Buying local meat: Step 2 – Find your farmer

10 Jan

Irelands

My favourite farm family: The Irelands.

 

Next up in this buying local meat series: How to find your farmer.

Depending on the type of area you live in, finding a farmer can range from a simple phone call to a countryside adventure.

I recommend word-of-mouth as the preferred method. However, if you’re the first of your peers to make this foray, you will need to do your own investigating.   It’s important to connect directly with the farmer if you want to maximize the economies of scale.

 

Besides The Google, here are some ways to find a local farmer:

  • Check the labels on the meat at your local grocery/market to see where their product is coming from.
  • Snoop around your favourite butcher shop.
  • Browse local food publications.
  • Ask your favourite chef or restauranteur.
  • Stroll through farmer’s markets.
  • Look up the local farmer’s association.

Questions to ask before signing up:

  • Product: How is the livestock raised?  Is it free-range? How and what are they fed?  Are they organic? What types of meat are available?
  • Processing: How is the meat butchered? Is it aged? Can I customize cuts/portions?  How is it packaged?
  • Regulations: Is the farmer licensed by the local authority?  Is the processor?
  • Cost: What is the price per pound?  Is that gross (hanging/carcass) or net (actual product) weight? Are there additional processing charges?
  • Contract: How often do they accept orders?  Is there a cut-off date? Is there a deposit?  What kind of payment do they accept?  Pick up or delivery?

Take your time deciding; this is a big investment.  As you find answers to your questions, you’ll also glean extra information about the product and the people.  You’ll probably start to have questions of your own as you determine what’s important to you as a consumer.  Depending on the time of year, you might be able to get in a smaller order of poultry to trial before making a larger order.

Resources
BC Farm Fresh directory

 

 

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