Matt Campbell, owner/operator of Campbell Meats in Dobbs Ferry, was trained as a chef and worked at several Manhattan restaurants. He liked to spend time in the butcher shops in Brooklyn and Manhattan, however, and eventually decided he enjoyed that work more than he did being a chef. His career path took a sharp turn.
Campbell moved to White Plains and quickly saw a glaring hole in Westchester County—the lack of a serious butcher shop featuring locally sourced products. “There’s a good [butcher] in Greenwich [CT],” he notes, “and there are some upstate in Putnam and Columbia and Dutchess Counties—but not in Westchester.”
In August of this year, Campbell opened his own full-service butcher shop. “We source all of our meat, actually all of our products—groceries, produce, things like that—from the Hudson Valley,” he says. “Nothing’s [sourced] farther than 90 miles away. All our meat comes from small, family-operated farms that are working in the ‘correct’ way. All the animals are humanely raised without hormones or antibiotics; most of the farms are self-contained, which means they do all their own breeding.” Campbell sees himself as an all-important middleman in the farm-to-table chain. “I’m connecting these farms that have amazing products with people around here who don’t have the opportunity to go to those farms themselves,” he stresses.
Staples in Campbell’s shop include beef, lamb, pork and chicken, but he also will offer rabbit, duck or other game birds if there’s a demand. Campbell Meats also offers value-added products, including house-made charcuterie, sausages, patés, dry-cured salami and bacon. Other featured local items include maple syrup from the Catskills, eggs, local milk—and anything else he can find within his self-imposed 90-mile radius.
Campbell admits that his prices are a bit higher than one might find at the chain grocery stores, but he believes the quality of the product is worth the extra cost. “I’m happy to pay the farmers what they’re worth, and I pass [the quality] on to the customer,” he explains. “You can taste it—that’s the bottom line. It’s what it’s supposed to taste like. People have our chicken who are used to chicken being pretty bland and simple and boring. Once they taste ours, they realize that it’s different—it’s better meat. [The animals] are raised on the right diet. They say you are what you eat, but actually, you are what you eat eats.”