Monticello, FL: Johnstons Meat Market

The Road Trip section of my site is where I share our wanderings from the lovely city of St. Augustine, Florida {Viva St. Augustine! Viva!}  This post is from an annual trip to Monticello, Florida- my hometown.

It has been said that while love is what makes the world go round, bacon is what makes life worthwhile. Not to start a debate… but I’ve found something that tastes better than bacon.  Let me introduce you to the mother of all meats {well, father, actually}- Johnston’s Meat Market in Monticello, FL.

America needs more mom & pop one-stop-shops like this!

When I was a kid, we’d go to Johnston’s FRM Feed Store to get bags of food for our sheep, to take sheep that we wanted to, err… process, and also to buy the best breakfast sausage in the whole, wide world. Johnston’s sold grass-fed, fresh & local beef before those were buzz words.  I suppose that’s one reason I’m so passionate about feeding my family “real food”- it’s what I grew up on.

Now every time we’re anywhere near Monticello, we return to Johnston’s Meat Market to stock our freezer with the best breakfast sausage I’ve ever had.  The store has changed a lot from the old painted concrete block, bare floor, wide open doors feed store I knew. For starters, there’s air conditioning and a front porch with chairs & a friendly welcome sign:

Enter as strangers… leave as friends.  Unless you’re a cow or pig.  Then leave as sausage.

One of my favorite memories is the gum machine.  It was dark inside the cavernous feed store but I’m pretty sure I remember a beam of light falling perfectly on that gum machine.  And a halo around it.  Oh, and angelic voices when I approached.  Yes, I’m certain.  You see,  it only took a penny to make the metal handle click-click-click and deposit a handfull of colored gum squares in my palm.  It’s the only penny gum machine I have ever encountered in my 30-something years of life.  And to make this memory even more magical, if Mom didn’t have any coins, Mr. Johnston would give me a penny.

I don’t remember how many times that happened, and ok there was no shaft of light anywhere in that earthy-smelling warehouse.  But I loved it in there.  It wasn’t shiny or clean- I think I remember concrete floors and dusty bags of farm supplies- but it was a happy place to be.  For me.  Not for those cows or pigs or sheep…

A nod to the 1 cent gumball machine.

Now, it’s bright, clean and air conditioned.  The gum costs a quarter.  But the sausage is still good- same family recipe!  Y’all stop in sometime.  Order some links for me.

Johnston’s Meat Market
Monticello, Florida 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *