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What do you do when your favorite sustainable pork producer packs up shop, feeling that the farmers’ market is not profitable enough to be worth the trip? You could cry into your Smithfield Ham, sure, or you could dream up an alternative that works for the farmer and works for the community. That’s just what the leadership of Slow Food Pittsburgh did five years ago when they began their “Laptop Butchershop” program.

Susan Barclay and Virginia Phillips wanted to find a way to make quality meat available to their members, and they have succeeded. The project started small, but now they have four pickups a year, and offer beef, poultry, lamb, goat, humanely-raised veal and pork. It’s all just a few clicks away; place your order online (hence “laptop”), and then go pickup at the farmers’ market (in season) or at a local church (in the off-season). While you’re there, you can also take advantage of the local foods such as honey and prepared Lebanese food.

All of the producers are vetted by the Slow Food convivium leadership; they visit each farm (all within an 100-mile radius), and taste the product. And the customers seem to agree that it’s delicious, so much so that the only problem the organizers are having is over demand!

Laptop Butchershop Pick-up/Winter Market.

Left to right:
Dave Heilman, Heilman’s Hogwash Farm; Henry Nazarian, Najat’s Cuisine; Susan Barclay, SFP Co-leader; Terry Seltzer, Sonshine Farm; Pam Bryan, Pucker Brush Farm (seated); Bill Brownlee, Wil-Den Family Farm.