Berlin Reed with a plate of bacon.

Image: Stacy Austin

Berlin Reed, also known locally as the Ethical Butcher, is starting a “bacon of the month” club, in which members can receive a 2 lb slab of bacon each month. There are three purchasing options, from month to month ($36/slab), a six-month commitment ($27.50/slab), or annually ($20/slab).

Originally a Northwest native, Reed is returning to Portland after working various jobs in wine, cheese, and meat in New York. He was a self-described “militant vegan” until his job as a butcher eased him onto sustainable meat sources. He found he could make more of a positive impact by supporting local, sustainable farmers, than merely all-out ignoring the meat industry.

As the Ethical Butcher, Reed offers Oregonians access to local, heritage meat in a choice of different gourmet flavors. Reed has dozens of self-crafted bacon recipes, including everything from pineapple to peanut butter. He purchases his meat from smaller farms that often can’t sell just a few pounds of meat to local consumers, but that are also too small to sell to stores or restaurants.

He visits every farm personally and then custom-cures the heritage pork and lamb bacon. The bacon is not smoked; it is oven-roasted to provide a layered essence. Seasoning ingredients are local and seasonal when possible. Reed is curating a product that one cannot find elsewhere.

Last Friday was Reed’s last bacon event held at Salt, Fire & Time (609 SE Ankeny), a community-supported kitchen. Reed prepared small entrees, including three bacon flavors. “Colonel Mustard with a Clove” was served on a sweet pastry, and included Stumptown coffee, stoneground mustard, cloves, and coffee-soaked cherries. “Jalisco” was served on a skewer, with bacon complementing tequila, lime jalapeno, serranos and guajillo. “Ya-ya’s,” named after a family member, was easily consumed on lettuce with blue cheese, flavored with fig, homemade tapenade, and preserved lemons.

Reed and Tressa Yellig (owner of Salt, Fire & Time) have found a new space (1902 NW 24th) to pursue their separate businesses. It is a converted house with two kitchens where they can hold intimate dinners and classes.