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edible Monterey Bay Winter 2016

30 edible MONTEREY BAY WINTER 2016 With a herd of about 150 covering 30 acres of land, keeping the pigs happy is also a never-ending job. e family has hosted some travelers who trade labor for accommodation through the volunteer site HelpX, but California Kurobuta has essentially remained a family endeavor. Jack handles the labor and transporting while Sara runs the office, and you’ll meet both of them at any Kurobuta event or Meat Club pickup location. eir three grown children also remain heavily involved. “We have been amazed at the generosity of our offspring in helping us save our home and in shaping how we make our living,” Jack says. “Each of the three has given their unique abilities to help make this start-up business successful.” e eldest Kimmich daughter, Anna, runs the website and online marketing from her home in New Jersey. omas, their son and a meatcutter by trade in Grass Valley, does barbecue and helps with special events. Katie, who at 13 delivered the Kimmichs’ first set of piglets, is a college student today and helps however she can. “Without the input of those three, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” Sara boasts. “We see more of them than we might if we were all merely involved in our separate careers. And the new generation brings a fresh, hip perspective to our operation.” is is especially helpful as California Kurobuta tackles one of its biggest challenges—expanding its customer base. When the Kimmichs first began marketing their pork, Jack turned to chefs at restaurants and resorts where he’d already formed relationships through his garden amendment business. ese chefs bought the animals whole, making it unnecessary for the pigs to be processed at USDA facilities, which are in notoriously short supply but are required if an animal is to be sold in parts. Buying pigs whole is the most economical and sustainable way to purchase pork. But it’s difficult for the average consumer—and many restaurants— to take on a whole pig, and the Kimmichs knew that for their business to grow, they would need to start selling individual cuts of meat. So after a few years of searching, the Kimmichs found a USDA facility in Fresno that met their high standards. J&R Natural Meat & Sausage in Paso Robles handles the butchering and packaging. With packaged cuts of California Kurobuta ready for sale, the California Meat Club was formed. “Meat Club was our way of making people feel like they’re part of a community that in turn can help spread the word,” Jack says. “e first rule of Meat Club is: Tell everyone about Meat Club.” Meat Club doesn’t require membership and there are no fees. Instead, it’s a series of regular pop-up appearances by the Kimmichs where customers can meet the family and purchase Kurobuta pork from the “Bacon Bus”—a repurposed school bus from Kentucky that they won in an auction last year. Meat Club events are all listed conveniently on California Kurobuta’s website; currently there are one to three per week in Monterey, Hollister, San Jose, Los Gatos and Morgan Hill. Importantly, doing direct sales with consumers rather than using distributors allows the Kimmichs to limit the markup on their prod


edible Monterey Bay Winter 2016
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