Forrest Pritchard is a full-time sustainable farmer and New York Times bestselling author, holding a BA in English and a BS in Geology from William & Mary. Smith Meadows, his farm, was one of the first “grass finished” operations in the country, and has sold at leading farmers’ markets in Washington DC for nearly two decades. Pritchard's first two books received starred reviews from The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and NPR, and his latest book is set to debut in 2018.

22 responses to “Behind the Scenes at a Local Butcher Shop”

  1. Suzy

    knowledge is power indeed! thanks for the insider’s look 🙂

  2. Jeff

    Spot on once again, Forrest. Your processor can make you or break you. When I went into the grass fed lamb business last year, there was only one choice for a butcher ~ The same small local butcher that has processed the beef, hogs, and lambs that I have raised for my own family to eat over the last 25 years. They butcher our lambs every week, and I know every employee there. I can’t even imagine using someone else.

  3. Heath Marcus

    Great overview of the process and why small business is so important! – Heath

  4. Pam Hess

    This is fantastic Forrest – my favorite story I ever wrote was on Blue Ridge Meats. Made me a believer!

  5. Shawn Morgan

    Interesting article, Forrest. I don’t know the NYT OpEd author, but work with his mom occasionally. Small world…..

  6. DKJ

    Its getting harder and harder to find a good butcher. This has made it that much harder to sell meat. Of course, people not having large freezer anymore has also impacted the sales of meat. Even a half lamb is hard to sell as most people don’t have room for that amount of meat.

  7. Lina

    Thanks for writing this. Very interesting! I’ve enjoyed the last couple of posts you’ve written and I think you should keep writing them – you know, in your spare time. I think meat is a hard thing for people a lot of times because they are so removed from it and its helpful to have things like this out there. And to see how it can be done right.

  8. Tonya

    I think family farms are very important and saving them to pass down is a wonderful thing. Now were your food comes from and being involved in it is a practice that has unfortanly long been forgotten. We raise our family on our 3rd generation farm, and I want to be able to pass the knowledge and ability to do so to my children. We raise all of our meat here and butcher some ourself. We raise most of our vegetable and put up for the winter. I am so thankful for other people like yourself, who is willing to pass on knowledge. Best of luck to you.

  9. Michael Wilson

    Thanks, Forrest. Very good piece.

  10. Sylvie in Rappahannock

    We love Blue Ridge Meats! As a personal chef, I have used them to source whole lambs and pigs for me – as well as processing whole animals. I have also bought already cut meat and sausages from them and ordered custom-cut pieces – both personally and professionally. I totally trust them – and yes, it is a luxury to have them. It should not be a luxury, but it is. The shortage of small scale slaughterhouses is definitively a bottleneck. Thanks for the great piece, Forrest.

  11. Virginia Natural Farmer

    I just dropped 2 pigs off yesterday at Blue ridge… I’d like to add to your story that they are humane certified and I find they are truly gentle with the animals, which, for me, is very important. I want to treat my animals with respect and dignity, giving them good lives in return for what they provide me and my customers with. I also work hard to try and bridge the gap between people and the food they eat these days… there is a huge disconnect… this article really helps bring the realities of where your food comes from to the forefront!

  12. Steven Schwartz

    Hi Forrest – here’s a video I shot at Blue Ridge that’s been viewed on YouTube nearly 30,000 times

  13. If slaughter houses had glass walls… (Video) | Agriculture Proud

    […] Pork Carcasses in a local slaughter house. Image via Smith Farms. […]

  14. Walter Jeffries

    Excellent post. We take pigs to butcher weekly. Our week revolves around the trip to the butcher followed by deliveries day. I’m fortunate in that my wife does the driving and I get to stay here on the farm.

  15. Cleo

    Blue Ridge Meats has been our butcher for several years. They do a wonderful job. Wish there were more operations like theirs!

  16. Adam Palin

    There is nothing humane about murdering animals. Animals do not want to die. And for the cycle of life. No other species on the planet causes as much suffering to animals than humans. Compare us to an actual meat eating species and you’ll see we have very little in common where as we have more in common if you compare us to a herbivore or a frugivore.

  17. Cathleen Shiff

    Have been using Blue Ridge for years, and I just love Lois! They are so clean, clean, clean! I have never smelled an ‘off’ odor there, nor seen a fly. They set the standard!

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