If there’s one thing that I miss from my days as a meat eater, it’s jerky. I was never a huge fan of meat, but something about the texture and amazing smoked flavor of some good jerky is a thing of beauty. I went vegetarian a long time ago, though, so it has definitely been a long while since I’ve had a good piece of jerky. There are vegetarian options out there, but not only are they hard to find, but the come in such small packages that there’s barely anything to enjoy. That game has changed though, and what makes it even better is that it’s changing right here in Louisville.
A few years ago, Stanley Chase got into the food truck business with Morel. He got his funding through Kickstarter and, after a few years, wanted to get into something more stable. “We started making all the vegan sandwiches for Heine Brothers Coffee, but they only had a five day shelf life,” he says, “so I was just making sandwiches constantly.” He needed a new project, and one with some sustainable shelf life. After exploring his options, he settled on vegan jerky -- in 2012 the Louisville Vegan Jerky Company was born.
Starting small, Chase worked out a deal with Heine Brothers to sell the jerky at all of their locations. Then came a partnership with Rainbow Blossom and the Block Party Handmade Boutique. People out west, in Oregon and California, are buying the jerky like crazy, and now he’s moving over two thousand bags a month. To make things even better, he’s close to finalizing deals with Whole Foods and Lucky’s Markets. The jerky is being carried in multiple online stores as well - all of it made right here in old Lou.
For Louisville Vegan Jerky Company, things are looking bright. They are in the midst of an Indie GoGo campaign to raise funds for some new packaging and backers are rewarded with bags of jerky, plus a chance to get one of the first tastes of their new Sesame Teriyaki flavor.
I had a chance to try all three flavors, and let me just say that they’re all amazing (my personal favorite is the Sriracha Maple). Great texture - a perfect mix of chewy and moist, and amazing taste - I would swear I was eating the real thing. Not only is it delicious, but it comes in the same size pack (2.5 oz) as a regular jerky product. It’s also non-GMO, gluten free, natural and made from as many local ingredients has can be sourced.
If you’re interested in trying some of this mind-blowingly delicious jerky (and you should be) this Thursday, June 12th is National Jerky Day. You can get 20 percent off a bag at any location that carries it (there’s a store locator on their website), so don’t forget to get out and find some of the most amazing vegan jerky that’s ever been made.
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