There’s nothing unusual about David Pearlstien’s Wallingford house, until you walk into his converted garage. “The first time the USDA inspector walked in he said, ‘We are not going to use the ‘G’ word anymore, this is not a garage,'” Pearlstein says.
Pearlstein working in what used to be his garage.
It’s true. Pearlstein’s garage is now a “USDA inspected and approved meat-processing facility.”
The cocktail of spices measured for different varieties of sausage
In his “USDA inspected and approved meat-processing facility” Pearlstein makes sausage – 19 different varieties. Pearlstein is the man behind Link Lab Artisan Meats.
Pearlstein adding spices into the meat
About a year ago, Pearlstein wanted to take his sausage-making hobby and make it a business. “I knew I could make sausage but can I wrestle with the USDA regulations?” he says. There are a lot of rules and regulations that Pearlstein must follow and he is visited everyday by a USDA inspector.
Pearlstein tries to buy local whenever possible, down to the beer for his beer brats.
Back in January he got his sought-after approval and started his commercial operation. Pearlstein prides himself in using local meat. “I’m trying as hard as I can to work with farmers who go to farmers markets. The local ones that are very accessible and excited to tell you and share all of their processes,” he says. “I like to visit all the farmers, I like to understand who they are and why they care about what they’re doing.”
Everything on the label must be approved by the USDA.
Pearlstein makes sausages like chorizo, beer brats and spiced lamb and pork links, but he says they taste different than many. “The flavors, the combinations, the varieties, I think are different than you’re going to find anywhere,” he says. “But even the familiar ones, the Italian sausage, it’s that much fresher and brighter because I’m using spices that are coming from a local spice shop.”
The finishing touches.
Link Lab Meats are available at the Virginia Mason Farmers Market on Friday afternoons, Sunset Hill Green Market in Ballard and at several restaurants. Pearlstein also does a monthly trip to the Microsoft campus where he delivers pre-ordered sausage. More information on Link Lab can be found here.
I'll have to try out the chorizo to see how it stacks up to the real deal.
Great story! Who knew?
In a globalized economy, meat-eating in rich countries promotes starvation in the poorer ones. Not to mention the climate change aspects, which rival that of transportation in magnitude.
We don't eat a lot of meat, but when we do, we like local, grass-fed, humane. At Green Market, I picked up some Port and Fennel (I think that's what it was) along with the Juniper sausage and brats. These are delicious.
Yeah not true, and even if it was, I won't ever stop eating meat.
So David, you don't eat any meat?
Or contribute to global climate change at all? I suspect you do in a lot more ways that you know. Probably should keep your stupid mouth shut. Nobody asked you to contribute your sad two cents in an article promoting a local sausage maker. Do us a favor and move to one of your so called “poorer nations”. They would love to have you. I am sure of it. I hear Somalia is great place this time of the year.
Really cool story. Very clean and professional looking place. I wish you the best of luck. I cant believe that you are inspected daily… please tell me that is a misprint.
Very cool, but what a waste of government resources! Does in inspector need to visit a small producer *every* day? Wonder how much *that* costs! I'll forgo comments on our mutil trillion dollar budget problems like trimming the fat 🙂
It would be nice if you sold sausage made in Wallingford at the Wallingford Farmer's Market!
Had these on the 4th of July. With Fremont Brewery beer. Perfect!
the USDA inspection program is paid for with license fees. Your bloated federal deficit is due to illegal subsidies to Boeing and others in the defense budget, and Wall Street bailouts.
Especially since corporate farms and meat packing plants essentially police themselves (did anyone see Food Inc.)?
… says the guy who typed that on a laptop comprised of toxic metals, rubbers, and plastics, shipped thousands of miles on a diesel belching cargo ship…
Your existence on Earth promotes starvation in the poorer nations. If you really cared you'd xxx yourself.
Man I can be proud of you, demonstrating the American Dream. Now for some naturally cured and smoked Wisconsin Pepperoni.
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