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Welcome to the first newsletter for 2019 in which we discuss Clever Pants & the Love of a Loyal Customer. Also the difference between Trump and a deconstructed toastie and how to eat barbecue chicken with a clear conscience. 
Clever Pants vouchers and the love of a loyal customer
If you ordered a whole ham or turkey before 26 November 2018, you should have received an email from us with a $20.00 gift voucher to spend online or at the butchery. This is to thank you very much for ordering early, thereby hugely assisting us and the producers we represent. It's also to congratulate you for being part of the smug, OCD set who swan around calmly in the last two weeks of December, collecting their pre-purchased goodies in an orderly fashion, daintily picking their way through the howling mob of anguished hordes who left it too late to order and missed out on a ham...

But, most importantly, the Clever Pants vouchers - valid from January to March - are intended to encourage you to come back soon! Some of you only shop with us at Christmas time and we are grateful and proud that you return to us for your annual celebratory tucker - your whole ham, turkey, porchetta and lambchetta. 

However, it's only possible for us to offer these products each December because for the rest of the year, week in and out, we continue to do what we've done for the last 12 years and support regeneratively-managed producers by buying whole animals direct from the farm.

For example, each week we buy whole pasture-raised pigs from NSW farms including Extraordinary Pork, Pillar Rock, Saulsbury Pork, Tanglewood and a handful of others. We cure some of the legs to meet regular retail and wholesale demand for sliced ham and the remainder we stockpile for Christmas. Which leaves the rest of the pig that needs to be sold each week as fresh pork cuts to our customers - mince, sausages, cutlets, chops, roasts and so on. It's the customers who buy from us each week or fortnight or month who ensure that we can continue buying pigs from these farms and that, come December, we can give you your Christmas ham. 

The American chef, Dan Barber wrote a lovely book about this a few years ago called
The Third Plate. As a celebrity chef and an enthusiastic champion of seasonal, local agriculture, Barber clearly felt quite smug about his relationships with local farmers, until the day he went to visit his wheat farmer and was dismayed to find that there wasn't any wheat in the fields. The farmer explained that in order to provide Barber with his special, annual wheat supply, the fields had to cycle through a series of stages which included a fallow, recovery period and the planting and mulching in of other crops specifically designed to replenish the soil and render it healthy and fit for the next crop of wheat.

Barber suddenly understood that the only genuine way to support local, seasonal agriculture was to actually buy everything that the farmer produced throughout the year - whether it was the hero product like the wheat or the utilitarian crops that aren't usually eaten but are essential for restoring nutrients and minerals to the soil. Far from being a burden, this decision launched a fascinating intellectual and creative journey that challenged his thinking and his practice. 

In addition, it prompted a much deeper appreciation of the role of the customer in the production cycle of our food. Far from being a passive, powerless consumer at the end of the production line, the reverse is true. It's the decisions that we consumers make about what we buy and what we put on our plates that actually determines what is grown and what is made available.

If consumers want to eat high welfare, good quality meat that is grown on farms that improve soil health, water retention, carbon sequestration and species diversity, then they will need to buy it more than once a year.  

Which, of course, brings us back to you, Clever Pants. We hope that our little $20 inducement encourages you to return to Feather and Bone soon and discover that there's more to us than meats the eye.   
Happy New Year - we're back and we're beefy!
This is partly due to holiday over-indulgence in our luverly meats, Sift Produce's luverly fruit and vegetables and the assorted luvliness of the other products we are fortunate enough to peddle here at the butchery. All washed down with generous libations from Bottle and Glass , PnV Merchants and Sparrow and Vine. With some effort, we managed to squeeze our way through the butchery doors after Christmas and we spent some time waddling around making the place presentable so that you could come and re-stock. Which, of course, brings us to the other reason for our beefiness.

It's summer, it's hot outside and NSW is still in drought. We talked a lot about the drought at the end of last year, so you may recall us explaining that many of the NSW beef and lamb growers with whom we work de-stocked in 2018  in order to protect soil, plant and animal welfare. They are experienced, highly responsive to their land and they play the long game which is commendable and reassuring.

But, among the many consequences of drought, less stock on the land means less produce for us to offer you. Which is why, last November, we crossed the border to source beef and lamb from Victoria which fared better than NSW during the drought in 2018.
7-8 week dry-aged, Glenburnie traditional Scottish Black Angus beef
Years ago, Jarrod Bennet decided he wasn't interested in the protein-hungry, American-style Angus that are bred to be finished on grain in feed lots. Instead, he wanted traditional cattle genetics from animals bred to thrive entirely on grasses - efficient converters of pasture to protein. Jarrod searched far and wide across Australia for the best Scottish Angus genetics he could find and the results are the nuggety, strong, compact cattle pictured above that Jarrod grows on diverse pasture at his farm at Cora Lyn in West Gippsland.

