After careful consideration of the investment that faced them in the spring of 2012, Russ and Kristi Atherton made the decision not to buy out their business partners of 20 plus years of the Dairy farming operation they all owned together. Both Russ and Kristi knew there were many things about their lives they wanted to make sure they continued. They wanted to be involved with agriculture and food production and be directly involved in the farming community. Additionally, they still wanted to continue a home-based business where both Russ and Kristi could work and home school the kids, and if the kids chose, to be involved with the family business. An area that Russ and Kristi knew was needed in the agricultural community was a USDA inspected slaughterhouse and processing plant and both had the ideas, skills, and knowledge to know how to make this happen. In the spring of 2012 they liquidated all their assets and by that fall had relocated their family to Center Barnstead, NH.
In the fall of 2013 they opened “The Local Butcher”, a USDA slaughter and meat processing facility. Having made it through the growing pains of the first year the Atherton’s vision is as clear as the day they purchased their property two years prior: Respecting your animals, investment, passion, and product. Both Russ and Kristi have been around animals their whole lives and both hold degrees in Animal Science. After dairy farming for over 20 years and with Kristi being a dairy farmer’s wife, they both know the personal and financial investment and commitment that goes into the passion of raising one's own food and the passion to feed others a quality product. Russ and Kristi have created a professional service-based slaughterhouse. Their mission is to do the best job they can to give back a quality product for the producer to sell or to individuals raising an animal for their own consumption. Russ and Kristi not only started the business but they are the plant managers as well. They handle all the customer service, receiving of animals, the shipment of product, food safety plans, and working with USDA inspection personnel. They have hired experienced, professional people to work in all areas of the plant from meat cutters, individuals responsible for wrapping, labeling, and packaging product, to the employees with animal experience who work on the slaughter floor.
As Russ and Kristi move into the seventh year of their operation they do so with both gratefulness and confidence. Gratefulness to farmers and their animals, to their committed local staff, to other local businesses, to their neighbors, and to their children. The Atherton’s move ahead with confidence for the future of The Local Butcher. What started out as words on a sign: Respecting your animals, investment, passion, and product, has become The Local Butcher’s core values.