Thursday, April 14, 2011

Meet The Butcher's Guild!

Angela Wilson
Avedano’s Holly Park Market - Owner
San Francisco, CA

How long have you been a butcher and where did you get your start? Have you been working with "sustainable" meats the whole time and if not, what precipitated your shift in practices?

I have been a cook since I was 20 years old. I have been a butcher since I was 40 years old. I opened Avedano's when I was 37 years old with a cook's knowledge of meat, using my intuition about what is right. I wanted to sell meat I feel good about selling. Utilizing and selling whole animals is the best way Avedano's can support small farmers in our area while at the same time helping to create a great dinner in our customer's homes.

What do you think about the current media hype and attention on butchery, butchers and meat in general?

I THINK people want to know where their food comes from. I think people are ready to face the fact that meat is an animal, who once lived. I think people are hungry, thinking past the supermarket and neatly packaged cuts to life on a farm. These farms are struggling, butcher shops are struggling, everybody is struggling, they can relate. I don't know if the interest in meat and animals and butchering would be possible during the boom of dot com; with this bad economy, it is back to the basics of life.

What do you believe is the role butchers in the movement for a sustainable food system and what do you see as the biggest impediment to a truly sustainable meat industry?

A butcher can dedicate her/himself to small farms, using whole animals. A butcher can educate the customer about different cuts so it doesn't matter if you use shanks or neck or shoulder in a recipe. At Avedano's, we cut two lambs a week so we have to recommend alternatives. Lack of a local slaughter house is a big stumbling block for sustainable meat. Also, as a butcher shop owner, it is not economical to cut and sell sides of beef, we break even.

What does being a member of The Butcher's Guild mean to you?

Being a member of the Butcher's Guild means being part of a community of like-minded people who want small farms to thrive, small business to thrive and to live a life worth living.

Your absolute favorite cut and preparation method/recipe:

Lamb neck:

Peeled and cleaned. Oven 400 degrees. Rub with a tiny bit olive oil, salt, pepper and place in dutch oven for 2-3 hours. Fall off the bone delicious.

Short, simple and to the point, that lamb neck recipe sounds incredible! Thanks, Angela!

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