Below is my rather daggy shot of some lovely, dry-aged
blade steak we had for dinner along with an heirloom tomato salad topped with Burraduc buffalo mozzarella, home-grown basil and Karrabool olive oilFresh, simple, easy and affordable - we ate like rock stars for $10-$12.00 each. 

Of course, we've also got some really sensational, seven-week dry aged ribeye, sirloin and rump as well if that's more your speed...  
Email or call 9818 2717 if you'd like to order the prime cuts.
$10.00 SALE! Half Cut Ham Glaze is gorgeous on pork or chicken
We've got some jars of glaze left over and we've discovered that it's also a delicious finishing sauce for pork or chicken whether you're barbecuing, grilling or roasting. First thicken the glaze a little then pour it over the meat toward the end of the cooking time - you want the honey to caramelise, not burn. Finish with a sprinkle of chopped coriander and finely-diced spring onions. Order here.
Ethical Oporto? Organic, butterflied charcoal chicken for the conscientious carnivore! 
There are few things as delicious as barbecued butterflied, marinated Portugese chook. But if you care about the way chickens are raised, Oporto and all the other charcoal chicken joints just aren't an option - the only way you're ever going to be able to eat charcoal chicken is if you make it all from scratch yourself. The Ferals would roll their eyes, call this 'a trek' and slope back to their fetid caves. We get it. 
So, while we're not agreeing to come and cook it for you at home, but we can do just about everything else for you - source a good chook, butterfly it, marinate it and deliver it to you, if you wish. All you have to do is light the bbq and cook it.
We're offering three delicious variations:
Portugese, Mediterranean or Moroccan.
Delicious deconstructed ham, eggs and cheese toastie 'Strata' thingy 
It's early January, you're still ploughing through left-over Christmas ham and long, lazy, late breakfasts are the main meal of the day. Enter the 'Strata', which Wikipedia helpfully explains is 'a family of layered casserole dishes in American cuisine' most commonly eaten at brunch. It's a sort of rich, baked, deconstructed ham, eggs and cheese toastie that is delicious paired with some fresh, crisp, Sift Produce greens and a strong coffee or a Bloody Mary.

At this point in history, most of us are giving anything American, rich, orange and cheesy a wide berth. Experience tells us that it might taste good while we're eating it but we'll be doubled over with indigestion and regret way before the next election cycle.

However, we're making an exception for the Strata which, unlike the current leader of the Free World, is honest, reliable  and satisfying.  

Get the recipe here. 
If you've run out of ham, order a lovely ham round here.
SIFT PRODUCE FRUIT & VEGETABLES  Georgie's stall will be back at Feather and Bone at 8.00 am on Saturday 19th January and each fortnight thereafter. Of course, you don't have to wait till then. You can have Sift Produce every week - just place your order for a mixed box by noon on Tuesdays and pick it up at our place on Saturdays. 
The cost of ethical eating 
On 22nd December 2018, on page five, The Australian ran a small article by John Lethlean about ethical Christmas eating that featured a photograph of me at our butchery. In a remarkable act of image-making wizardry, the photographer managed to make me look marginally more animated than the large ham I was cradling. Given the fact that we were at the pointy end of several months of very hard work leading up to xmas and I am as photogenic as a sock, this was a truly impressive feat. As self-described evangelists for the virtues of sourcing produce from regeneratively-run, ethically-managed farms, we were grateful and very pleased to see The Australian run this story.

However, we couldn't help arcing up a bit at the headline  - 'Ethically-sourced Chrissy food will cost an arm and a leg'. We understand that the sub-editor was looking for a hook and that tapping into stereotypes about value and exploitation is an easy way to attract attention. But we're convinced that the public at large is ready and able to cope with a much more nuanced and honest conversation about the true cost of cheap food .
Read our last post about this issue.
CHEW THE FAT  Read our blog for stories from the farms, produce and event news, ruminations on value and trust, a few dodgy jokes and the occasional rant about food labelling. Sometimes we talk about our pets - chickens, children, dog.
If you're planning to come by car, please park in front of Feather and Bone, Unit 8. There's room for five cars and there's usually a free spot. If there's no room in front of our place, please park on the street outside the complex. Our neighbours and we thank you for your consideration.
Pick up: order by close of business.
Delivery: order by 12.00 the day before. 

Check out where we go and on which day.

Pick up an order or browse. 
Open Tuesday - Saturday:
8.00 am - 4.00 pm

8/10-14 Lilian Fowler Place
Marrickville, NSW 2204

(02) 9818 2717

Order a box: pick up on Saturdays
Produce stall: every 2nd Saturday
Copyright © 2019 Feather and Bone Butchery, All rights reserved.

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