|Photo by Renato Ghio
I’m reviving my Friday Favorite posts, where one Friday a month I write about a recipe, store, cookbook, event, or product that I am really liking at the moment. It’s not a sponsored post; it’s just me sharing something I think is cool, fun, delicious or all three.
This month, I’m talking about a store I visited for the first time last Fall – Avon Prime Meats. At the time I wrote a bit about the store, but mainly I focused on a mouth-watering maple mustard pork tenderloin recipe. (You can read the post here.) The thing is, Avon Prime Meats is actually a lot more than “just meat.”
This butcher and specialty grocer has expanded its line of locally sourced produce, cheese, milk, ice cream, eggs, meat, fish, baked goods and more so that it now carries products from 30 Connecticut businesses. The store sells an assortment of premium-grade meats, striving, where possible, to select from farms that raise grass-fed animals and harvest their animals humanely and ethically. Despite its name, the store sells so much more than prime meats – poultry, vegetarian dishes, gluten-free foods, seasonings, sauces, soups, desserts, snacks, local breads, deli meats and sandwiches, New England beers, and even teas, coffee and dog treats.
Impressive Selection and Skills
Ok, so yes, Avon Prime Meats is pretty exceptional when it comes to the beef they sell – either Prime or Premium Choice. No lower grades to be found. The chicken, pork, lamb, fish and other protein products are also the highest quality. In fact, they even offer dry aged beef like you would find in an upscale steakhouse.
|Photo by Renato Ghio
With that in mind, it’s not surprising that the butchers have some seriously impressive skill. Certified Master Butcher Tim Hester who works on the Prime Meats team attended culinary school, completed a two-year apprenticeship, and a 10,000-hour “Journeyman” training course to become a certified butcher. Both Tim and Master Butcher Mike Elias can transform a 300-pound half cow into 240 pounds of gorgeously cut beef in under two hours. Mike explained how “the art of butchering is performed with almost surgical precision,” so when harvesting livestock, they maximize the premium product so nothing goes to waste.
The expertly trained management staff members consider themselves “Food Counselors” and are impressively knowledgeable about grades and cuts of meats and how to best prepare them. You can approach any of the six managers, tell them about your culinary interest, menu desires, health condition or diet restrictions and they will skillfully guide you to the precise meats or fish, cuts, amounts, and accompaniment side dishes specifically for you. They truly love educating and building relationships with their guests, and it shows.
For folks looking to eat healthier, the store has its very own in-house nutritionist, Ellen Bellicchi. She has been a member of the Avon Prime Meats team since the store opened in 2010. As a trained dietitian, she can advise customers with health concerns, dietary restrictions, or those who simply want to choose delicious food with an emphasis on less saturated fats and high nutritional content. The store offers grass-fed beef which is lower in saturated fat, higher in omega-3s and higher in protein content. Grass-fed beef options are the product of farms that adhere to strict hormone- and antibiotic-free as well as humane raising and harvesting guidelines. Additionally, grass-fed beef has been found to have a healthier ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids and contains higher levels of inflammation-fighting antioxidants, and the natural meat option attracts people with various dietary restrictions.
Avon Prime Meats also offers full-scale catering services lead by Manager Diane “Dee” Gallivan. She travels the world to find unique products; for instance, she has explored Italy in order to find pasta, honey, olive oils and jars of delicious artichokes to offer in-store and for catering creations. As a result, the catering business has grown by leaps and bounds, mostly by word of mouth from extremely satisfied customers. The team will guide hosts through the planning process for catering gatherings of any size. They will help you select the perfect portions, healthy options and alterations to accommodate dietary restrictions to make the food enjoyable at your event. If needed, Avon Prime Meats will even arrange servers at your event!
Not enough time to cook? You can get deliciously prepared family meals, for your next dinner party, or to bring to an event. At the back of the store, you’ll find meals created by Avon Prime Meats professional chef Tom Stuteville. Everyday cooks, as well as expert chefs, stop in to pick up prepared foods to serve alongside their own at dinner parties. Have an exotic side? Avon Prime Meats offers ostrich, elk, and venison too.
At Avon Prime Meats the customer service is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and something healthy and delicious in your shopping bag.
Avon Prime Meats is a delightful local butcher, grocer, food advisor, and caterer.
Avon Prime Meats is located at 395 West Main Street, Avon. They are open Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 8 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm. Sign up for weekly emails or place orders online: www.avonprimemeats.com