Subscribe to Bacon and Support Our Whole Animal Program
“If you buy a pig raised by your neighbor on his farm or from a rancher outside of town, he will have more money to spend, some of which might even come back to you. One thing is certain: That farmer or rancher can now raise more animals, raise them well, and supply more concerned consumers with better-quality meat-meat they can trust as well as enjoy.”- From Whole Beast Butchery by Ryan Farr
Can a bacon subscription be a small step toward a more ethical, more sustainable future?
Yes! In fact, subscribing to bacon, breakfast sausage, and chorizo is part of a bigger idea that’s been underway for a while: our whole animal sourcing program. While launching our Bacon Subscription in Seattle and Portland (for our Austin subscribers, we're working on launching this program in your city in the coming months), we realized this was a great opportunity to speak to how these rotating selections actually help usher in a more sustainable future.
Whole animal butchery is a reemerging practice among butchers and ranchers around the world after having fallen by the wayside sometime in the middle of the last century. But, it presents some unique challenges that require a big commitment at the local level. Fortunately for us, that’s the kind of thing that gets us out of bed in the morning, because it directly impacts the future of our food system for generations to come.
“The meat industry has come to be dominated by a handful of huge corporations that slaughter and process most of the country’s meat at large centralized facilities.” -Foodprint.org
This is the biggest challenge: A small percentage of companies own a large percentage of the meat processing industry. This leaves smaller ranchers in the lurch as they struggle to meet the quotas (sometimes hundreds of animals) demanded to gain access to large butchery processors — their only option in many parts of the country. How’s a small rancher going to focus on raising animals responsibly, sustainably, and humanely, when it becomes a numbers game?
The core idea behind supporting whole animal butchery is supporting local producers in turn. Think about it: If you were a chef and wanted to source a whole cow for your restaurant this week, would you look online? Order from a website? Get it shipped to you? All signs point to no. You’d look to your local partners. And, after acquiring your animal, then comes the other piece of the puzzle: How will you go about butchering it?
Whole animal butchery requires training and honed skills. It’s a craft that requires an acute knowledge of how every part of an animal can be used, from snout to tail. Butcher shops used to be an integral part of our communities, but nowadays, it’s a dying art — unless we choose to support not just our local farmers and ranchers, but also our local processing facilities.
Here’s the good news: You’re already part of the solution by subscribing to MilkRun. In other words, you’ve already joined us in our mission to support local ranchers across three cities: Pure Pastures in Canyon Lake, Texas; Hidden River Farms in Montesano, Washington; and our treasured Northwest butchers at Revel Meat Co in Portland, Oregon — one of the last USDA-Certified processing facilities left in Oregon that specifically dedicates their craft to serving small to midsize ranchers (like our partners, Little Seven Seven Ranch and TMK just to name a few).
“The truth is, over the last three decades, corporate consolidation and control have put small and medium-sized meat processing facilities out-of-business, while paying farmers less and charging consumers more. Diversity in our food system, including meatpacking, allows for more resilience, in good times and bad.” - Darvin Bentlage from The Missouri Independent 10.08.21
We’re working with our partners in all of our cities to lay the foundation for our whole meat program. To be more precise, we’re diversifying our selection by offering a unique bacon subscription that goes beyond just belly bacon by featuring unique cuts like sirloin bacon, jowl bacon, Szechuan bacon and more.
Why does this matter?
Because when we source different cuts of meat from our ranchers, we’re playing a part in valuing the whole animal, not just a choice cut. A big part of the imbalance in our food distribution system comes down to the difference between used and unused food. In the case of sustainably raised meat, we want to go beyond just the familiar choice cuts of beef, pork, and poultry in our weekly offerings. After all, if everyone is just buying a chicken breast all the time, what does that mean for the rest of the meat? Better question: If it’s local, sustainably raised, and delicious, why not have it delivered to your home?
If your local farmer knocked on your door to see if you’re interested in jowl bacon this week, wouldn’t you jump at the chance to get a cut?
We’re giving you that chance right now.
And don’t miss out on these curated selections: