At Bud’s Custom Meats, you will find a group of professionals that are passionate and dedicated to providing exceptional meat products while promoting sustainability of local agricultural resources. We value our customers and consider them an extension of our own family, listening to their needs and delivering outstanding products. We set our own standards and set them high—a cut above the rest—to ensure our family gets the quality they deserve. Our butchers have been trained by the generations before them, mastering the true art and craftsmanship of aging, cutting, smoking, and processing the meat that reaches your family’s table.
For most butchers today, their career in meat processing is not something they planned but rather a job they coincidentally stumbled into. As for the family behind Bud’s Custom Meats, the true art and craftsmanship of meat processing is a skill that has been passed down through several generations and is much more than just a business or a career; it’s truly a way of life.
Bud Gamba, the family patriarch and founder of Bud’s Custom Meats, recalls that his family’s original butcher shop was operated by his great-grandfather in Italy. Bud found himself following in his grandfather’s footsteps when he started working as a butcher for Purity Markets in 1968. Bud learned about the local ranchers and their businesses, as well as their focus on preserving culture, tradition, and the land they relied upon to feed and raise their families.
Bud decided that ranching was the lifestyle he wished to pursue and aspired to buy a ranch of his own where he could raise his family and start his own ranching business. In order to save money to buy a ranch, Bud began doing custom cutting and meat processing for local ranchers as a side job out of his garage. His side job kept him busier than expected, and he soon came to realize he had identified a niche of his own—custom cutting and processing of local livestock and wild game animals.
By 1975 Bud had saved enough money to purchase his first ranch, and he turned his side job as a custom butcher into an established business, Bud’s Custom Meats. His business grew by word of mouth from the locals and Bud kept himself very busy doing custom cutting and processing of local livestock.
Matt Gamba, Bud’s son, grew up working in the shop and learning the art of meat processing from his dad. Once Matt was old enough, he would travel to local ranches to do traditional slaughtering of the animals before the meat was brought back to Bud’s shop for custom processing. Matt enjoyed his interactions with the ranching families— listening to their stories and watching them work hard to raise and feed their families. He learned firsthand what was important to the families he served and was inspired and motivated by their strong work ethic and focus on tradition and sustainability. Matt listened to his customers, taking meat products they talked about and desired, and turned them into tangible items that could be processed, made, and sold in the butcher shop. This marked the beginning of the retail aspect of Bud’s Custom Meats. Sausage and jerky were the first two items that Matt experimented with. Using flavors and spices his customers had talked about, he created savory recipe blends that customers began to request on a regular basis.
In 1997 Matt Gamba took the reins to Bud’s Custom Meats. In order to maintain profitability in a market that had become increasingly commercialized, Matt went back to the drawing board. He knew he needed to expand and diversify in order to sustain business, so once again he looked to his tried-and-true customers for inspiration. The niche he discovered and expanded upon would prove to pave the way for many of the local meat processing businesses throughout not only Sonoma and Marin Counties but also throughout California.
Matt expanded the retail and wild game processing aspects of the business and created new recipes for sausage, jerky, and marinated products. He started smoking his own meats, learned new techniques, and refined traditional ones. He also expanded the retail counter to incorporate more of the products his customers were asking for such as a larger selection of choice to prime cuts, 100% grass-fed beef and lamb, smoked products, marinated meats, and even a variety of exotic game not commonly seen in local markets.
Today, the legacy of our authentic old-fashioned butcher shop continues, family owned and operated, and grounded on the same founding principles of quality craftsmanship, sustainability, and customer service.