New local meat market opens in west Lawrence with fresh beef, pork, lamb, area cheeses

Not all meat is the same. For instance, I’ve eaten bacon where I have known the name of the pig that it came from. (After the first year in 4-H, the kids learned why naming the pigs maybe isn’t the best idea.) But all throughout the state there are rural communities where families are eating beef and pork that was raised on their farm or maybe the next one over. Now, a new west Lawrence business aims to bring that type of meat to area residents.

Heartland Meat Market opened recently in the Orchards Shopping Center at Bob Billings and Kasold. As you might imagine, it is not your typical small-town meat processing shop, because there is no slaughtering of animals going on in the Orchards Shopping Center.

Rather, some of the owners of Heartland also own Bowser Meat Processing in Meriden in nearby Jefferson County. The slaughtering and other processing steps happen at the Meriden facility, but the Lawrence store is selling the beef and the pork.

Linda Hayes, manager of the Lawrence store, said all the beef and pork come either from livestock from the personal stock of Bowser or from area farmers that the owners know and trust.

“We’re selling fresh meat,” Hayes said.

On the beef side that includes hamburger, T-bone and strip steaks, roasts, brisket and several other cuts. The shop sells both grass-fed beef and grain-fed beef, which will help determine how lean the beef is. On the pork front, there’s ground pork, chops, pork butts and several other cuts that will get a barbecuer excited. The shop also sells some lamb and is investigating getting into the goat business.

The business has several products it makes in-house, including breakfast sausage, bacon, beef sticks, beef jerky, bratwursts and other items. The shop also stocks cheese made by the Alma Creamery.

In the next several weeks, the shop hopes to get some additional equipment that will allow for more custom orders. The shop is working to get a meat-cutting bandsaw that will allow Hayes to cut meat to order, meaning you can specify the thickness of your steaks, chops and such.

The folks at Bowser are betting more people are ready to start eating homegrown meats. The Bowser folks have opened stores in Holton, just outside of Wichita in Yoder, and in Manhattan, Hayes said.

But what’s the difference between homegrown meat and the more traditional meat that comes from large processing plants?

“People tell me that they like that it is fresh and tender,” Hayes said. “And they really like that it is not shipped in from faraway places.”

Personally, I’ve noticed meat that is raised on a local farm to often have less fat than commercially raised animals, although my son once did raise a 320-pound hog. (That’s not bragging, by the way. When they try to put a saddle on your hog at the fair, you probably aren’t going to get a blue ribbon.) Of course, many of you already know about locally raised meat. Several vendors at the Lawrence Farmers Market sell local meat, and I think some grocery stores stock a bit of it too. Plus, you don’t have to go very far to find traditional, small-town meat processing shops. De Soto, Overbrook and Ottawa, for instance, all have them. But Heartland Meat Market certainly is making more of a retail push in Lawrence than most.

The store, 1420 Kasold Drive, is open Tuesday through Saturday but is closed Sundays and Mondays.

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• The meat most of us are making plans for is turkey, with Thanksgiving quickly approaching. With that in mind, I’ll be out of the office next week. (It takes some time to get the block and tackle pulleys in place to move the turkey.) So, look for Town Talk to return the last week of November. Everybody have a safe and happy holiday.