Here is a small dedication to butchers as a result of this experience. Here are the compelling arguments for why you should get one as well:
1. They adore animals just as much as you do–if not more so. As soon as you speak with a butcher in Canberra, you will know that they have a great deal of respect for animals, precisely why they get their meat from farms where the animals enjoy happy lives. Rather than being pumped full of hormones or antibiotics, their animals are fed a naturally occurring diet and murdered gently. On top of that, they don’t let any of their animals go to waste, which they consider an act of respect for the animal’s life. Animals are essential to a butcher’s livelihood in Canberra, and they provide nourishment to the customers that patronise their establishment.
2. You will always be aware of what you are purchasing. The recent horsemeat scandal in Ikea meatballs has brought to light the absence of oversight at large-scale meat processing plants and weird occurrences behind the meat counters at supermarkets. A reputable butcher will be able to tell you what farm the animal was reared on and what portion of the animal that particular chop originated from when you ask about it. You’ll likely watch your butcher grind or carve portions of meat directly in front of your eyes more than once.
3. Butchers provide a more diverse and higher-quality variety. If you walk into the shop of a butcher in Canberra, one can guarantee you’ll see a cut or type of meat that you won’t find at your local supermarket. Not only that, but it will have been humanely slain, correctly sliced, and carefully kept before being served. You won’t find chicken breasts that have been plumped with saline water or steaks that have been gassed with carbon monoxide here. And there will never, ever be any pink slime on the premises.
4. They provide excellent customer service. Expect meat shopping in Canberra to become a more personal experience in the future. You should avoid going the day before Thanksgiving or Christmas unless you want to… However, this is to be anticipated. Butchers want nothing more than for their meat to be the most significant thing you’ve ever eaten, and they’ll go to any length to make it happen. For those of you who enjoy venison and boar, a butcher in Canberra can also provide you with information on seasonal specialities such as games and the opportunity to order less common cuts specifically.
5. You choose to retain your money in the local economy. Everyone owes a debt of gratitude to Michael Pollan for opening everyone’s eyes to the realities of industrial farming and the advantages of eating more locally. To be sure, farmers’ markets may be more expensive, but one can honestly say that they’ve never had a sticker shock at our local butcher, whose meats are typically priced lower than those found at Whole Foods Market. By purchasing meat from a local butcher, fewer dollars end up in the wallets of giant meat producers and wholesalers, resulting in more money for the farmer and small business owner to spend.
However, while purchasing meat from the butcher has made us more respectful of farm animals and more aware meat consumers, It is believed that it is worth far more than the few pennies extra we spend on a beef stew or grilled chicken breast at Costco in large quantities.
Butchers in the area: If you have one, what features do you particularly enjoy about it? Are you prepared to give one of these a go, supermarket meat shoppers?