The Dirty Hoe, a new artisan butchery specializing in sausages, curing, and custom cutting has opened it doors. The emphasis will not just be on taste, says owners Cory and Rebecca Huscroft, but also whether the meat has been raised locally and ethically.
“We know the farmers and we’ve personally hand-selected all the animals,” says Rebecca. “We’re always looking for consistency and quality.”
In matching t-shirts, featuring the Dirty Hoe’s logo of a pig with a garden hoe in one hand and a massive clove of garlic on the other, the Huscrofts explain what led them to start their business. “Passion drives us,” says Rebecca. “We believe in providing a local product at the highest standards. We believe in supporting local farmers. It’s about supporting and showcasing our community.”
“We are supplying locally grown meat to our customers so they don’t have to invest in a quarter or half a beef at a time,” says Cory. “Not everyone has that kind of space in their freezer… or money to invest.”
Providing what the customer wants is one of their key philosophies. “It comes down to the customer. We can do custom orders of frozen variety packs, or we can just do a small order of only four chops,” says Rebecca. “And if someone is having difficulty finding something – a certain cut of meat, for instance – we can do that. Some of our customers are looking for all sorts of things that are not necessarily found at grocery stores. We also salt cure and smoke our hams. And the cost compared to chain stores in competitive. We’re giving farmers a fair price, and the quality of ingredients can’t be beat.”
“It’s important to know that our meat is aged on the rail,” adds Cory. “And that everything is fresh-frozen. That means that as soon as the meat is cut, it’s immediately wrapped and frozen. What we’re doing is ‘old school’, and that adds to the flavour and makes it more authentic.”
Authenticity is something that’s also important, especially in the production of their sausages. “Right now we have three varieties of pork sausage: English bangers, sweet Italian and chorizo. Soon we’ll be making two lamb sausages: a North African merguez sausage, and a Greek souvlaki sausage.”
Creating sausages from scratch starts with the right ingredients for the owners of the Dirty Hoe. “We personally blend all our spices for our sausages and only ever use local animals raised to our standards,” says Cory.
On a property that includes fruit trees, a large vegetable garden and horses scampering in the fields, the Huscrofts look out through their living room windows before discussing the difficulties of competing in a culture of grocery store chains.
“In our culture, we often rush to a grocery store after work and quickly find everything under one roof. But we often trade quality for convenience. If we can learn to plan our meals for the week, and then shop accordingly, we learn to find the best ingredients available,” says Rebecca.
“And that’s where we come in,” adds Cory.
But the Huscrofts also understand that there’s always a need to have food at the ready. “Right now we are in the first phase of the butchery. Our cuts of meat and our sausages are fresh-frozen, but the second phase of our operations will see a fresh counter,” says Rebecca. “It’ll just take some time. As we start to add different sausages, homemade soup stock in the fall, we will always be growing and expanding. I can’t wait.”
Right now, the Huscrofts are focusing on a successful soft opening. “We’ve decided to start slow,” says Cory, “but already our sandwich board at the end of the driveway has brought in a lot of traffic. Tourists heading to the wineries or locals just driving by have stopped in to purchase a wide variety of our products. A lot of people feel it’s important to know where the animals come from, who is raising it, and their quality of life from birth to table. It’s what makes the difference.”
“The best thing is to either get ahold of us through our Facebook page or by phone,” adds Rebecca. “We’ll be at several farmers’ markets in the Kootenays next year but for now, if our sandwich board is out, we are in the shop and everyone’s welcome to see what we’re up to.”
The Dirty Hoe Gastro Farm and Butchery can be reached through their Facebook page or by phone 250-431-8532. They are located at 924 25th Ave. S.