Meat science scholar opens Salt, a butcher shop and deli in Castle Rock

Jordan and Ralph Hinton have been raising and selling pigs for livestock shows for nearly a decade.

Now, they’ve opened a butcher and deli shop called Salt at 611 Wilcox St. in downtown Castle Rock to sell their pigs in a new way.

“We decided to name the place Salt because you add salt to food to enhance the flavor and it kind of brings out the best in food, and we’re striving to do the same in our community,” Jordan said.

Salt, which the couple opened at the end of October, is a craft meat market that sells the Hinton’s pork, high-quality cuts of beef, lamb and chicken, as well as homemade sausage and ground beef. Most of the meat is locally sourced from farmers and ranchers, like chicken from Red Bird Farms or prime beef cuts from Meyer Natural Foods and Creekstone Farms. The deli offers charcuterie boards, sandwich specials for lunch, like a pastrami roast beef or Italian hero, and ready-made meals, such as chicken-bacon mac and cheese or lasagna soup during the week.

“All of the companies we source from, whether that’s a farm or ranch, are people I know personally or that I’ve worked with before,” Jordan said. “All the meat, especially the beef, is held to a high standard: no antibiotics, no added hormones, humanely raised with a certification, and because of my background, I’m pretty picky on what we want to have in the store.”

Jordan, 33, grew up on a farm near Castle Rock with her family, and both Ralph and she were members of the 4H Club and active in the FFA. Now, their two girls are doing the same.

To pursue their love for agriculture, Jordan and Ralph both went to Colorado State University, where they met, and received an undergraduate degree in animal science and agriculture business.

At CSU, Jordan was on a meat judging team and won the 2010 national championship against other schools across the country. She then got a master’s degree in meat science, which taught her about all the factors that go into raising livestock and how to end up with the best steak possible, she said.

After grad school, Jordan started her career in food labeling claims, where she worked with livestock and farms to verify certifications like organic, non-GMO labels. Then she got involved in marketing for meat companies in the industry.

Her husband, on the other hand, has a passion for animal nutrition. They raise pigs on their 40-acre farm in Elizabeth, and sell them for livestock shows, as well as to kids in the 4H Club and FFA, for county fair competitions.

The Hintons decided to finally take the leap and combine their passions when they realized that Castle Rock had too many grocery stores and not enough locally and responsibly sourced meat options.

“The opportunity to bring all of Ralph and my passions together and connect with the community was really the deciding factor,” Jordan said. “Being able to interact with the community and talk to them about the animals we raise, the meat and the food we’re preparing has been more rewarding than I could have imagined.”

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