There’s more than one way to crack an egg. For farmers Jeff and Melanie Brunty, who tend to 17 acres in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and 38 acres in Ashland, providing Akron locavores with their pasture-raised meats and eggs has grown beyond participating in local Community Supported Agriculture and supplying their products to stores such as Mustard Seed Market & Cafe and Earth Fare. This month, the duo opens the Farmer’s Rail Artisanal Meats and Butcher Shop in Bath Township. The shop offers custom cuts such as pork chop, steaks and cured meats, plus handcrafted sausages and cartons of Brunty Farms’ beloved eggs. We talk to Melanie Brunty about what to expect from the new venture.Q: Why did you want to expand the farm into a butcher’s shop?
A: For us, it’s about having more quality control. We’re farmers first. We raise these animals to the highest standards. When you send them off to be made into the final product, you lose control. Being a butcher shop will allow us to focus on consistency. Q: You plan to offer artisanal sausages at the shop. What are some flavors to expect?A: We’ll have the standard flavors — breakfast, Italian, chorizo, kielbasa — and then we’ll rotate in seasonal flavors. We do a lamb merguez sausage, which is a Moroccan-style sausage seasoned with red wine and roasted red bell peppers. We also do fun chicken sausages, like a Buffalo blue cheese and a spinach and feta.
Q: You raise your animals on non-genetically modified grains and supplemental feeds. That’s great for the animals, but how does it benefit consumers?
A: The quality is first class compared to what a lot of people are used to. Customers say, “Oh my gosh, this is what meat is supposed to taste like.” You eat it, and you just don’t feel bad. You can tell right away that it’s a healthier, higher-quality product.
Q: What can we expect to see in the future, once the shop is up and running?
A: We’re going to do a charcuterie tray with hanging meats, salamis, aged chorizos, prosciuttos and some great local cheeses. We want to keep it all-natural, no synthetic nitrates and no preservatives. It’s going to take a minute to get going, because they take longer to cure, but hopefully by next year, we’ll be able to do all our own charcuterie and deli trays.