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Brother-sister team plans Twin Cities' first meatless butcher shop

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Strings of sausages, savory short ribs, pepperoni and teriyaki jerky – this butcher shop will have it all.

Except the meat.

After a successful first summer at the Minneapolis Farmers Market, the brother and sister team behind the Herbivorous Butcher hopes to open a shop in Minneapolis by early next year.

Aubry Walch, a vegetarian, and her brother Kale, a vegan, (pictured at left) started making their own meat replacements from locally sourced whole food ingredients years ago because most available meatless options are frozen, contain lots of sodium and have a long list of hard-to-pronounce ingredients, the siblings told Line Media.

The Walchs take an artisan approach to their meatless meats – they're made fresh and and are never frozen. Among the foods they offer: smokey house ribs, teriyaki jerky, pepperoni, deli bologna and Italian sausage (some pictured below).

Most of their products are made with vital wheat gluten, which is high in protein, but is extremely low in carbohydrates and fat and has no cholesterol, Kale Walch told WCCO.

The duo put up $5,000 to start selling their meatless meats at the farmers market, the station says. Before their first weekend at the market, they admitted it'd be OK if they didn't sell anything – then they sold out. And they have every weekend since.

“We keep making more batches and we just can’t keep up with demand,” Aubry Walch told Line Media.

It's not just vegans and vegetarians buying the meats – they estimate about 60 percent of their customers are carnivores, either who need to eat less sodium or who are trying healthier meat alternatives for the first time, reports say.

To keep up with demand, the Walch siblings hope to open the Twin Cities' first meatless butcher shop, ideally a 1,500-square foot space with a commercial kitchen that's reminiscent of an authentic, 1950s butcher shop, Aubry Walch told the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal. The duo estimates they need about $100,000 to $180,000 to get the shop off the ground.

Investors see the Herbivorous Butcher as a lucrative opportunity – even one that could sell its food nationwide. But that's a problem for the Walchs, who told Line Media that doing so would require them to sacrifice their artisanal, locally grown approach that sets them apart from other meatless meats.

They plan to launch a crowdfunding campaign this fall to get the project started.

When The Herbivorous Butcher sets up shop, WCCO says it still plans to have a stand at the Minneapolis Farmers Market for years to come.

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