Quality is, first and foremost, the driving force behind everything that Porter Road Butcher does. From sourcing free range animals, to using local dairy, and cooking with fresh and local ingredients, we understand the real value of excellent food and are willing to stamp our names on nothing less.
Because we are firm believers that cutting corners won’t create a product that matches our standards, we take lengths to understand each and every step of our animals’ lives, from grazing the fields, to hanging in our fridge, to being ground and stuffed and twisted into delicious sausages for you to purchase and devour.
Going hand in hand with our mission for top quality, we aim to use seasonal products whenever we can and also purchase our produce from local farmers when available. Sometimes however, those pesky seasons go changing on us and certain items render themselves unseasonable and therefore, unavailable. When the temperatures turn frosty and sage can’t exactly prosper in our crispy Nashville backyards, we buy our herbs elsewhere so that you can still devour our famous sage-laced breakfast sausage even when that red mercury plummets.
When the weather is nice however, we choose to use the fruits (or herbs) of our labor in the products we create.
Although our East Nashville store may appear like a suitable ornament to decorate the concrete desert on which it sits, there is one aspect about which you are likely unaware: the small, lush oasis that sits directly behind the shop, filled with basil, oregano, and sage.
It would have been easy for us to forfeit the many hours spent in the sun, dozens of menacing mosquito bites, and unfortunate bloody gashes in our hands (yes, James was severely injured in the making (or weed-pulling) of this garden) that accompanied the creation and utilization of our field of green, but that would be too easy. And also too tasteless. And also a lot less fun. We drink beer when we garden.
“I mean yeah, we could use dried herbs that we buy at the store, but why would we?” mused our pastry chef, Nora, “It would just make our products taste like something that was mass-produced, which they obviously are not. Since we put so much time and care into everything that we hand-make, we want it to taste as fresh and full of flavor as possible. Fresh herbs really do make things taste that much better, and I think it’s even cooler that we use herbs that come directly from our garden.”
She’s right. As a business, we pride ourselves on our quality and attention to detail, and this is just another one of those details that sets us apart from our competitors.
There exist plenty of online debates regarding the appropriateness of dried herbs versus fresh (for real; just Google it), and the fight for the dried variety has been a strong and honorable one. But when it all boils down, the fresh herbs are going to provide a more potent, full, and longer lasting flavor that you simply won’t gain from dried herbs. The oils they release and the richness they provide is superior to what you’ll get from flaky, dried herbs.
–But okay, okay, we know there are exceptions: when it’s the middle of December, you’re working with a modest budget, and a $5.00 2 oz. package of basil just isn’t really in the cards for you, that’s one thing. The dried kind will suffice. But for us? For Porter Road Butchers? We don’t like ingredients that simply “suffice.” We tend towards things that “fulfill” or “exceed” when it comes to our food.
And using home-grown ingredients does just that: exceeds the expectations and makes our products better. Plus, it instills an even greater sense of pride into the products that we create and then sell to you. Using our local animals, fresh produce, and home-grown herbs fits perfectly in line with the farm-to-table ideals that we embody. You can’t get a whole lot local-er than directly from our backyard.
Ever since early springtime, we have been working on weeding, planting, and tending to the beautiful herb garden that now graces the space between the fence and our back door (it formerly looked like a decrepit jungle). So since it’s hibernation is now on the horizon, we thought it would be a good time to let you all know about our pal, Herb (Herb Garden, that is) and give you the opportunity to appreciate him and his bounty before he succumbs to his winter slumber.
Thanks for everything; see ya next year, Herb!