Friday, August 24, 2012

A Bit about My Favorite Butcher, Miss Em

One of the most colorful people in my life just had a birthday and in honor of this occasion I thought I'd share a little about my friend Miss. Em. 

When I first came to Paonia Emily was living in a garage that she retrofitted into her home. Chickens pecked and pooped at our feet as we ate dinner. She butchered a deer at the foot of her bed without hesitation. I could barely touch the deer or hide my disbelief as blood trickled onto her floor. 

Open Emily's fridge to find several freshly butchered chickens strung up and cooling. A smattering of animal hides cure outside. On her farm Emily cares for her goats, chickens, sheep, and cats with ferocity. She's a bastion for diligence. The pains she takes to provide her heard and her flocks with a nutrient dense, GMO free diet has earned her respect from farmers and visitors alike. She makes all of her own feed. She milks. She fixes fences and brings her goats to pasture. And the girl can butcher. Though her eggs are double the price of other distributors, she typically cannot meet consumers demands. Everyone knows that her eggs are the best.

The work Emily does is not easy. It is not quick or convenient. There is no time for vacations or all-night dinner parties. Em seems to be on-call, ready at any moment to tend to the dead. Most overlook this type of food production in favor of a clean kill.  Emily uses  the entirety of animals in her butchering work, a practice that many appreciate in theory yet few are willing to take the painstaking time this requires. The work she puts into her animals and into her butchering expresses a remarkable reverence for life and I admire her for her dedication to such humane work. 

Emily butchering. I will add that Emily grew up just outside of Philly. We went to college together. Her knowledge and skill are born from passion and self-study.
Beautiful Em. I think Adam M. gets photo cred for this one

Photo: Trenton Barnes

Photo: Trenton Barnes

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