Butcher shops included in Porktoberfest for first time

Chris van Ouwerkerk poses in his shop ‘Butcher & Butcher’, which is participating in P.E.I.’s Porktoberfest for the first time. This is the first year the contest will feature butcher shop and market, as well as restaurants from across the Island. Carson Deveau photo.

By Carson Deveau

Oct. 14, 2016

Chris van Ouwerkerk has been a fan of Porktoberfest since the contest began five years ago.

This year his butcher shop, Butcher & Butcher, along with three other shops, are in the contest for the first time.

Porktoberfest now includes entries from 20 restaurants and four Island Butcher shops and markets.

It’s exciting to finally be part of Porktoberfest after admiring the contest for years, van Ouwerkerk said.

“I’ve been a fan of Porktoberfest since it’s first year and I’ve always wanted to partake and be in the event for years now.”

Though butcher shops and markets are included, they follow a different set of rules than the restaurants.

Restaurants submit one pork dish for the month. van Ouwerkerk and the other three butcher shops and markets must submit a new dish customers can go home and make themselves every week.

Making multiple pork dishes introduces customers to new meal ideas they may not have discovered otherwise, van Ouwerkerk said.

“People get to take our creations and go home and cook it for themselves. We are really giving people new ways to be creative with pork, since many Islanders don’t usually make it, and know the different way they can make it.”

Robbie Dover is the vice-president at Fresh Media, the company organizing Porktoberfest, as well as Burgerlove in April.

The need to get Islanders to eat more pork is one of the main reasons Porktoberfest was created, he said.

After the success of the first two years of Burgerlove, and how much it benefitted Island beef farmers, Fresh Media decided to get pork farmers the same attention, he said.

“We are trying to support and celebrate how great our Island hog farmers are.”

Mandy Crockette agrees.

She is the manager at the Old Triangle. She has participated in Porktoberfest since the contest began.

One reason they take part every year is because it’s a good chance to support our Island farmers, she said.

“It’s very important to support the farmers and anytime you have the chance to support something local, you have to do it.”

It’s important to get as many people as possible to try Island pork, which is why it’s great Fresh Media decided to include butcher shops like van Ouwerkerk’s and markets to this year’s contest, she said.

“It’s fantastic that they decided to include butcher shops. The more involvement in the contest can only mean the community will get more involved with it as well, and get out and try all of these new and different recipes that are being offered around them.”

van Ouwerkerk hopes to inspire customers to buy local. Meanwhile, Butcher & Butcher will continue to support Island farmers.

“At our shop we are always selling P.E.I. pork, and that doesn’t just start whenever this month begins, and certainly won’t stop when it ends.”