I am aware that other cultures eat horse meat, but I choose not to, having grown up with horses as pets and companions.
The recent (and widening) scandal about horse meat making it’s way into the food supply, (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21569645) has people up in arms and wondering “how can this happen?” Hopefully, like the major egg recall a few years ago, that sent many people to their local farmer’s markets in search of safer eggs, this will have people paying closer attention to their meat supply. I have a friend living in London, where lots of the horse meat disguised as beef, showed up in the local food outlets. She reports that people are flocking to their local butcher shops for safer cuts of real beef.
If you buy your meat at a local supermarket, you can get to know the butcher there, and ask about their sourcing, and if they grind their own meat in-house, and what not.
If you’d like to take it a bit further, we Central Texas folks are so lucky to have so many of local sources of all variety of meats available. You can meet the farmers, ask them about their practices, visit their farms and see for yourself how the animals are raised and what you are going to get. This way, the chain of control is diminished and the chance of shenanigans is next to zero.
Here is a list of some, certainly not all of our local protein purveyors, all from whom I purchase meat. I have met all of these farmers, ranchers and purveyors and trust them 100%.
I’ll attempt to list all of the locations where I know they are available, but this will not be exhaustive either, so click the name and it will link to their site. Many on this list are available for delivery through Greenling and Farmhouse Delivery.
Richardson Farms, Grass-fed beef, pastured pork, chicken, turkeys (seasonally), and sausages. SFC Farmer’s Markets downtown, Sunset Valley and at the Triangle, Barton Creek Farmer’s Market, and Waco Farmer’s Market, (Jim Richardson is a veterinarian, which gives me great comfort in how their animals are treated) (they also sell eggs, popcorn, wheat and sorghum flours, cornmeal and sesame seeds)
DearRun Land and Cattle Longhorn Beef – Boggy Creek Farm, Farmstand – All cuts of beef as well as Summer Sausage
Dewberry Hills Farms, pastured chickens, (and they are delicious) – SFC farmer’s market downtown and Sunset Valley
Countryside Farm, Duck, Guinea, Chicken – SFC Farmer’s Market Downtown and at the Triangle
Broken Arrow Ranch, Broken Arrow Ranch sells wild game such as boar, antelope, nilgai, and quail, online and ships
Salt and Time Butcher Shop and Salumeria Austin’s newest brick and mortar butcher shop, which also specializes in-house cured salumis
Dai Due Butcher Shop Dai Due doesn’t sell cuts of meat, per se, but makes delicious things with them, charcuterie, sausages, pates terrines and lots of other wonderfulness. SFC Farmer’s Market downtown, and Mueller Farmer’s Market
Now days, you can buy all of the same cuts of beef, pork, chicken, lamb and goat that you’d be able to buy at the store, directly from the farmers/ranchers. They come in plastic vacuum wrap, without the styrofoam and “juice catcher” pad underneath that you’d see in the store. The meat is normally frozen as soon as it is processed, for maximum freshness. Less packaging leads to less waste in the landfill, which is an awesome added bonus.
Consumers have choices, and hopefully, if you are looking for local proteins for you and your family, this will be a help. Is it more expensive? Yep. Is it important enough for you to pay more? That’s for you to decide.
Just so you know that I practice what I preach – a sampling from my freezer:
For dinner last night, I quickly defrosted a slab of Richardson Farm’s Flank Steak, seasoned it with salt and Springdale Farm’s smoked pepper mix, seared it in a screaming hot cast iron skillet, for about 3 minutes on each side; let rest for 20 minutes, squeezed some lime over it, then sliced thinly, and served on Blanco Valley non-GMO corn tortillas, with some Full Quiver Cheddar and my own pickled jalapenos and pickled onions. So easy and good.