Margaret & Bernie Blanche stand in front of their new store.

Margaret & Bernie Blanche stand in front of their new store.

If you like specialty meats, you’ll love Blanche Farms Meats (BFM). BFM is a specialty meat market owned and operated by Bernie and Margaret Blanche. In 2018, Bernie opened a small butcher shop and meat market in Bolingbroke. The business grew, mostly by word-of-mouth. To meet the increasing demands, the Blanches built a new facility just down the road from their original store. Last month, they moved into their new location.   

The Blanches’ story began years ago in the north Georgia mountains. Bernie has a culinary background; Margaret has an equestrian background. They owned a restaurant, a farm and riding stables. Bernie started experimenting with smoking and curing venison hams, venison prosciutto, and specialty sausages.

Once their children arrived, they realized that family time was difficult while operating a restaurant. So they decided to re-locate to an agricultural area that has good schools.

According to Bernie, they traveled to central Georgia to look around. When they drove through Forsyth, drove the surrounding highways, and researched Monroe County schools; they realized that Monroe County was their new home. They bought a small farm on Estes Road, and Blanche Farms was born. 

Full disclosure, I’ve been a customer of BFM almost from the start. I haven’t tried all their meats; but of those I’ve tasted, you won’t find better meats anywhere. The ground, smoked bacon and prosciuttos are to die for. 

My wife and I add a few ounces of the smoked bacon to many recipes for that “wow” factor. Bernie is to meat what a magician is to rabbits; he magically pulls humongous flavors from every bite. 

I asked Blanche, “Without giving away your secret, what’s the secret to your meats?” He laughed, and explained how the end product is a beginning-to-end process. Margaret said, “You can’t have good meat if you don’t start with high quality ingredients.” 

To that end, the Blanches partner with local farms that raise the breeds they desire and maintain quality products. For example, different breeds have different flavors and fat profiles. And how the hogs are finished (i.e. their feed during the last few weeks) affects the end flavor. Because of those factors, BFM’s specializes in Ossabaw and Heritage hogs, Katahdin Dorper sheep, and Angus beef.

 BFM does everything to the animal except slaughter it. They receive the whole carcass, cut specialty orders, smoke, cure, process, and age the meats. Bernie uses the entire animal to make his creations.

BFM’s new facility allows them to cold smoke (temperature stays below 110° F), hot smoke, and dry age the meats. Blanche has all the standard meat cuts – ribeye, loins, ribs, etc., but his forte is charcuteries, prosciuttos, sausages, and salamis.

When Bernie took me into the aging cooler, my mouth began to water. Pork bellies, hams, steaks, ribs, and sausages were being aged – up to two years. To give you an idea of the quality of the meats, local farm-to-table restaurants such as Dovetail, Natalia’s, Downtown Grill, Marrow 41, and Christian’s all serve BFM products.

 When you walk into Blanche Farms Meats you quickly realize that Bernie puts heart and soul into his meats. It seems like every sausage and meat cut was made especially for you.

 Additionally, BFM carries a variety of Georgia grown/Georgia made products, such as Sweet Grass cheeses, Oliver Farms olive oils, honey, BBQ sauces, pepper sauce, jams, and wines. Remember I said the entire animal is used; Blanche insures that by making dog food with any ingredients left over. (Order a bag of bones.) BFM is located on Hwy 41 next to the feed store in Bolingbroke. Store hours are Tuesday – Friday 12–6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.–3 p.m. For more information (and to salivate) visit their website at: www.blanchefarmsmeats.com or check out  videos on Youtube; search for “blanche farms meats.”

Blanche Farms (BF) is not just meats; it’s also horses – Margaret’s specialty. BF offers riding lessons, jumping, barrels, horsemanship, trail rides, and will host birthday parties. Animals at BF’s include horses, Tribby (miniature horse), goats, sheep, chickens, cats, Cocoa (miniature donkey), and Lance (dog). All riders, regardless of experience level, are welcomed with open arms. Blanche Farms is at 10540 Estes Road, open daily Monday – Friday 8 am – 7:30 pm; Saturday 8 am – 12 pm. For more information, the website is: www.blanchefarms.com

 

Sloan Oliver is a retired Army officer who lives in Bolingbroke. Email him at sloanoliver@earthlink.net.