Just over a couple years ago, I took one of your sausage making classes (back at the smaller house). Which led to a pork butchery class. Which of course led to a pig slaughter class. I had an amazing time and learned a lot. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I’ve recently acquired a position in the meat department at the Community Food Co-op here in Bellingham. It’s a little different since we aren’t working with whole animals, but it is a least a step in the right direction for me! It’s a great place to work and they are careful about where they source their product from. I’m hoping that this will someday lead me to find work for a butcher who does whole animal butchery. My boyfriend and I will be getting a whole pig this year (rather than 1/2 like last year) and we will take it home in our truck right after it’s slaughtered out in the county. We’ve got bacon and guanciale hanging in our kitchen and what will hopefully be a lovely prosciutto hanging in our basement.

Anyway, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for helping me discover my passion in life… something I never would have thought I could or would do. Thanks for all you do! It is much appreciated!

Much gratitude,

Melissa Szabo :)”


Just a quick note to say thanks for the class this past weekend. Yes, I had a great time. yes, I learned a ton. But more than to simply communicate my appreciation of your time and energy, what I also came away with was a lasting impression you made as an instructor… you are eloquent, patient and humble with a perfect measure of meticulousness, wit and warmth. Your ability to work with a spectrum of folks appears effortless.

In short: I think you’re doing a stand-out job at sharing the passion and skills you possess. I left feeling enriched, engaged, enabled, even inspired, and I try not to use the word too often, but I was. So, big praise and admiration from me.



“Dear Meatsmith,

It is with great pleasure that I write you today. On the eve of my second annual hog harvest, I have found myself watching your videos again.

Last year, as I was raising hogs for the first time and educating myself on how to process the animal, a friend recommended that I visit your website. I have been overjoyed with both the quantity of information and the quality of the message that you are offering to people like me.

On a cold fall day, a few close friends joined me as we processed our hog beginning to end in a day full of food, friends, and learning. As I reflect on that day, I find myself grateful for my friends enthusiasm, and also for the guidance you provided that was absolutely priceless in giving me the confidence I needed to complete the task of the day.

I can not thank you enough for sharing all of your videos to those who are interested free of charge. I have and will continue to do my part to spread the word about where our meat comes from and the joys of sharing the heritage, processes, products, and community that your message brings.”

Cambridge, VT

“I’ve taken many classes where I’ve walked away and felt like I could have spent ten minutes with a book and learned just as much. This class is the first class in a long time that I felt like I was given real info and I can tell that this is a passion for Brandon. It was well worth the money.”

Paul in Oregon

“I am a homesteader in the making, and we are looking to buy our first family farm next year. Your videos are not only invaluable to the small people like me, but also just beautiful. To a family who grew up in the city, throwing their family on a farm and going back to basics is a rather daunting task. Your videos show it as easy, and fulfilling as I am sure it is…Wishing you were in Wisconsin!”


“I wrote a short blog post about the experience which includes a few photos of the daring acts of culinary experimentation that have arisen from this bounty.”

Tony, Seattle

“Pardon my brevity, I am literally half way through butchering a pig as I’m typing this.

I watched your videos three or four times at this point, and felt like I needed to write you an email to tell you that they are easily the most inspiring media/instruction/commentary I’ve consumed in my 15 year career as a professional cook.

I just spent the last hour and a half cutting, watching, pausing, cutting, watching, pausing and so on. I’ve been cutting whole animals for the past 8 or 9 years, mostly lamb, pork, and quarters of veal along with the common birds, duck, chicken etc. I’ve been making confit and rillettes for as long, and as of yet the only instruction I’ve had was from a dishwasher whose family owned a carniceria in Mexico.

Watching the videos makes me feel like I’m seeing it for the first time. Simple, perfect.

Thanks so much for making this.”


“The chicken processing class I took on Vashon Island with Brandon Sheard of Farmstead Meats was one of the best things I’ve done in a long time. They took a rather daunting process and turned it attainable. Here is a video of the day (the “no drama” quote is me!).

After the chickens were processed, we were treated to a lovely lunch put on by Karen of LaBiondo. The setting was idyllic, the food, divine. And I would have killed for the rhubarb crisp. (Come to think of it… I did!)… I am SO GLAD I took this class.

And tonight, I am making a delicious Posole Verde with my own heritage breed rooster. How about that? That’s what farming is all about.”

Cat, Seattle

“The money I spend every year to have Farmstead Meatsmith process my chickens (and pigs) is definitely one of my wisest and most efficient expenses. I hope you all value your time, as the time saved having them do all the work for you, allows you to use your time on other equally valuable tasks, chores, endeavors.

My last chicken harvest was 41 birds. Brandon and Lauren were there and gone in 6 hours with nothing left behind except a wheelbarrow full of feathers for my compost and a wheelbarrow full of guts and goo which I buried out in the back pasture (it has never been dug up by rodents, crows or my dogs). So I spent less than 1/2 hour of my time in the process and have a freezer full of beautifully processed, individually wrapped chicken dinners (with giblets). They will leave you the heads and feet all cleaned and ready for your stock pot, OR they will take them away if you want.

Mangiare bene!”

Karen Biondo, La Biondo Farm and Kitchen, (one of our favorites)

“I never knew taking an animal’s life could bring me closer to God and the truth of how we live, but last spring, when I helped to slaughter the two pigs that my brother and I had raised, I grew in understanding. It all began last Christmas…

While I knew I wanted to watch the processing, it did not cross my mind that I would actually be involved with it. I found the perfect people to do the processing…”

Johnny, Maple Valley, WA
1/13/12… from his college application essay. He got accepted.

“Thanks for all the wonderful classes you offered 2012. I learned a lot last year but the class at your farm with your family was pure heaven. It’s what I feel community is. Plus, the bread at lunch was amazing. You and your family make the world a better place. All the best in 2013!”

Eddy, Seattle

“A year of pork. Opened up the new procuitto last month. Pork chops last Thursday. Italian sausage last night. Sausage for breakfast this morning (with La Biondo eggs, of course). Grade A Vashon Prime. Delicious. Y’all do good work. Looking forward to the smoked goods.”

Paul, Vashon

“I can’t even begin to speak highly enough about the class. It was more than just a butchery class and we covered way more topics than I expected. You guys were bombarded with questions from all over the place some more relevant than others, sorry ’bout that!

I especially liked the charcuterie and cooking techniques that we covered… I was amazed at how literally nothing went to waste in your class.”

Vern, one of our first students

“Brandon and Lauren are particularly good at inculcating a sense of wonder and respect for the pig/pork, and made it fascinating to see what all could be done with it. The workshop was thorough, and in a way, elegant, neat, tidy, efficient, and engaging.”

Virginia, from our first class