Q&A with Brian Murphy!

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Brian developed a love of food and cooking at a young age. The pursuit of knowledge of all things meat eventually led him to Great Barrington, where he took a job at Jacuterie as a butcher and charcutier, specializing in the production of salami, sau- sage, and whole-muscle cured products. Brian started working for the Berkshire Food Co-op in May 2019. He lives in Hudson, with his partner Tess and two cats. He enjoys cooking, live music, longboarding and great craft beer.


What are you passionate about?

Two things that drive me are great food and helping people. The Co-op has been a great environment to combine these passions. My dream would be to own a small counter- serve spot with awesome local food at affordable prices.

What was the best concert you ever attended?

It’s very hard to pick one, but probably Phish at Chula Vista a few summers ago. It was at an amphitheatre surrounded by desert dunes, with a crystal clear view of the stars and rolling sand spotted with cacti all around.

How did you get into the meat business?

After finishing a BA in psychology and economics at Boston College, I decided to pursue a passion for food and cooking and venture into the restaurant world. After a short and unenjoyable month, I decided to shift gears to retail food service. I got my start at the meat department at Whole Foods in Hadley, MA. My passion for local, sustainable food led me to leave Whole Foods and take an apprenticeship and then full time job at Sutter Meats in Northampton, MA. This proved to be an invaluable experience, where I learned the ins and outs of whole- animal butchery.

How do you recharge?

I really enjoy cooking, and will often spend my days off making a simple, yet elaborate meal. Usually tacos, some sort of noodle dish, or pizza. They’re all generally simple dishes, but all involve technical elements that take a while. Slow-cooked meats, long-simmered broths, and cold fermented dough. The time intensive and technical processes provide a sort of meditation, and the reward is always great.

MassEcon Impact Awards

We are thrilled to share the news that we’ve been selected as one of three regional finalists to receive an Economic Impact Award from MassEcon.

“Our mission has always been to support the health and well-being of our community and this expansion was a massive investment in that mission. This recognition from MassEcon represents a sweet moment for us, even as we continue the work of keeping our Co-op a vibrant and sustainable hub for community in Southern Berkshire County.” - Troy Bond, General Manager

The Co-op’s recent expansion was partially funded through small loans made by members of the community who made the choice to invest on Main Street rather than on Wall Street. During the expansion process, we employed local contractors, subcontractors and vendors, infusing the local economy with nearly $2M. This is in addition to the approximately $1M the Co-op spends annually with local businesses for goods and services.

The committee was impressed with the scale of the expansion, the Co-op’s commitment to paying a living wage and the business’ long history of generosity in the community.

Finalists compete on a regional basis in the West, Central, Southeast, Northeast and Great Boston areas. On September 19th, finalists gathered in Boston and presented one-minute pitches to a panel of judges and business leaders describing their growth in the Commonwealth. The winners from each of the five regions will be announced in October. 

“We are thrilled to recognize Massachusetts companies that contribute so much to the Commonwealth’s economic success. The diversity of industries across the state demonstrates that Massachusetts is an outstanding location for businesses to expand and thrive.” - Pete Abair, Exec. Director of MassEcon

This is the one-minute pitch we delivered in Boston…

Good food brings people together. In 1981, when families in Great Barrington couldn’t find the good food they wanted, they pooled their resources and created a cooperative that would become a trusted resource for good food at reasonable prices.

Almost 40 years after our creation, the Co-op continues to leverage community resources to create positive impact.

We have just completed a $4.5M expansion. Almost half of that money came from members of our community who made a commitment to invest in Main Street instead of on Wall Street. Our expansion allowed us to staff up by 20% and now we employ 72 of our friends and neighbors and strive to pay them a living wage.

We purchased $2M in local goods and services as a result of our expansion and every year, we spend about a $1M with local farmers, food producers and small businesses.

We are proud of our thriving cooperative business and proud to have had the chance to share our story.