national Butchers week March 16-21

Filed in Blog by on March 13, 2009 13 Comments
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use your local butchers for zero waste meatYesterday I declared all Thursday’s to be ‘Get off your arse’ Thursday. It’s your chance to actually DO one of the things on your pending list of ‘could recycle more’.

National Butchers week might provide you with some food for thought. Even veggies can make the most of their butcher by buying products like eggs, cheese, vegetarian pies and pasties and bread.

The objective of the week is to encourage consumers to consider the local butcher as their first port of call for meat purchases, particularly customers who might not have darkened the door of a butcher’s shop for some time.

The great thing about using your local butcher is that it keeps money in your local economy, reduces food miles, you get better quality products, you’ll be able to get great advise on how best to use, store and cook the products you choose, you can buy exactly the quantity you want, it will be fresher than a supermarket, so this should create much less food waste AND a butcher worth his salt will use much less packaging than a supermarket. If your butcher is up for it, he or she might even be prepared to put your goods into your own reusable containers – like we do at zero waste towers. Phew!

I know many people feel apprehensive about asking for the ‘reusable containers’ service, so why not make an anonymous phone call first to test the water? Or pop in when it is quiet and ask when there are no crowds to sneer and point fingers at your crazy request? Chances are your butcher will be only too happy to help – their livelihood depends on your custom, so local retailers will often go that extra step to ensure your satisfaction.

Find your local butcher with the UK butcher’s directory. (but do double check, as I found it to be inconclusive for our area).

Do you use a local butcher? Will they use reusable containers for your goods?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (13)

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  1. Poppy says:

    Thanks for the Butchers link Mrs G. I went for a ‘butchers’ with some excitement, but the first one they have for my area I believe closed down some time ago (and they had the postcode wrong) and the ones that I know of aren’t there at all 🙁

    Sorry to be negative.

  2. sandy humphreys says:

    i have been going to a local butcher for about a year now, he now comes around to our area on a friday, he is 6 miles away so saves us a trip and he is willing to use my containers, smashing a ?

  3. Di says:

    Sorry won’t be taking part in this at all. #1 there are NO butchers anywhere near us. The main reason is I’m vegetarian, have been for 15 years. Honestly I wouldn’t step one foot inside a butchers, and it would go against my ethical beliefs to support them in any way. I guess if you were vegetarian purely for health reasons then maybe sure you could buy eggs from a butchers, but if you are a veg’n for ethical reasons then buying from a butcher is not an option. Plus it would make me sick to my stomach to see the carcasses.

  4. just Gai says:

    There are a number of butchers in our area but the one I use (Bob Wherlock on North Street, Bedminster, Bristol) is, in my humble opinion, the best butcher in the world! His meat is top quality (Aberdeen Angus beef, Mendip lamb), he makes his own faggots and a dozen different kinds of sausages, his shop is pristine, he (his jovial assistants) will advise and cut the meat to your requirements … A visit to Bob’s is not merely a retail experience … it’s a social event. Regulars are greeted by name, news and jokes are exchanged, recipes shared … In fact the only complaint is that it it is almost always necessary to queue (an hour and half last Christmas!). However, with such a contented bunch of customers even this turns to pleasant conversation. And he will place your order in your own reuseable containers.

    I realise how lucky we are here in Bedminster/Southville and wish every district had it’s own Bob.

  5. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: Mmmm, thanks for sharing your experience of the database, Poppy. It’s a shame it’s not up to date. I found the same too, so perhaps it isn’t the best link to advertise on the site.

    @sandy humphreys: Hi Sandy – a travelling butcher; that’s awesome! And he’ll use your containers too.
    We don’t have a travelling butcher, but ours isn’t far – only a couple of miles away 🙂

    @Di: Hi Di, I can understand your reasoning behind this. I used to feel the same way too, but I buy fresh chicken and liver for the cat and I guess I’d rather support someone who can vouch for the quality of the meat and the rearing of the animals than a supermarket. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and best of luck with your freezer challenge – I was reading your update earlier on 🙂

    @just Gai: Hi Just Gai – we had the same thing last Christmas – an hour and a half to queue. Like you, a visit to the butcher is a social event LOL! So glad you have somewhere similar to buy your products. I know we are lucky too.

