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Our "New" Butcher

written by

Amanda Polden

posted on

March 14, 2024

Well, our original butcher, Conrath Quality Meats, has been bought out and is now Farm Country Butchery. (If youโ€™re unfamiliar with our long search for a butcher we could trust, check out the story on the blog.)

And while I've talked a lot about buyouts and mergers in the food industry being a terrible thing, this is different.

I talked with Sean Graese, the new co-owner and plant manager, to make sure Farm Country will continue to be a family-owned, Animal Welfare Institute Certified operation that focuses on integrity, transparency, and respect for both the animals and customers. 

And I'm happy to report that after about 3 hours of discussion they are! But not only that, they have plans to be even better. 

Whew! This is actually a GOOD change, for a change.

Here are a few highlights of our "new" butcher: 

Theyโ€™re satisfied with being mid-sized. โ€œWe want to be better, not bigger,โ€ Sean said.

They process about 20-25,000 pounds per week, which is tiny compared to the giant corporations but makes them one of the largest mid-sized operations in Wisconsin.

Capacity is small, only one line, so only one farmโ€™s animals come through at a time. Everything is tagged and kept separate, with cut sheets that follow the animals from breaking down to packaging into the box. This is how we can know we are getting our animals back. 

But the thing that makes them very different and the reason we chose them and drive past dozens of other butchers many hours closer is because: 

They do NOT use any preservatives, MSG, nitrates, or nitrites in their products. 

Avoiding nitrates and nitrites is essential because these chemicals have been linked to cancer, among other things. And did you know, when nitrates/its are added from celery the levels tend to be HIGHER than if they just added the pure stuff?! Yeah, so don't let "celery" fool you, think of it as a trojan horse. 

And of course, many of us are sensitive to flavor enhancers like the excitotoxin MSG, and if we want natural and health-promoting products, then we gotta keep all that stuff out

Our animals eat exceptionally clean and truly diverse diets. We chose breeds that grow slower so the are develop more flavor! We do NOT need to artificially make it taste like something. 

We also bring the meat straight to our freezer and then hopefully right to yours. We don't need a crazy long shelf life to ensure safe transport over 1,000's of miles in semis and warehouses. 

And a vacuum-sealed and frozen product stays fresh indefinitely (as long as the seal remains unbroken). 

Almost no butchers do what Farm Country does because it takes a lot of time and costs more (since they can't do as much). But we drive way out of our way to do business with them because: There's NO way we're going to work this hard at raising animals that are good for you and full of flavor, just to cover it up with artificial crap. 

We also spent a great deal of time talking about all the ways they hope to improve this incredibly unique operation, which we'll talk about later! (How do my emails always get so long?!)

So, even though our butcher changed hands, we are thrilled with the way Sean and his family practice the art and science of butchering and processing.

And all this love, integrity, and attention goes into every piece of grassfed beefpasture-raised pork, and lamb you buy from Together Farms. 

As I always say: No weird stuff! No weird stuff given to the animals on the farm and no weird stuff added to the meat.

...But definitely weird people. 


Take a look at all the clean, healthy, and humanely raised meat we have to offer




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