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The Local Butcher Shop

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istelleinad

I often accompanied my grandmother on her daily trips to the market as a child; it was an experience of which I wasn’t very fond. It was hot and humid, replete with strong odors of raw meat mingled with the briny notes of dried, salted fish and shrimp paste. Trying my best to play the filial granddaughter while carefully avoiding the disaster of stepping into a questionable puddle of water meant that I hardly paid attention to the nuances of shopping at the market: what questions to ask the butcher, what the different cuts of meat were for, why patronize this vendor and not the others.

The side effects of neglecting  these childhood lessons became apparent once I lived on my own. When faced with a baffling variety of beef and pork cuts, I was lost. This resulted in a regular rotation of familiar cuts on our dinner menu: ground beef, pork chops, beef filets and pork ribs. It was too daunting (and expensive) to try something new. Adding to the challenge was the absence of a trusted resource I could turn to for advice that also offered meat products that were sustainably and humanely raised.

Danielle Tsi

This is the type of problem that husband-and-wife team Aaron and Monica Rocchino are looking to solve with their new venture, The Local Butcher Shop.

“We worked demanding jobs in the food industry and didn’t see very much of each other, so we were looking for a solution to that which also fills a gap in the market,” Monica shared. “As home cooks, we found it difficult to source sustainably-raised meat at the retail level and figured that other people must be facing the same challenge.”

Tucked into a modest space along Berkeley’s Shattuck Avenue, this is not just any butcher shop: it’s a local butcher shop, committed to sourcing sustainably-raised, pastured meat and eggs from farms located within a 150-mile radius of the city. Just five months old, the shop, which practices whole animal butchery, goes through about 120 dozen eggs, five to six pigs and two cows a week.

Danielle Tsi

“It’s the only way to track the real provenance of the meat, as opposed to just getting parts in a box,” said Monica. “It’s also more financially viable to buy a whole animal than one that’s already been portioned; it allows us to work around the challenges of working with slaughterhouses that may not always deliver the types of cuts we request.”

With Aaron’s training at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and his experience working at restaurants such as Berkeley’s Chez Panisse and New York’s Le Bernadin, practicing whole animal butchery opens up a world of cooking that a restaurant kitchen could never offer. No part of the animal is wasted: livers are transformed into pâtes, tongues are pickled, fat is rendered, caul is turned into sausage casings, and less popular cuts of meat, like the shank or chuck roast, are braised, smoked or roasted for one of their daily sandwiches.

Danielle Tsi

The shop’s pricing system is based on dividing the animal into thirds, with accompanying charts delineating which cuts fall into each category. Said Monica, “Part of our goal in this business is to show our customers that the whole animal is valuable, and what you derive from a piece of meat depends on how you cook it. Ultimately, our goal is to have the same price for everything, from the filet and loin to the tail and shanks.”

That’s a bold vision, and one that the Rocchinos and their team of 11 butchers work toward by engaging with disappointed customers unable to purchase their tenderloin/ribeye/chops for dinner.

“That’s the most challenging and rewarding part of the job,” said Monica. “It’s tough to have to tell a customer that we don’t have what they’re looking for, but it’s also a great opportunity to introduce them to cuts of meat they might not be familiar with, but would be a good substitute for the dish they’re planning to prepare, or introducing them to a new recipe entirely. That’s when the kitchen experience among our butchers comes in handy.”

Danielle Tsi

It would be too easy to dismiss The Local Butcher Shop as a trendy offshoot of the farm-to-table movement that’s driving the opening of butcher shops all over New York and around the country. But if you give it some thought, you’ll realize that they’re more than just a “trendy” way of selling meat. They’re bringing people closer to their food and reinstating the trust in a food chain displaced by years of focusing on large-scale systems of production and distribution. Not every household can afford (financially or otherwise) to participate in animal shares, even if they wanted to. Butcher shops help address that gap, and their re-emergence on America’s food landscape is a logical progression along the path towards greater transparency and sustainability for the sources of our food. It’s great to know your farmer, and soon, it will be just as important to know your butcher too.

Who do you turn to for advice on cooking and grocery shopping?

About the author: Danielle Tsi grew up in Singapore, a tiny, food-obsessed island on the tip of the Malaysian Peninsula, where every waking minute was spent thinking about what her next meal was going to be. Landing in the United States with her well-traveled Nikon, she turned her lifelong love affair with food into images and words on her blog, Beyond the Plate. When not behind the lens or at the stove, Danielle can be found on her yoga mat perfecting the headstand.

3 Featured Comments

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  • lkmccray

    Linzee from lkmccray says: Featured

    I lived in Hereford, England, in the mid-1980s, about the time the first large grocery store arrived in town. Before that, grocery shopping happened almost daily with visits to the baker, greengrocer, and butcher shop. Conversations occurred with proprietors as you bought your veggies and meat. My understanding is that many of those small businesses no longer exist, as shoppers opted for the convenience of one-stop shopping. Small shops must charge more to survive (they can't get the same bulk discounts as big chain stores), and shoppers must be willing to pay more and to go to multiple shops to get their goods. Your article, Danielle, points out what they'll gain in return, if they're willing (and able) to accommodate the economic realities of this kind of shopping.

    2 years ago

  • dbabcock

    Deb Babcock from BlueSkyPotteryCO says: Featured

    I, too, buy my beef from a local rancher who is nice enough to provide a chart showing what I have purchased, how to best prepare it (including his recommendations on thawing and storing it) and best of all, he provides a small booklet of recipes for each cut of meat. It's nice to know who raised the cow I'm eating and how the animal was treated during its lifetime as well as that it was humanely butchered. I still have mixed feelings about eating animals but take comfort in knowing that I'm not supporting producers who treat their animals inhumanely. Good article!

    2 years ago

  • PopLoveCouture

    Shai Wallach from PopLoveCouture says: Featured

    Wow, I have to say, while I love the idea of a more sustainable butcher shop, the thought that the person you're speaking with over the counter knew the animal you're going to have for dinner makes me feel a little odd. But then again, that just goes to show you how far removed our modern consumer-based society is from nature - and I don't think that's a good thing. I commend the concept of using the whole animal, although I do agree with one thing that's being said here a lot - as a society, we do eat a lot more meat than we really need to. A little goes a long way!

    2 years ago

  • JodysVintage

    Jody Ball from PansyRoadVintage says:

    My husband and I owned and successfully operated the local butcher shop in our home town for years! Lots of work but it was great. We retired and moved to the country 10 years ago without a regret except for all of the nice people that came to shop in our store! We made sausages and goetta, chicken salad was our specialty! Lots of homemade items and my husband can cut up a cow from start to finish. Oh, and we did deer after hours during hunting season. Our teenage daughters first day working in the store consisted of butchering a deer after hours with her dad! Our other daughter took a cow heart to school for a science project! This is a great article!

    2 years ago

  • thevicagirl

    VaLon Frandsen from thevicagirl says:

    It sounds really impressive and a good way to get things. I've been thinking recently that there has got to be a better way to get meat than how I have been doing it. But, I don't have anyone who really knows food in my life to ask for advice. This place sounds like a little slice of heaven. If only I was closer...

    2 years ago

  • maggiesraggedyinn

    maggiesraggedyinn from maggiesraggedyinn says:

    An interesting article and somewhat respectful for old fashion values.

    2 years ago

  • QueenofCuffs

    mary from QueenofCuffs says:

    Of course the quality -and the origin is important. I love my local butcher in Terenure, Dublin - and feel very lucky to live within walking distance. So important to have trust and comfort when buying meat etc. But the 'star' quality in the 'local butcher' is the sound advice and different directions you can be sent !! Love to read of the traditional values and accountability being respected.

    2 years ago

  • volkerwandering

    Jess from volkerwandering says:

    Very thought provoking! I enjoyed this article!

    2 years ago

  • lltownleyceramic

    Lisa Townley from LLTownleyCeramic says:

    My grandparents raised steers, and each Christmas they would give my mom a side of beef, which she would have butchered to her specifications at the local butcher shop. My mom would then spend a weekend wrapping everything up in butcher paper, labeling it with a wax pencil, and storing the meat in the deep freeze. Thanks for bringing back fond memories!

    2 years ago

  • eversolovely

    Ever So Lovely from EverSoLovely says:

    It's definitely important to know the quality of the food and where it comes from and it's nice to know old fashioned values still being respected. If only there were more places like this close by.

    2 years ago

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery says:

    I think its important for people to connect with food in more meaningful ways not just with meat though, as a non meat eater I think its important that if you make the decision to do so then welfare is so important. It makes buying meat less faceless and 'production line'.

    2 years ago

  • lkmccray

    Linzee from lkmccray says: Featured

    I lived in Hereford, England, in the mid-1980s, about the time the first large grocery store arrived in town. Before that, grocery shopping happened almost daily with visits to the baker, greengrocer, and butcher shop. Conversations occurred with proprietors as you bought your veggies and meat. My understanding is that many of those small businesses no longer exist, as shoppers opted for the convenience of one-stop shopping. Small shops must charge more to survive (they can't get the same bulk discounts as big chain stores), and shoppers must be willing to pay more and to go to multiple shops to get their goods. Your article, Danielle, points out what they'll gain in return, if they're willing (and able) to accommodate the economic realities of this kind of shopping.

    2 years ago

  • Bmbyx

    Olga from Bmbyx says:

    Growing up outside of the US and shopping local food markets introduced me to many different cuts of meat. Not to mention my dad was a hunter and we had some of the freshest meat...............I am glad to see the resurrection of the butcher shops in the US. One thing all immigrants can relate to is the taste of food from the supermarkets and a big chain grocery retailers; it’s pretty bad.

    2 years ago

  • JCTgoods

    James Tocchio from PickleshwinksCycles says:

    Awesome. Good luck. I was just talking about this sort of thing with a coworker.

    2 years ago

  • GardenDaisies

    Kate from GardenDaisies says:

    Oh, this makes me uber happy to read! What we don't grow, we try to source local, and meat has been one of the things we have been trying to source as of lately (I don't eat red meat, but the hubs does). We have the raw milk, eggs, fresh produce, etc... I wished we lived closer to this place. I value the old traditions of using the whole animal and I love to try new recipes.

    2 years ago

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    AJ Marsden from OnlyOriginalsByAJ says:

    Great article! I grew up a few blocks away from a small town butcher shop and always took it for granted. Now I live in a city and every time I go home to visit family, I have to stop at the little shop and pick up some fresh meat and cheese. I do miss it!

    2 years ago

  • sweetsarahcardsandtr

    Sarah M. from sweetsarahartisancon says:

    great article!

    2 years ago

  • blueridgewoodworking

    Gabe and Athena from BlueRidgeWoodworking says:

    Wonderful article. I am so hoping that more people start doing this. Returning to the simple way of life. Not always the easy way, but always better. We have gotten so used to going to one store for everything that we do not know about variety or choices anymore. So you can buy motor oil, a couch and dinner in the same shop! This should not be the way we live. We should know what we are getting and know the people that we are getting it from.

    2 years ago

  • PrayerMonkey

    Laura Fisher from PrayerMonkey says:

    We are lucky here in Richmond, VA. We have the Belmont Butchery!

    2 years ago

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie says:

    I am so thankful to live so close to a very good butchery. Somehow its just better!!!

    2 years ago

  • littlewingdesigns

    Madeline Burdine from sustainablejewelry says:

    Sustainability is not trendy, its something that just makes logical sense. in a world where everything is disposable and the planet's population is ever expanding, we have to look at solutions that are sustainable, i.e., doable over the long term, as opposed to shortcuts that compromise the health of both the environment and ourselves. We eat only meat that comes from local farms. I even use the bones from one of these farms in my jewelry designs. Besides being a beautiful material, I look at it as a way to help stimulate conversations like these, where people stop and think about food sources:) Thanks for helping to shed light on this issue:)

    2 years ago

  • goodbeads

    goodbeads from goodbeads says:

    Cool...so many knives.

    2 years ago

  • VoleedeMoineaux
  • simplyworn

    kelly thomas from simplyworn says:

    interesting article and advice my father's a butcher and I'm always calling him for advice on cuts of meat and how to cook it...I'd love to have a local butchery.

    2 years ago

  • BizzieLane

    BizzieLane from BizzieLane says:

    Thank you for writing this. As a child I grew up going to the butcher, greengrocer, and bakery with my mother because we lived in the city. However, I learned all about our food and where it came from via my grandparents, who were farmers. How I miss those days of working (more like playing to us city kids) on the farm. With all the big food/shopping chain stores that just keep popping up everywhere, the few butchers we have are slowly closing up shop. Please EVERYONE shop at the local butcher, bakery and greengrocers! If more people would shop there every week they would stay. ~ Thank you!

    2 years ago

  • dbabcock

    Deb Babcock from BlueSkyPotteryCO says: Featured

    I, too, buy my beef from a local rancher who is nice enough to provide a chart showing what I have purchased, how to best prepare it (including his recommendations on thawing and storing it) and best of all, he provides a small booklet of recipes for each cut of meat. It's nice to know who raised the cow I'm eating and how the animal was treated during its lifetime as well as that it was humanely butchered. I still have mixed feelings about eating animals but take comfort in knowing that I'm not supporting producers who treat their animals inhumanely. Good article!

    2 years ago

  • ball6474

    Lindley Ballen from PersnicketyPuffin says:

    Thanks for your articles!!! I wish there were more places like these around. People need to be more aware of where their food comes from. Local butcheries will help cut down on waste. More parts of the animals can be used than are sold in stores. Local butcheries can help introduce these other cuts and show people how to use them.

    2 years ago

  • PomDecors

    ElleJay from 20thCenturyKitchen says:

    I am actually old enough to remember a time before there were supermarkets (food department stores) where I lived in a suburb of a major city in New Jersey. This meant a lot of time driving to the bakery, the butcher shop, the farmers' market, etc to do the shopping for food, home and garden. None of these shops were in the suburbs, so my Dad had to drive into the city as needed. I think I was 4 years old when the first large supermarket opened, a 5 minute drive from our home. A huge savings for my parents in terms of time and gasoline. There is always a trade off among convenience, cost, and use of resources.

    2 years ago

  • SimplyCutebyKarin

    SimplyCutebyKarin from SimplyCutebyKarin says:

    I agree that eating the whole animal helps with sustainability. Overall, however, many people still eat too much meat and should reduce their intake (some would say cut it out completely, but that is not my opinion). With regard to the issue of humaneness, unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has essentially regulated small slaughterhouses, where slaughter would be done more humanely, out of business. Regulation is in favor of big, industrialized slaughter houses. While I appreciate what local butchers are trying to do, this is still a sad fact around meat eating.

    2 years ago

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat from mazedasastoat says:

    It makes me a a Brit appreciate the size difference between here & the US when our local butcher (who also slaughters the animals) will only class meat as "local" if it's raised within 20 miles... anything else he classes as "imported"!

    2 years ago

  • alisboa

    Adriana Gurevitz says:

    Yes, but... why eat meat? We know it's not sustainable in a planet with seven billion people. Meat industry has appalling consequences - greenhouse gas emissions (methane, which is more effective as a global warming agent than carbon dioxide), air and water pollution... not to mention the ethical implications of eating animals, and the miserable lives and deaths they are condemned to, in 99% of the cases. A local butcher shop is not a solution - it may be for a small group of people, but not for planet Earth - and definitely not for the animals. We can make rational choices, and these choices can be based on compassion and ethics, rather than on our tastebuds.

    2 years ago

  • terribleterrier

    Michele Costa from terribleterrier says:

    thank you Adriana!! The "greenest" solution is and will always be -- DON'T EAT MEAT! `~ better for you, better for our planet! and I don't care how "happy" their short life was or how close they were to you ! dead is dead!

    2 years ago

  • ananemone

    Sara Boatright from ananemone says:

    lions eat meat. death is part of the natural progression. factory-farm torture, however, is not natural, and I commend you for finding a way to avoid it.

    2 years ago

  • BowandArrowApparel

    Anna Toth from BowandArrowApparel says:

    There's a new all local, nose-to-tail butcher shop here in Asheville, too! It's called the Chop Shop, the lady butcher there kicks butt, and if you're ever in this part of Appalachia you should check it out!

    2 years ago

  • salvagebeauties

    Marin from salvagebeauties says:

    I'm with Anna! Karen Fowler at The Chop Shop has done an extraordinary job balancing traditional methods with forward-thinking ideals, like permaculture and the importance of eating locally. Definitely check them out! http://www.chopshopbutchery.com/

    2 years ago

  • PopLoveCouture

    Shai Wallach from PopLoveCouture says: Featured

    Wow, I have to say, while I love the idea of a more sustainable butcher shop, the thought that the person you're speaking with over the counter knew the animal you're going to have for dinner makes me feel a little odd. But then again, that just goes to show you how far removed our modern consumer-based society is from nature - and I don't think that's a good thing. I commend the concept of using the whole animal, although I do agree with one thing that's being said here a lot - as a society, we do eat a lot more meat than we really need to. A little goes a long way!

    2 years ago

  • GloryBDesign

    Teresa from GloryBDesign says:

    I think this is wonderful. I grew up on a farm where we raised our own beef and pork, chicken, as well as all our own veggies. We had our own fresh milk and eggs. My dad also caught fresh fish for our table. The more we can get back to this type of life, the better IMO.

    2 years ago

  • BeatificBijoux

    Amanda Kloster from BeatificBijoux says:

    I wish we had a butcher shop like this in town! I'd be a regular customer! My "local" butcher sells meat that he can't place the source that it originated from, in all the same boring varieties and cuts you can find in megamarts. The local natural foods co-op has a small variety of locally-sourced pastured meats frozen and cryovac'ed, which is nice, but not as appealing as being able to look over the fresh cuts. My only other option is to buy 1/4s or 1/2's of an entire animal from a local farm, but my freezer space is already at a premium, and I can't afford to invest so much up front. Sigh.

    2 years ago

  • silverlily786

    Fatema from SilverLilyJewelry says:

    Due to our unique slaughter need's we go to our local farm and slaughter a whole lamb,which I use for a wide variety of dishes. It help's me get creative with the not so popular cut's . I like knowing that the animal has been slaughtered in an ethical humane manner and that I use all the cut's to nourish my family (I don't use the tounge /head/tail though!)

    2 years ago

  • lauraslastditch

    Last Ditch Laura from LaurasLastDitch says:

    I'll be sharing this article. As one who cares a lot about whole foods and cooking, thanks for a great post!

    2 years ago

  • GracefullyGirly

    Kimberlee from GracefullyGirly says:

    We have a local butcher shop and I LOVE it! It's attached to a natural food store too so I can pick up all sorts of wholesome ingredients for my family's meals. My favorite is being able to get fish fresh enough to make ceviche. Yum. I will do a little more research/recipe finding and branch out into a greater variety of cuts to help make better use of the whole animal. I'll even try to stop by their butcher shop when I'm in their neck of the woods!

    2 years ago

  • littleaxe

    Andy and Haley from TheFieldandTable says:

    On our farm we've just started offering pasture raised pork, shares of which folks can buy and then pick up all cut and wrapped in December. We've been amazed at the interest in the pigs and also at the superior quality of the meat. If you don't have an awesome butcher shop near you, look up some local farms and see if they do meat shares...you might be surprised what you find!

    2 years ago

  • BlueMoonLights
  • littlesoup

    littlesoup says:

    very interesting!thanks!

    2 years ago

  • MishaGirl

    Michelle from MishaGirl says:

    Having a local butcher shop is a real advantage in today's world. Not only do you know where your meat is coming from, but you also get experienced people giving you advice on the various cuts and methods of preparation. Kudo's to "The Local Butcher Shop" for bringing that concept back!

    2 years ago

  • Iammie

    iammie from iammie says:

    Interesting!

    2 years ago

  • hunterjoan

    Joan Irene from Windleaves says:

    Like one of your other readers,I am of a age to remenber, ( the big 80 in April) how it was before supper makets , My dear mother raised eight children on her own ,It was my brothers job to ask the local butcher for any bits of meat he could spare ,this was because Ray has a lovely smile ,so always came back with free, best pieces of meat , Ray is 82 lives in Birmingham spends his time drawing landscrapes, best wishes from Western Australia by the way we have a local butcher in Kelmscott, best meat ever!!!!! Joan Irene

    2 years ago

  • MeadowPath

    Amy Schauland from MeadowPath says:

    Excellent article! It would be fantastic to see many more of these shops all over the U.S.

    2 years ago

  • BraveTurtleCreations

    Sara Hardman from BraveTurtleCreations says:

    I used to help my dad cut up deer or elk we had harvested during hunting season on our tree farm. There isn't much more local you can get than your own back yard and we would utilize every piece of the animal we could -the cats and dogs loved what we couldn't or (in the case of tongues, grisly bits, and various intestines) wouldn't eat. Now that I don't have the option of venison for every meat dish I realize how spoiled I was and how hard it is to find fresh, local and conscientiously butchered meats of any sort as those I used to take for granted. Especially for the price! Not to mention there is a definite disconnect between the grocery store and the reality that what you are consuming was once a living breathing animal. It shouldn't be wasted.

    2 years ago

  • arnathor

    Russ Druiven from arnathor says:

    This is really great! :)

    2 years ago

  • LoriMarie

    Lori Cellini Deal from LoriMarie says:

    I truly wish I knew where my butcher gets his meat......hmmmm.. I try going to Whole Foods, but I wish I had a butcher shop just like this one!! Bravo on integrating the old with the new.... I commend you and wish you well!!

    2 years ago

  • andiespecialtysweets

    Jason and Andie from andiespecialtysweets says:

    Thanks Danielle -this is exciting! This is a hopeful turn. Everyone should demand getting their food at a local, personal level, and wholesome food -not some factory product. It's great to see that more options are on the rise.

    2 years ago

  • cutiesparties

    Tshiu Ha from cutiesparties says:

    Very nice information.

    2 years ago

  • TheHickoryTree

    Linda from TheHickoryTree says:

    My Dad owned a butcher shop/grocery store while I was growing up. As part of our passage into adulthood me and my 5 siblings were all required to work there in the meat and deli department. Some of us loved it while a few, namely my oldest sister detested it. I remember my dad always saying, "it's something you can fall back on if your other career choices fall through". I'm sure the reason I now own my own business is because of MY family's butcher shop that I use to work at. I really miss the local butcher shop in my own town with the smiling face behind the counter, resembling my Dad and asking me about my day.

    2 years ago

  • rivahside

    rivahside says:

    Ahhh, the lambasting that goes on when a blog article discusses the subject of animal death. Ruins the spirit of the article. But it was a great article despite the negative comments.

