Feb 25, 2021 - News

Greene, Iowa butcher shop takes meat hyperlocal

Meat.
A cut of meat from West Forty Market. Photo courtesy of West Forty Market

West Forty Market, a rural butcher shop in Greene, is opening a new 1,200 square-foot store in uptown Ankeny at 315 Southwest Maple.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the volatility of relying on national meatpacking plants, especially in the early days when consumers experienced meat shortages and price gouging.

  • Not to mention, large-scale factory farming continues to be a major source of global greenhouse gas emissions, as Axios' Bryan Walsh reported.

How it started: John and Sue Ebensberger started selling cuts of meat from the cows on their hobby farm in 2013.

  • Their daughter, Teresa Davis, lives in the Des Moines area and sold meat from her home, as well as at the local farmers' market for the last five years.
  • Her dream was to open her own store, but she had a full-time corporate job. When she was on maternity leave last year, her job was eliminated.
  • "I kind of took that as my sign of, 'This is your chance to do it, if you're going to do it.' And so — I did," Davis told Linh.

The store: Davis, who plans to open the new spot in the spring, wants it to be a "one-stop shop" where people can pick up a cut of meat for dinner or order half a cow to store in their deep freezer.

  • She plans on selling beef, poultry and pork, and she's currently looking for a turkey farmer.
  • The products are grass-fed, grain-finished and raised without antibiotics or added hormones.
  • She also wants to sell other locally-produced items, such as honey, barbecue sauces and seasonings.

The bottom line: "There's a science to it. It's an art," Davis said.

  • "Anybody can raise a cow in their backyard ... but to really get quality-marbled meat from every single cow, ... we're very, very consistent with it."

This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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