I spend a lot of time heralding the hard work and dedication of farmers and ranchers on this blog. There are plenty of unsung heroes in agriculture’s story, though. It’s not just the growers who make the ag clock tick. There are a lot of people involved between planting and the plate. There are a lot of steps taken between the birth of an animal and its place in your freezer. I’d like to take a moment to commend one group that goes unthanked quite often: butchers and other meat processors.
Before you balk at the word “processor” I’d like to clarify my use of the word. Almost all food has to be processed in one way or another before it reaches the consumer. In the case of meat, whether it’s in a large-scale plant or a one-man butcher shop, it has to be processed somehow. You don’t just go to the farm and take a bite out of a steer that’s standing in a lot or pasture. Someone had to put hard work into taking that animal from raw, unharvested good to the finished product. (By finished, I mean, ready-for-consumer.)
Let’s face it: they do a dirty job that most people shudder at the thought of. Meat eaters accept that their meat had to come from somewhere, but most could never imagine having the difficult task that butchers are faced with. It takes a special person with strong work ethic to do this sort of work day in and day out.
And another reality is that we don’t show enough love for our butchers. The general public as a whole tends to be meat-loving. I know my life would be a little less whole if there were no such things as bacon and steak, or bacon-wrapped steaks. Life would be drastically different without people willing to bring our food from its place on the farm, to its place in our fridge.
So, here’s a big ol’ thank you to the butchers and meat processors of the world. Thank you for bringing us options, from the least-expensive frozen ground something-or-other to the finest artisan meats. You provide the world with choice, insight, and delicious, nutritious food. Thank you for being the most pivotal stage between the farm and the consumer!