Sutter Meats’ mission is to bring back the neighborhood butcher with an emphasis on whole animal butchery, education, and the creation of community. We use the term “nose-to-tail” as a reference to the unique way that we source and use our products that differentiates our business model from all of our local competition and all but a few businesses across the country. We only buy whole animals from local farms who share our standards and practices and to respect the life sacrificed for our food, we strive to use the entire animal. This means that in addition to offering a much wider variety of familiar steaks, roasts and custom cuts than our competitors, we also offer many unique cuts in the tradition of the European butcheries, and use the remaining meat, bones and fat to make stocks, dog food, cooking lard, etc. Buying whole animals also ensures that we know exactly where our products come from, how they were raised and how they were slaughtered; ensuring complete traceability and quality.
Sutter Meats is owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Terry and Susan Ragasa. Terry brings several years of industry experience including an invaluable apprenticeship with Master Butcher Joshua Applestone of Fleisher’s Grass Fed and Organic Meats in the Hudson Valley of New York. Under Josh’s tutelage, Terry studied all aspects of traditional butchery and learned the importance of sustainable sourcing for quality and taste. After his apprenticeship, Terry went on to ply his trade in New York City where he developed the first whole animal butchery program in Fort Greene Brooklyn, and helped to open a green grocer and butchery in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Susan, who after more than a decade of managing a team of print production professionals at Christie’s Auction House in New York City, was craving meaningful, community-supporting work. Inspired by the writing of Wendell Berry, she made a life change and went to work at the very same butcher shop where Terry got his start. She brings her experience in management and butchery to tackle the unique logistical challenges of running an independent butcher shop.
The decision to open Sutter Meats in Northampton was made after careful consideration. The population of the Greater Northampton area is well educated and deeply concerned with sustainable practices; most important to us, the act of eating locally. Northampton is within close proximity of our established farms, and centered among a long list of independent local farms that we can work with to mutually grow our businesses. In addition to selling the finest quality meat, Sutter Meats will also tap into the populace’s desire for information by leading demonstrations, teaching classes and seminars on home sausage making, general knife skills, and animal breakdown. Sutter Meats looks to become an integral part of Northampton’s culture and identity, and will do so with hands-on commitment from Susan and Terry.