    2 years ago

  • SweetMeas

    Sarah Meas from SweetMeas says:

    We get our meat from a local grass-fed grass finished farm. So we can even see the cows if we want! It's great to see old traditions returning! We do have to get the meat frozen though...but boy would I like it fresh from the butcher. I'm pure carnivore sorry... @ Julliette I have a lot of friends that will not eat meat and I don't offend them by cooking it around them. But it my love of meat hasn't threatened our friendship yet? It's true most large slaughter houses are very cruel and animals should not be treated this way. But to say we shouldn't eat them is purely opinion. It should be, if we want to eat them, how should we. Animals need to be in natural conditions and not right on top of each other in there own feces. Meat Nazis is a strong word for people that eat meat although it did give me a chuckle I suppose I see your idea. I would never say you abuse the plants or vegetables of the world, both are living parts of the ecosystem and we all depend on these things to live. Eating anything that is living is a gift to our bodies no matter what sort of life it is? But I do agree with you modern methods of bringing meat to the plate are disturbing and at times ruthless to say the least.The days of killing animals for your own food isn't so popular. I personally will not eat meat at the stores anymore cause I have seen too many films on the subject. I did kill my own Christmas meal and it's much different than one would expect. You do it in a way that makes the animal comfortable and you appreciate the meal more. Maybe that sounds morbid? You get up close and personal with death where as other people grab a steak and didn't think of the animal they didn't know before they eat it. So in a sense we are disconnected from our food. I do hope you're not too offended by my ideas. But for me a life without meat is a sad one indeed. Even when I got store bought meat I never thought much about the animal you just don't. I was mealy thinking about what vegetable goes good with steak. It's good to open your mind to what you're eating. Again I feel personally the meat you eat depends on the quality of the animal how it was taken care of, what it ate and even on how it was butchered.

    2 years ago

  • brazilnut

    brazilnut says:

    There is no such thing as “sustainably and humanely raised” meat, the operative word here being “meat”. Meat is not raised. Cows are raised. No animal in this world wants to be separated from its family or killed. No matter how “nicely” the cows are treated, they are mere non-human slaves who forcibly give up their lives for the sake of humans’ palate. When I read articles like this I think of old times when the ‘whites’ talked about their slaves and how “well” they were treated, almost as part of the family. It doesn’t mean that it was right. On the contrary – we all know how wrong it was to enslave people. Old habits need to end. Nobody needs meat to survive. We can simply live well (and healthily) feeding ourselves with the amazing plant-food meals to which we have access nowadays. It pains me to see people talking about hunting deer. Such a lovely, submissive animal... How can we still put up with such violence? It’s 2012! Let’s leave the animals alone. Veganism is the only way to sustain this planet. Meat consumption is ruining our land and starving the poor. Let’s not be hypocrites. Let’s just go vegan.

    2 years ago

  • SweetMeas

    Sarah Meas from SweetMeas says:

    If your belief is meat is wrong then you have been convicted of it and shouldn't eat it ever. If your belief is meat is a gift to eat then you most definitely can eat it. If people have never killed a bug in there home then bless you!! Life is life no matter what size, I have also done this and still do. For me personally I think meat, raw dairy and eggs are very important to my vital health again beliefs are different. ( If I'm wrong you'll out live me anyway and then one less meat eater) That is what makes us unique people, for some people and cultures Veganism is better for them. I eat meat as passionately as you do not. I respect your views even though they are not mine. Good topic either way.

    2 years ago

  • importeyedea

    Kt from ImportEyedea says:

    I had the fortune of working in a deli for several years that made all of their products fresh, from meat purchased and delivered by a local farm. The quality is unbeatable, and the process of seeing what goes into making our food was an experience that was so valuable to me. The Butcher was an intelligent and skilled man with 40 years experience. He embodied the idea of whole animal consumption- he had recipes for every last piece! I find Hunters (please forgive my broad stroked brush!) to on the whole be more respectful of the life cycle of nature. The connection breeds a type of moral center to do right by the animal and also an understanding that in order to sustain the system, there must be balance. The return to the mentality of whole animal farming (which is still used in other places in the world) and the return to connectivity to local food sources will greatly improve the health of America as a whole- perhaps it will clamp down our insatiable need to gorge.

    2 years ago

  • JaniceCordeiro

    Janice Cordeiro from WoolSculptures says:

    When I started reading the article I knew I was on Etsy. Mid way through I had to stop. Not sure where I was. Totally unexpected. Not sure an art and craft site is the place for this kind of controversy. I fall in on the side of Adriana. This subject will always provoke strong feelings. Just very surprising to see it here. I read a little further then I intended to because I was sure I was missing something in the purpose of the article.

    2 years ago

  • hunterjoan

    Joan Irene from Windleaves says:

    These last few comments I have found to be very interesting , with such different opinions, well I know how you all must be feeling ,Yes it is so cruel the way some people kill meat to put on our tables , I have often cried ,seeing on Television , these programmes, then I hear from another programme, there are kind and caring butchers, and have found some in my local area I can enjoy eating meat knowing there animals have been killed in a kind and caring way , now if meat is so bad for us how come at 79 I am in such good health, I do how ever eat it in moderation!! best wishes to you all, Bye the way Hunter is my married name ,I was Joan Irene Brough and we are Tough, lol

    2 years ago

  • jdfootloose

    Jessica from jdfootloose says:

    Great Article!!

    2 years ago

  • EnterpriseAmericana

    Enterprise Americana from EnterpriseAmericana says:

    Nothing better than some fresh cut bacon!

    2 years ago

  • pillowlink

    Rosita from pillowlink says:

    It is serious problem when you get your food - meat from the farms , where animals grows in darkness. The same energy little by little flows into the people lifes!! So it is great article and good idea!!

