How to: Stay vigilant at the meat counter

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Each year, the University Farm Meats Lab processes 100,000 pounds of beef, pork, and lamb, opening its doors for public sale Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Under the supervision of USDA and Meats Lab technician Haydn Clement (Agriculture, ’14; MS, Agriculture, ’16), agricultural students harvest, process and sell products ranging from steaks, roasts and bacon to a variety of sausages and reward – winning smoked meats. Through labs and internships, students gain knowledge and skills while preparing for careers in the meat industry.

As inflation and food prices continue to hit record highs, Clement and the students offer these tips for including meat in your healthy diet.

Buy local

We are fortunate to live in an area laden with cattle. Whether you’re looking for grass-fed, grain-finished, or organic, a local producer is ready to meet your needs. Often buying in bulk can bring huge savings, and that’s
always good to support local breeders. Find a producer by talking to your local butcher, visiting the farmer’s market, or doing a quick search online.

Don’t buy local

Your grocery store can also be a great place to shop. Today, meat is raised, processed and distributed in the most sustainable and humane way in our history, and grocers offer a wide variety at competitive prices. Plus, that tri-tip you bought last week may still come from cattle right here in the Upstate!

gain volume

You’re going to need room in your freezer for this one. Save big by shopping at the grocery store during sales. When pork butts drop below $1.25 a pound, buy a lot and freeze them for later use! Consider buying corned beef after St. Patrick’s Day, ham after Easter, prime rib after Christmas, etc.

Butcher at home

Looking to improve your home butchering skills? Whether it’s whole chickens or ribs, cut costs by butchering them yourself. To prepare for a barbecue or just to fill up, try buying whole pork loins and cutting them into 1-inch chops. With a few online tutorials and machines, you can go one step further by grinding your own burger or sausage, or even pickling and smoking your own bacon.

Beware of Substitutes

Alternatives are always a good thing in life, and herbal options are part of a rapidly growing industry. While these new products may be a great alternative to a standard beef burger or other favorite food, all-natural meat is still one of the most sustainable and delicious foods on the planet and contains only one ingredient: meat.

In addition to his role as a meat lab technician, Haydn Clement also sells potential show pigs to local 4-H and FFA members. and says he has strived to carry on the Clement family tradition of faith, friendship and honest work ethic in everything he does. Fresh hot Italian sausages and smoked cottage bacon from the university farm are his favorites!

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