Talking Business: Longview sausage-maker opens shop

2012-05-27T22:00:00Z 2012-05-29T18:40:48Z Talking Business: Longview sausage-maker opens shopBy Marqise Allen / The Daily News Longview Daily News
May 27, 2012 10:00 pm  • 

That old saying about sausage making doesn't apply to Christopher Leach.

His passion for European gourmet sausages started more than two decades ago when a friend had him try some on trip from London to Paris.

"Eating that salami was a total life changer," Leach said. "I'd never tasted something so good."

The 52-year-old Longview resident studied the art of charcuterie — a culinary term meaning "cooker of meat" — for a few years, before making his own sausage as a hobby in his basement.

Seven years later, he's moved his operation into a 434 square-foot building in his back yard, turning his passion into a job.

The professional cellist is hopeful his venture will take off and make a career change.

His business, The Beautiful Pig, is the first of its kind in Southwest Washington and the third in the state.

"I got to a point where mine was as good as any of these and better than most," Leach said. "So I said, 'I'm going for this.' "

Leach uses antibiotic- and hormone-free pork, European wines, and organic salts and spices to make five different varieties of salami: Tuscan, Hot Tuscan, Spanish Chorizo, Classic Soppressata and French Saucisson.

"There's no trimmings or 'pink slime' in this one, it's all 100 percent pork," he said. "And that's why you want to buy from an artisan maker rather than a big corporation. You know what you're getting."

Customers can buy Leach's gourmet sausage at Hop-N-Grape or ZoJo Coffee in Longview, and he said he's still working with other retailers to sell his edible creations at more locations. Leach also will begin selling his sausage at the farmers market on Saturday's at the fairgrounds at the beginning of next month. The retail price for his meat is about $24 a pound.

Though his business is just getting off the ground, Leach is hoping to expand on the variety of his sausages, branch out to farmers markets in Vancouver and Portland and eventually start making jerky.

"People are going to freak out when they try it," he said. "But I have to get a dehydrator first. So that's a little ways out. ... I got to sell some salamis first."

For more information, call 360-749-9941.

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