When it comes to cooking and eating, only the finest ingredients will do, and fresh, locally sourced meats, vegetables and other produce are as good as they come. The better the ingredients you use, the tastier the end result – and whether you make the meals at home yourself or have a private chef do the hard work for you, you’re certain to notice the difference.
Buying locally doesn’t just ensure the utmost freshness; it supports the local economy and helps you to lessen your carbon footprint, too. Much of the food we find in supermarkets has travelled a considerable distance to get there – which means not only is it several days older at best, but that it has also required various means of transport and thus increased emissions in order to get it there.
When it comes to considering where you buy your food from more carefully, meat should be at the top of your list. The debate about whether you should be getting yours from the supermarket or a local butcher is an age-old one, but for many, it’s an obvious choice. There are many reasons why purchasing from a butcher is superior, and we’re increasingly turning back towards this more traditional way to source our cuts as the benefits of doing so become more widely recognised.
Unsure what they are? Let’s take a look, but be warned, because you may never want to buy yours from a supermarket again.
Buying meat from supermarkets or other large stores is a risk that can often see you unwittingly compromising on quality. Shops like these source their meat in large quantities, which makes it impossible for them to carefully select each cut. Purchase your meat at the butcher, on the other hand, and things couldn’t be more different. Butchers are experts in selecting only the highest-quality cuts of meat, and will often turn away anything that isn’t quite up to scratch. Everything is checked again as it comes in, so there is little chance for anything to pass them by.
When purchasing your meat, it’s important to consider how and where it was produced, as although many prefer to avoid thinking about it, animal welfare is important. Many cattle and other livestock are mass-bred in unsatisfactory conditions for their meat to meet the huge demands from supermarkets and other large stores, but butchers ensure that their meat comes only from local farms, where animals are well-treated and fed, and enjoy a happy life. Many of them work closely with farmers to ensure that this is the case – and can often offer higher quality products such as grass-fed beef as a result. Some butchers even raise the animals themselves, which ensures even greater clarity when it comes to sourcing.
Butchers’ equipment is also a very important factor when it comes to providing you with the very best cuts of meat. Privately owned, local butcher’s shops tend to work with the very best equipment that can be found on the market, since this is their speciality and something they take very seriously indeed. Everything inside a butcher’s shop is designed to provide the client with quality meat, cut the right way, for any recipe or meal you may have in mind – and without the right tools for the job, which can sometimes be the case elsewhere, the cut you receive may be inferior.
Who better to help you realise a meat-based meal than your butcher? If you discuss with them what you are planning to cook, they will be able to provide you with the perfect cut selection to bring it to fruition. Choose the wrong cut yourself and you could compromise on taste and flavour, so expert advice is paramount if you’re looking to achieve the best possible results. This comes in particularly handy if you’re cooking for guests, as your butcher will also be able to provide you with tips on how to cook your cuts to get the most out of them, as well as recommending recipes that have been part of their butcher family for generations. Not only that, but they will provide you with the highest level of service possible, and that’s something that is guaranteed to bring you back for more.
Supporting the local economy
Finally, buying from your butcher as opposed to the supermarket is a great way to support a local business, as well as the wider local economy. While small businesses like these were once the backbone of our communities, large supermarket chains and corporations have seen them suffer – so doing your bit to help keep them in business will be greatly appreciated. Butchers tend to buy local themselves, often visiting the farms they work with to learn more about how they raise their cattle, so in doing so you’ll set off a chain reaction that will support the local economy on many levels – keeping people in employment and creating a better economical situation where you live.
When purchasing your meat, always remember to put quality over quantity. The freshest of local meats will guarantee unmatchable taste and flavour, so take your time to make sure you’re sourcing the very best that money can buy.