Constante and Margaret Panizzera, Italian immigrants from the Lake Como region of Italy, settled in Occidental and opened Panizzera Meat Company in 1914. For 100 years, the Panizzera family butchered and processed high-quality meats for the local community, even delivering the meat door-to-door back in the days before refrigeration.
In 2014, when Bob Panizzera retired from the family business, he gave the reigns and recipes over to his apprentices, Ryan Taylor and Josh Cerda. At that time, Panizzera was making sausage one day a week and servicing five wholesale customers. Now, the company is a full-time operation. Panizzera meats are sold in over 50 stores, and the company has two retail butcher shops, one at its location in Occidental and one within Andy’s Produce in Sebastopol.
The company also still delivers door-to-door, though they don’t use a pickup truck like they did 100 years ago.
Taylor and Cerda are taking Panizzera Meat Company into the 21st century with innovative techniques and a new monthly Meat Box Subscription service that delivers to the entire West Coast, Arizona and Nevada.
With subscriptions starting at $109 a month, Panizzera offers several packages boasting eight to 10 pounds of largely locally-sourced grain- or grass-finished beef, pastured pork and pastured chicken.
“We buy everything intact and break it all down here,” Taylor says. “Everything that’s in a bag in our stores or shipped to you; we have touched, cut, trimmed, portioned everything right here in Occidental.”
Panizzera is able to sell its meat in stores because the company has a full-time USDA inspector on sight every day they process. In addition to the standard butchering techniques, Panizzera recently took their meat to the next level by installing a Himalayan salt wall in a room designated for dry aging.
“We imported this salt from Pakistan,” Taylor says. “The Himalayan salt puts minerals into the air and reduces humidity in the room. We’re dry-aging things for a minimum of 28 days. We sell dry-aged steaks and we cut them up every Friday and we’re sold out by Monday.”
Visit Panizzera Meat Company at 3905 Main St. in Occidental and at Andy’s Produce at 1691 Gravenstein Highway North in Sebastopol; or get your meat delivered to your door by signing up for a Panizzera Monthly Meat Box Subscription at panizzerameatco.com.