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Porter Road wants to herd the meat industry in a new direction

Down a two-lane road on the outskirts of Princeton, Ky., next to a cemetery and past the Light of Truth Church, is the Porter Road Butcher Meat Co. facility — a staging ground for what the Nashville-based startup Porter Road hopes will be a revolution in the American meatpacking industry. For the company’s co-founders, James Peisker and Chris Carter, the refashioning of the meat business in America is the next step in a nearly decade-long journey since the former chefs first met working in the restaurant of Nashville’s historic Hermitage Hotel.  The two men started their butcher business selling locally sourced meat from the East Nashville Farmer’s Market in 2010, and eventually moved to a storefront in the same neighborhood a year later. “We ended up going around and raising funds and opened the brick and mortar shop in 2011,” Peisker said. “Chris worked a job at a friend of ours’ deli in the morning and I worked at a restaurant at night.” But from the beginning the two men had bigger ambitions, and as the business became increasingly successful, they began thinking about how to bring their approach to the meat industry to the entire country. “What we see the future is is being able to reach as many people as we can in the country and offer them the best quality, most sustainably raised products,” said Carter in an interview.  As they began building the business in earnest, the two men realized there was a critical part of the process over which they had no control — the meat processing itself. “I would love to be Omaha Steaks,” said Carter. “But I would love to bring change to the system that Omaha Steaks buys into.” To do that meant not just sourcing from sustainable farms, but making sure that their slaughterhouse and processing facility was operating to standards that the two co-founders set for themselves. “They put up the curtain to hide what’s happening,” said Peisker of the meat industry — although the dirty side of industrial animal husbandry is well known. “Ninety-nine percent of the meat is coming…

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