Lafayette native Simone Reggie and business partner Seth Hamstead of West Virginia are two recent Tulane University MBA graduates who are developing Cleaver & Co. (www.cleaverand.co), a business Reggie describes as a "locally-grown, whole-animal butcher shop" that sources meats from small-scale, traditional farms and ranches in the region. They plan to open at 3917 Baronne St. in August, but in the meantime Cleaver & Co. will participate in the Eat Local Challenge (www.nolalocavore.org), supplying participants in the month-long event with pork and beef from nearby producers. Contact Cleaver & Co. at email@example.com.
: How did the idea for Cleaver & Co. develop?
Reggie: I did the Eat Local Challenge last year and one of the surprises was how hard it was to find local meats. Local seafood is easy and it's great, but you can only eat so much of it. I'm this Cajun girl who came to New Orleans and was like, 'Wow, people really go to the supermarket for their meat?' We just always went to little butcher shops around Lafayette. So I was interested in starting something here. I met Seth through the Tulane MBA program and he had an idea to do something similar, so we decided to work together.
: So what will it be like shopping here?
R: There will be a map on the wall pinpointing where each of our products came from and who raised it, and we'll sell whatever cuts are available. We won't always have tenderloin, for instance, because there are only two of those on the cow, but there are so many other great cuts of meat and we'll be doing some education for our customers to show them more of these. (The meat) isn't going through 20 different hands before it hits your plate. We're visiting these farms, so we can tell you how the animals are raised and how it got to you. We really want to feature the farmers, the people who put their blood, sweat and tears into their work.
: What else do you have planned for Cleaver & Co.?
R: We'll be doing boudin, and we'll have other things like ragouts, stocks and sauces because we'll have all those bones to use. Hopefully we'll be making cracklings too. – Ian McNulty