Colorado Meat Company sells locally, sustainably produced cuts | VailDaily.com

Colorado Meat Company sells locally, sustainably produced cuts

Kirsten Dobroth
Special to the Daily

AVON — As the population and economy of Eagle County has grown throughout the years, so has the appetite for locally raised food among many Vail Valley residents. Newly opened Colorado Meat Co., located in Avon, hopes to provide an answer to that increasing appetite as the valley's own cut-to-order butcher shop. The product of local couple Chris Hudgens and Brittany Pearson, Colorado Meat Co. plans to set the standard for locally sourced, high-quality meat for the community.

The inspiration

For both Hudgens and Pearson, the focus on locally and sustainably produced food is one that has long been embedded in their personal history. A Tennessee native, Hudgens spent five years in Nashville managing a butcher shop started by friends. Growing up as an avid hunter, there was always an attraction for him to work in the meat industry. The butcher shop in Nashville presented him with an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the trade.

Pearson similarly grew up with the idea of locally produced food being the norm, and can trace her family lineage back to the homesteading days on the plains of South Dakota, where her family still resides. Her background working in high end retail in the valley, along with a mutual attraction to the local food movement she grew up with, offered her experience in managing a small business, along with the desire to start something of her own. Together, their joint interest in providing a second option for Eagle County families to get their meat from created the concept of Colorado Meat Co.

"People were heading to Frisco in order to get sustainably and responsibly raised Colorado meat, and we recognized that as an important piece of the community that was missing," Hudgens said.

Setting the standard

Recommended Stories For You

All of the meat products sold at Colorado Meat Co. are hormone and antibiotic free, pasture raised, grass fed and never frozen. Currently, the couple sources their livestock from a sixth generation Colorado rancher based out of Meeker, but sees room for expansion within the valley. "We want to be a viable option for area ranchers looking to sell their livestock who don't want to send them to a feed lot," Pearson said. Everything that Colorado Meat Co. plans to sell will be cut to order with minimal waste; even the bones will be sold for stock. Additionally, the small scale of operations at Colorado Meat Co. should keep the cost of meat competitive, as Hudgens and Pearson will be sourcing directly from ranchers and taking out the cost of a middle man. Currently, the store sells beef, lamb, pork, freshly sliced cold cuts and handmade sausages.

Not only does the couple strive for sustainability in their products, they refinished the commercial space for Colorado Meat Co. themselves, largely using upcycled materials and recycling whatever they took out of the space.

"We want a sense of pride attached to our store for the work we've put in and the products we're selling," Hudgens said. The commitment to sustainability is echoed by Pearson. "Our goal is to create a smaller footprint; that's what we're all about," she said.

Focus on community

Both Pearson and Hudgens see Colorado Meat Co. as something they hope to grow with the community.

"One of the most rewarding things I experienced as a butcher in Nashville was seeing a one-year-old turn into a five-year-old, and knowing that I was giving his family a high quality source of food," Hudgens said, "We're excited to see people on a daily basis come in, and know that we're providing a high quality product for their family."

Life on the farm in South Dakota left a similar impression on Pearson, one that she hopes will be emulated in the space at Colorado Meat Co.

"Family and neighbors were so important growing up in a farming community," she said, "We'd have lunch with our neighbors, and really look forward to seeing them every day. We're so excited to incorporate that into a business model."

Find more information about Colorado Meat Co., visit their website at colorado meatcompany.com or visit them in person at 51 Beaver Creek Place No. 3 in Avon.

Colorado Meat Company

What: Vail Valley’s own cut to order, locally sourced butcher shop

Where: Beaver Creek Place No. 3, Avon.

Contact: http://www.coloradomeatcompany.com, or 844-340-MEAT