This is the fourth and final part of a winter series on local butcher shops. Check back next winter and I will do my best to cover the rest of the local options for meat processing!
T & E Meats
Interview with co-owner Lauren Iverson
Location & Contact Info: 256 Charles St., Harrisonburg, VA 22802; (540) 434-4415; email@example.com
Owners: Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms in Swoope, Virginia; Rueben Gobezie of Maranatha Farms near Lynchburg, Virginia; Lauren Iverson
Years in the business: T & E Meats, formerly Wholesale Meats, has served the community for a combined 52 years – it has been a processing facility since the 1930’s!
A little history: Tommy and Erma May were the previous owners for 35 years, for whom T&E was named. The retail portion closed about 12 years ago. Lauren’s passion for the field of sustainable farming and quality meat sourcing is clear. She worked for Polyface during covid for 3 years and then worked on the butcher floor as an employee for a year with an intentional dream of opening her own butcher shop and getting into homesteading classes, as that became quite popular. “Never did I think Joel was going to come to me and ask if I was interested and ready to take on management – it was exciting and scary!” There are currently 25 employees.
What they offer: Processing of beef, pork, lamb, and goat. Lauren shares, “We serve a really large part of the grass-fed market but we also do a lot of grain-fed.” T & E sells to restaurants and markets, as well as custom work. “Our specialization is super custom cutting instructions – our butchers can break down things in completely different ways.”
Most popular products: T & E Meats has developed a beef sausage and beef bacon. Lauren explains about a particular cut of bacon from the Boston butt, “Our buckboard bacon, or shoulder bacon, is super good – it’s kind of like regular bacon but has as little more meat to it and still has fat, so it’s not dry like Canadian bacon would be – it’s like getting more bacon out of a pig!” Their smoker seasons at least 1,000 pounds of meat in a week!
Hours: Monday through Friday 8:00 AM-4:00 PM
Beef is processed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays; hogs are slaughtered on Thursdays and Fridays.
Things to note: Tours of the facility are allowed and encouraged – “we are super open to that!” Lauren enthusiastically welcomes the community to come learn more about where food comes from.
A few more thoughts: T & E is a well-maintained facility with a zero-tolerance policy for contamination of the meat. The volume of work, retail-ready quality, and maximizing the cuts is what Lauren believes sets them apart in their field.