Catullo Puts Local Food on Its Shelves

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The “super-high quality” of the meats that Catullo’s Prime Meats sells isn’t the most important reason to locally source the beef, chicken and pork products that owner Danny Catullo sells.

That’s just a “lucky byproduct,” he remarks.

“The most important reason to buy local beef is because the money stays in the community,” he says. The choice to locally source the meats Catullo’s carries is reflected beyond the glass cases that display the steaks, chops and other meats butchered and processed there. On view on the shelves and behind the counters are jellies, jams, condiments and other items vendors make in the region.

“We’re an old-fashioned butcher shop. We pride ourselves on the best local meat that we can provide,” Catullo says. “We still do it the old-fashioned way. We literally get the whole beef in, cut it off the rail. Everything’s all-natural. We try to deal with the best local farms.”

The shop, which enjoys more than $2 million in annual sales, is one of the area’s biggest purchasers of local beef, generally from suppliers within an hour’s drive, he says.

“We try to buy from local farms in either Pennsylvania or Ohio,” he continues. It depends on what he is looking for and whether the meat meets the store’s “high standards,” he says. Beef is also purchased at auction.

“We’re lucky,” Catullo says. Local farms raise meat that has “fantastic flavor – the weather’s perfect for it,” he remarks.

National interest in buying locally sourced foods has grown in recent years. According to “Trends in U.S. Local and Regional Food Systems: A Report to Congress,” released earlier this year, 7.8% of U.S. farms were marketing foods locally, either direct-to-consumer sales or through an intermediary such as a grocery store or restaurant.

The trend is “starting to develop a conversation where people want to know where their food comes from,” Catullo says, and the ability to go to the sources of that food enables him to have that conversation.

“He can say to his customers, ‘I have seen the place where these beefs are raised,’ ” says Melissa Miller, co-owner of Miller Livestock Co. in Kinsman, a farm that supplies Catullo’s. Miller provides the butcher shop with grass-fed beef, “which is kind of a specialty market,” she says.

Miller Livestock, which has been raising cattle 35 years, went to grass-fed in 1999. In addition to participating in the Lake-to-River Food Cooperative, Miller sells to several restaurants in Cleveland and Geneva-on-the-Lake as well as a butcher on the west side of Cleveland.

Premium Pastured Meats LLC in Alliance is another supplier to Catullo’s. The farm has beef, pork, chicken, turkey and duck, reports Brian Anderson, head of sales, advertising and marketing. “We’re working on getting lamb going next,” he adds.

Premium Pastured Meats also supplies Lake-to-River, Magic Tree Pub & Eatery in Boardman and White House Fruit Farm in Canfield.

“Everybody is starting to get health-conscious, which has really helped out,” Anderson says. “That is what our business is thriving on – that and the natural aspect of what we do.” The farm doesn’t use hormones or steroids on its livestock, he notes.

“One of the things we added in the past couple of years was local produce,” Catullo says. “We get it from either Zaney Pearl in Columbiana [County] or Molnar Farms in
Poland.”

“The local-food movement has contributed value to what we do,” remarks Virginia Molnar. “People appreciate supporting local farms, and in return shorten the time from field to table, providing them with fresher, more flavorful and more nutritious produce.”

Molnar makes several flavors of jams and jellies that are sold at the butcher shop. Among them are traditional favorites such as strawberry, peach and cherry as well as more unusual flavors such as raspberry jalapeno, peach habanero and sweet cherry vanilla.

“Our flavors feature fruit grown on the farm or sourced locally whenever possible,” she says.

Other locally made products Catullo Prime Meats stocks are maple syrup, Warren-based Uncle Jim’s mustards and barbecue sauces, and items from the Bread Chef in Boardman.

Pictured:  Almost all of the meat sold at Catullo’s Prime Meats is from farms within an hour’s drive, says store owner Danny Catullo. Buying meat locally, he adds, keeps money in the area.

 

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.