  6. Layla says:

    We don’t have a butcher here anymore.. just the mini-supermarkets! (in a small town!! or better said, village-turned-‘big city’!ugh)
    Been intending to look at what’s available in Granny’s city.. we’ll see..

  7. greenlady says:

    I do support my local butchers. Even though the nearest actual ones are 20 mins walk away either way. I also support local firms that smoke/prepare meat that can be bought in the little deli/sandwich shop round the corner. The only supermarket butchers I will buy from is Waitrose.

    Also, even when I was a vegetarian for a long LONG time I still would support the use of proper local butchers ( as opposed to those that were part of chains that had bits of crap meat in packets displayed ). And I would buy cheese and eggs and other produce from butchers then even though the sight of dead flesh was not my favourite sight. And yes I was a vegetarian for ” ethical ” reasons, altho not because I thought ” oh not its so wrong to kill the lovely fluffy little animals ” more like, we all eat too much rubbish meat these days and its a cruelty to people and beasts to rear meat intensively and eat the produce.

    Thankfully these days it is easier to buy ethically reared meat and it would help zerowasting no end if we were to revert to the old peasant style ethos of small amounts of meat eked out with larger amounts of veg/grains etc.

  8. Fluttering Sam says:

    Our local post office was recently closed down, it was situated in the corner of our corner shop. The space is now being used by a local butcher, selling locally sourced meat. We don’t eat a great deal of meat, but I was pleased to see such an enterprise opening in our urban area. I live within walking distance of a massive mall, there are very few local businesses.

  9. Our Local Shop/PO has had a refit about a month ago and have started selling meat from a butchers from a town approx 10 miles away, all meat is locally sourced. Only snag is it is all vac-packed in polythene.
    They also sell fish which comes from Grimsby Docks once a week again vac-packed in polythene.There are no price increases to thse in the actual butchers shops.

    This is another one of those ticking boxes problems.

    Do I use the car and travel, pay parking etc or do I buy from the local shop and recycle the polythene. Also being able to order specific meat requirements for delivery on a Friday afternoon.

    Usually if I am in the local shop I will purchase the meat and deal with the recycling as it is alot quicker and less hassle than travelling etc.

  10. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    My local butcher is very supportive of the Zero Waste trend and sees containers as an excellent way to save on waste. Butchers form part of the local shopping trend where most food items can be purchased. Supporting local businesses, including farm shops, is part of the home cooking rise as well.

  11. Mrs Green says:

    @Layla: Your story is a common one, unfortunately, Layla. We once had a butcher in the village, but the shop was sold and it was converted into a house. We are lucky that we still have a PO; that was under threat, but we remained unscatched.

    @greenlady: Great comment, Greenlady; I appreciate and value the balance in what you write. I agree that eating less good quality meat and padding it our with things like barley, oats and vegetables is a much healthier way for us and the environment. And, of course, animal welfare. we’ve become rather glutinous as a culture.

    @Fluttering Sam: Sorry to hear about the PO Sam, but I’m glad that a butcher has come in its place; it’s enterprising, as you say and helps to keep the wheels of the local economy turning. Is it popular?

    @maisie dalziel: This infuriates, me, Maisie. We can buy organic meat wrapped in sealed plastic or non-organic without packaging. it’s a real conundrum and I wish more thought could go into it at the butchers / abbatoir.

    @John Costigane: Glad your butcher is supportive, john and I agree that we need to keep local business with custom. Who knows when we might need to rely on them even more?

  12. I nipped in to get some sausages for last nights tea and the demand for this meat is now that they get a delivery on a Tuesday and a Friday.

    So this must be a win/win/win situation for the PO/shop and the butchers and the customers.

    Good fresh local meat all delivered in one van twice a week to specific order requirements if necessary.
    It nearly goes back to the butchers van coming round the villages twice a week.

    The butchers have more customers and the PO/shop will have added sales from normal stock when people collect their meat.

  13. Mrs Green says:

    @maisie dalziel: that’s brilliant, Maisie; it’s great to see an initiative taking off like this. The idea of a travelling van is very quaint and any custom in the PO means it has more chance of remaining open.

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