Primal Supply Meats’ Heather Thomason on Cutting It in the Male-Dominated Butcher Industry

Thomason founded the company’s HQ in Brewerytown and the butcher shop in East Passyunk.

Heather Thomason

Heather Thomason, owner-founder of Primal Supply Meats. Illustration by James Boyle

I got my start as a butcher when … I identified a disconnect between farmers and buyers — beautiful pastured pigs were sold as poorly butchered frozen meat. I had an idea that if I learned butchery, I could start to support farms and help reconnect a broken local food-supply chain.

The old-school butcher shop works today because … people want to feel a personal connection with their food. We know the farmers, and we can tell our customers where a certain cut came from and how to cook it.

I started working with Marc Vetri when … I launched the Kickstarter to open the butcher shop. He was already using the product at Vetri, and he said that he believed in my vision for the business, so he became an investor.

Being a woman in a predominantly male industry … I had to a work a little harder, a little faster, a little longer. I couldn’t just be good; I had to be the best for them to recognize me as good.

This summer, you should try … our Korean kalbi–style short ribs. They take a marinade, grill up really well, and are fun to eat off the bone.

Published as “Breaking Bread with Heather Thomason” in the July 2019 issue of Philadelphia magazine.