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Lewisburg farm to host hands-on butcher class

By Autumn D. F. Hopkins

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Jennifer Jones, owner of Swift Level, a 151-acre farm in Lewisburg, will host a two- day, hands-on, beef butchery workshop Sept. 21-23.

Kari Underly, a third-generation meat-cutter and the founder of Range, a company specializing in education and marketing of meat-based products and services, will be on hand to teach a portion of the workshop.

Jones and Underly both will instruct during the seminar. Jones said participants can expect to learn "where and how to get the cuts they can't find in stores, because those cuts just don't exist in chain groceries."           

However, the workshop is less about training new butchers and more about teaching the public how food gets from the farms to their tables. Jones said she expects people from all walks of life to be interested in the course. She took a similar course in North Carolina and said, in addition to would-be butchers, there were lawyers, doctors and psychologists taking the workshop.

"People are interested, in the same way that people are interested in taking a painting class or a sculpting class. They aren't artists, but it is a hands-on way to learn about something that people have a growing interest in. It is kind of a novel concept for some people because we've gotten so removed from those farm relationships."

Jones' family has been intimately acquainted with farming for many years, raising organic, grass-fed cattle on the property since 1930. She said this workshop is an opportunity for people to get closer to their food and develop relationships with local farmers.

As part of the course, Jones will help students "learn how to connect with the meat producers in West Virginia who are producing custom state- and USDA-inspected animals, and how to request specialty cuts and products."

Friday night, preceding the workshop, there will be a reception opened to the public with ticket prices of $35. There are 30 spots available for the program, 15 hands-on and 15 observing. The fee for the hands-on program is $875 per person and the fee for observing is $500 per person.

For more information, contact Jones at swiftlevel@gmail.com or 304-661-6777.

Reach Autumn D.F. Hopkins at autumn.hopkins@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.


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