Catskills Practicum Alum Now Butcher Apprentice at Fleisher's Pasture-Raised Meats
What work do you do and what lessons from Eco Practicum do you apply at your job?
As an Apprentice Butcher for Fleisher’s Meats in Brooklyn, I help butcher lamb, pork, and beef for the Park Slope retail shop. I was deeply influenced by the “Animals” unit of Eco Practicum. That portion of the program was as much emotional as it was educational. Confronting the issues of animals in our food system and experiencing the art of proper full animal butchery opened my eyes to the meat industry and my interest in the craft of butchering animals.
What are the most fulfilling and most challenging parts of what you do?
The most rewarding part of my job is being able to work with my hands all day, being physically active and not being stuck behind a desk. Keeping this age old craft alive and ensuring that the work gets done by hand instead of by machines is also very rewarding. The challenging bit is learning all the the different cuts that can come from each muscle group and the proper way to cook each piece.
Describe a moment or situation that helped you realize your passion?
It was during my time at Eco Practicum when I got to see a lamb slaughter and butchering up close that I was initially drawn to the butcher profession and to the idea that this could be an option for me. It wasn't until after I graduated and was living in Denver, Colorado when I found the opportunity to become a butcher. I discovered Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe in Denver, and after experiencing their shop the desire to train as a butcher took hold. Learning more about Western Daughters I discovered that they were trained in New York by Fleisher’s. It was an easy decision to return to the east coast for their apprenticeship program.
What advice do you have for people looking for meaningful work?
Do something that you find enjoyable, and then do it well enough to be paid for it. Keep improving your skill until it becomes an art. Have your work be in service of others. I feel it's important and beneficial for everyone if your work improves the world around you.
What’s one thing you think everyone should know how to do?
There are lots of things I feel everyone should know, but one specifically is how to cook for yourself. Know how to use common kitchen knives, different methods of cooking on stove top and oven, and how to use spices effectively. Cooking for yourself encourages a better relationship with the food around you and a deeper knowledge about how your food is made.