Meating Your Local Butcher


Before the advent of modern refrigeration, the butcher would purchase an animal directly from the farmer: He would clean it, break it down and sell it the very same day. Modern technology allowed the craft to change and the business was separated into two vocations: The wholesaler who made large purchases from the farmer and the butcher who purchased his products from the wholesaler. The butcher then broke down the meat and sold it to his customers. Since most families would visit the shop several times per week to purchase meat, the butcher shop became a space of community and familial relationships developed between the butcher and his customers. Moreover, the shop provided a place to exchange knowledge: The butcher offered advice and guidance on purchases and cooking technique, and he learned from customer requests about new and different cuts of meat. Yet the rise of the supermarket made it economically difficult for local and family-owned butcher shops to compete.