Community support there for new abattoir, butcher shop
© Lawrence Powell
Jennifer D’Aubin holds the microphone for husband Ralph during a meat-cutting demonstration at the Bridgetown fire hall November 24. D’Aubin Family Meats is hoping to open a shop in the Bridgetown area and held a sold-out “field To Table” event to showcase Ralph’s skills and the family’s intent to work in and with the community.
There seems to be little doubt that Bridgetown, and indeed the western Valley, will be getting their own abattoir and butcher shop – at least if community support has anything to do with it. And if anything is worth doing, Jennifer and Ralph D’Aubin hold to the credo that it’s worth doing well.
On Sunday, Nov. 24 the D’Aubin family held their first event “Field to Table” to showcase local farmers, producers, and talent, as well as raise awareness about their new venture. During the four-hour event Ralph demonstrated, to a sold-out crowd, cutting down a quarter of beef followed by live entertainment, a delicious meal catered by Bridgetown’s Eggplant Café, and a presentation by Jennifer explaining the couple’s journey and present plea for support through their online crowd-sourcing campaign.
Together with their four children, Ralph and Jennifer have been working diligently over the past year to see their dream of opening a provincially inspected abattoir and butcher shop become a reality. D’Aubin Family Meats, as the name suggests, will be a family run operation servicing primarily Annapolis Valley farmers and providing local, quality meats to its customers. The D’Aubins are well known in the area for their sausages which they have been selling at the Bridgetown Farmers and Traders Market and at The Annapolis Valley Exhibition for the past two seasons.
Family And Farmers
As Ralph states in their video (found by visiting their campaign at www.indiegogo.com and searching D’Aubin Family Meats), he wants to not only help his own family, but all farmers and families in Nova Scotia. As Jennifer adds, the family wants to see the way of life in the Annapolis Valley, especially the agricultural community, maintained and they propose to provide a much-needed service.
The closure of Kingston’s OH Armstrong’s kill floor in January 2013 has left the Valley void of a provincially inspected facility, the closest being Yarmouth and Gaspereau. This means longer distances for producers to travel with their animals and many small scale farmers questioning their ability to continue to raise their own animals.
The D’Aubins are asking for support in raising the remainder of the funds they need to see their dream realized.
“This is a large venture,” said Jennifer. “The combined costs of construction and equipment total over $300,000.”
The family has sought out government grants, have taken on a silent partner, and are currently working with a local bank for the needed funds. Over $5,000 of their $20,000 Indiogogo goal has been raised to date.
Lots Of Support
“People are behind us. I think they see how this project will benefit everyone in the area and give a much needed boost to the local economy,” Jennifer said when asked about the level of support received thus far. “Plus, people want to know where their food comes from and support local farmers. This is a win for everyone.”
The November 24 D’Aubin gala may have been the event of the year in the area – Bridgetown’s mayor was in attendance and so was the Nova Scotia Premier. Bridgetown and Area Chamber of Commerce president Neil Cook was there and supports the D’Aubin venture and the idea of crowd-sourcing for funds.
“It’s really tremendous to see,” said Cook, referring to micro-economies, small businesses, and community support. “It’s really positive change that’s happening here. It’s great to see the turnout. With the new food movement people are wanting to know, demanding to know where their food source is, and on small scale farming its really important for local businesses because we are relying on small groups of businesses come together to support each other and work with community. It’s great to see it happening. I’m really excited from the Town of Bridgetown and Annapolis County and from the chamber and the business perspective.”
Centrelea farmer Danny Bruce was also at the D’Aubin event. He wasn’t there to learn about Ralph D’Aubin’s abilities, he was there to support him. Ralph D’Aubin butchers Bruce’s beef cattle – expertly.
To learn more about supporting the D’Aubin family in their efforts visit their campaign online at www.indiegogo.com , check out the D’Aubin Family Meats homepage on Facebook, or give Jen and Ralph a call at 665-2848.