Monday, 16 December 2013

Saving the High Street Butcher or 12 good reasons to love your local butcher


I am sad to say that the town I live in no longer has a butcher on its high street (or whats left of it !), the situation is pretty  dire, we have nearly every supermarket chain to choose from but when it comes to an independent butcher, greengrocer, baker and fishmongers you have to travel ( fortunately not too far) or visit the town on market day to have any real choice of supply.

I am sure my town is not unique in its situation  but I want to encourage to seek out and visit a local butcher if at all possible, rather than buy meat at the supermarket, prepacked in those horrid sweaty plastic containers. Learn to love your local butcher you won't regret it, your tastebuds and your purse will thank you.

There has been a massive decline in the number of butchers on the high street in recent years as consumers has moved their meat buying to the supermarket and action needs to be taken now to reverse this decline, yes the recent horse meat scandal has encouraged a few of us back to our local butcher, but us smart savvy shoppers can make so much more of our butchers, so here are 12 reasons why you should shop with a local butcher.
  • Local
Your butcher will support local farmers and know the farmers personally who produce his meat so he can assure you that you are supporting your local economy and keeping those food miles to a minimum.
  • Seasonal
Your butcher will be able to advise you on seasonal meats, especially game and when its in season, but also when local meat is at is seasonal best. Despite what you think meat is a seasonal product and its price and availability does vary through the year.
  • Traceable
A decent butcher will know exactly where he meat comes from, and be able to tell you where it was raised and slaughtered. 
  • Cooking tips
Your local butcher will happily give you cooking advice and tips to ensure that you get the best of the meat he sells you, don't be shy and ask the best way to cook your purchase.
  • Friendly face / warm welcome
Your butcher  will warmly welcome you and should be happy to chat if you want to, as long as its about meat. He wants to provide you with a good service and hopes that you will return and become a regular customer. Tell your friends about your enjoyable personal shopping experience.
  • Advice/ Your questions answered
Your butcher will be able to give you advice on whats best value or the best cut for your recipe, in fact answer any question you have about the meat you are buying.
  • Something special
Local butchers will be happy to prepare a special cut just for you, especially if you order in advance. They can order in or prepare specially for you. They also often have something special to offer if you fancy trying something different and will know about the aging of their meat.
  • Ordered and prepared just for you
Place your order and your chosen cut will be prepared specially for you, if you want more or less fat or something tied or trimmed, your butcher will do it for you. Minimised packaging  too but if you want to freeze your meat, your butcher will prepare into freezer packs as well if you ask nicely. 
  • You buy as much as you need
Unlike the supermarket, nothing is prepacked so you buy the size of joint or weight that you want for your recipe or your family size. Of course this means little or no wastage.
  • Sausages /bacon/ black pudding / haggis
Any butcher worth his salt, will make his own sausages / bacon / black pudding / haggis (delete as appropriate) and these will be much better value and taste miles better than any supermarket offering. Often these will be prize winning  or local specialties that will become family favorites.
  • Value / your budget
As your butcher gives you good advice they can ensure that you achieve the best value for money, may be suggesting cheaper cuts or alternatives that when cooked with love and attention can produce sublime meals. Let your butcher know your budget and he will help you get the best value for it, some butchers even have discount or saving clubs.
  • Special Treatment
Butchers love local loyal customers and if you shop with them regularly you will be first on the list for seasonal offers, specials and discounts. You may also find the occasional complimentary taster being popped in your shopping bag too.

So go on go on go on and love your local butcher and they will love you back !

Currently there is a national campaign running " The meat crusade" and if you are quick and go and visit your local high street (if you have got one !)  butcher you will still be in time to get your order in for Christmas.


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