Sourcing meat from the South is a learning curve

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A call for southern farmers to ship meat to a new butcher shop in Dunedin was answered, but the logistics of getting it into the cupboards have been a steep learning curve, the butchers say.

In March of this year, Southern Rural Life ran a story about butchers Jim Biggs and Greg Egerton, who called on southern farmers to help them load the chiller with carcasses at their new company, Links Quality Meats.

The butcher shop opened last week.

Mr Egerton said many farmers contacted them after reading the story.

The challenge was to get the animal to a certified slaughterhouse in Gore and Ashburton and then cheaply transport a whole carcass to Dunedin.

To stock cupboards before opening, they bought meat from Harris Meats in Cheviot, North Canterbury.

Harris Meats had its own slaughterhouse.

“The infrastructure is there.”

The aim of the new butcher shop was to tell customers where their meat came from, rather than unpacking a box at a meat processor.

By sourcing meat from Harris Meats, they were able to tell their customers an origin story.

The dream of selling Southern beef lingers. “As soon as we find our feet, we’ll get meat from farmers in the south.”

Sourcing meat has been a “steep learning curve” for her and the farmers.

Mr Biggs said the story had generated a lot of interest and they had taken phone calls from many southern farmers.

As a result, they spoke to Rebecca Hazlett about having some of their organic meat shipped from Hukarere Station in West Otago.

He has also had interest from Lammermoor Station in the Paerau Valley of Central Otago in supplying organic traditional breed beef, lamb and hogs.

“These were the two farms that kept communication open with us and understood the process and how they can get their product here.”

The article started a journey of discovering some logistical “dead ends” in trying to source meat from the South, Mr Biggs said.

“It was interesting to see how it all worked because we didn’t know.”

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