PERRY — Jill Gould likes to call it “Angus propaganda.”
When most people shop for beef, they’ll visit a supermarket, buying the hamburg or steaks that have been a staple for decades.
There’s nothing wrong with that — but they may be missing culinary treasure in their own backyards.
Gould, 29, opened the Butter Meat Co. on Feb. 1. The shop specializes in locally-sourced and matured dairy beef, which has flavors and subtleties beyond what you might find in an everyday freezer.
“It started with a dinner conversation with friends,” she said Thursday. “They were visiting and kind of have a chef/culinary background. I was like, ‘Sorry, all we have for dinner is some dairy steaks, basically.’
“They jumped up and were like, ‘This is so cool! Do you know people in New York City and DC and San Francisco are into really into dairy beef right now, because it’s more environmentally-friendly and there’s more flavor?’
“I was like, ‘You’re kidding, right?’” she continued. “We’re in the mecca of dairy and we don’t talk about how incredible our beef could be.”
About 18 months later, Gould opened her location at 1 N. Main St.
The Butter Meat Co. sells organic meat from Holsteins and Jerseys sourced at area farms. That includes anything from ground beef and hot dogs, to steaks, to short ribs, kebabs and roasts.
The meat appears darker than what you’d find at your typical supermarket deli counter — marooon instead of standard pale red. But it also carries a premium flavor, based on taste factors including aroma, texture, fat, mouthfeel and more.
Most beef in stores comes from cattle less than 2 years old. Butter meat is typically 5 to 7 years old bringing out flavors not found in typical beef.
Gould is an Elba native who grew up in farming, while her husband Steven is part of Har-Go Farms in Pavilion. He’s the one who selects the cows.
“There’s a lot changing in beef right now and 20 percent of the beef in the U.S. is already dairy breeds, Holsteins and Jerseys and things like that,” Gould said. “I think the region has incredible farmers. We’re very talented, and it was like why not position this as the premium product, educate people about the flavor profile, and try to be the leader in sustainable beef?”
Beyond beef, the Butter Meat Company also makes it a point to offer local and regionally-produced food items — offerings such as New York ketchup, malt Worcestershire sauce, and Morton Salt from the plant in Silver Springs. It’s about flavor and nuance for Gould, and she enjoys making it available for the public.
For the more-adventurous, the Butter Meat Co. also offers beefheart, tongue, oxtail, suet and similar cuts rarely found in stores anymore.
Even her cutting board is made from slate locally produced in the Adirondacks.
And people are enjoying the chance to taste the flavor.
Gould said Jersey steaks — a bit smaller in size — have proven popular among retirees, and the hot dogs are also big sellers.
She also aims to offer conventional meat, and will further hone the store as its grand opening approaches sometime in spring.
“These animals are in our neighborhood basically,” Gould said. “So why not celebrate and eat them? It’s such a big industry so ...
“I like knowing the supply chain,” she continued. “I buy these technically from my in-laws and husband. I know who slaughtered them and butchered them, and I’m selling it, so I can really feel confident how the animal was treated through the entire process.”
The Butter Meat Co. is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays.
For more information check www.buttermeatco.com, or the Butter Meat Co. Facebook and Instagram pages.