Step up to any standard grocery store meat counter and what you're likely to find behind the glass is an orderly selection of familiar, pre-cut steaks, chops, and bacon. What you might not know is that those cuts probably weren’t made on the premises, but at a slaughterhouse. Prepackaged, uniform cuts wrapped, boxed, and sent to market. Local food movements have pushed back against this trend, with many chefs and restaurants trying to bring whole animal butchery in-house to varying degrees of success. But old-fashioned corner butcher shops are still scarce. Now, the city of Ferndale is set to get its own neighborhood whole-animal butchershop.
Chef Matt Romine, co-founder of Imlay City’s celebrated farm-to-table gastropub The Mulefoot, will open a USDA-licensed retail butchershop — Farm Field Table — near Woodward Heights this fall offering a diverse selection of local, humanely raised, hormone and antibiotic-free meats and specialty cuts.
Featuring everything from pork to goat and turkey, Romine has designed the shop to cater towards area restaurants that have the desire to use local meat, but not the means to efficiently butcher on-site. “I think a lot of chefs specifically are interested in getting this quality of meat in a manner where they don’t have to become a professional butcher themselves,” Romine says of the market. “That way every restaurant in Michigan doesn’t have to have a professional butcher on staff.” The shop will also be a space to help train a fairly green restaurant workforce in butchery practices.
Romine says he was encouraged to develop the Farm Field Table in the relatively industrial northeast Ferndale neighborhood after learning about small culinary community developing there. Forthcoming Urbanrest Brewing Company is located next door to the Farm Field’s shop and, according to the 8 Wood Blog, Anita’s Kitchen’s owners are in the process of developing a mixed-use building that includes an expanded restaurant business.
The chef plans to initially open the small counter to the public and focus on developing restaurant accounts, and eventually hopes to expand the shop’s charcuterie business depending on licensing. Romine says that right now the buildout is complete but the space is still undergoing inspections, which could take several weeks. He anticipates Farm Field Table opening by mid-November.
“There are so many great pieces of meat to eat I don’t know why we’re stuck on just a few cuts,” Romine says. “We intend to make things available to people that aren’t available other places.”
Farm Field Table is located at 1030 Woodward Heights. Romine and fellow chef and twin brother Mike Romine recently competed and won on an episode of Chopped this fall. Together the pair will be hosting a 4-course preview dinner collaboration with The Mulefoot at Farm Field Table on October 22. Tickets are $75. Call 810-721-1019 to reserve a spot.
• Farm Field Table After Dark Event [Facebook]
• Farm Field Table Website [Official]
• All Ferndale Coverage [ED]