A New Butcher in Town

By / Photography By Kristin Teig | July 10, 2014
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Butcher Derick Axon and the Borderbay Junction Farm workers
In the old-time Italian village of Sagamore, where I grew up, there was a small grocery store called Louis Market. John Bulla was the owner, and he was also the town butcher. If you asked for a certain cut of meat, John would always have it, and he served it to you with personal service and a smile. Nowadays, most supermarkets do not have traditional butchers like John. I miss that connection and the many options John offered.
This past Easter I needed lamb shoulder to make the French peasant dish cassoulet. Like most serious cooks, I insist upon quality ingredients. In this case, I bought the garlic sausage at a Polish meat market on the Lower East Side of New York City, the Tarbais beans from Rancho Gordo (ranchogordo.com), and the duck fat from a reliable source in Boston. I had everything except the two-pound lamb shoulder. Where on the Cape could I find quality lamb? I made a quick call to Dianne Langeland, the editor of this magazine and a great resource. To my surprise, she directed me to Borderbay Junction Farm, a half mile from my home in West Barnstable. The only catch was that I had to buy either a whole or a half of the organic lamb. I bought the half. Now I had all the ingredients for my delicious cassoulet and much more.

Like many of us on the Cape, I was thrilled by the opening of Whole Foods in Hyannis; I know they have a reputation for carrying high-quality meat products. I wanted to meet the butcher, Derick Axon, to see what was going to happen in his meat department and also to learn more about meats and butchering. It turns out that I also discovered quite a bit more.

JC: How and why did you get involved in butchering?

Derick: When I was 18 I first started cutting meat working for BJ’s. At first I did it because I liked food. Before that, when I was younger, I had experience working in restaurants. Even now I have a lot of passion for food and like expressing myself through food—how it tastes, the way it looks on a plate, how it all works together. And I like impressing people with my food.

JC: What is your title now at the new Whole Foods?

Derick: My title is Team Leader and I have approximately eight employees on my team. I will have people with Whole Foods experience and some new people.

JC: What services will you offer?

Derick: At Whole Foods we, as a whole, like to focus on customer service and personalize things. For instance, we will take care of the needs of Ms. Jones, who might not be familiar with cooking a pot roast for the first time, giving her complete instructions and even a recipe. We want to make her feel confident when she makes her pot roast. I really cannot emphasize enough how we care about customer service, detail and flexibility. We pride ourselves in making everything in-house. Everything you see in the case like the sausages are all made here using high-quality products. All of our meats are all natural—no antibiotics or hormones. We have 100 percent grass-fed beef from a leaner beef that is higher in omega 3s. Grass fed beef is one of the fastest growing products we have.

JC: Is it possible for our country to keep up with all this natural beef and these natural products?

Derick: We really like to encourage and anticipate these hurdles. We make partnerships with new vendors and the farms to supply them, with our backing, so they can make it a success.

JC: “Organic” is a label determined by the US government. Does Whole Foods go farther than the government label?

Derick: For our meat it has to do with the feed and the ground they walk on. The feed has to be antibiotic-free and steroid-free and there cannot be any pesticides or chemicals. That also goes for the fertilizer, which has to be organic.

JC: Is there a difference in the cooking temperature when cooking grass fed/grass finished meats?

Derick: Rule of thumb is to cook it a little less time than a conventional piece of meat. You may not perfect it the first time, so try again. Any questions about cooking? Just ask one of our butchers.

JC: What other meats will you be showing and selling?

Derick: In certain seasons we will offer Islamic lamb. You cannot get this anywhere else. It is a wonderful product and cooks up nicely on the grill. And we have a whole selection of buffalo, chicken, and pork products and will have these quality items with weekly specials. The Cape Cod customer is not just the vacation customer, they live here year-round and need value in what they purchase.

JC: Will you carry organ meats, like sweetbreads or other offals, and casing for homemade sausage?

Derick: Yes, we will have sweetbreads, beef suet and kidneys from our local lamb program. We utilize everything on the whole carcass. Nothing is going to waste.

