Fleisher’s Grass Fed and Organic Meats is a pioneer in the world of meat production, providing an alternative way to eat better meat. What makes Fleisher’s different is their dedication to using only locally sourced meat from small, organic, sustainable farms and their commitment to using every part of an animal. This is what responsible meat production looks like.
NYU’s Intro to Urban Agriculture class visited Fleisher’s facilities last week in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Their shop is located in Park Slope (where we originally went, oops) but all of their meat is cut and processed at their warehouse on Pier 41. Animals are delivered to the facility and stored in a large walk in freezer. The meat is then taken and cut down by Fleisher’s butchers or butchers in training (they have a rigorous apprenticeship program), and every part of the animal is used, nose to tail. Unconventional parts of the animal, such as the nose or ears, which are essentially all cartilage, are used as dog treats. Other parts that are tough to cook with are made in to sausage.
Whole animal production and consuming methods are becoming popular nation-wide. In an article from Rustik magazine, the idea of eating every part of the animal is described as the best way to fully respect the animals we eat.
“Nose to tail eating comes from a desire to waste as little as possible of the animals killed for food, taking as much nutrition and other benefits as possible. This means each animal has more purpose, and fewer animals need to be killed.”
This idea is by no means new; it has just been lost in a world driven by consumption and large-scale production. My Argentinean Grandmother would order whole animals pre-cut, and use every last part. I remember vividly eating a homemade sausage and learning later what it went into it (I shall spare the details here, but I can assure you they were all parts I have yet to eat again).
In addition to their methods being better for the environment (locally sourced food reduced their carbon footprint), they promote respect between consumers, farmers, and animals by assuring the animals are treated humanely. There are also great health benefits in eating organic meat from all parts of the animal. Eating different parts of the animals, instead of eating the same one every time, helps create a more diverse and balanced diet. Many studies have shown that pasture-raised meat and animal products have less calories and fat, and have higher levels of vitamins.
Fleisher’s not only abides by these standards of meat production but also advocates for responsible meat eating by providing educational opportunities for people from all over the country. Their apprentice program produces butchers that have started their own butcheries in other parts of the country upon finishing to program, spreading responsible meat production ideals to new places. The people at Fleisher’s were happy to have us tour around their facilities and announced that they are launching classes (as an alternative to the 3-month apprenticeship) for people interested in learning more about cutting meat. The company is well known among the butcher community in here in New York (a lot of shops were started by former apprentices), and their methods have gained national attention since the company’s inception.
Just as we practice sustainable growing methods on the farm, Fleisher’s has been leading the way when it comes to sustainable meat production. The benefit of urban agriculture is that it provides people with locally sourced food and the entire process is transparent – we can actually see where our food is grown. Fleisher’s operation is an extension of this idea. It’s important to know where the food you put in your body comes from and to eat responsibly.
By Hanna Rioseco
All images were taken from Fleisher’s website.