By Deborah DuBoff
Let’s face it: food is one thing that can provide us with that warm feeling of connection to home. That was the inspiration for Shawn and Lindsay to start their farm to table business, L&S Artisan Meats in Cotacachi, Ecuador. This is the story of how they started out in Cotacachi and are now delivering ham, bacon, gourmet sausages, cured meats, chicken, hot dogs, and signature sauces from their sustainable farm to your table in Cuenca, as well as happy gringos in Cotacachi, Mindo, Baños, Guayaquil, Quito, and the coast.
Shawn, an expat from Nebraska moved to Ecuador permanently in 2008. Lindsay, born in North Dakota, came to the farm as a volunteer in 2012 and never left. Shawn bought the farm when he moved to Ecuador in 2008 and was raising chickens. He found himself really missing smoked and cured meats from home. He started out learning how to smoke the chickens, which he offered for sale locally. He then decided to learn how to raise pigs using permaculture methods so the animals would be raised in a natural environment. Lindsay and Shawn worked together to transform the farm into a sustainable, healthy environment for the pigs so they could grow and thrive.
When their first pigs were coming to butcher weight they decided to take a risk to fill the void they saw in the market place for quality cured pork meats. They realized that there was a niche missing in Ecuador (specifically Cotacachi) of quality ham and bacon, sausages, and cured meats. Shawn began experimenting with cured pork meats.It was a great success and they’ve been selling their products since 2012.
When I moved to Ecuador I was concerned that I couldn’t find products that I was sure were actually grown organically and handled humanely. Grateful customers like me order products weekly for pick up at our local farmer’s market in Cotacachi. The line of loyal customers each week is a testimony to their success. My favorites are their gourmet sausages, the smoked chicken, and bacon.
Shawn and Lindsay say that where the meat comes from is very important to them as it is to most consumers. The goal of their farm to table business is to provide products that benefit consumers, the animals and the environment. Their mission is to be the front runners of farm to table meat products in Ecuador. They are very proud that their high quality products are produced from pasture raised happy livestock. The animals are in a natural environment where they forage and eat in the open.
When asked what makes their products special Lindsay said, “The consumer knows exactly where the food comes from. We are involved in every step of the process. The pigs live outside in a natural environment eating natural things; they are happy animals. All the products are handcrafted using the best spices and cuts of meat, without fillers. All smoked products are prepared by Shawn. Shawn, a self-taught butcher, is enjoying the charcuterie aspect of the business. Expect to see many more aged and cured meats, think salamis, pepperoni, etc.”
Lindsay and Shawn were married in 2013 and now have three children. I was interested to know what it has been like for Shawn and Lindsay to raise a family and start a business in Ecuador. Here is what Lindsay shared about the dream and the reality of their chosen life style.
“Even though they work non-stop every day and feel like there is never enough time, there have been great benefits. “We both had a desire to make a life off the land, and with that came a wholesome life to raise children, but how did we do it all? It all came with time, mostly organically. Ecuador, and the farm, is our ideal place to raise children.
“It’s hard because expat families who come here are usually temporary, with an exit date in place. With Ecuadorians, they generally have a lot of family around so they have other commitments. We make it work, maybe not as typical as it would be in Nebraska but it works for us. Overall, we are very happy here.”
When I asked them what aspect of the business they most enjoy, Shawn said he enjoys, “eating the finished products. That’s why we started. Creating the foods we missed from back in the U.S.”
Lindsay adds that what she most enjoys is that, “the business has given us the opportunity to live this way. Watching the pigs run throughout our fruit trees, usually our kids chasing them, is still amazing to see after all these years. Watching it all grow kind of takes my breath away. I also like people, so getting to interact and get to know all of our customers is pretty fun for me.”
Having fresh humanely raised chicken and meat products in Cotacachi has been so valuable to us, we are glad our friends in Cuenca can enjoy them now.
Deliveries to Cuenca are the first Friday of every month! You can order a wide variety of products; pork being the majority but also a variety of chicken and beef products as well as sauces.
To place your order with L&S Artisan Meats send Lindsay an email at email@example.com Lindsay will send you the order form and provide you with all the information you need to pick up your order.
You can check out their website to find out more about their products at lnsartisanmeats.com Their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lnsartisanmeats/ or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lnsfarm
Deborah DuBoff and her husband moved to Ecuador from the Pacific Northwest in 2014. She has been living in Cotacachi since 2017. Writing is her hobby. She has a blog about being an expat in Ecuador that you can check out at www.thrivinginthenewnormal.com