Where the heck can I get “local meat”?

by Kathryn Baldwin

“You mean to tell me that the meat in the meatloaf sandwich I’m woofing down came from an actual animal from an actual farm tended by an actual farmer in SONOMA COUNTY CALIFORNIA?!!” During my food-writing class’ field trip in the Gourmet Ghetto we discovered a new Berkeley business that is attempting to bring the simplicity of “Local Butcher” back in style. (http://thelocalbutchershop.com/)

Let’s face it, the amount of times in my life I’ve known the origin of the meat I ate can be counted on one hand (once in Mexico, once in Peru…). Until about age ten, I called every single piece of meat “chicken” when it arrived on the plate in front of me; either the origin didn’t matter or the preparation technique was more important.

Anyways, the night before the field trip, I sat down with my skeptical, penny-pinching father and my complacent boyfriend to watch “Food Inc.” If you want to see your chicken raised in half the normal time, breaking its legs as it tries to tread through the mound of shit courtesy of a million chickens crammed in a dark warehouse, watch this movie… and then go buy that chicken from your prim and proper Safeway. When the movie was over, my father blurted out “Ya, well where in the heck am I supposed to buy beef that came from cows that grazed on a perfect farm?!” The next day, licking my fingers after finishing my grass-fed beef sandwich, I couldn’t wait to tell him the news.

After five years working at Chez Panisse, Aaron Rocchino and his wife Monica were annoyed with two things: they never spent time together (story of mine and my boyfriend’s lives) and they couldn’t find enough local, hormone/antibiotics-free, pasture-grown, meat in Berkeley. The Local Butcher Shop filled both of these voids as of just six months ago.


Having matured since my age-ten chicken confusion, thank the lord, I now know the difference between chicken and lamb, beef, pork, and duck. Still, having a local butcher that can cut up a quail in front of me while describing where it lived and which piece tastes better grilled, is still new and exciting for me…and apparently it’s new for my father as well.

According to my mother, my great-grandpa would slaughter a pig for family feasts. A few generations later, I don’t know that I will be raising and killing pigs at my house, but a nearby farmer delivering it to my favorite butcher down the street seems like a step back into the right direction. Great-grandpa Joaquín would be impressed.


5 Comments to “Where the heck can I get “local meat”?”

  1. I like this new category! And the local butcher shop was my favorite stop

  2. A few of the bloggers I follow are in to purchasing grass-fed and locally raised meat. They find it also cheaper to buy a whole or half cow or pig and store it in a big freezer and feed their families for a loooong time.

    Here is one of the links to her entry about switching to “farm fresh.” This girl is 25 and has 2 little boys and one more on the way! She has lots of great ideas on eating healthy while still keeping to a budget. She’s awesome! http://www.tableformoreblog.com/2011/07/making-switchto-farm-fresh.html

  3. Your telling me that we can’t raise pigs and slaughter them ourselves?? Damn :-]

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