    2 years ago

  • ChristinesCuriosity

    Christine Mullen from ChristinesCuriosity says:

    Great article, Danielle! Thank you!

    2 years ago

  • Bmbyx

    Olga from Bmbyx says:

    @ Kt, I will back you up here in regard to hunters. My dad and my brother are both hunters. They are acutely aware of the value of life and the ultimate sacrifice of an animal. They are trained to shoot in just the right place to take down an animal with one shot. The way I see it, hunters are more humane than the animal predators when they kill their prey.

    2 years ago

  • JulietteJ

    Juliette Joe from TheBlackSoulsAttic says:

    "There is no such thing as “sustainably and humanely raised” meat, the operative word here being “meat”. Meat is not raised. Cows are raised. No animal in this world wants to be separated from its family or killed. No matter how “nicely” the cows are treated, they are mere non-human slaves who forcibly give up their lives for the sake of humans’ palate. When I read articles like this I think of old times when the ‘whites’ talked about their slaves and how “well” they were treated, almost as part of the family. It doesn’t mean that it was right. On the contrary – we all know how wrong it was to enslave people. Old habits need to end. Nobody needs meat to survive. We can simply live well (and healthily) feeding ourselves with the amazing plant-food meals to which we have access nowadays. It pains me to see people talking about hunting deer. Such a lovely, submissive animal... How can we still put up with such violence? It’s 2012! Let’s leave the animals alone. Veganism is the only way to sustain this planet. Meat consumption is ruining our land and starving the poor. Let’s not be hypocrites. Let’s just go vegan." AMEN to that. Finally someone with a brain who can actually use it. It's amazing how people are happy to eat animals living "happily" in a field. Do you even know what end they have to go through??? No, because you have never seen how the animal is abused and how it has his throat slit in the most horrible pain. Think outside the box people, before writing sweet message about such a horrible thing that animal perpetual extermination is....You guys are missing a part of the brain, the emotionnal part....

    2 years ago

  • JulietteJ

    Juliette Joe from TheBlackSoulsAttic says:

    Oh, and there's no such thing as "humanely butchered" animals. It's called an oxymoron. When you butcher someone, it's called killing, murdering, so please, quit it with the "humane" aspect that simply doesn't exist. Humane would be to let the animals live their lives, which they are entitled to have, just like we are. Thanks for working on your ignorance.

    2 years ago

  • modernrubbishsf

    Charley from modernrubbishsf says:

    Great article! After watching Food Inc, I was clamoring to find a local butcher!

    2 years ago

  • ledebant

    ledebant says:

    I agree with Adrianna and Juliette above. A vegetarian diet is healthier for you, healthier for our planet, and definitely "healthier" for the animals who aren't our to eat or wear.

    2 years ago

  • NoahsArkNovelties

    Denise Casey from NoahsArkNovelties says:

    This is great and farm raised meat is wonderful. I just wish there was a butcher like this in So Cal.

    2 years ago

  • Petalspink

    Petalspink says:

    Giving up meat is easy. As a vegan, I know it has given me much peace knowing I don't directly attribute to the suffering. I'm not responsible for putting a calf into a veal crate.

    2 years ago

  • HighPointFarm2010

    HighPointFarm2010 from HighPointFarm2010 says:

    We do it this way where we live in the midwest. Only way IMO to get the best local meat in our area...getting to know your butcher by his first name and vice versa...great piece...interesting that it was on this site?

    2 years ago

  • paperrevolver

    paperrevolver from PaperRevolver says:

    I agree when it comes to meat! Local Local Local!!

    2 years ago

  • TinsAndThings

    TinsAndThings from TinsAndThings says:

    One of the pivotal moments in my becoming vegan occurred when I accidentally caught part of a documentary that showed a cat being prepared for dinner. Before I could change the channel the lovely meowing feline was skinned alive and thrown into a pot of boiling water. I was horrified (and the image was seared onto my brain forever), but it made me start questioning how we and other societies decide what animals to love and what animals are so unworthy that they can be just be tortured to death. And that's exactly what slaughter is even if you dress it up with an inaccurate word like "humane". Because really, when you decide that unnecessary momentary pleasure is more important than respecting the lives of sentient beings who are intelligent (pigs, for example, are as smart as 3-year old children), and have complex social, familial and emotional lives (cows bellow when their calves are taken from them for good reason), then you're not showing much humanity (defined as kindness, sympathy, tenderness, goodwill) at all. And frankly, I'm getting a little tired of the pro-meat propaganda on Etsy of late. Isn't this site supposed to be about art and supplies and cool vintage? Didn't anticipate that Etsy would be a good place to go if I wanted my blood pressure raised time and again!

    2 years ago

  • johntran1408

    John Tran says:

    We are all fortunate enough to be able to have this discourse.. Funny topic on Etsy..but hey, what a great segue for me...check out this drawing...done a bit back as part of a series..on meat packers.. http://j-drawingaday.blogspot.com/2011/09/day-65-drawing.html#!/2011/09/day-65-drawing.html

    2 years ago

  • sweethautedesigns

    Chrissie from sweethautedesigns says:

    This is an inspiring article, it's great to see how many people value local and sustainable food. Being vegan sounds like a wonderful idea, but after taking a nutrition class it's not exactly easy to do and be healthy. It's very difficult to get all your nutrients and vitamins from a plant based diet. I personally don't want to live on supplements, which a vegan diet may be lacking in B12, zinc, iron, or calcium. There was a guy in my nutrition class bless his heart, who was vegan and he had two fainting spells during class, kinda was a wake-up call for him that he wasn't getting the proper nutrition. Hopefully one day there will be a shop like this near my home.

