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Meat moguls carve out new niche

Lena Price May 13, 2013 3

Bill Foster and Chris Mattera check the progress on a cooked ham. (Photo by Lena Price)

Bill Foster and Chris Mattera check the progress on a cooked ham. (Photo by Lena Price)

A local sausage maker is breaking into the bacon market.

Sausage Craft, a wholesale sausage producer on Dabney Road, is rolling out Salt Pork, a line of smoked and cooked meats.

Chris Mattera, who launched the business about three years ago with partner Brad Hemp, said the new products are ready-made for sandwiches and entrees. They mark a departure from the fresh, raw sausage the company sells to a few dozen restaurants and markets across town.

The company's Sweetheart Ham. (Courtesy of Salt Pork)

Salt Pork’s Sweetheart Ham. (Courtesy of Salt Pork)

“We wanted to do something exciting for us but easy for people to enjoy at home,” Mattera said. “All you have to do is slice it and eat it.”

Hemp said the company has released about 10 new varieties of meat, including hot dogs, bacon, sweet and spicy hams and curried bologna. He said the products should help the company tap into a customer base it wasn’t reaching before.

“Bacon and hot dogs are a big market, and we’re hoping to take a little slice of that,” Hemp said. “When we started the company, we knew this was an area of expansion we wanted to get into. We’ve had these recipes on the back burner for a while.”

It took about a year for the company to develop the product line and get USDA approval to sell it, Hemp said. To accommodate the expansion, they converted 800 square feet of their production facility on Dabney Road into a kitchen.

Customers can buy the new products online, and the company is setting up shop at the South of the James Farmers Market and the Cask Cafe and Market, a Fan pub set to open in July.

Hemp said they are creating a custom product line for Cask and are in talks with a few other restaurants to do the same.

Hemp and Mattera have six employees, and Mattera said they make between 20 to 200 pounds a day. Some of their clients include the Black Sheep, Ellwood Thompson’s and Bistro Bobette.

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  1. Ruben Foster May 13, 2013 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    I have to get my hands on one of those hams. Look pretty delicious.

  2. marc rizaulait May 13, 2013 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    Tasted the curried bologna at South of the James Market on Saturday, and it was delish…

  3. tim hogan May 13, 2013 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    Worked with these guys on their packaging needs last year… They’re really great guys and make a high quality product! It was a pleasure!

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