More than 14 years ago, Joshua Applestone and his wife, Jessica, opened a whole-animal butcher shop in the Hudson Valley of New York called Fleisher’s.
With his latest project, automated vending machines, Joshua and the Applestone Meat Co. strive to tackle two new challenges: 24-hour accessibility and affordability. In addition, it’s a way to make buying well-raised meat unintimidating for customers by offering them “an approachable environment,” the company says.
There currently are two Applestone Meat Co. locations in Stone Ridge and Accord, New York. The shops are open around the clock, seven days a week, so customers can purchase fresh-cut meat from vending machines when it’s convenient for them.
These first two vending machines offer fresh cuts of beef, lamb, pork and sausages as well as a variety of frozen options. These machines have been retrofitted for meat vending; the refrigerated models formerly dispensed sandwiches or other prepared foods, so they are spacious enough to hold individually packaged cuts of meat. Applestone is working on a prototype for a custom machine designed to its specifications that would provide further convenience for customers.
As Applestone practices whole-animal butchery, the selections in the machines can change daily based on availability. But all of the meat is sourced from animals raised without added hormones or antibiotics by farmers who are committed to their well-being.
Customers can expect to find a mix of familiar cuts such as beef ribeye, pork chops, lamb chops, ground beef and to be introduced to lesser-known options such as flat iron, short ribs, country-style pork ribs and lamb shoulder chops.
Another Applestone store will open in Hudson later this year, and a location in Scarsdale will follow in 2019; the plan is to expand to New York City soon afterward.