JC: What would you serve for a family or friends gathering for a backyard cookout or BBQ?

Derick:  Personally, if I get together with five of my buddies with nice cold beers, I would get a big, thick, bone-in rib eye, with fat on, and cook it medium rare. Nothing will go to waste because the bone will be given to my dog Angus.

Whole Foods Market
990 Iyannough Road, Route 132, Hyannis
508-418-5900 / wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/hyannis
Open 7 am-10 pm daily

Lisa Cavanaugh, owner of Spice Merchants in Mashpee Commons, says, “Too often people confuse spice to mean heat, which is unfortunate. Just a little bit of spice added to a sweet or savory dish can transform the ordinary into extraordinary. Don’t be afraid to experiment with spice. The next time you’re grilling a rib eye try using a coffee BBQ rub. John Carafoli suggested the recipes on this and the following two pages as the ideal supporting elements to a grilled meat dinner. Enjoy!

Not only will the acid in the coffee help tenderize the meat, but it will also accentuate the flavor of the beef, creating a deep, rich caramel crust.”

Here are some of the rubs available at her store that she suggests for getting the most flavor from your grilled meats.


Red Wine Herb Butter
Farro Salad with Fresh Peas, Grape Tomatoes & Mint
Marinated Grilled Vegetables
Fresh Herb Oil & White Wine Vinegar Dressing


Add the perfect flavoring to your beef or lamb with this savory infused compound herb butter. Once the mixture is chilled (or frozen), a small slice placed on broiled or grilled meats adds a surprising and delicious note.


  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, finely minced
  • 1 medium garlic clove, finely minced
  • ⅓ cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon assorted freshly minced herbs: rosemary, chive, thyme and sage
  • 1 stick (½ cup) butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • ½ tablespoon coarsely-ground black pepper


  1. Put the wine, shallots, and garlic in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce to ⅓ cup. Add the chicken stock, herbs and reduce again to ⅓ cup. Let cool.
  2. Put the reduced mixture in a medium-size bowl, and add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating slowly with an electric hand-mixer to incorporate the wine mixture with the butter. Add the paprika and pepper. Beat until well combined.
  3. Spoon the butter mixture onto a sheet of waxed paper and shape it into a log about six inches long. Roll up to enclose, twisting the ends to hold in place.
  4. Chill or freeze until needed.


Farro is an ancient Tuscan grain and is perfect for this summer salad.


  • 1½ cups farro
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 12 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup red onion cut into half-moon slices
  • 6 tablespoons or more of chopped fresh mint


  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, crushed
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


  1. Cook the farro in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 10 to 15 minutes until tender. Drain and transfer to a large bowl to cool. Meanwhile, drop the peas into another saucepan of salted boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain.
  2. Whisk the dressing in a small bowl. Add the peas, tomatoes, onions and mint to the farro. Remove garlic from dressing and mix into all the ingredients.


Grill more vegetables than you need for this meal, they won’t go to waste. Use them in the next couple of days in salads and for side dishes for other meals.
Yield: Four servings


  • Oil and vinegar dressing (below)
  • 2 small eggplants, cut in half and scored with a knife
  • 2 small summer squashes or zucchini, cut in half and scored with a knife
  • 1 each large red, yellow and green peppers, quartered and seeded
  • 2 large portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large red onion, cut into ¼-inch slices
  • 4 plum tomatoes


  1. Place all the vegetables in a large baking pan, toss with dressing and marinate 10 minutes. On a prepared, oiled grill, place the vegetables and cook 12 to 15 minutes, until “al dente.”


This dressing not only can be used for grilled vegetables, but for garden salads as well. Double the recipe and it will keep in the refrigerator for several days.


  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs: basil, thyme, oregano and tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon minced green onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine the ingredients in a small jar with a cover. Shake well, and adjust for taste.
  2. May be used immediately or chill for 1 hour or more for better flavor. Shake well before using.
Article from Edible Cape Cod at http://ediblecapecod.ediblecommunities.com/recipes/new-butcher-town
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