Slide Show: Nicky USA Steps Up Their Game
If you could spend a few moments browsing through typical American menus from the last several decades, you'll see the same proteins appearing over and over again: beef, pork, chicken. If you’re lucky, you might see an occasional lamb. It wasn’t until recently that chefs—particularly those who aligned themselves with the local food movement—started demanding a more diverse set of sustainably raised meats to fill their walk-ins. Game meats have become a darling of chefs around the country, from wild boar and elk to water buffalo and quail—the lot of which are generally leaner and often more flavorful than their standard livestock counterparts. But savvy chefs had a problem—the rarer game meats were hard to come by, and, if they were to acquire them, many were left with lingering questions regarding the farming and processing practices of the animals. But with no real distribution model to tap into, how could aspiring game farmers even begin to create change within the game...game? Enter Geoff and Melody Latham, owners of Portland-based Nicky USA—one of the few West Coast companies dedicated to butchering and distributing sustainably-raised game meat. Since the 1990s, the Lathams have built a name throughout the Northwest as one of the top purveyors of meat coming from sustainable, family-owned farms—and they've recently expanded their distribution empire to Seattle and set out to become the only Northwest meat distributor to also raise their own meat.