Archer’s Butcher Block developed a loyal clientele before the store opened at 5425 Mother Lode Drive three years ago.
Gary Grover is a custom meat cutter, a butcher of the old-fashioned type. It’s a trade that is not taught much these days, but Grover learned from his wife’s father, Max Archer, who was a third-generation meat processor in his family. The business is named after Max.
Grover said it took about six years to become a custom butcher. He learned to slaughter, skin and quarter the animals, and to work the line and follow the muscle. “The stores get their meat in chunks. There’s no art to it,” he said.
Gary and his wife Georgia built a house in Garden Valley in 1993, where they are raising two boys. He first took his business to his customers, driving his mobile ranch butchering truck around the county. As he built his trade, Gary grew a desire to have his own market where he could sell high-quality meat.
“It is all USDA certified. My meat has no hormones and no antibiotics,” he said. I wouldn’t want to sell anything I wouldn’t feed to my kids.”
Archer’s Butcher Block has almost every kind of meat except reindeer. But there is alligator, a wide variety of beef and pork cuts, lamb, rabbit, poultry and game, plus shrimp, wild salmon and wild scallops.
Gary does his own smoking, using a family recipe. He dry ages everything for several days to guarantee its tenderness.
“My bacon will spoil you. The way we cure it in the brine is what makes it,” he said.
For barbecues, parties or to stock up, Archer’s makes Butcher Block packages that include a variety of beef, pork, poultry and smoked meats.
The store near is also a favorite local lunch spot. Georgia is in charge of the delicatessen, where the featured sandwich is The Blockhead — a random combination of meats and cheeses on a rustic roll with all the fixings. You can also select your own sandwich combination or make the ingredients into a salad. A picnic table is provided for dining outside during nice weather. Meats, cheeses and marinades are available to take home separately.
Gary still serves his ranch customers, and during hunting season he is kept extra busy dressing the deer that hunters bring in.
He takes pride in his business, and in supporting the community. His 12 employees are all local, and they take pride in learning about the business — an old-fashioned business that is becoming fashionable again.
Archer’s Butcher Block at 5425 Mother Lode Drive is between Greenstone and El Dorado roads. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is closed Sunday and Monday.
For more information visit archersbutcherblock.com or call (530) 626-6328.