I Love Where I Live: I Think I Love My Local Butcher

central coast food tours

You know how it is, what's "in" is suddenly "out" and before you know it we've come full circle back to where we started. A case in point is the growing swell of interest in knowing more about where our food comes from: if it contains harmful chemicals, how it was grown, and how animals were treated during their lives. I call it food transparency.

San Luis Obispo is host to many family farms and ranches. We have a myriad of farms offering fruits, nuts and vegetables grown organically, sustainably, and using biodynamic methods. Likewise, our land hosts a variety of ranching operations that choose to raise their animals the old-fashioned way: these animals roam on large swaths of pastureland negating the need for all those nasty growth hormones and antibiotics.  We've learned meat from this type of ranching yields healthier food that is about 1/3 lower in fat and higher in Omega-3s, vitamin E, B, calcium, magnesium and potassium than it's grain-fed, feedlot counterpart. The problem is that only 3% of our meat supply comes from pasture raised or "natural" meats.

Thank Goodness for SLO County, our dedicated ranchers and J&R Meats! Butcher shops, once a relic of the past, are making a comeback because of the transparency they offer in sourcing their meats, and for the friendly personal service they provide.

If you haven't discovered J&R Meats and you care about the meat you're feeding your family - please do check them out. They specialize in all natural beef, pork, venison, buffalo, and chicken. Being homespun as they are, they are always offering a special cut of meat unique to the upcoming holiday, not to mention their 50+ varieties of sausage they handcraft for their customers.

I think what I really like about my butcher is that he knows what I like to buy for my family and keeps me in mind when he gets something special he can craft just for me. Does your butcher ever call you and ask if you'd like fresh tenderloin of Buffalo? Mine does. Here's the clincher: How can you tell that your butcher really cares about his work? When he thinks up things like turning two steaks into a valentine's heart to serve to my husband for Valentine's dinner! Yes, it's true. I think I love my butcher - well, you get the idea.

You can find more information on J&R Meats at http://www.jrmeats.com/ or Call Jim (the butcher) at 805.237.8100

p.s. If you're from out of town they have a "Butcher's Beef Box" that they will ship to you.

Enjoy my new find,

Laura Gurreau
Central Coast Food Tours