Fleishers Craft Butchery, NY

What Fleishers sustainable practice are you most proud of? Fleishers carries the best meat in the world. We do this by partnering with small farmers in the Northeastern USA who raise happy, healthy animals. The animals are always free to roam on pasture, and they are never treated with hormones or growth-promoting antibiotics. Our commitment to building relationships with local farmers and processors means that we also support our region’s economy. Through our work, we’re creating a food system where environmental and ethical responsibility are the rule, rather than the exception.

What is something people might not know about Fleishers? We’ve been around for 14 years, which makes us one of the oldest companies working in this space! In that time, we’ve made many mistakes and pivots, as we’ve worked to find the right balance of doing things ourselves and partnering with others. Today, we’ve hit a sweet spot of being able to provide consistent, high-quality products to our customers at a reasonable price, across four retail shops in two states. We’re proud to be operating at that scale, and hope to continue leading the industry, and serving as a role model for other whole animal butchery operations.

What are you most excited about in the year ahead? Consumers increasingly understand the benefits of buying local, sustainable meat, and are willing to pay more for it. The demand from restaurants and institutions is also growing, as chefs recognize that buying better meat is not only ethically responsible, but cost effective, if you communicate to customers why the meat is better. All of us – retailers, restauranteurs, institutions, and eaters – are customers of the farmers and processors. If we work together to steadily increase demand, the people who raise and process good meat will have more resources to achieve economies of scale, and we can continue the virtuous cycle of sustainable meat gaining market share over the status quo. Over the past few years, we’ve seen people dip their toes in, buying local, sustainable meat for special occasions. I hope and expect the industry to reach a tipping point, where customers purchase this type of meat every day – if not in 2018, then hopefully in the next few years.

Why do you feel “Meat Matters“? Meat has been a prized part of the human diet for 2.6 million years. For many eaters, there simply is no substitute – culturally or nutritionally – and we’re now seeing that there may not be a substitute for the benefits of raising animals on the land environmentally, either. But if we’re going to eat meat, we have a moral responsibility to give these animals healthy lives, and to understand and respect the land, people, and processes that make meat-eating possible. Making thoughtful decisions about your meat won’t solve everything, but it definitely helps solve many important issues.

Tell us about the people behind Fleishers Craft Butchery (your butchers and employees). The Fleishers team is the secret sauce that makes buying meat from us an experience, rather than just a transaction. We’re experts at what we do, from sourcing to processing to whole animal butchery, but more importantly, we want to teach you what we do and why. Whether you’re a kitchen newbie or a seasoned chef, we’ll help you choose the best cut for whatever you’re cooking, at the right price point, and you’ll leave our shop feeling confident and empowered to make a great meal. It’s an experience that simply can’t be replicated at a supermarket or through online shopping, and we love forging these real connections with people.