Two Years in Business

January 1, 2013

[reposting from Link Lab’s web site….with few more photos here]

Link Lab Artisan Meats is wrapping up our 2nd full year of business. Our community of customers, partners, friends, and intrigued bystanders continues to grow, and we seem to be getting busier with each passing week. During 2012, we steadily increased our presence in restaurants and retail shops, and there are a lot of big plans for 2013.


Thank you everyone for remaining passionate about using locally sourced meat and thoughtfully produced products like our sausage from Link Lab. The local farmers we partner with are doing incredible work, and it is very satisfying to help so many carnivores support our local food system.

  • To all the chefs using Link Lab sausage on your menu: Thank you!
  • To all the retailers selling Link Lab sausage at your shop: Thank you!
  • To folks who can’t find Link Lab Sausage: Speak up and help spread the word. Tell your favorite restaurant and grocery store about Link Lab.  Good business decisions (even in restaurants) are made based on customer feedback.

Here are a few fun numbers and highlights from 2012:

  • >9000 lbs Link Lab sausage sold in 2012
  • Our meat: A great and expanding group of farmers provided our meat this year:
    • Jones Family Farm on Lopez Island, WA
    • Martiny Livestock in Concrete, WA
    • Tails & Trotters Hazelnut finished pork
    • Heritage Lane Farm in Lynden, WA
    • Crown S Ranch in Winthrop, WA
    • Draper Organic Poultry farm in Mt Vernon
    • Boise Creek Boer Goats in Enumclaw, WA
  • 20 restaurants bought and served Link Lab sausage this year.
  • 15 retail stores around the state are selling Link Lab sausage
  • New kitchen:
  •  In August, Link Lab moved out of our original facility (my garage) and into a fully dedicated commercial kitchen. There is a lot more elbow room now.


  • New Delivery Truck: The Prius served me well, but 2012 was the year to upgrade to a larger delivery vehicle.
  • Three great employees: George, Daniel, and Em are a 6-armed sausage making machine. We’re all still learning each day, but production moves along well with good people and extra square footage to work in.


  • Mr. Pearlstein goes to Washington: In August, David travelled to Washington, DC and spoke to a group of 30 employees at USDA/FSIS (food safety inspection service). A very exciting morning, and everyone seemed to like the story of what Link Lab is doing out here in the Northwest.


  • International friends: Link Lab has new supporters and friends from around the world (Wales, Singapore, Philippines, Hong Kong, Brazil, Canada, Thailand)
  • Macrina: A huge thanks to Leslie Mackie of Macrina Bakery for mentioning Link Lab Artisan Meats in the beautiful new cookbook More from Macrina

Redesign of Link Lab Labels: Our packaging took a giant step forward with newly designed labels. IMAG0034IMAG0032

  • USDA Inspection: USDA Food Safety Inspectors continue to visit Link Lab every day. And every 6 months, we get a new inspector.  Quite decent people so far who are good at their job, helpful to the safety of our product, and not too burdensome to our work.  My most recent inspector once hosted a Euro-Metal radio show on Texas public radio.  Government workers come from everywhere!
  • Beta testing of “Meat Camp” – An urban shepherd and his daughter spent a day at Link Lab learning to make sausage. There may be more workshops in the future.


  • Creative Customers: Some of you Link Lab customers were very creative with sausage:
    • Martini Turkey Sausage served on a vermouth foam
    • “Make way for Duck-Links” – appetizer sized duck & cherry sausages served on a brioche bun with house made ketchup and relishes.
    • “Bunnies in the Garden” – Rabbit & Prune sausage served on a bed of greens….for Easter.
    • Rosemary & Sage Turkey sausage dipped in panco crumbs, fried and served on a skewer.
    • Link Lab’s Juniper-Garlic Sausage stuffed in Roast Chicken
  • Farewell: Seattle said goodbye to two of my favorite restaurants. Elemental at Gasworks  and Skelly & the Bean. They were both Link Lab customers, but more importantly they changed the food landscape in Seattle and cooked amazing food. Good luck to you guys! I’m already looking forward to whatever you do next.
  • The Press: Link Lab was fortunate to have some very nice stories written and published about us this past year.
  • Illinois Men’s Gymnastics wins 2012 NCAA Championships! – a bit off topic and non-regional, but some news is worth sharing

Upcoming in 2013

  • Bacon production is just about ready to begin! Who’s ready for bacon?


  • New sausage varieties continue to be developed. Organic Curry Chicken sausage is one to look for soon.
  • More restaurant partners, grocery partners,  and easier availability for everyone.
  • So much more…..get ready for a big 2013!

All the best to everyone for a busy and healthy new year.