Image for Staff Profile: Meet Matt Bander

As a community-owned and cooperatively-operated business, co-op employees are some of Mississippi Market’s greatest assets. Our friendly, dedicated staff possess a wealth of knowledge. They work diligently to provide you with access to the freshest, healthiest foods and the safest, most effective personal health and beauty care products available. Our three stores employ over 200 people from our surrounding local communities who are passionate about sustainably grown and humanely raised foods; supporting local family farmers, vendors, and makers; and nurturing the health of people and the planet. We wouldn’t be here without them!

Interested in joining our co-op team?

Meet Matt Bander — East 7th Meat & Seafood Department Manager

How long have you been working at the co-op, and what brought you here originally?

I’ve been working at the co-op for three years. I originally applied to be a sausage maker because it was so different from anything that anyone I knew was doing. Learning an Old-World trade was the opposite direction a lot of my friends were going, but it sounded like an interesting job.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Getting to use my creativity and love for cooking to make new recipes for the market’s house-made brats and sausages. I also love having the opportunity to create new, fresh Meat & Seafood display cases every day.

What do you love most about working at the co-op?

I always feel proud seeing how much we positively affect the lives of small, local farmers. I love knowing that Mustard Seed Farm is driving a new van because of the products they sell here, and that farmers we work with can take vacations because they’re confident we’ll buy their products at a fair price on a regular basis.

In what ways are your personal values reflected in your work at the co-op?

I put a strong emphasis on making the most of an animal that has given its life to become our food. Being a full-service butcher shop is very important to me because it allows the co-op to make sausage out of excess meat, lard out of excess fat, and broth out of excess bones so that nothing goes to waste.

Do you have any insider Meat & Seafood tips to share with co-op shoppers?

My number-one tip is to brine any large cut of meat (not fish) for at least three hours before you cook it. This could be a pork roast, a brisket, or a whole chicken. You’ll be amazed by the flavor difference. Another thing shoppers may not know is that we do everything in-house — all sausage, ground meat, and fresh cuts are made, butchered, and packaged by our amazing Meat staff team.

What are your favorite seasonal specialty meats?

The corned beef we make in-house for St. Paddy’s Day; the French-style rib roasts we make for Christmas; and the local, free-range turkeys we sell for Thanksgiving are all amazing, but nothing compares to the seasonal specialty brats we make in the summer.