The Butcher’s Block: What Makes the Cut?

It’s not every grocer that has their own butcher in-store. The fact that we have two – and a first-rate butcher counter – at River Valley speaks volumes: here at Little Farms, only the finest quality meats make the cut. They’re sourced from award-winning family farms in Australia and locally, with most being grass-fed, free-range, and free from hormones and antibiotics.

If it sounds like the standards are high, our butcher Ryan explains why we care so much.


Origin Stories

It begins with knowing why the source of meat matters. “The health benefit of eating meat is that you get the vitamins and irons you need to function day to day,” Ryan explains. However, the common use of synthetic hormones and antibiotics in the farming industry poses serious problems: exposure to them has been shown to increase cancer risk, weight gain and early puberty.

That’s why we’re so careful when it comes to sourcing our own. By being selective in our meats, we can be sure we’re bringing you the healthiest and tastiest options. Grass-fed, for one, is a far more nutritious and natural choice. “Grass is the natural feed for cattle and lamb,” says Ryan, “whereas grains are introduced to speed up the process. When they eat what they’ve always eaten, it doesn’t upset their stomachs or intramuscular fats.”

Likewise, free-range farming is better for animals and for you. “Once you get stress in animals, you start noticing that the tendons disappear, and they get diseases that aren’t normally a part of their lives. When they lead stress-free lives, it doesn’t come through on the meat.”

All this is better for the environment too. “Free-range is probably a good, natural way to keep growth down around the farms. You don’t have to spray herbicides and pesticides all around.” 

A Cut Above

It’s clear from this why Little Farms is a cut above the rest. “What distinguishes us is that we always source from and work with small operators,” emphasises Ryan. “This way, we know whether the products are coming straight from them to us.”

For instance, our Little Joe beef comes from grass-fed cattle in Victoria, Australia, while our King Island beef is grass-fed in Tasmania – “right in the pristine area where all the best tasting, gamey beef comes from”. When it comes to flavour, the numbers add up too: our Wagyu from New South Wales ticks a 4 or 5 on the marble score, and Little Joe beef is the “top 5 percent of the herd”.

Rest assured all our other meats run in the same prestigious league. Our tender lamb is from a small family-owned farm in New South Wales, while our Queensland pork is free-range, hormone- and antibiotic-free, and RSPCA-approved.  

Let’s Meat

So if healthier, tastier, environmentally-friendly meat sounds good to you, drop by River Valley for our newly redecorated butcher counter. You’ll find our butchers Ryan and Henry, ready to round out your grocery trip with the perfect cut.

As for the favourite one on Ryan’s grocery list? “I’m quite partial to the sirloin. I cook it medium rare, 3 or 3 ½ minutes on each side, and then I let it rest.” 

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