When you sit down for a conversation with Andy Carbone, you’re in for a treat. In 2009, Andy began his journey as a grass-fed cattle broker, meat wholesaler, and beef co-op, all incorporated within his business named Carne Locale. Before then, Andy studied architectural engineering and worked as a laborer, doing landscaping and construction work. He knew the physical hardship that came with that lifestyle wouldn’t be a long-term fit for him, but he also knew he wasn’t an office kind of a guy.
A Family Affair
Andy’s uncle and owner of Double J Farm, was a dairy farmer on leased land in West Brookfield, Massachusetts for more than 20 years. Jim, after two years of losing money, sold his herd of dairy cattle and purchased feeder calves, committing to 18 months without income while he raised them. One January, during Andy’s landscaping offseason, Jim needed help. Jim asked Andy to come along for “emotional support” when visiting the slaughterhouse as he just couldn’t do it alone. At the time, Jim didn’t know much about beef cuts, how to properly package and store the meat, or even what to charge for various cuts. That’s where Andy came in, determined to learn the business.
The World of Grass-Fed Beef
Andy hit the streets, walking into restaurants and asking to speak with the chefs about his local, grass-fed beef. It was through their first client, Tommaso’s Trattoria in Southborough, where Andy and Jim hit a steep learning curve, but managed through it. Andy connected with other grass-fed beef farmers to assure consistent supply for the restaurants. He noticed each farmer was convinced their breed “was the best.” To a farmer, “the best” meant getting to weight the fastest with the least amount of feed; to a chef, “the best” equates to beef with intermuscular fat that provides the best taste for their dishes. Because of this, Andy has spent years working with farmers to collect and evaluate data to optimize the cattle raising process and meet both farmer’s and chef’s needs, servicing many high end restaurants in the Greater Boston area.
Loving What You Do
When you ask Andy what inspires him to go to work everyday, he simply lights up. He says he gets the best of both worlds – working with chefs in the metropolitan community, as well as in the countryside where substantial deals with farmers are still made “over a handshake.” Additionally, he, “came up with a pricing scheme to pay farmers the most amount of money any farmers were making”, while at the same time making it affordable for restaurants to have great quality grass-fed beef on their menu. It’s his proudest accomplishment to assist in allowing family-owned farms to operate profitably in Massachusetts while protecting the land from commercialization.
Andy now works with upwards of 40 local farms, making local grass-fed beef available for us here at The Foodery and subsequently to you at home. As a word of advice, Andy states, “Keep buying from farmers markets and from places like The Foodery who actually tap directly into local. These patches of land (farms) are as valuable to our ecosystem and heritage as any historical site in Boston, so do your part to keep these farms thriving!” That’s coming from a man who is kind of like the Good Will Hunting of beef, so in all seriousness, it must be true.
You can currently sample Carne Locale’s local, grass-fed beef in the following dishes from The Foodery:
- Moroccan Meatballs
- Teriyaki Meatballs