That discounted beef you just bought from your local grocery store— do you know where it came from and how it was processed? What was the animal fed? What were its living conditions like?
Chances are, neither you nor the employees behind your grocery store meat counter can answer these questions. But the bigger problem is twofold. 1.) Grocery store chains such as Kroger, Tom Thumb, Albertson’s, Walmart, and Target get shipments of meat from mass-producing farms all over the country, and these farms’ primary concern is the quantity rather than quality produced. 2.) Grocery stores have to sell whatever is delivered to their store, regardless of the quality.
One Dallas man decided this was wrong. His name is Greg Geerts, once a grocery store butcher and now the proud owner of VonGeertsem Butcher Shoppe, a supplier for Artizone. Greg hand-selects his meats fresh every day, straight from the meat distributor’s warehouse, which means his customers always get the highest quality and freshest taste.
Greg is very particular about the origin of his meats. Stop by his store and you’ll hear him spout off a list of sources from a variety of states near and far, so we sat down to ask him: what makes meat from those states better than Texas meat?
Beef from Nebraska
While the best cattle may be born in Texas, the best beef is not raised in Texas. The problem with Texas is that the climate is not conducive for cattle to gain weight. Think about it: when it’s hot and dry outside things get dehydrated and shrivel. The best climate for beefy cattle is the cooler plains states, such as Nebraska, which also has neighboring farms growing the cattle’s food source: corn. This means the corn fed to Nebraska cattle is fresher, and cheaper, than corn-fed beef in some other states. Corn-fed beef has more flavor, marbling, tenderness, and depth of flavor than other feeds. All of these facts allow Nebraska packinghouses to ship beef with the highest quality and best taste in the country, and some might argue, in the world.
Veal from Dutch Valley, Illinois
Veal comes from calves, and like the cattle in Nebraska, the calves in Dutch Valley, Illinois, live in an ideal climate near the corn growers. Why get veal from this particular area is simply because Greg’s 15 years of experience has found that their packinghouses provide the most consistent, high quality veal. So, there’s no need to buy veal from anywhere else!
Lamb from Colorado
Have you ever seen a lamb frolicking through the desert, or perhaps a sandy beach? Of course not. Lambs love rocky foothills and cool weather, and Colorado has the best of both. End of story.
Chicken from Georgetown, Delaware
The source of a healthy, quality chicken is more complex. Chickens raised in Texas have to be given sodium so they can retain enough water to survive the Texas heat; whereas the cooler Delaware climate does not warrant a sodium diet. This is healthier for humans and chickens. Also, Delaware is our smallest state, and perhaps this why they are not set up for mass production of chicken. Smaller farms result in better quality. For example, a “free range chicken” is not necessarily better quality and actually may have worse living conditions than chickens kept in a coup. This is because the legal definition of “free range” is (in laymen’s terms) a chicken that was in a cage that had no latch on the door. It doesn’t mean that the chicken was running around on the farm. Consider a mass production free range chicken coup with 1,000 chickens— the ones in the back can’t tell that the gate at the front is unlatched for them to roam free!
Pork from Shawnee Mission, Kansas
This area in Kansas raises lean pork, and unlike highly prized marbled beef, marbling is not good in pork. A pig that produces a fatty marbled pork is a sign of an unfit, unhealthy pig. And as a neighbor to Nebraska, Kansas has that nice, temperate climate where animals thrive.
Now that you know where our meat comes from and why it matters, we hope you’ll always click to the butcher shop at Artizone.com for all of your meaty needs, personally delivered right to your table.
All photos herein show our actual products.
Editor’s note: Sadly, VonGeertsem Butcher Shoppe closed for business on May 1, 2011.