The Importance of Proper Meat Sourcing

The Importance of Proper Meat Sourcing

            Happy Friday, everyone! 

            As always, we are here on this Friday to talk about a topic, and to do it in a little bit of a lighter flair than usual.

            If you did not check out last Friday’s post on account of the holiday, please go and check it out – we talked about the opposite of the “hangry’s”… recovering from a food coma!  While the time may have passed, this will probably apply to just about any holiday you experience, so give it a read, keep it in mind, and be ready to recover from your proverbial “food hangover”.

            Now, we have done the shameless plug for last week’s post… let’s move on to today’s topic.

            Today, we are going to talk about the importance of sourcing meat… and there is probably a lot more to this than you would expect!

            First off… what is sourcing meat?

            Well, “sourcing” is defined as a “standard purchasing strategy”, but often times this is taken a little further to be the same as “strategic sourcing”, which is a little more in depth (please see the description here).  Take the time to go and look at the link, and then come right back…

            We will, as always, be patient and wait for you to come back…



            OK, I am sure you are back now.., and sourcing really comes down to just one thing: it is the science and art of acquiring goods from different locations and making sure that your costs, benefits, and supply lines are all in line with your overall scope and goals.

            So, that was business-y…

            Its about where you get your stuff, how you get your stuff, and making sure you can make money instead of losing money by selling stuff.

            Alright… between the page, the information that is business-y, and the short description, I am sure that you have a good idea what sourcing is.

            The next question is, how does this relate to your meat consumption?

            This is an important question, and sourcing meat is more complicated than most people think.  The days of doing nothing more than picking up a phone and placing a phone call to get your meat delivered are long gone.

            Part of this is because of the need for ethical sourcing, some is for the sake of transparency, and some is to make sure that your butcher or meat market can provide you high-quality meats without losing money in the process.

            Now, your butcher cares about you (especially if you are here at Wayside Market), and that is one of the reasons that we source our meat carefully… but really, responsible sourcing comes down to several important factors:

Environmental Safety 

Ethical, honest, and practical sourcing is absolutely crucial to protecting the source of the animals.  If the sourcing done overharvests the animals, or destroys the natural environment that these animals live in.

            Additionally, think about it… if the environment for your meat is destroyed, then it will be harder to get that meat in the future. 

            What does that mean?

            Well… trust me… if you think paying $8.00 for a pound of meat is pricey, wait until there is no land remaining in which to raise the animals and watch as the price skyrockets to $40.00 a pound…

            In short, your butcher charges higher prices than you probably want to pay because goods that are environmentally sourced costs them more.  This, in turn, costs you more…

            But it is better than the supply going dry and you never getting beef again.


            There are people that will swear that a steer that is treated better, allowed to be free, and is happy will always taste better.  It makes sense…

            When stress of any kind occurs, the body (human or animal) releases stress hormones.  These stress hormones infuse the muscles, and the result is growth of hard muscle tissue and gristle.  Basically, at best, a stressed animal will provide tougher meat.

            At its worst, if the reports provided are to be believed, then the meat will lose some aspect of its flavor (or pick up some aspect that is not pleasant).

            That being said, the kind and ethical treatment of animals is likely one of the things that your butcher is watching for when they contract to source meat!

Ensuring you are Getting what you Pay for

            Alright… so you know what you are getting when you buy meat, right?

            You know what it is every time, without fail?

            Well, actually, if you are buying from a reputable butcher or meat market, then you most likely are getting what you are looking for.

            However, this is only possible because of the due diligence that your butcher exercises when they are getting your meat, poultry, or seafood.

            What does this take?

            Your butcher is well aware of the challenges of the food supply chain.  They know that they are going to buy an animal to serve to you as meat, and they often know exactly how their supplier operates.

            They know that the meat supplier is ethical… they know that the supplier takes care of the environment, and that the supplier is true to their word.

            The butcher also probably wants to know who supplies the supplier that gives them their meat!

            If you think about it, animals need food, and medical care, and there is usually machinery and cleaning supplies…

            And a good butcher holds their suppliers accountable to hold their own suppliers accountable.  Basically, sourcing properly is not just an interaction between you and your butcher, or your butcher and their meat supplier…

            There are multiple levels that have to be held to standard to make sure that you, as the consumer, are getting exactly what it is that you are paying for and expecting.

The Conclusion of Sourcing

            There is a lot that is going on behind the scenes with your butcher before you buy your meat from the butcher.  Ethical, proper, and solid sourcing practices are what make it so you get the meat you want, you know that you are getting what you are paying for, and that this meat sources will be available for a long time.

            In short, knowing that your butcher is sourcing ethically, responsibly, and intelligently ensures that you get what you need, even if it does cost a little more.

            That being said, embrace the higher prices, and enjoy the finer beef!