Joshua and Jessica Applestone are gearing up to offer home delivery of charcuterie and other meats to Hudson Valley customers soon. The former owners of Fleisher’s Organic and Grassfed Meats are spending the summer getting ready to launch the Applestone Meat Company. They’re developing recipes, configuring their fun new refrigerated van and acquiring equipment like dry-aging cabinets and hot and cold smokers.
The Applestones are clearly excited about this new venture, which will let them work even more closely with the local farmers who were the lifeblood of their butcher shops. With social media outlets already set up, they are actively seeking suggestions and requests from their future customers. They plan to deliver quality salami, hams, hot dogs, beef sticks, jerky and meat – fresh or frozen – to private homes, as well as selected pickup locations for a more economical option. There will not be a retail storefront.
Another facet of the business will be providing expert game-processing services to hunters during their seasons: something that is not always easy to find or done well. Jessica Applestone gives as an example making burgers from ground venison. “It’s a wonderful meat,” she says, “but people don’t realize that mixing lamb fat with ground venison makes an amazing burger.”
The pair, who opened Fleisher’s Organic and Grassfed Meats on John Street in Kingston in 2004, later moved to Wall Street and also opened shops in Rhinebeck (now closed) and Park Slope, Brooklyn. Along the way they’ve attracted a following of carnivores seeking their trademark warmth and know-how in the old-timey butcher shops owned by young people committed to providing beef, pork, lamb, poultry and sausage from local, sustainably raised animals mostly raised on grass, without antibiotics, hormones or pesticides, in a way that’s in sync with the environment.
The Applestones earned a national reputation not only for their innovative approach in the meat industry and doing nose-to-tail before it was trendy, but also for skilled butchery and an eagerness to share the knowledge, with demos, classes and comprehensive courses. With co-author Alexandra Zissu they published The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat: How to Buy, Cut and Cook Great Beef, Lamb, Pork, Poultry and More (Clarkson Potter, 2011). These two ex-vegetarians also offered elegantly risqué black tee-shirts with phrases like “Praise the Lard,” “Juicy Loins, Tender Rumps,” “Bacon Gives Me a Lardon” and several more.
The Applestones still retain a percentage of Fleisher’s, which is expected to continue, but the Applestone Meat Company will be their main focus. During this brief time of experimentation and “getting comfortable with the machines,” Jessica says, they would love to get requests and input via their Facebook page, Twitter or the website www.applestonemeat.com. A phone number is in the works. The timeline calls for being up and running by August 1, with home delivery beginning mid-month.
“Our newest venture will allow us to work even more closely with the multitude of farmers who grow, raise and sell the best food in the Hudson Valley,” add the Applestones. “Nothing thrills us more than supporting independent producers, figuring out ways to get more great products to more people and doing it all with a sense of responsibility and stewardship.”