BONE BROTH AND BEYOND... As Palo Alto's newest butcher shop eyes its one-year anniversary at Town & Country Village, a somewhat surprising food item tops the best-seller list at Belcampo Meat Co. It's bone broth. Even more surprisingly, bone broth is not just for cooking; it's for drinking. "We have a hard time keeping it in stock," said Belcampo store manager Kiley Boettcher. "We're currently out of it. We probably go through 20 or 30 quarts a week." So what's the appeal of bone broth, and who does all the drinking? "We get a lot of ladies from The Bar Method," said Boettcher of the exercise studio adjacent to Belcampo. "They love it. They like to drink it right after their workouts. It's got minerals, collagen, lots of good things. Some customers drink it because their doctor has recommended it. Others drink it because they want to stay healthy." Although bone broth is not exactly a new food, those who believe in its health benefits say it's totally different from the broth offered in cartons at neighborhood grocers. "Real bone broth is delicious and aromatic," said Palo Altan Jonny Popovich, who makes his own broth. "And it's not that high-salt, store-bought version. You get it from slowly simmering organic meat bones." One quart of Belcampo's bone broth is $12. Another sought-after item in Boettcher's shop is lard. "Rendered lard sells really well," he said. A big bowl of white lard is displayed in the cabinet and sells for $6 a pound. "And lardo butter is very popular," he added. "It's a mixture of butter and bacon and it's from the back fat of the pig. It has the color and consistency of mashed potatoes. We grind it, mix it with herbs, garlic and red wine vinegar -- it's great for sautéing. It's also good for injecting into turkeys for Thanksgiving." One pound of lardo butter costs 10 bucks.
In addition to selling bone broth, lard and lardo, the store has just announced its first-ever "summer meat camps," to be held at the company's sprawling 20,000-acre farm in Yreka, California, at the foot of Mount Shasta in the Cascade Range. Belcampo President Bronwen Hanna-Korpi said the company has held numerous staff retreats at its Northern California farm, and thought they'd open it up to the public this summer. "Everyone loves it. It's beautiful up there," Hanna-Korpi said. Two camps are currently scheduled -- the Women's Meat Camp starts Aug. 6, and the Gay Men's Meat Camp begins Aug. 13. "We wanted to go after certain groups that aren't traditionally seen as grill masters," she said. Campers will receive a thorough understanding of meat cookery with a focus on open-fire grilling during the intensive three-day outing. Belcampo will also provide a farm boot camp and yoga classes. Accommodations are in luxury tents. To learn more about the meat camps, go to belcampomeatco.com.
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