Every day I pass a meat market on my way to and from work. Matt and I had the morning off to take the dogs to the vet, so we made a point to stop in and buy some meat.
We parked in front of the windowless building. The back/side has a corral that I try not think too much about. The market is first and foremost a slaughterhouse and processor. We walk in the front door, not really knowing what would be on the other side. Will the meat be displayed? What do we want? We took in our surroundings as we waited for someone to help us. Clippings, photos, and ads were all over the walls and the room was basically office space. There was a glass wall between the office we were standing in and the processing room, where several people dressed in white were hacking up meat. One man, engaged in a conversation, gestured with a hacksaw to emphasize his point. The workers chopped and sorted, making what I assume was a “keepers” pile and tossing the inedibles in a bin. I reassured and tried to desensitize myself. I feel like if I am going to eat meat, I should at get a better sense of how it got to me. I’m not to the point where I could raise and kill an animal…baby steps. Eventually a man came out to see what we needed. We told him what we wanted and he took a cart back to the freezer to load it up.
We bought some sausage, pork chops, and chicken breasts, with the intention of freezing the meat for later use. We also bought a sack o’ bones for the dogs. And we felt good about it because we assumed this was all Oklahoma meat. I mean, why else bother buying from this quaint meat market instead of a local grocery store?
Once home, I was putting the meat away and was surprised by the packaging on the chicken. It looked suspiciously…normal…and the contact number was in Atlanta. I called the market. “Yeah, I am wondering where you get your retail meat?”
“Ummm…our beef comes from Kansas.”
“Oh, okay. What about your pork and chicken?”
“Well, we get most of our meat from Cargill.”
Man, did I feel silly. I just don’t get it. Why is it necessary that a local, small business that kills and cuts up animals ship in processed meat from God-knows-where? Surely there is an explanation. Or maybe I’m just naive to have assumed otherwise. Maybe I’ll go back and ask or perhaps someone will fill me in.