Surely you’ve heard the adage, You are what you eat, but did you ever think that the saying might go deeper than that—deeper than just what you eat? Because really, being healthful and mindful about what you put into your body begins before you start tossing things into your cart at the grocery store; it begins by knowing what you eat…eats, and where it’s coming from.
And in reality is that specific information the kind that you can readily find in a grocery store anyway? Not usually. Labels can be so confusing and misleading that it’s a challenge for customers to know exactly what they are consuming and exactly where it’s coming from.
That’s the benefit for those large, commercial grocery stores: they don’t worry about proving that kind of information.
Since large grocery chains focus more on selling a large volume of their products than focusing on catering to each individual consumer and enhancing their experience, they can take shortcuts when it comes to sourcing.
Here at Porter Road Butcher however, this is not the case. The meat that we cut and the market items that we sell are sourced either locally or regionally. This not only ensures that we have a relationship with each farmer or craftsman, but it also provides us with a keen knowledge that the quality of what we sell is the utmost. Supporting local businesses does aid the local economy and can reduce your carbon footprint, but more importantly shopping locally provides you with a connection to the product, and therefore a connection to the source of what you’re putting into your body.
When we make a personal connection to the source of our products and form a relationship with that person, he or she A) feels accountability for what it is that they’re selling and for their own reputation, and B) they feel pride for their work, knowing that it is being sold at a kickass place like PRB, which drives them to continue working harder. Put A and B together, and you’ve got a better and healthier outcome for you, the consumer.
Take David Byler for example: bearing in mind that David’s pigs are raised humanely, that they are given free range on his land, and that they eat hormone- and antibiotic-free feed, our Amish pig farmer is proud to sell us his pigs and stamp his name on our product—metaphorically, of course. Furthermore, because of our strong relationship with him and our respect for what he does with his piggies, we have found both the best product around and the peace of mind that our hog had a healthy life.
The pound of bacon that you buy in the shrink-wrapped, air-vacuumed, Styrofoam trey at the grocery store likely has adrenaline pulsing through each smoky strip due to the fear and anger that hog felt as it was confined to a 2×5” pen, allowing it enough space only to flop on it’s side or stand in a pile of its own shit.
Pigs are smart. They know those conditions aren’t right.
Or perhaps, along with those aforementioned “natural” yet grossly unwanted hormones, the breakfast sausage you’re planning to throw in the skillet carries traces of the antibiotics that your pig was fed in order to keep it big and strong and “healthy”—while in reality it dined on the likes of chicken shit, drugs, feathers, and Lord only knows what the f#ck else.
And hell, the eggs that you’re planning to give a good scramble and serve alongside said bacon and sausage probably come from that “free range” chicken coup where about a thousand chickens are stuffed into a big ole box chock-full of their feathery family members, and built with one sole doggy-door that leads to outside! These lucky birds are afforded the opportunity to venture outside to that gorgeous gravel lot and explore—if they so choose to venture away from their food and their family and the only living space they’ve ever known. How magnificent!? Their heart is pulsing with anxiety, adrenaline is rushing through their body, their stomachs are grumbling as they attempt to digest chemicals and drugs alike, and you, my friend, are so lucky as to be receiving all of those delicious flavors as you embark upon your Monday!
Aren’t you so glad you chose to pay the $2 extra at the grocery for those free-range eggs? And the all-natural bacon? And the sausage with the green label on it—because that color denotes health!?
The big grocery chains can pull a fast one on you. They can lie through their teeth and do so with a smile on their face. They don’t care about you or me because they don’t have a relationship with you or me; they don’t feel accountability to you or me; they don’t have to look you or me in the eye the next time you come into the store and kindly inquire as to what you thought of your previous purchase.
They already got what they wanted from you: your money.
But riddle me this: have you been into Porter Road Butcher more than once? You’ve absolutely hit the aisles of a large, chain grocery store a number of times, but if you shop at a small local business, you’ll notice one big difference: they know you; remember you. Not just one cashier; not just the lady behind the deli counter; everyone.
“Heeey! Terry!” they’ll crow as the door cheerily bing-bongs while you swing it open.
It feels good. And it makes you want to keep coming back.
After that initial trip when James or Chris or Tim or Alex get to know you; after one of us Porter Road butchers figure out what it is you want and get the best possible product to suit your needs, we’ll remember it next time. “How’d that tri-tip turn out last week?” or “Did you enjoy the breakfast sausage?” or even “What’d you think of our beef stock?
We care and want to know.
“There’s a sense of community here,” said James as he talked about shopping local. “When people come into our shop, we get to know them and we can make an effort to get the products they want. Then meanwhile, as they’re waiting for their order, they talk with the other customers, or they talk with us, and they get to know us; they begin a conversation; and they get to the core of what we’re really trying to do.
Our goal at Porter Road Butcher is to make every one of our guests healthier and happier with fresh local products.
Healthier? Check! With hormone-free, antibiotic-free, well fed, humanely raised, and all-natural meat, plus the freshest foods from Tennessee and other surrounding southern spots
Happier? Check! With friendly people, better-for-you food, meat that lacks additives that could turn you mad, support for other small businesses, a sense of community, and maybe even a good laugh—not to brag or anything, but we’re known to be kinda funny.
You may hear that shopping local tends to take up more of your time, and you might notice that the price tag runs a little higher. But is there a price you can put on your health? If you take that extra time now and pay a little bit more to buy better quality food, you’ll find yourself with a big payoff as you reap a lot more time in the future.