There are only a handful of traditional butcher shops that are supplied with “whole” livestock in New Jersey — Darke Pines in Jersey City and Pastoral Pig in Flanders to name a few. This February, Montclair is joining the exclusive list with a custom whole livestock butcher shop of its own, Montclair Meats, which is set to open at 151 Valley Road. The shop will sell ethically-sourced meats, specializing in whole-livestock butchery. Read on for more about the new butcher shop coming to Montclair.
From Goldman to Sustainability
Steven Kim is a New Jersey native who traded his 13-year tenure at Goldman Sachs on Wall Street to pursue something closer to his heart: food, agriculture, farming, and sustainability. This transition was influenced by his South Korean upbringing, which combined his love for diverse cuisine and travel, motivating him to pursue a career in the food industry. “I ended up falling in love with the art of butchery since it allowed me to get creative and work with my hands,” Steven said.
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His dedication stems from a deep-rooted belief in understanding the food journey, advocating for reduced waste, and diminishing carbon footprint. “I enjoy talking to farmers, learning about the process, and being able to participate in a practice that raises animals in a sustainable way that does not harm the planet,” Steven said. “I think it’s very important for us to know where our food is coming from and how it gets to our plate. That way we appreciate it more, create less waste, and find ways to reduce our carbon footprint.”
This led Steven to seek opportunities at various butcher shops and restaurants. Over the past four years, he traveled across the Northeast, gaining hands-on experience at whole animal butcher shops to learn the trade and the business. Now he’s prepared to deliver that experience to Montclair Meats. “Montclair just fits the demographic of what a whole animal butcher shop needs to be successful,” Steven said. “It’s my job to bring the consumer closer to the farmer and I think the people of Montclair appreciate that.” He notes that whole-animal butchery helps reduce waste, supports local farms, and promotes sustainability within the community.
The Valley Road Butchery
Montclair Meats is a whole-animal butcher shop coming to 151 Valley Road in February. Whole animal butchery is the practice of receiving whole animals’ carcasses and breaking them down instead of receiving parts of an animal in bulk standard cuts. This type of practice supports small local farms instead of large feedlots/factory farms that are harmful to the planet and create tons of waste.
Steven says that the ambiance will mimic a rustic, modern butcher shop. Some of its raw meat offerings include beef, pork, turkey, lamb, and chicken. The shop also features specialty salts, rubs, sides, prepared food options, and eventually, private dinners and educational workshops on butchery, sausage making, and charcuterie. The beef is sourced from upstate New York, specifically in the Finger Lakes. Lamb, pork, and produce are sourced from local farms in Pennsylvania.
Steven’s goal with Montclair Meats is to provide the community with ethically raised meat and superior quality, coupled with educational initiatives on sourcing, preparation, and the importance of supporting local farms.
“I’m excited to be opening in Montclair and serving the community,” Steven said. “I hope customers will see that there is a new generation of butchers who are knowledgeable and can help you navigate through a butcher case. It can seem intimidating, but we pride ourselves on customer service and ensuring you get what you are looking for.”