Kerry Mullendore is our head butcher and he has been here for 5 years practicing the almost lost art of whole animal butchery. Most grocery stores do not hire meat cutters anymore, instead they buy prepackaged boxed meat from a pool of untraceable sources. Kerry explains that our fresh meat products start with live animals raised humanely by farmers we know. Kerry believes that how animals are treated affect the flavor and tenderness of the meat. The more humane animals are raised, the better the eating experience. Many of us want to provide good, fresh, locally sourced meat for our families, but we do not know much about different cuts of meat, where they come from or what to look for in quality meats. However, Kerry knows.
He works hard each day to break down whole animals into primals, and then into roasts or steaks depending on the preference of the customers. He looks at the marbling of the meat to determine quality grades. Our wholesale and retail meats are never below choice and usually are a high choice grade. He identifies yield grades by looking at the outside of the beef and pork judging how much fat is there. We aim for our meat at This Old Farm to have a yield grade of 3 out of 5, indicating that there is enough fat cover to provide good meat tenderness and taste, without much waste. Kerry says that high end chefs like 4-5 yield grade, but that is very expensive. Yield grade of 1 does not have enough fat to offer tender, tasty meat. Kerry confirms that the best meat has a yield of 2-3 and a grade of high choice or prime.
If you have questions about different meat cuts, ask Kerry. He can explain the beef cuts by 8 primals: chuck, brisket and shank, rib, short plate, flank, short loin, sirloin, and round; and the pork cuts by 4 primals: shoulder, loin, side (belly), and leg (ham) to help you decide what cuts of meat you might want to try! We have many knowledgeable staff that can also answer your questions. See this Guide to Buying Beef and Pork Whole or as Quarters and here are more questions to ask a butcher regarding selecting and cooking fresh cut meat.
Congratulations to Kerry and his soon to be wife Jenny!