Open Source Butcher Shop

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Sugar Mountain Farm

Another open source farm? Sugar Mountain Farm.


Note from Walter of Sugar Mountain Farm:

Yes, this is available for anyone to do. Floor plans for the butcher shop can be found in the blog article which has both a small and large resolution version. Click on the pictures.

Articles in the blog topic:

continue to follow this project.

Not that at some point I'll be switching back to using my primary domain which will make the address change to:

Feel free to built a page here and use photos and illustrations from the articles on my blog for this.



Email from Walter Jeffries of Sugar Mountain Farm

Hi Marcin,

I have many (100?) pages of articles on my blog about our construction of our on-farm butcher shop, slaughterhouse and smokehouse. Go to:

and work back through the articles. There are many. We are still in construction.

The $150K cost of construction is my estimate of materials, some hired work (refrigeration), basic processing equipment, the permitting process, etc. So far we have spent around $33K and are on target with our budget. Because we do almost all of the work ourselves in the construction and we already own the land we are able to keep the costs down.

You may also be interested in our Tiny Cottage. Our home is 252 sq-ft which we built for about $7K closing in two months by two adults, two teens and a four year old. We've been living in the cottage now for over three years. It stays warm in our cold winters (-11°F last night outdoors, 68°F indoors) with minimal use of heat source (0.75 cord of firewood per year). Because of its masonry construction it is super strong, won't get damaged in quakes, is tornado resistant and easy to maintain. See:

The roof is a ferro-cement barrel vault which we will someday berm with earth. This is a simple, easy, affordable home that can build themselves. Feel free to add it to your open source project if you would like. Those pages will give you tons of info.

I don't do consulting. I don't have the time between our farming, homeschooling, building our butcher shop, dog training, forestry and other projects. Everything there on my blog is open and free for other people to use as ideas for building their own meat processing facilities. I'm against patents so its all open source. You're welcome to use these ideas and I appreciate a link back and credit. If there are photos or drawings you would like to use then please let me know. Most are available in higher resolutions.


Walter Jeffries Sugar Mountain Farm, LLC Orange, Vermont


you'll find Cole Ward a wealth of information. He is a master butcher of 45 years experience and a wonderful teacher. We spent 18 months apprenticing with him to learn commercial meat cutting. See his web site at:


He is just releasing a set of DVDs about butchering. They will be great.

Development Discussion

January 2011 by Marcin

We should mine the Sugar Mountain Farm blog for technical details of implementation - in particuluar, process and equipment used. This should be published as a technical overview/design paper, and should be reported on the Factor e Farm weblog. Walter is doing cutting edge work exaclty along the lines of relocalization that OSE values. I requested a high-res version of the floor plan for the facility. The cost of the facility is $150k with many cost-saving techniques from Walter, and I suspect we can go much lower with lumber/brick/rebar/sheet metal/construction equipment/waste treatment/renewable energy and other techniques that come out of the GVCS.

2012-03-10: I would caution not to have the mentality of trying to get the construction cost to a minimum. A race to the bottom is not necessarily the best course. The long term costs of cleaning and maintenance are high. These over whelm many facilities. With this in mind we are purposefully building to have a durable, long lasting facility that is easy to keep clean and hygienic. Wood construction is a poor choice due to these issues and why we chose masonry. Regular steel rusts which is why we use stainless steel. For the latest updates on our project check out: Cheers, -Walter

2012-12-16: Last week we completed the final pour of concrete which closed in the building of our on-farm USDA inspected meat processing facility. 82 cu-yards of concrete capping the ceilings of the building in a mix of poured reinforced concrete and ferro-cement using lots of lathe, wwm, rebar, stainless steel and basalt. Now we can work indoors, finishing off the USDA inspector's office, bathroom and initial cutting room while the cold winds and snows of winter blow outside. Here are some posts with lots of details and photos:

Most of the ceilings are poured ferro-cement barrel vaults and catenary arches. A marriage of techniques. Everything has fiber. With these last two pours we used some basalt rebar and mesh for the first time.

It feels really good to finally have the structural building closed in. It is super insulated and super massive designed for easy cleaning, low maintenance and energy efficiency. We're only a little over budget after four years of work. This winter we anticipate starting to cut meat in our own on-farm butcher shop. We can almost taste the bacon!


-Walter Jeffries Sugar Mountain Farm in Vermont

Farmstead Meatsmith

Farmstead Meatsmith are making a free series of instructional videos about how to butcher animals. Their Kickstarter campaign was successful in August 2011.