Meating Cute

Joshua and Jessica Applestone, The Applestone Meat Co, Accord

An opportune offer almost two years ago convinced Jessica and Joshua Applestone to sell Fleisher’s Grass-Fed & Organic Meats, which they operated from Kingston and Brooklyn. Josh’s reasoning cut to the heart of the matter: “I love you so much, I don’t want to work with you anymore.” His comment was music to Jessica’s ears. “It was the nicest thing he ever said to me,” she recalls. “When you’re in the food industry, it completely pulls couples in together.”

The couple met at New World Home Cooking restaurant. She was a server; he was a chef. They married in April 2004, and, two weeks later, opened Fleisher’s. Jessica handled everything from making sure the bills were paid to marketing and publicity. Joshua was the butcher on a mission — selling sustainably raised animals cut carefully apart — a forerunner of the whole-animal, nose-to-tail trend.

With their sale proceeds, they knew they wanted to do something that would require less juggling and involve just one home and one business address. Professionally, they wanted customers to enjoy easier access. “People should be able to walk in and get the one lamb chop or the burger they want. Too many moms drop off their kids at 8:30 am and have to wait until 10 am for a store to open,” Jessica says. They also knew they wanted to trim prices for customers. Their solution was to open The Applestone Meat Co. The couple still work with area farmers and slaughterhouses but add a twist on delivery. Joshua takes orders by phone or from their website and stocks refrigerated vending machines daily at a rental location in Accord — think Horn & Hardart with fresh meat instead of pumpkin pie. To occupy kids, they also plan to add video-game machines.

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Meat choices quickly sold out after the vending machines went into operation this past Memorial Day. Summer grilling staples have proved the most popular offerings, says co-owner and manager Samantha Gloffke. Plans are in the works to open a flagship location with an office in Stone Ridge by summer’s end, as well as add touchscreen panels to answer questions and provide recipes and instructions.

Although Joshua and Jessica worked together to get the business off the ground, she is not involved in the day-to-day operations. Joshua has found the business separation helpful. “Jess is still my number-one creative partner, the one I bounce ideas off of, and, ultimately, it’s her judgment that I trust. But working separately means a different kind of clarity and helps me keep perspective on what’s magical about her.” 

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