Made in VT: Vermont’s Farmhouse Jerky Company
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Meet Pierre Mesa, the owner of Vermont’s Farmhouse Jerky Company.
“I started making elk jerky when I was 10 in Telluride, Colorado. It’s where I grew up,” Mesa said. “And I just love jerky.”
His passion for making the snack never dried out. The former chef and culinary instructor was looking for his cure to a stressful daily grind, which is why he opened up the snack shop in 2013. “Got out of the chef-ing business because it was just so much work, came over to Vermont to just try to get out of the rat race,” Mesa said.
Initially, he started bartending in Stowe, while making jerky on the side as a hobby. But it got so big, he either had to go commercial with his operation or quit it. Instead, he decided to beef it up. “I’m trying to create a company that is not only good to the environment, but I use local products, and I work with local people,” Mesa said. He says he sources his beef from a farm in Grand Isle and sources everything else locally whenever possible. Mesa touts his jerkies as all-natural, gluten-free, preservative-free, MSG-free, and allergen friendly. They even make their own Worcestershire sauce to keep anchovies out of the equation for more people to enjoy.
There are currently 17 flavors in rotation. “Maple barbecue, maple whiskey, carne asada, ghost pepper. And then I did a ghost pepper Korean barbecue, and I did a lemon pepper, and I just kept going and going with flavors,” said Mesa. He also makes turkey jerky, venison jerky, and alligator jerky, to name a few variations. They’re all made with the help of his long-time partner, Laura Bianchi.
“It is [an] adventure that came out of nowhere, but it has been a pleasure to work with my partner, Pierre,” Bianchi said. She works for her family’s business, Bianchi Stone Crafters, which is located right downstairs. Bianchi helps Mesa with the workload on weekends and at night whenever she can.
One of the flavors this duo dreamed up is a special one for a family member, named Allie. “Back in August, my niece Allie was in a mountain biking accident, broke her neck and was paralyzed from the neck down,” Bianchi said. She says some of the proceeds from the sales of the flavor help Allie pay for rehab. “Orange, amber honey, and ginger -- a combo of her flavors.” She says Allie picked them out herself. “She came up with Orange Sunrise. She sees tomorrow as her bright future.”
Sweet or savory, beef or turkey, they have bites for everyone, even those who might not be perky for jerky. All of these snacks are sold at fairs around the country, online, in some stores, and out of this small but mighty shop.
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