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All We Can Eat
Posted at 04:30 PM ET, 08/02/2012

MeatCrafters to expand into wholesale market

Mitch Berliner with MeatCrafters (MeatCrafters)
MeatCrafters, the Maryland-based charcuterie company whose products are sold at local farmers markets, plans to greatly expand its ambitions and start marketing a wide range of cured meats to restaurants, shops and bars. The key to realizing this wholesale expansion will be a new piece of machinery — partner Mitch Berliner calls it a “curing room” — to help MeatCrafters produce lines of dry salami, bacon and prosciutto.

The equipment should be installed at Stan Feder’s Simply Sausage facility in Landover within a few months. (Feder is a partner in MeatCrafters.) After a week or two of training, then another six to eights weeks to cure meats, the company could, potentially, have its new line of products available for retailers by the end of the year.

“We plan to make many traditional kinds [of cured meats],” says Berliner, also the co-founder of Central Farm Markets. “But we also want to make something different.”

What constitutes something different? Berliner says that aside from duck prosciutto, bacon and bresaola, MeatCrafters hopes to sell products with flavor profiles that stray beyond Italian herbs and spices. “I would say, maybe, we’ll have something with Asian flavor profiles,” he says. “Just to think outside the box. We won’t know until we try.”

Over the course of a year, MeatCrafters plans to produce thousands of individual salami and other cured meats, to go along with the company’s fresh, cooked and smoked sausages. Berliner’s ambitions run deeper than the expanded line that his new curing room will produce.

“We’re hoping in a year or two that we’ll outgrow” the new equipment, he says.

And why not? Given Berliner’s determination, Feder’s U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected facility and the few local competitors in the wholesale cured-meat business, MeatCrafters may have found a profitable hole in the locavore food movement.

By  |  04:30 PM ET, 08/02/2012

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