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Tips for Choosing a Local Butcher

In case you haven’t noticed, meat prices at the grocery store continue to rise.  Perhaps the best way to ensure you are getting quality meat is to choose a local butcher. Using someone local can bring peace of mind in knowing where the meat was sourced. For many, however, visiting a local butcher shop can be intimidating. This does not have to be the case. You simply need to know what questions to ask and look for. Let’s take a look at a few tips for choosing a local butcher. 

Cleanliness

Keeping a butcher shop free from pests, thoroughly cleaning all cutting surfaces and counters, sharpening knives, and maintaining machinery are essential steps every butcher shop should do. Everyone employed in the shop – from the butchers to the store staff – should take personal hygiene and cleanliness seriously. The last thing you want is contaminated meat. Simple observation on your part with how meat is displayed and handled will help determine the butcher shop’s level of cleanliness.

Where does the meat come from?

A butcher should have no hesitation in telling you where the meat they butcher comes from. They should also be willing to tell you how it is fed. Ask them whether the animal is grass or grain-fed. Is the meat they sell coming from local sources? Also, inquire as to how they finish off the animal. This is what they feed the animal in the last month or two before butchering. Some less than desirable butchers will give animals a lot of chemical-laden feed to fatten them up quickly before slaughter. Avoid butchers who do this.

Freshness

Always ask how fresh the meat is in the case. The fresher the meat, the better the taste will be. If you buy from a local butcher who sources their meat locally, this is usually not an issue. They turn meat around almost as quickly as they butcher it. 

Building a Rapport

You will want to build a rapport with your butcher. After all, this is the meat you are putting on your family’s table. You want the healthiest meat possible. As you build a relationship with your butcher, they can help guide you on some cuts you may not have tried before. They can also give you some pointers on how to prepare different types of meat. 

Choosing a local butcher has many advantages, from high-quality meat full of flavor to some of the healthiest meat available. Another added benefit is price. It is estimated that purchasing from local butchers helps keep up to four times as much money in the community than buying from a chain store. Buying locally also saves you money by cutting out the middleman and going directly to the source. If you are looking for a trustworthy, local butcher, visit Stoney Point Farm Market.

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