Roadkill is his only red meat

In its continuing quest for food porn, NPR quotes Jeff Potter as saying, “Last autumn, my brother phones on his way home from the grocery: ‘I was driving to the store and there wasn’t a deer in the road, but on the way back there was, so it’s gotta be fresh!’ “

roadkill.deerPotter, who lives in exurban Lansing, Mich., was busy processing mail orders for his outdoor sports business, but he knew he had to act fast or someone might beat him to it. He spread a tarp in the back of the family minivan and raced to the scene, where he found a young doe on the shoulder of the road. He pulled the deer into the van, then called the police for permission to take it home. To eat.

Potter is a 53-year-old father of two who operates Out Your Backdoor, a website dedicated to “indie” outdoor culture. He has hunted, fished, biked and skied around Williamston, Mich., his whole life. Today it’s much less rural than it was when he was a kid, but “there’s still this tremendous amount of interstitial space that deer thrive in,” he says. And during the fall mating season, when the animals start getting frisky, “there are tremendous numbers of car-deer accidents around here.”

Potter is known among his friends and family for collecting roadkill of all species: deer, pheasant, turkey, rabbit, squirrel. They call him when they spot felled critters by the roadside, and he serves stews and roasts made from them at family dinners and large dinner parties. How do his guests rate the meals? So far, he says, he’s “batting 1,000.” Roadkill venison makes up the near totality of the red meat his family consumes. And no one’s ever gotten sick.

Not that he knows of.