    2 years ago

  • sandihallewell1

    Sandi Hallewell from ReinventedWithLove says:

    Hi All, I love this site. I have a small property in Talbot, two hours drive from Melbourne, Australia. I have 10 sheep, some Suffock's and some Clarisdales, two Alpacas, 4 chickens, one little Rooster (Tom), one drake, and one duck, two kittens, and two dogs. I have named them all, so it is impossible for me to eat any of my sheep, or chickens. They are a part of my family and all do their own jobs on the farm. I am not against eating meat, but I can't eat my friends. I hope that I can sell their babies in order to keep feeding them...it's very dry up there, but the conditions of sale will be that they are not to be eaten. Weird eh! The sheep give me lovely wool to felt for my garments that I sell on etsy, they keep the dry grass down, and I love them. The Alpaca's give me lovely fleece, and protect the sheep from foxes. The chickens and ducks give me eggs and keep the bugs, spiders, etc from my garden. The cats keep the field mice away...and snakes, I hope. And the dogs chase the rabbits away. I am very poor, but sustain myself with what I can grow. I do not have any bills (apart from rates, and animal feed) everything is solar, and water tanks. Great Life.

    2 years ago

  • Craftelina

    vik and ig from Craftelina says:

    Enjoyed reading it a lot! Slow food and Local shops trend is always good to hear about. This shop seems a really good example. Hope it is inspirational to other such shops worldwide. Thank you, Danielle for this article. :)

    2 years ago

  • lilinspirations

    Sandra from CoutureWeddingHankie says:

    I battle whether to eat meat or not, but I would feel better knowing how the animals while they were alive and the unfortunate process afterwards. Unfortunately, I don't know of a local butcher in my area.

    2 years ago

  • catlady531

    Nancy from catlady531 says:

    I am a baby boomer and I remember going every Saturday to the local farmer with my parents and grandmother. Grandma would walk around the yard and pick out the chickens or ducks she wanted. When we got home grandma would then kill the chickens for our dinner. From the chickens or ducks we got feather pillows and comforters. There is nothing fresher and tastier than a egg still in the chicken that she never got a chance to lay. My mother loved the pillow her mother-in law made for her so many years ago and she never went any place without it. When mom died 3 years ago, I put the pillow in the coffin for her head to rest upon it forever. Yes I still have my pillow. We also went to the local farmer that sold steers. Of course someone else did the deed on the steer, not my grandmother.

    2 years ago

  • govegXOXO

    Go Veg says:

    'The Local Butcher Shop' that's a great idea. I have a pet dog who is getting old. Probably I can get him to your shop and get him butchered and enjoy a tasty dinner. I don't think there is any difference if its a cow, pig or a dog. After all animals are animals. If we eat one type than whats the harm in eating a dog too. what do you think?

    2 years ago

  • JenniferChammas

    Jennifer from JenniferChammas says:

    I am all for treating animals humanley and of course feel it is extremely important and is the right thing to do for many reasons. But I do have a question, if you are killing an animal for food how is that considered humane in itself? Yes it is important for an animal to have a good and peaceful life, but I'm not sure I understand what is good or peaceful about killing said animal. Not trying to cause a debate or anything, I truly have always wondered this because I hear people use the sames phrases often. Thanks for any answers you can give!

    2 years ago

  • JennsThreeGraces

    Jennifer from JennsThreeGraces says:

    We had a German owned butcher in our town and my sons still remember him giving them fresh sliced pieces of bologne when we came in. I could ask for steaks and chops whatever thickness I desired and they smoked their own meats. Everything was fresh and had a light non-chemical taste. Like farm fresh eggs still have today.

    2 years ago

  • nerdycraftgirl

    nerdycraftgirl from nerdycraftgirl says:

    As a farm dweller and dedicated carnivore, I have this to say. I know that however you kill an animal will cause it some pain, and that animal is dead either way. But I think the point of humane butchering is to not cause the animal any unneeded pain. Slitting an animal's throat is the quickest and least painful way to kill an animal, so even though you are killing it, it does not suffer any more than it has to. I think also a lot of it is the attitude towards the animal, too. Commercial factory meat producers see their animals as walking sides of pork or live Chicken McNuggets. They are eager to turn their animals into a commodity that they can make profit on. Farmers respect their animals or at least understand that there is a reason for killing the animal - it is so they can produce the food they need. So I think that killing animals is not exactly peaceful, but it needs to be done and I think we can be respectful of that. That's my opinion on the matter; yours will be different of course.

    2 years ago

  • CrazyBlueSpot

    Joy from CrazyBlueSpot says:

    I think one of the reasons why we - in the U.S. - are so wasteful is because we've lost the connection to our food. I was watching a Japanese food cooking video recently, and the woman cooking took live shrimp and began to prepare them to fry. She was receiving a lot of negativity on her video for taking a live animal and cutting it etc. Her response I'll never forget: She stated that she uses live shrimp etc. because it helps her better appreciate the nourishment she receives. In other words, the taking of the shrimp's life helps sustain hers when she eats. Do you think it would make a difference in how we view food and our wastefulness of it if we were required to kill and prepare our own meat when we wanted it?

    2 years ago

  • oneeyeddog

    oneeyeddog from oneeyeddog says:

    "Humane slaughter" is the most ridiculous and nonsensical phrase ever muttered..

    2 years ago

  • denisehurst

    denise says:

    I will enjoy succulent prime rib, mouthwatering roast pork, luscious lamb chops until the cows come home...all from animals that have been treated humanely ...Good article

    2 years ago

  • kcorsano

    Kerri Corsano from IndigoArtistryDesign says:

    It's ironic that I stumbled upon this article now. I recently became a vegetarian (going on 3 months) because of articles and then documentaries about the origin of the meat we purchase in grocery stores. I wasn't shocked by what I learned, but decided to stop supporting the corporate greed and manipulation of a system that most of us unknowingly by into out of convenience. I am completely content with my vegetarianism for now, but imagine when I decide to begin eating meat again, I WILL know where it came from. I'm all for local farming and organic butcher shops and I'm happy for any conversation promoting the sustainability of them.

