Let's do a little mid-twentieth century history.
World War II forced Americans to re-think everything. Isolationism failed. American innovation was hit-and-miss. We discovered we were not invincible. What we were was resilient. With so many men overseas fighting the war, the new face of American adaptability was female.
Allison Hines is part of that legacy. She is a veteran, and, after her appearance on the cover of City Beat magazine, a pin-up girl. Recently, her ability to adapt was put to the test, when she assumed ownership of Butcher Betties Meats and Sweets.
Jack Berberich, owner of the Friendly Market in Florence, was forced to step in and operate a butcher shop there, after the original vendor pulled out. Friendly Market is what Allison called "a culinary destination", based on Findlay Market, with permanent indoor, and seasonal outdoor, vendors selling a wide range of foodstuffs. Brainstorming by other vendors there led to a call to Allison Hines.
Then, after eight months of what she thought would be an 18 month apprenticeship at Avril-Bleh, she suddenly owned a butcher shop, nearly a year ahead of her business plan. She had been a cook in the Navy, had completed culinary school, and was a chef for six years. She knew that she wanted to connect customers with locally-sourced, pasture-raised meat. The only thing missing was the exchange over the meat case.
In the weeks since Butcher Betties opened, in addition to selling products from multiple Kentucky vendors, as well as her signature spice rubs and bacon marmalade, Allison has discovered how much people want the knowledge she has to offer. Not just about various cuts of meat, and not just about how to put that meat on the family table. Most are pleasantly surprised to see a female butcher, and the response from women in particular has been gratifying. Many are also interested in learning to butcher.
In a sure sign that spring is coming, Allison has a waiting list of customers for spring lamb, and she'll be happy to contact you when she receives any cut of meat that's not currently in stock. The painting and re-branding of the shop is scheduled for the weekend, and the official grand opening of Butcher Betties takes place in March.
This is the last in a four-part series on regional purveyors of meat, found on farms, at farmers' markets, or at local businesses. See the "suggested by the author" stories below to connect with the entire series.