We’ve all seen the hashtags; #shoplocal #buylocal #supportsmallbusinesses #familybusiness, etc. etc. But is shopping at your local butcher actually that different from picking up some steaks from Meijer or Walmart? Well, get comfortable, put your learning glasses on, and let’s go over some reasons why you should put a local butcher on your route for your grocery run.
Taste the Difference
There’s no surprise here– meat from a local butcher tastes different. Most local butchers age their beef to optimize tenderness. At Byron Center Meats, most of the beef cuts are tenderized and wet-aged for at least 21 days. Wet-aging makes the cut more tender because the enzymes within the muscle will continue to break down the protein in the meat. No, wet-aging does not mean water is added! Dr. Janeal Yancey explains that wet-aging refers to the cut being packaged in its own juices. The cut remains fresh and preserved because of the vacuum-sealed packaging that’s airtight and keeps bacteria from growing.
Meat is their Specialty
A popular reason one might visit a butcher shop is to pick out specialty cuts. Most butchers have enough variety in their cut selection to satisfy any meat-enthusiast or Pinterest recipe one might find. Need a Denver Steak? Tri-Tip? How about Korean-style Short Ribs? Any experienced butcher will have these cuts on hand or can cut it for you from a primal (large section or wholesale chunk) portion. At a large grocery store, you may only have the cuts available, pre-packaged, or perhaps with no option on thickness. Let’s not even talk about the 50% off stickers because the steak are past their sell-by dates.
With a local butcher, if you want fresh, extra thick steaks for grilling or extra thin for a quick sear, they are able to make it happen for you. You can shop with confidence that your butcher will take care of your every need. Locally sourced or specially raised animals are usually available with local butchers as well. They can tell you where their meat comes from, if it’s corn-fed or grass-fed, all-natural, Wagyu, organic, etc.
Buying Local Supports Community
Buying local keeps your money local. Buying from local farmers and butchers boosts your community commerce and economy. According EntryPointMI, 48% of money spent on local businesses is kept in the local economy, compared to only 14% when you spend money on large grocery store chains. Your butcher’s price is going to be as direct as possible; which means you aren’t paying for long-range, cross country shipping and transport. Many butchers, like Byron Center Meats, are family-owned. Your business supports their livelihood and legacy!
Local businesses often give back to the community in the form of donations, participating or hosting events, creating jobs within the community, and supplying locally produced products & services. At Byron Center Meats, we pride ourselves in giving back in the community through charities & donations, supporting local farmers and their own farm stores, and by selling grocery items from a few local businesses around Michigan.
So– look up that interesting Pinterest recipe, fire up your grill, and support your community by shopping at your local butcher. Ditch the chain stores and #shoplocal.