Mary HAD a little lamb...

Day 3 at the Butcher Shop - and I got to cut some meat!

BUT first off, I should clarify something I said in my last blog.  When I mentioned that I was "in the freezer" cutting down sausage - I was actually only in the "cooler."  First thing that Bob said to me this morning was that he'd read my blog, and that I'd got it wrong.  Then he made me go stand in the real freezer to really see what that felt like (yep. it's a lot colder.)

Back to the shop - I'm still trying to process all that I've learned in the last 3 days.  I've helped link sausage, package sausage, jerky, steak, and ribs.  And today I even got my own metal mesh glove and helped cut some lamb!

Today when I asked Laurie and Bob what the most important things about running a butcher shop were, they had these points to make:

- Quality. Make sure that each cut is fresh, tasty, and not mixed up with the meat of any other animal.  Laurie told me that Bob has actually thrown out batches of meat he's not happy with.  Quality also applies to your customer service and the ability to serve your customer what it is they want.

- Safety. There are a lot of sharp instruments used in a butcher shop, so be careful not to surprise anyone when they're working with knives or saws.

- Cleanliness. After an animal goes through a machine, or is taken off the table after packaging - everything is washed down and disinfected.  Laurie must wash her hands a couple dozen times a day between working with the meat and dealing with customers.

- Pride.  Be good at what you do, and take responsibility for your business.  Learn what works and what doesn't, and be confident in your product.  The Butcher shop has nothing to hide - they know their meat is good, and day after day they prove it!

- Employees. A business is only as good as the people who work there.  Bob and Laurie provide most of the training for the shop, and trust their workers to do a good job.  You can see the friendship and camaraderie on a daily basis - good natured joking, laughing, and trust.

VIDEO - Watch as one of the meat cutters shows me how he's going to cut up the 'Rib' section of a cow:  Cutting up the Ribs

Tomorrow I head out to pick up some bison at another slaughter house, and am getting a chance to tour the facility as well.  This may be an eye-opening experience, as I may see some slaughters actually take place...

Keep in mind that this is all about learning where my food comes from - something that every good farm girl should know!

Just a little question for you:  Why is it important to know where our food comes from, and how often do YOU think about that?

Talk soon!

- Amanda