Meet Your Merchant | From ranch to market at Truckee Meat Company
Special to the Sun
What: Truckee Meat Company
Location: 12030 Donner Pass Road, Truckee
Online: Find them on Facebook
Clint Clark grew up on a ranch in Carmel Valley. He’s been around livestock all his life, and he taught courses on how to cut meat when he was in high school.
So o ne thing is for sure: Clint knows about meat.
Clark and his wife Linda recently opened Truckee Meat Company on Donner Pass Road. The couple hopes they can help people rethink where they purchase their meat by offering it from original sources, and of a higher quality.
“Cooking is my gift. Feeding people makes me happy,” Linda said.
The Clarks are no stranger to the Tahoe area and have been coming here to vacation for years. Life changes prompted them to eventually settle full-time in Truckee in 2011 to live a simpler life.
“We wanted to slow down and smell the bacon,” Linda said with a smile. “Clint worked as a butcher for a number of years. But our goal was to open our own butcher shop and build a family owned business for our three grandchildren.”
A BYGONE ERA
The business is reminiscent of a bygone era when buying meat from the butcher was the norm. The display case is filled with the day’s selection of prime cuts of beef, veal, lamb, bacon and the Clarks’ homemade veal sausage. All the meat they sell is nitrate-free, organic and USDA-approved.
During a recent interview inside the market, Linda points out one of their bestselling products, an organic ground beef and Applewood smoked bacon combination.
“They make great burgers,” she said.
Linda spends a good portion of her time on the phone, sourcing their products. The Clarks buy from small, family owned farms throughout Northern California that use sustainable farming practices and utilize humane animal welfare practices.
The market is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, when the Clarks travel to procure their products, which they buy from different places depending upon price and availability.
“We try to buy our products as close to Truckee as possible,” said Linda, while donning a pair of rubber boots and a white butcher jacket. “There is no one in between us, the rancher and the man who slaughters the animal for them.”
‘A MEAT CANDY STORE’
On a recent Sunday afternoon, a steady stream of customers files into the market, and Linda and Clint chat with their patrons with great enthusiasm.
Soon, Rita Charleen strolls into the shop, there to purchase meat for a local restaurant as a test run. She gathers two armfuls of ribs, sausage and beef wrapped in white butcher paper.
She also orders a selection of meat for herself.
“I don’t get my meat anywhere else. It’s a meat candy store here,” she said with a smile before hugging Linda goodbye.
Inspired by the likes of Andrew Zimmer and Anthony Bourdain, Linda and Clint recognize people want to expand their palate and are willing to explore eating more than just the familiar cuts of meat.
“People love organ meat. It is usually the first thing to be purchased,” Linda explains.
The Clarks also believe in the importance of giving back. They support the Truckee Family Resource Center through their business by donating fresh and frozen meats to families in need. They even ask if a family has pets and will add some bones for their dogs.
Truckee Meat Company plans to eventually carry poultry, venison and rabbit, in addition to homemade barbecue sauces, herb rubs and other products offered by local and regional producers.
The market is open Wednesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Priya Hutner is a freelance writer living in Truckee. Have an idea for a merchant feature? Email her at email@example.com.