Have you noticed the lights are back on at the infamous John Brown’s store in Cockeysville? Located at the intersection of Falls and Shawan roads, the store has been a fixture since the 1930s. On December 1, 2015, the renovated storefront re-opened as the John Brown General & Butchery. Harking back to the days of neighborhood butcher shops, the owners have partnered with local and sustainably-minded farmers to offer high quality beef, pork, lamb and poultry. In addition to the butchery, customers can also enjoy house made charcuterie offerings, and according to co-owner Robert “Brooke” Voss, “the best bacon in town.”
If you’ve chosen to live sustainably, and to also include animal protein in your diet, most likely you eschew conventionally-raised meats and poultry. Global livestock greenhouse gas emissions account for 18 percent of worldwide totals. Plus our world’s hunger for meat and poultry has resulted in industrialized animal farming, also known as contained animal farming operations (CAFO). Stuffing thousands of animals on little plots of land, and feeding the animals primarily corn-based food laced with antibiotics exacts a heavy toll on our environment. Not to mention the animals. A classic and fascinating read that put the spotlight on CAFOs is Michael Pollan’s New York Times article, Power Steer.
John Brown General & Butchery owners Robert “Brooke” Voss and Ben Frey believe that grass-fed beef, pork, lamb and poultry is a superior product. The butchery starts with whole animals allowing for an endless variety of fresh, never frozen, meat cuts. Many meat eaters swear that grass-fed tastes better than grain-fed. An added benefit is that grass-fed beef contains twice as many omega-3s as conventionally-raised.
John Brown General & Butchery has partnered with Grandview Farm in Forest Hill, Wagon Wheel Ranch in Mt. Airy, and Lovell Cattle Company in New Windsor to source their livestock. Animals raised on these Maryland farms graze in open pastures, and each farm practices sustainable farming including no fertilizers and animal antibiotics.
What have been the hot sellers since the grand reopening? Voss mentioned the flat iron steak, blade steak, the house-made country pate, and braised beans.
About 5 minutes west of the Hunt Valley Town Centre mall, John Brown General & Butchery is located at 13501 Falls Road, Cockeysville, MD 21030. Store hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 410.891.8549.