising project brought in far more money than his original goal, Chad, his wife Anna, and his business partner, Shaun Almassy, jumped through the hoops to get the store open in July.

It's a small shop, but large enough to display many beautiful cuts of meat. We were there last Saturday, and the place was hopping! I'd read on Facebook about the 2-day special on chicken and by early that afternoon (Day 2) the supply of boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $4 a pound was nearly gone. Chad and Shaun are hoping that the presence of the Bellingham Farmers Market, just a 6-minute walk away, will bring in lots of customers who want high quality, affordable meat. That and word of mouth and the Carne Bellingham Facebook page and t-shirts seem to be drawing folks in.

The service is friendly and the guys are always ready to answer your questions. I was surprised to see them in white shirts with little evidence of their profession noticeable on their clothing. "Where are your white plastic aprons with the red stains?" I asked Shaun. "We just have those black and white striped ones," he told me, as he pointed to the aprons hanging on a hook. "Some day I'll make my own apron, with big random stripes on it, like they wore in colonial American butcher shops!"

As for quality of the meat, I've already had a bit of the bovine, poultry and swine -- each one delicious! We'll try the sausage, made fresh in the store, for breakfast tomorrow!

Is your mouth watering? Have a look at these photos. If it isn't watering after that, maybe you should consider becoming vegetarian!

Last night's dinner, purchased yesterday afternoon!
There were 9 for dinner and we ate just a bit more than half of the pork butt. Yummy!

An order ready to be picked up

Chad. left, and Shaun

If you go to Carne Bellingham, tell them Ginger sent you!

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