Packing meat at 3P Natural and Exotic Meats

Photos by Kelly Marion

If I had a dollar for every sausage that I ate, I would have a lot of coin. Sadly the amount of low quality “tubes of meat” I’ve had in my life is nothing to be proud of.  As a child I ate Johnsonville breakfast sausages almost weekly for Sunday breakfasts. At that point I was less concerned about what as I was eating as I was about how deliciously salty and sweet they were (my dad liked the maple kind). As I grew up and went through my teenage years I decided that sausages were disgusting and consisted nothing of a bunch of miscellaneous meat ends shoved in a casing of fatty skin. I avoided them like the plague, opting for butcher cuts of bacon or ham to accompany my French toast or eggs.  

At one point I decided that I would give the notoriously unhealthy sausages a second chance. Finding that Olympic makes good yogurt, I assumed that the Olympic pork sausages would be good as well; I looked at them, and quickly changed my mind. I then decided to try Lilydale daystarters, which are nitrate and MSG free. Although better than others I had tried, I was still unsure as to the source of the meat and what was actually in them. Thinking that I was making a healthier choice I dropped breakfast sausages all together and switched to Freybe turkey and chicken dinner sausages.  I felt I was on the right track as they tasted much better and were turkey and chicken rather than pork, but then I read the ingredients. I was okay with the water, salt, tequila, cilantro and potassium phosphate, but when the list continued to sodium nitrate, and sodium erythorbate I was a little concerned. First of all, I didn’t know what either of these were, and second of all, I wondered if they were really necessary and what harm they could be doing my body.

Go to many countries in Europe, or to Montreal, and you will find specialty stores from butchers and charcuteries, to boulangeries and fromageries.  There you can find reliably sourced products with no hidden surprises in ingredients. Many shops actually showcase the slabs of meat in the counter case prior to giving you your desired cut. We seem to have the desire in Vancouver, so why aren’t there more of these specialty stores scattered throughout town?

After a bit of sleuthing I found a shop in North Vancouver, called 3P Natural and Exotic Meats. The name itself drew me in and when I found out they were offering an Ethical Deal for a sausage making class I was fully entrenched in the idea that I could prove my self-sufficiency in the form of making a sausage. Maybe those little tubes of meat could in fact be tasty and healthy.

At the time of my visit there were four employees, Paul, the owner, Wendy, who was helping to teach the class that day, a guy named Dennis and another part-time girl. At that point, they were firing out four sausage-making classes a day to accommodate the 200 plus people that bought the Ethical Deal. Classes were allotted 2-2.5 hours but our class ended slightly early. Paul suggested it was because we were “super-stars”, claiming that we “made it look so easy.” 

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