Customers clamor for cuts of pork and lamb raised organically on Applegate's Iron Age Farm and sold at local farmers markets.
But they also want venison, duck and other high-quality, specialty meats that aren't readily available locally, says Iron Age owner Jonathan Boulton. So the heritage-breed rancher widened his role and repertoire to butcher and purveyor of fine foods.
His Boulton & Son Butchers opened last week in downtown Ashland.
"There's a gap in the marketplace," Boulton says, adding that a boutique butcher shop is overdue for Ashland.
Boulton plans to fill the gap not only by providing a wide variety of fine meats — many locally produced — but by involving customers in the art of butchery. Meats are trimmed to shoppers' specifications in plain view behind a wall of glass at the back of the store.
"Everything is cut to order," Boulton says.
Some animals' origins are depicted in Boulton & Son's decor. Photos of local farmland and farmers who supply Boulton grace the shop's walls.
Among them is an Iron Age Tamworth hog, one of the oldest breeds from Britain and more recently prized for its self-sufficiency and hardiness in adverse climates. Since opening the shop, Boulton says he likely will scale back some of his 2-acre farm's operation but hopes to provide enough pork to sell in the store.
"I heard that their pork chops are amazing," says Naomi Lipper of Ashland, who shopped at Boulton & Son on a recent weekday after hearing about it at the Ashland farmers market.
Lipper purchased a jar of broth house-made from beef bones, one example of how nothing goes to waste under the eye of master butcher Xian Cleaver. Roasted bones in a jar were sold as dog treats.
In the cold cases were locally raised beef, pork, lamb and chicken priced from $7 per pound for ground beef to $28 for tenderloin. Cured meats hailed from a variety of sources, but house-made ham, bacon, sausages and pastrami should be available soon, Boulton says, adding that the long-range goal is preparing all manner of charcuterie, from patés and terrines to headcheese.
"We're not going to always have everything," he says. "If people want something, they should let us know."
Overseeing food preparation is Boulton's wife, Elisa, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. The couple moved from San Francisco to Applegate about three years ago.
Recommended: Chicken salad mixed with dried fruits and paired with apple slices on locally baked bread; house-roasted beef on a sandwich or sliced for carry-out; hot chicken and beef pies; pickles made at Applegate's Mellonia Farms.
Alternative diets: Beef exclusively grass-fed; some meats certified-organic; fish wild-caught by Port Orford Sustainable Seafood.
Beverages: Bottled, specialty sodas, lemonades, teas and waters.
Price range: $8 to $10 for prepared foods.
Extras: Shelves stocked with gourmet condiments such as mustards, jams, fine salts, even preserved lemons; no seating inside small storefront space.
Serving: From 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Info: 165 E. Main St., Ashland, across from the Varsity Theatre; 541-482-1112; www.boultonandson.com.