Just take a look at your favourite restaurant, chances are somewhere on the menu there is a mention of a Butcher or a region, whether it be “Cape grim” beef , “Burrawong organic” pork or “Mr Little’s” Lamb fillet.
When writing a menu a proud Chef wants to gain trust in their patrons by demonstrating an approach to ethical meat. Do you know your Butchers name? I can guarantee the country’s leading chefs do!
Creating a relationship with the local butcher has a wealth of benefits. They can offer you insight to where beasts have grazed, how to prepare them, which cut is best for that slow Smokey BBQ this summer and tips for a delicious herb marinade or fragrant spice rub.
Any Butcher worth his salt, will help you with your common queries. How much lamb shoulder do I need for 6 people? How long should I rest a roast ? How can I tell when its cooked? As with the Fishmonger from last week, a Butcher knows his way round a steak better than most. Just ask the questions and you and your dinner guests will be left to reap the benefits.
Try writing a menu for your dinner party, boast that your Butcher gave you a special piece of aged Scottish Highlander and blimey, even stick his name on there for that restaurant feel,
“John Bishops” Aged Highlander with oyster mushrooms,
local spinach, golden shallots and homemade mustard
Instead of picking the same old piece of sirloin, try using an inexpensive cut such as a beef cheek or short rib. Slowly braised, these cuts have copious amounts of flavour, ask any good chef and they will agree. You can even get more adventurous and try some moreish crispy lambs tongue, or char grilled sweetbreads.
Buying from the local Butcher follows a trend in this sustainable series, it will help reduce food miles, support local business, offer more nutritional value and lead to better quality cooking.
Another great way to shop for ethical meat, and generally sustainable supplies is to go to a local Farmers’ Market. Buying direct from a Farmer like this is a great way to learn about the farming practices used. Usually a Farmer at the markets is proud of what he does, proud of his product and more than likely happy to help and answer any questions you have.
By supporting local businesses you are pumping money back into the industry. This can help Australia farm more sustainably, widening the availability of ethical meat.
That age old pastime of nipping down to the local butcher for a couple of lamb chops and a chinwag is rushing back to reality.
There are plenty of resources out there on the internet, one of a few sites we use for ‘At Your Table’ is Sustainable Table. Sustainable table is a personal favourite of ours, it offers a wealth of information on ethical meats, free range poultry and much much more.
Hopefully you have been able to take something from our “How to become more Sustainable” 3 part blog series.
With any luck your next dinner party will boast some nutrient rich local veggies, seasonal seafood and an exciting cut of meat recommended by the butcher down the road.
With our busy schedules and fast paced lives shopping locally seems to have become a “trend” Lets not forget to take note from our elders, grow your own veggies, buy local and “Know your Farmer, Butcher and Fish Monger”
Any comments, or examples of how you have implemented shopping locally and becoming more sustainable at home, please post below.