The Meat Man

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

When I was younger, my Saturday mornings consisted of downing the most sugary cereals (Cocoa Pebbles, anyone?) while watching cartoons and waiting for the egg man to come. He would knock on our front door with fresh eggs and I was there to greet him every Saturday morning. Even now, my sisters and I still remember his weekend deliveries from his small farm outside of town.

Fast forward to this past August, I was looking up something restaurant related online and stumbled upon Jon’s Naturals. This specialty meat shop is located in the small town of McClelland, Iowa just outside of Council Bluffs. This small town is exactly the setting that Jon from Jon’s Naturals was looking for to set up his shop. Prior to this business, he spent seven years as the owner of Cellar 19 in Council Bluffs. I visited him on a Sunday, in late November, specifically on mission to get my Thanksgiving turkey. He actually offered to deliver it to me but I said I’d been wanting to visit the his shop for a while. The idea behind his business is simple: offering grass-fed, free-range, antibiotic and hormone-free meats from small Midwest farms to Omaha area people and restaurants. Currently Jon is focused on the restaurant distribution side of his business so he’s scaled back on retail offerings at his store. He delivers his products to a long list of Omaha area restaurants that includes Le Bouillon, Lot 2, The French Bulldog, Avoli and The Boiler Room. In addition to the distribution part of his business, Jon has a real passion for creating specialized products like jalapeno bacon, pastrami, Sriracha jerky and various types of sausages including chorizo. He’s planning to include some of these items on his upcoming website along with meat bundle options that can can be directly shipped to your door or picked up in McClelland. During the holiday season, turkeys and hams are also available. These purchase options are set to to be included when the website launches by the end of 2014. Also in the works is a line of deli meats under the Jon’s Naturals label. He shared that after taking a meat science class he had no doubt there was a better way to produce deli meats and he knew exactly how to execute the process to his standards. When I visited, Jon was working on a couple small, specialty orders of some tri-tip teriyaki beef skewers and a turkey roulade. The skewers were for another small business just a couple doors down.

When Jon offered to deliver my turkey, it brought back memories of the egg man visiting and the relationship my family had with him. My dad knew him and where his farm was located and we loved that he was willing to deliver fresh eggs to our doorstep. There was an actual relationship between the business owner and consumer. I’m always encouraged when I see small businesses, like Jon’s Naturals, thriving and that more consumers want to feel connected to what they’re buying and have an understanding of where their products come from.

And by the way, the turkey we purchased was delicious. We did a two day brine and barely had any leftovers. Now, on to the Christmas ham.


My purchase:  One 16 lb turkey


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