    2 years ago

  • AscendedEarth

    AscendedEarth from AscendedEarth says:

    There's no such thing as HUMANE SLAUGHTER! Death is death. If people really knew the detrimental effect eating animals has one one's body and consciousness, they would NEVER eat their animal friends again. Go veggies!!

    2 years ago

  • JanFairhurstPottery

    Jan from JanFairhurstPottery says:

    Great article-- thank you.

    2 years ago

  • Mclovebuddy

    Mr. Sal Phan, Bichon Frise from Mclovebuddy says:

    i really miss the idea of the local butcher.

    2 years ago

  • beckyhmn

    Becky Holleman from beckyhmn says:

    Great article! I am fortunate enough to have a local butcher. :o)

    2 years ago

  • raeine

    Lisa Schramek from raeine says:

    I agree that it is important to be a conscious omnivore. My grandparents owned and worked a small butcher shop in Oregon. I am lucky to live in Alaska where I can choose a subsistance lifestyle- harvesting mainly seafood. The struggle up here is to locate fresh fruit and vegetables- as even in the large towns our produce has survived a long journey to arrive on our table.

    2 years ago

  • leslieholz

    Leslie Holz from leslieholz says:

    Thrilled to see this article! In our fast paced, fast food, emotionally detached, grab and run world, how heart warming to see this skilled profession enjoy a comback! With local food all the rage, it is even more important than ever to be educated not only about different cuts of meat and how to prepare them, but also taking the time to deliberately think about where your food comes from and the life that animal lived. Choosing farmers with integrity who meticulously care for their animals and demand humane treatment of them from farm to butcher results in a meal that nourishes both the body as well as the soul.

    2 years ago

  • therainyside

    therainyside from therainyside says:

    Here we go again, Danielle, the meat pusher! First the turkey issue, then the foie gras issue, and now, more about meat. On the foie gras article comments, I stated that I would close my shop if meat industry pushing was featured here, and now it has happened. If you want something from my shop, please make your purchase by the end of the month. After that, no more shop & I will never buy from Etsy again.

    2 years ago

  • TinsAndThings

    TinsAndThings from TinsAndThings says:

    @therainyside: I understand how you feel as I too am tired of the love affair Etsy seems to be having with animal torture of late, but the more sellers and buyers on this site who indicate that they reject the needless habit of animal consumption the better. So I wish you'd stay! :)

    2 years ago

  • stellaranae

    Stella Ranae Von Schmid from stellaranae says:

    Great article..., People should know where there food comes from and WHAT is exactly in it or how it was raised/ processed before it goes into your familys bodies. Little minds and old ones like miine cannot create greatness with growth hormones, antibiotics, genetically modified, undigestible wood pulp filler, and the list goes on and on. I appreciate all farmers who practice natural humane methods for all animals and the butcher who can help educate on what to do with it. A butcher can be a trusted friend for your nutrition and I like the fact that nothing is wasted in a world where waste seems to be so rampant. Depending where you are at in the world, it may not be that easy to get what you want or need, but keep pushing for it and seeking it, knowledge as they say is power... We raise chickens specifically for fresh natural eggs. Its starts out as something small...We hope in the near future we will be raising and growing animals and plants through sustainable farming for 50% of our needs, another 25% to barter and only purchasing 25%. We must eat, just like breathing and articles like this spark a healthy discussion from both sides of the coin. My advice, eat food as close to its natural state as possible, get educated, and everything in moderation :)

    2 years ago

  • TinsAndThings

    TinsAndThings from TinsAndThings says:

    @Chrissie: Whoever taught your nutrition class was misinformed. Even the American Dietetic Association states that vegan diets are nutritionally adequate for all stages of life including pregnancy and lactation, and provides health benefits in the treatment and prevention of certain diseases. The typical standard American diet though? Yikes! And the only thing I have to supplement is B12 in a multivitamin, but that's recommended for anyone over 50 anyway. I'm vegan primarily for ethical reasons, but hey, if what I eat and don't eat means I have a lower chance of developing diabetes and heart disease, among other things, then that's a bonus I'm happy to accept.

    2 years ago

  • therainyside

    therainyside from therainyside says:

    Thank you Christa, for your expression of support. I wish that ETSY staff would explain in a blog post all its own WHY they persist on posting this kind of item, then follow it with a "vegan - friendly" post. Is there some sick passive-aggressive personality on Etsy staff behind this? Are they just sitting back and watching the comments come in and getting some kind of demented thrill? I challenge Etsy staff to come out to explain this psychotic behavior. WHO is behind this? Come out, and be a mench.

    2 years ago

  • bearinski

    bearinski says:

    Whether the animals are killed locally or not, it is inhumane and wasteful to take another's life. Who reading this article would be o.k. being killed as a toddler as long as all of their body parts were used? What a crazy notion that that makes the killing "humane" somehow. Gain some empathy by putting yourself in the animals' place--they want to live, just like you do. And local or not, raising animals for food is not at all sustainable--livestock takes up 50% of the water and 1/3 of fossil fuels in the U.S. and it's also polluting our waters to the point that there are dead zones where no aquatic life can live. Raising animals for food cycles grain and water through the animals instead of using that water and food for starving people to eat. We have almost 7 billion people living on this small planet, then we bring 55 billion other land animals onto it every year in order to kill and eat them. The only humane and sustainable thing to do is go vegan. Check out this uplifting video to see how wonderful the world could be if we would all make nonviolent and sustainable choices: www.veganvideo.org. Thanks for reading. :)

    2 years ago