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Peepa's joins Ranch Foods Direct, a co-op forms a retail market and more 

Side Dish

Peddling 'porkstrami'

It hasn't taken long for Ranch Foods Direct to capitalize on Mark Henry's skill set.

In late summer, Henry moved from doing charcuterie at the Ivywild School's Meat Locker to Ranch Foods Direct (2901 N. El Paso St., ranchfoodsdirect.com), where he's been serving as retail manager. Now he and RFD have launched the Peepa's Meat Co. product line inside the market. (Visit Peepa's Facebook page for an amusing pic of an awkwardly grinning Henry hamming it up for his buckwood bacon.)

Henry explains that the label is its own LLC, created via Ranch Foods partly in preparation for the Colorado Springs Public Market's debut next year.

"We've got the right equipment and the best meat," he says, referring to Callicrate Beef and Torpedo Farms Pork. "We may as well marry that and give the public something they've been looking for."

In addition to the buckwood bacon, Henry's "porkstrami" and holiday hams are now available, with everything cut, brined, cured and smoked at RFD. Look soon for pancetta (pork belly), guanciale (jowls) and prosciutto, and specialty sausages.

Cottage crowd

At 2014's beginning, we reported on the closure of Gotta Love It! Market at 1625 W. Uintah St., Suite K, and the reformation of a quiet co-op (not open to the public) of local food producers still seeking to share the co-pack and prep-kitchen facility. Businesses like Papa Joe's Little Chalet, Blake's Ugly Dawg Salsa and Endurance Evolution have since manufactured there, and vended off-site.

But now, with the formal opening of The Market at The Kitchen (in neighboring Suite J), all members are selling their items out the door, with regular weekday hours (noon to 7 p.m.) and limited weekend hours (noon to 4, Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sundays). Progressive Paleo and The Paisley Pantry are spearheading the effort, and proprietor Teresa Hickman of the latter says everything on-site is gluten-free.

Le Bistro's last

If this be a sign of the times, get thee to your bug-out shelter. One of our city's most seasoned and talented chefs has once again closed his restaurant, Le Bistro (1015 W. Colorado Ave.). And this time it's for good, to take a high-paying job in the North Dakota fracking fields.

"I just can't do it anymore," says chef Henri Chaperont, who bought the building in 2005, rebranded in 2010, then closed to take a job in Taos between mid-2011 and the beginning of this year. Le Bistro simply never could restore the community support that La Petite Maison enjoyed at the location. Once again, it is up for rent or sale, and Chaperont insists that this time he won't return. Instead, he'll be cooking in six-week stints for the oil crews.

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