Custom Meats, a 100% locally-sourced, traditional whole-animal butchery, is slated to open this spring at 1903 Post Road in Fairfield.
This next-door neighbor to Isabelle et Vincent French Bakery plans to serve non-GMO, nitrate-free, fresh meats raised on organic principles.
Sourcing beef, pork, lamb, and poultry from small farms in Connecticut and New York, everything will be cut and prepared in house, including dry-aged beef, sausages, and various prepared foods. Farm-fresh local eggs, raw milk, and seasonal vegetables will also be offered.
Business partners Jeff Cutshall and Tim Frosina, each of whom brings to the table a cleaver-sharp skill set, are clearly as dedicated as they come.
“I have a four-year-old and a five-year-old. Seeing that my kids get fed good, fresh, healthy food is incredibly important to me,” said Cutshall, who has worked in finance for the last two decades.
“I always cared about animals and sustainability,” said Frosina, a UConn alumnus who learned the art of butchery both here in the States and in Corsica, France, where he and his wife ran a food truck called L’Americanu BBQ. “My passion is for whole-animal butchery. This is a lifelong thing for me.”
Having lived in New York, Cutshall, who loves to cook, was shocked when he moved to New Canaan and could not find a good steak there. When he and Frosina met, the idea for Custom Meats was born. The two decided that Fairfield, with its demographics and easy access to I-95, would be the perfect location for their new venture.
Most of the producers from whom Custom Meats plans to source are less than 75 miles away from Fairfield. Farms include Simpaug, Sport Hill, Blue Ribbon, and Walden Hill Co-op.
“Farmers want to eat meat they raise themselves,” said Frosina. “Giving animals the best possible life is good for the animals, good for us, good for farmers, and good for the environment.”
Customers looking for beef will be able to choose between meat from only grass-fed animals and that from fully pastured steers that have the option of non-GMO grain if they choose. Four breeds of cattle will be available, including a few that are available only seasonally. While some might expect USDA prime, Frosina emphasizes that commercially labelled beef comes from cattle that put on weight in a way that negatively affects quality. “What we’ve got is better-tasting and healthier,” he said.
Fully pastured Berkshire pork is also on offer. “The pigs are free to root and forage. The more they move, the better,” said Frosina. “They lead happy lives.” Poultry will include Cornish White and Italian Red chickens pastured at Little River Farm, as well as Connecticut-raised organic turkeys at Thanksgiving and pasture-raised rabbit; Custom Meats also plans to offer lamb from local grass-fed animals, “never inside unless they want to be,” said Frosina.
In addition to meats and vegetables, Frosina and Cutshall plan to offer raw milk, honey, jams, ready-made stocks, and bacon, as well as house-made smoked-chicken salad, pastrami, brisket, and roast beef.
Classes are to be held at the store, too, featuring half-steer breakdown, pork butchery, and sausage making.
“There’s a lot more to an animal than just filet or pork chops,” said Frosina. “People can come in and learn how to cook something different.”
“People in this community are moving towards this model,” said Cutshall. “We’re both tremendously excited about being here.”
1903 Post Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
Opening spring 2017