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March Producer of the Month

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Department Spotlight: Meat Department PDF Print E-mail

March 2017
by Jon Megas-Russell

Phil and Matt are celebrating their 10 year anniversary at the Co-op, and what better way to celebrate than to highlight some of their great work? Many do not realize that these two gentlemen are trained butchers and are the masterminds behind our vast array of meat offerings. They spend much of their time behind the scenes, cutting beef, chicken, pork, and lamb. They even grind chicken, beef and pork fresh right here at the Co-op from shop trim that they obtain from cutting each type of meat. Matt, Phil, as well as their whole team, have been integral in creating the house-marinated chicken and steak. They also support Joe and Anna in making our handmade sausages. Most grocery stores obtain pre-packed meat that they can just place on the shelf to sell. Almost all of our meat offerings are cut and packed here at the Co-op by our butchers, which makes the meat fresh, juicy and delicious. Yes, that’s right: all of our ground beef is cut and ground in-house, and we dont regrind like in other stores. All of our steaks are hand cut. Much of our chicken is cut and packed here to ensure the highest quality. All of the pork and most of the lamb is cut up and broken down by these two butchers. All marinated items are prepared in-house with real ingredients such as fresh herbs, fresh cheese, and olive oil. They vacuum seal all of our meat, which allows the juices to stay intact  and the meat to last longer. And the Co-op does not use Styrofoam! Matt and Phil taste test everything and are always tweaking recipes to ensure that we offer the tastiest and highest quality marinated meats.

Both Matt and Phil started in the meat department under the watchful eye of the former meat manager, Mark, who trained them in butchery. He taught them how to identify and cut the many different steaks from a chuck, which they do weekly in order to offer the freshest beef possible. Mark also taught them many other tricks to the trade! When I enter the meat room they are always talking about something that sounds delicious—whether it be flank steaks, brined chickens, pork butts or even lamb loins, it’s always an education, and it's always clear they care deeply about their craft.  These guys are artists in many ways, as they must carefully and masterfully butcher many different types of meat to provide you with your dinner. They are top-notch butchers—period. 

The meat department folks pride themselves on all of their meat being free of antibiotics, free of hormones, humanely raised, and, of course, Northeast regional and local whenever possible. They also are very serious when it comes to safe handling practices and a high level of quality control to ensure that all of your meat is fresh and safe to eat. Their window is always open and they are always ready to share recipes, cut special pieces of meat and make sure you get exactly what you need. Stop in and chat with Matt, Phil, Anna, Joe, Susie, Brian or anyone else on the meat and seafood team!