Known as “The Bacon Man,” Raymond Leon Currier carries Peer Foods bacon, but he also supplies sausage, ham, cut steaks, smoked cheeses and other food products to customers in Hancock, Washington and Aroostook counties. PHOTO BY STEVE FULLER

Raymond Currier, “The Bacon Man,” specializes in fine meats and cheeses

DEDHAM — Straightforward business names tell a consumer what they can expect right off the bat.

Cable News Network (CNN) is, well, a news network carried on cable TV. Omaha Steaks is a company based in Omaha that sells steaks.

And so it is with Raymond Leon Currier’s business moniker “The Bacon Man.” Currier is a Dedham resident, who almost two decades ago now got his start as a self-described road peddler selling bacon to customers with discriminating tastes.

The list of products he carries has grown in the years since then, but as bacon was the first product it’s the one that gave him a name that stuck. One need go no further than the outgoing message on his voicemail box to learn that:

Close to two decades ago, Currier discovered Peer Gourmet Sliced Bacon and that proved the catalyst for his mobile specialty food enterprise.

“Hey, it’s The Bacon Man!” says Currier, informing callers that they have reached “the bacon zone.” He explains he is unavailable at the moment but encourages callers to leave a message and promises he will get back to them.

“Until then, Bacon Man out!” he concludes.

Currier clearly remembers the day that his journey to becoming Bacon Man began: Nov. 11, 1999 — Veterans Day — when he ordered his first bacon.

His first good bacon, to be precise. After spending time growing up in western Maine around Farmington, Currier has since lived all over the country and said commercial bacon in general is “awful.”

But two decades ago he found bacon from Mariah Foods, a subsidiary of Peer Foods Group. When he ran out of that first package he called the 1-800 number on the back and the company shipped him 20 pounds of bacon.

“Oh my God, ain’t this good,” Currier recalls thinking of the bacon and how it tasted.

Currier had been working in the forestry business. Having had some road sales experience as a child — he had gone on the road with his grandfather, a road peddler, then — he decided to get into the business of selling meats.

He started out with five different kinds of bacon. He said what sets bacon from Mariah Foods apart is that the cure and the process the company uses is “consistent.”

“They’ve been doing it the same way since 1929,” said Currier. “It’s always good.”

One day a customer asked Currier if he could get some sausage. Currier made some inquiries and soon added sausage, then hams, to the list of products he carried. That then expanded into cut steaks, from rib eyes and strip steaks to porterhouses and t-bones.

More recently Currier has gotten into selling various cheeses, aged anywhere from a year to almost 12 years. He has cheeses made from milk that comes from grass-fed cows in New Zealand (aged from three-and-a-half to six years) and Canadian cheese ranging in age from five to 11 years made from raw milk.

Currier’s cheeses vary widely from aged Canadian and New Zealand to cheese made by Sonnental Dairy in Smyrna Mills.

Closer to home, Currier carries cheese made by Sonnental Dairy in Smyrna Mills, which is made by the Amish community there.

In all his time as a traveling salesman of “really good, high-end products,” Currier said he has developed a reputation for quality among his customer base.

“If you want good food, you just see Ray,” is what customers tell him they advise friends and family. “Don’t waste your time and go anywhere else.”

Currier also has learned a lot about food along the way. Take for example, the topic of how thick a lamb chop should be.

“One and a half inches, one and three-quarter inches at a minimum,” he said. “It’s better at two and a quarter or two and a half inches thick. If it’s any thinner, what are you going to do with it? Put it on a grill and you’re going to burn it up.”

While many people use sirloin or strip steak as a breakfast steak, Currier said he recommends Delmonico chuck for that purpose.

“Chuck has more flavor,” he said. “It’s not as tender, but there’s a lot more flavor.”

Currier’s home base is in Dedham but his travels now take him all over the state — from Calais to Caribou and back to the coast. On a given week, he will be in Aroostook County on Wednesday, Downeast on Thursday and then over in Farmington and back down to the coast on a Friday. He just started traveling over Route 4 and going into Rangeley and Oquossoc this year.

Customers include business owners, homeowners and restaurants, and he also does some selling on spec. In addition to the meats and cheeses he carries from other countries and elsewhere in the United States, Currier also offers some of his own products.

A fan of hot food — Currier is one of those folks who will order the hottest item on a menu, and then ask for it to be made even hotter — he has developed his own line of seasonings he calls “Knock Your Socks Off.”

“It’s basically a dry rub,” he explained. The label on the container proclaims the “flavor-enhancing spice turns your dining experience into a mouth-watering adventure.” He said it goes well on everything from pizza to potatoes and salads to scallops.

Currier also has gotten into smoking cheeses. He uses apple and cherry wood to smoke cheeses ranging from Egmont (a Cheddar-style cheese) to Gouda made by the Amish in Smyrna Mills. Currier has been using apple lately and said it has a distinct effect.

“Apple’s a sweet smoke,” he said. “It comes out sweet.”

Currier also sometimes gets products when he takes longer travels across the country, such as picking up blackstrap molasses and raw sugar from the Amish community in Pennsylvania, and brings them back for his customers.

One that’s always popular is when he goes to Louisiana and brings back hundreds of pounds of picked-out crawfish tail meat. It goes fast, he said.

Currier said he is glad to take special orders and requests, such as the customer who wanted elk meat — so Currier got elk hamburger for him.

“I do just about anything in food,” he said. “If I haven’t got it, I’ll get it for you.”

To get in touch with Currier and find out how to become a customer of his, flag him down if you see his white van with the prominent “Bacon Man” labels on it driving around town.

Or call him at 460-2233 or email him at [email protected].

Steve Fuller

Steve Fuller

Reporter at The Ellsworth American,
Steve Fuller worked at The Ellsworth American from 2012 to early 2018. He covered the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. A native of Waldo County, he served as editor of Belfast's Republican Journal prior to joining the American. He lives in Orland.
Steve Fuller

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