proletariat butchery - zeph shepard

Zeph Shepard, Owner and Head Butcher

I grew up helping my father and mother with projects for our family that stemmed out of a maturing sense of responsibility and a need for frugality. This instilled a deep-rooted appreciation for utilitarianism that is still prevalent in my daily life.  In preschool, after cooking in class I approached my teacher with the idea of making a cookbook, because I wanted to keep our classroom recipes and cook more often. I also remember growing up where I thought a fulfilling and fun Friday night in junior high was to stay home, cook something from scratch or experiment with what was in the cupboard and in the cookbook. Needless to say, I didn’t get much traction with other people in my junior high social realm!

This same desire to produce has stayed with me, sending me down a persistent path that has grown into the annual tradition of roasting a whole pig.  This idea will culminate when I finally raise, slaughter and cook the pig as an exercise in true self-provision wherein the time, energy and sacrifice it requires to eat – and eat well – are embraced in all their glory. What began in the brave ignorance and pure pragmatism of my first pig roast has today blossomed into a full-fledged passion and skillset. During this pursuit I have become a butcher.

In the summer of 2010, one of the most profound times in my life occurred while I was learning old world techniques for butchering at Seabreeze Farm on Vashon Island under the tutelage of head butcher, Brandon Sheard [now the owner of Farmstead Meatsmith. The simplistic beauty within the work and preparation for living and eating has led me on my journey of all things meat, and not coincidentally, to the birth of Proletariat Butchery. If you would like to know more about my story, please join me in a class and/or purchase meat. We will share much conversation about life, laughter and meat!