Author: Luisa Perkins
•6:55 AM
That's what's printed on a T-shirt for sale at Fleisher's, my 'local' butcher. It makes me laugh every time.

Last Thursday, I called Fleisher's owner, Josh Applestone, to check on the availability of trotters and suet. Suet he had frozen, he answered, but he was getting fresh trotters in on Friday morning, and he could hold some for me for a day or two if I liked.

I hadn't planned on going up there for another week or so; I had slated Friday to be an all-writing day, and it's an hour each way to Kingston from my house. But fresh trotters were too good to pass up, so I made the trip and bought a month's worth of meat to make it worth my time and gas.

Josh is a great guy, a former vegan of 17 years who now supplies locally raised, sustainably produced, grass-fed meat to everyone from Mario Batali and Dan Barber to, um, me. We chatted about Thanksgiving turkeys (this will be our third year getting our bird from him) while I chose what I wanted. Besides the trotters and suet, I got ground beef and lamb, two gorgeous London Broils, four chickens, some liver, and a partridge in a pear tree. (Just kidding about the partridge; I didn't see any game birds in the front case on this visit.)

Regular readers of this blog know why I avoid feedlot and factory-produced meat whenever possible (but click on the link if you don't). I'm glad to know that the animals whose flesh I buy at Fleisher's lived happy, healthy lives in pastures on small farms and were slaughtered with dignity and compassion.

There's a difference between 'cheap' and 'frugal.' I try to be frugal. We don't eat meat every day, and when we do eat it, I make sure it's the very best quality, and I use every part of it. I use bacon grease and chicken, duck, and goose fat in my cooking. I save the bones from the meat we eat and use them to make stock. I make chopped liver and lard and demi-glace.

I actually don't believe food should be cheap; I think this society has a damaging addiction to cheap food. I'd rather know that when I buy it, farmers and producers are being fairly compensated, not squeezed by big corporations, then subsidized by our government. One way to know that is to make sure you buy locally produced goods, whether from a CSA, a farmer's market, or from a small, independent store like Fleisher's.
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On 7/10/08 , Jenna Consolo said...

"But fresh trotters were too good to pass up. . ." ???

Of all the people I know, this could only come from you. Sorry, my dear, but weird.

And baby anythings should not be eaten! Let the lambs grow up, for heaven's sake!

But on everything else, I agree with you. :)

On 7/10/08 , Anonymous said...

Preach on, sister!

On 7/10/08 , Luisa Perkins said...

If we let all the babies grow up, we'd be overrun.

On 7/10/08 , Kimberly said...

Amen! There's a concept that could do with being preached to the masses.

On 8/10/08 , michael pollan said...

That's my girl. Our barley-fed cattle are grazing in the living room as I write.

Carry on.

On 8/10/08 , Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Couldn't agree with you more... as usual. ;-)

On 9/10/08 , Elizabeth said...

I am fascinated that your butcher is a former vegan of 17 years. He must be an interesting person.

We (as a people) do have amazingly dangerous ways of making food cheap.
Very frightening.

On 12/10/08 , Tristi Pinkston said...

Can I admit to some hugely embarassing ignorance and say,

"What are trotters and suet?"

On 13/10/08 , Goofball said...

interesting thought that food should not be cheap.

On 25/10/08 , dawn said...

Wonderful post and I so agree with you on the happy life of the animal and butchered with respect. We are fortunate to have our meat family raised. And cheap is not all it is cracked up to be.