‘Farm to table’ is the way to go. Local butcher Ulrich Heck would know. Not only has the German-born butcher been in the industry his whole life, but his family can even trace their butchery roots back to 1503, in Heidelberg, Germany.
“It’s burned in my DNA,” Ulrich says.
Ulrich moved his family from Germany to New Zealand in 2004 and moved his business to Nelson from Christchurch in 2011. According to Ulrich, farm to table is the only way to really ensure quality.
The farm to table is a movement where restaurants and retailers source their ingredients directly from local farms. The idea is to ensure that consumers know exactly where their food is coming from. There’s no middleman either – farm to table emphasises the relationship between the farmer and the retailer, Ulrich says.
“There is 100 per cent traceability.” Ulrich sources Aberdeen Angus from a farm in the Wairarapa, and the killing of the beast is really the only part of the process that Ulrich does not take charge of.
He even makes the trip himself to pick up his goods, following which he carves and bones them.
Ulrich explains that with typical butchers and supermarkets, the livestock comes from all around, goes into the freezing works, and comes out the other end. When you pick up a steak from the supermarket, there’s no real way of knowing where it came from.
With farm to table, butchers like Ulrich know exactly where their meat comes from. And it’s not just about where it comes from, either.
Ulrich says that farm to table means consumers can be sure of the impact that their product is having on the environment, as well as transparency around how the animal is treated.
But the meat itself is only the ‘blank canvas,’ Ulrich says. “Meat is the basic material,” he says. “I see it as something to which I can add value. I can edit it, make even better things out of it.”