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The Cutting Edge

Where's the meat?



It started with the need for Afrikaner boerewors, an all beef or beef and pork South African sausage, and grew into a butcher shop. The Matthews Meat Emporium, which opened last December, is owned by Jeremy Dreyer, who also owns the South African Food Shop five doors down. Managing the store is Bill Condor, a third generation butcher. His grandfather and father both owned grocery stores in downtown Matthews; he grew up learning the butcher's trade. This shop carries an extensive line of international sausages including Hungarian salami and Polish kielbasa and although Dreyer and Condor recently made a decision to scale back on their beef products, the shop will continue to carry their line of grass-fed Australian lamb. Condor said he can also get mutton. His cut of leg of lamb, which can include the H bone, is a deal at $3.79 a pound. His most popular lamb cuts are the shoulder blade ($3.99/lb) which has "more fat and bone, thus more flavorful than the leg." Condor can also order a whole lamb which typically weighs 30 to 40 pounds and can feed 20 to 30 people. Hours are Monday through Friday: 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Matthews Meat Emporium, 11229 E. Independence Blvd. in the Fullwood Plaza. 704-814-6683.

Another outlet for lamb is the regionally raised domestic lamb available through Weatherbury Station, a farm in the Blue Ridge of Virginia. Owner Gordon Whitted comes to Charlotte on a regular basis to sell his products at the Kings Drive Farmers Market. He will next be there on November 17 and for one Saturday during December, January, and February. All the Weatherbury Station sheep are grass fed as are the pigs which are a cross of two heritage breeds. Whitted said his quality meats are a result of getting the breed and type of grass to jive and knowing when to slaughter. He sells all traditional retail cuts of pork and lamb and if "you can explain the cut to me, I can get it done." In addition, he also has pasture-raised chickens and eggs seasonally. Whitted said that his stand met immediate success in Charlotte when he started at the market three years ago explaining that many of his customers are applying the advice of farmers' market advocate Nina Planck. He said, "Planck says to put your hard earned dollars at the higher end of the food chain. There is not as much noticeable difference in fruits and vegetables, but the greater difference [in taste and quality] exists in meat and dairy products." In addition to Weatherbury Station's sensationally flavored lamb, he offers kielbasa, Italian and Mexican-style chorizo sausages.

To contact the farm: The Kings Drive Farmers Market is at the intersection of Kings and Morehead.

Not many places in Charlotte carry goat on a regular basis, but it is offered on most Saturdays and sometimes during the week at the small International Groceries. The goat is raised and slaughtered by halal standards on a farm near Raleigh and sells for $3.99 per pound. Special cuts are available upon request.

International Groceries, 5309 E. Independence Blvd, 704-531-7868.

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