Today I was poised to do a "big shop" at my local food coop, but something came up and I had to do an errand in a totally different neighborhood. So, I stopped into my local butcher (Los Paisanos Meat Market) instead to pickup something for dinner. Instead of just getting chicken breasts, I ended up buying meat and other deli items that will probably last our family 4-5 days or so. The owner looked so happy over my big order that I thought he would kiss me. (He's an older guy in his 70s who likes to call the customers sweetie or gorgeous or young lady/man in that old-time Brooklyn way.)
Every time I go into this place, or any of the few local butcher shops left in Park Slope/Carrol Gardens area, I think, "I have to shop here more. I really don't want this place to go out of business." Not only is the food really good, but the experience is so personal. You can ask the guys how to cook something, or how much you need of a certain item for a family of four or a crowd. You know that the prepared foods, take-out and dining-out trends hurts these guys. If no one is cooking at home, no one is going to a butcher shop. Many butcher shops have adapted to have more ready to eat, or ready to cook fare, and that's good business. Several other customers were there to buy sandwiches, although at least one (maybe inspired by me?) ordered something to cook for dinner too.
There's a lot of food talk about buying local and buying organic, but in this economy, shopping local is important too. The prices I paid were comparable if not cheaper that the organic, locally-raised meat at the coop, but I'm helping a local business survive. Many places in the country can depend only on big supermarkets or Costco for their food. But there are little, family-run vegetable stores and meat markets quietly tuck away in many places, too. Support your local economy any way you can!
Shouts outs for Los Paisanos from Yelp.com