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These Organic Local Butchers Left NYC to Found an All-Natural Sausage Company

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Photos by Fred and Elliot Photography (top, bottom)


A
s someone who was a vegetarian from the time I was 13 until I went to college, I have always viewed meat in an interesting way,” says Goldens Bridge resident Erika Nakamura. “I started having to eat meat again, out of necessity, because I was having some digestive issues. As I did that, I started to realize a lot of what was available to the masses was kind of terrible. The more [I’d] scratch the surface and ask questions, [the more I’d get] answers I didn’t like.”

That realization pushed Nakamura to become a craft butcher, working her way up to launching (now closed) Lindy & Grundy in LA and the much-buzzed-about White Gold in NYC with fellow butcher (and now partner) Jocelyn Guest and famed chef-restaurateur April Bloomfield.

Photo by Heidi Harris

Craft butchers and J&E SmallGoods founders Jocelyn Guest (left) and Erika Nakamura with their daughter, Nina

“When we decided to step away from White Gold, we took a hard look at food culture,” says Guest of the couple’s decision to leave NYC and relocate to Goldens Bridge in 2018. “Our siblings had kids, didn’t live in major metropolises, and didn’t have access to the meat we’re used to having access to.” That, along with becoming moms to 1-year-old Nina, spurred Guest and Nakamura to launch J&E SmallGoods, a consumer sausage line with a thoughtful, craft-butcher-inspired ethos.

“We’re used to educating people over butcher counters. When we started this company, we had a 4”x5” box to put all of our information on,” says Guest. Adds Nakamura: “When you look at the back of the [J&E SmallGoods] label, there’s nothing confusing, nothing weird. It’s stuff you can pronounce, that you’re familiar with.”

The company currently has three products — snappy, natural-casing hot dogs; quarter-pound beef kielbasa; and beer-ready bratwurst — produced with all-organic meats, sourced from a cooperative of farms within a 250-mile radius. Find them online at www.jesmallgoods.com.

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