On Monday night at our local Highland Perthshire NFU branch meeting we were treated to an entertaining and informative talk by our local butcher Rory McDonald of McDonald Bros, Pitlochry and Aberfeldy.
During his talk he butchered a whole lamb in front of us, showing off not only his skills that he’s learned from his father and his grandfather before him, but also his witty sense of humour.
One thing very quickly became apparent, he was absolutely passionate about locally produced food.
This was something he didn’t just preach, he practiced this to the same degree as the previous generations had done so in the business. In fact, the lamb he butchered on Monday night was from a local farm between the two shops.
We as farmers and crofters continue to take a kicking from those ill informed groups that think agriculture is the root of all problems, particularly relevant to climate change.
Yet Rory felt it was a fashion and a fad, and the penny will eventually drop that we are actually designed to eat meat, not only from the point of view that our bodies have the capability to digest meat, but also because our bodies require the nutrients from red meat to maintain a healthy balanced diet, essential for our survival.
It was so pleasing to hear a butcher so upbeat about his industry, with a positive attitude which was full of optimism.
He made so many points that completely chimed with what our thoughts are.
Simple comments such as, ’why would you want to bring food from thousands of miles away when we grow it very efficiently and sustainably right here on our doorstep?’, and ’the best way to mitigate the effects of climate change is to make sure you buy your food locally’.
This is so true, when you think that in years to come water might be the new trading commodity.
Take, for example, all the negative comments said about milk, how uninformed is this? Some are willing to consume almond milk instead of cows’ milk and about 10 per cent of global milk consumption is almond milk.
Interesting stuff when you consider that more than 80 per cent of the world’s almonds are grown in California, somewhere where water shortages are a real problem, and it takes 107 litres of water to produce one litre of almond milk, yet only eight litres of water to produce one litre of cows milk.
So why on earth when water is so precious, should we be depleting these precious reserves in other parts of the world, and cart these products thousands of miles when the one thing we have here in Scotland in abundance is water which allows us to produce high quality food, sustainably.
I guess the moral of all this is to support your local butcher, and whenever possible buy all your consumables locally as this is how we will keep our local economy thriving.