Interview With James Davison, Co-founder of The Very Good Butchers

Readers would love to know your journey - how life led you from who you were growing up to this moment as a co-owner of The Very Good Butcher?

I had cooked for pretty much my whole career so have always had a passion for food. When I started eating a plant-based diet and thinking more about where my food was from and what was in it, I started looking at the products on the supermarket shelves and wasn't happy with what I saw.

What inspired you to launch this business and how did you meet your partner?

I was missing a lot of the dishes that I had eaten growing up and needed to come up with something to make those dishes. The biggest one was bangers and mash. There just wasn't a product on the shelves that I was happy with so I decided to make my own. They turned out really well and I decided to try making more meats (burgers, taco meat, hot dogs, ribs), basically anything that I was craving at the time.

I was living on Denman Island and there were not a lot of job opportunities so I decided to try selling them at the local farmers market. The response I got was really positive and I was always the first person at the market to sell out.

That summer I met Mitchell at a family BBQ and he tried the products for the first time. He had grown up vegetarian so knew a thing or two about veggie burgers. He was blown away by the taste and quality and we started talking about how we might be able to turn this into a business. The Very Good Butchers was born, and as they say the rest is history.

I love your business name - The Very Good Butchers. What inspired this name and what does it mean to you?

I think it's about trying to change the way we look at food and traditions. It's about making very good food and trying to make very good choices at the same time. It also was a bit of a joke that we were so good we didn't have to butcher animals.

So many meat substitutes are highly processed products, but yours aren't. How did you go about creating these healthy alternatives? Of all your products, do you have a personal favorite?

I was just trying to keep things as simple as possible when I developed the products. I wasn't focusing on making something completely 100% lifelike, or I guess dead-like, I just wanted to use the best ingredients possible to make something that you could eat and feel good about.

 Most of your product names I get, but Roast Beast is special. How did the name come about and why did you use the term BEAST - a very non-vegetarian moniker?

I was reading a lot of Dr. Seuss to my son at the time and I came up with that product around Christmas when he was obsessed with the Grinch. Rare-roast beast didn't seem to relate to any particular animal so I thought it would be great for describing meats made from plants (couldn't get into any trouble).

For new customers, what do you most want them to know about your business? What products do you suggest they start with?

I think I would want them to know that we make food to make you feel good. Try anything and everything, it's all good (Very Good). We do offer three boxes that let you try several different products, so a great way to try a variety of our products.  And there are a large number of recipes featured on the website that will definitely help you get started.  

Where can those interested find your product, and where do you ship to? Anything special they should know when ordering?

The easiest place is to find us is online at - we ship all over North America. There is also a "where to find us" page with the stores that currently carry our products.

I'd love to close with a personal quote that is meaningful to you.

"Be good." - E.T.

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