Local Meat Hits the Street

Benny Westcott

“Brisket, tri-tips, tomahawk steaks, porterhouses, t-bones, beef ribs, New York steaks,” says Kim Hawes, manager of Sweet Home Meat Market and Smokehouse, listing off meats the newly opened shop sells.

Part-owner Todd Carter cuts her off, offering a more succinct summary. “Every kind of meat you can think of,” he says, and then offers up some others for good measure. “Several different flavors of summer sausages, steak strips, and multiple flavors of pepperoni sticks.”

All of these choice meats have been available for Sweet Home shoppers since the market opened on May 18 at 1030 Long St. And while the store may be new to town, its values are anything but.

“We try to get everything as local and fresh as we can,” Carter said. “We’re going with kind of an old-school theme. Unlike other places, our meat’s not frozen.” The market does its own smoking in house.

Carter said the beef comes from a local rancher right off of Highway 228 and Brush Creek Road, and is slaughtered at Anderson Ranches in Brownsville. Even the sauces, condiments and merchandise the store sells are made in Oregon.

Carter first made his mark on the local food scene when he bought Chucky’s In Holley-Woods Custom Meat Cutting on 25057 Springer Road two years ago from longtime local butcher Chuck Smith. Carter changed the name to Holy Cow Meats.

Carter, who previously lived in Boise, Idaho, first visited the region looking to invest in some land. His brother Rick Parrish also lives in the Sweet Home area.

“My brother was wanting to get a steer butchered, and I told him he should start his own butcher shop,” Carter recalled. “[I was] leaving that weekend, and he called me when I was about an hour out of town and told me Chucky’s was for sale. I was like, ‘You should have told me that earlier.'”

Carter agreed to buy the business, sealing the deal with, as he called it, “a handshake and a promise.”

The venture was a foray into new territory for the Montana native, who attended electronic school at DeVry University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in project management. He became a technician at Intel in Chandler, Ariz. (where he met his wife Jessica through a high school friend), before moving to Boise for a position at ASM International, which produces semiconductor wafer processing equipment. However, he became somewhat disillusioned during the pandemic and sought a change of scene.

“The last year and a half with COVID has been kind of crazy,” he told The New Era in 2021. “I only went into the office seven times and was working on Zoom. So I was looking for a change. I kind of figured, working in the corporate world, no matter how much you put into it, you only get so much out.”

So he moved his family to Sweet Home. Jessica helped out at Holy Cow Meats and now pitches in at the new market as well. Parrish, a physician’s assistant at Sweet Home Family Medicine who also owns Parrish Land Clearing, is part owner.

Carter had been eyeing a move downtown for a while.

“Our driveway was really steep [at Holy Cow Meats] and nobody likes to drive up there that often, so everybody was always asking when we were going to come to town,” Carter explained. “Then we had this opportunity to buy the whole building from Henry Wolthuis so we did that. It took about a year to remodel it.”

Butchering work is still being done at the Holy Cow Meats location, but all of the retail has moved to the Long Street spot.