What do ex-vegetarians know about meat?
Actually quite a bit honestly! Whether one is a vegetarian for personal health or the planet’s well being or for the life and welfare of an animal, the approach of the humane butcher and the vegetarian/vegan is very similar; to be part of a system that creates change for the treatment of animals. That’s where we stepped up. A simple principle honestly, to support regenerative, sustainable agriculture and to support local family owned farms doing it the right way and yes there is a right way to consume meat! From this simple idea, Hudson & Charles was born.
A love for animals, a passion for butchery and a commitment to sustainability extends beyond the brick and mortar walls of Hudson & Charles’ two locations. j. & Kevin, (recovering vegetarians 16 & 10 Years) together for over 14 years, are active in the shops daily. You might even see them both at one location together. A rare sighting in the wild! They work hard to ensure the next generation of butchers are trained properly in one of the countries only structured apprenticeship programs, ensuring this trade lives on for generations to come. Kevin still drives upstate every week to pickup the sides of beef & pork from the abbatoir and to smoke meat at the farm smokehouse, while j. keeps the butchery up to standards and the palette of Hudson & Charles consistent and evolving.
J. grew up working in his grandfather’s kosher deli/Chinese restaurant on Long island. He later went on to become a professional photographer, at Christie’s Auction House, until the economy downturn of 2008. After the economic collapse he began shooting food to expand his portfolio and this included photographing a lot of meat. In doing so he started to research farming techniques, including raising animals humanely and sustainably completely on pasture. He realized that there was a philosophical difference between small family farms who care about the environment and their animals than that of the huge commercial feedlots. He eventually sought out an apprenticeship in an upstate New York whole animal butcher shop. A few years later J and Kevin opened H&C.
Kevin comes from 5 generations of Irish Butchers. McKenna Meats operated in Belfast, Northern Ireland on the Falls Road, up until early 90’s, when his Uncle Robert shuttered the doors . “I still remember … Grandma would cook Roberts lunch, a plate of lamb round bone chops broiled perfectly with boiled potatoes and peas, wrapped in day old newsprint and I would hurry up to the shop as to ensure the food wouldn’t get cold. Robert would be making tea in preparation for my arrival. Sawdust covering the floor, the meat case filled with various cuts and fresh sausages all made that day. After lunch Robert would teach me a few things including sausage making.”
Our Apprenticeship Program
Hudson & Charles, operates one of the countries only intensive butcher apprenticeship programs in the country. A one year program where, apprentices, learn the craft of whole animal butchery, from knife skills right through to beef breakdown and muscle seaming. We are commited to help ensuring that this craft lives on for generations to come, and to respect, not only the animal by utilizing all of its parts, but also the farmers who work tirelessly in the fields to raise these animals using regenerative farming practices.
Do you have what it takes? Drop us an email here