IN THE face of rapidly rising wholesale prices for beef, successful mid-sized retailers like NSW’s Harris Farm Markets are working hard this winter to build awareness and customer support for versatile and relatively inexpensive secondary cuts.
Harris Farm operates a network of 22 up-market fresh food and grocery outlets across NSW – some featuring in-store butcheries, including full-service and cutting to customer requirements. Harris Farm also operates a thriving online retail business.
The outlets carry an extensive conventional and Certified Organic beef range, both fresh and value-added. HW Greenham’s Cape Grim grassfed brand out of Tasmania features prominently, as does Lachlan Graham’s Argyle Meats.
Last week the company launched its ‘Curious Cuts’ promotion, showcasing four lesser known beef cuts which are ideal for winter slow cooking and braising, and which the company says can “help cut grocery bills.”
“If you’ve never said ‘chuck another bavette on the barbie’, you might be soon, because Harris Farm Markets aims to change perceptions about secondary meat cuts by launching a selection of unusual items not widely sold in Australian supermarkets,” last week’s promotional launch said.
The company suggested there were three good reasons to add ‘Curious Cuts’ to the shopping basket:
- They’re good for farmers: Encouraging local consumption of secondary cuts would ensure less of the animal is sold below production cost in export markets, economically benefiting Aussie farmers by increasing the value of the whole animal
- They’re good for the planet: By advocating ‘nose-to-tail’ eating, Harris Farm Markets said it aimed to reduce the amount of meat turned into pet food and low value by-products, ensuring valuable production resources won’t be wasted and increasing the environmental sustainability of the meat industry
- They’re good for Aussie shoppers: The ‘Curious Cuts’ range would be kinder to shopper’s hip pockets, being up to 30 percent cheaper than premium grilling cuts offering a “deliciously interesting alternative.”
Click the image below to view a short video of Harris Farms’ ‘Curious Cuts’ campaign.
Harris Farm’s ‘Curious Cuts’ range includes four premium grassfed cuts from Cape Grim, including brisket, chuck rib, bavette (aka skirt) and tri-tip.
Meat and Livestock Australia technical support manager Doug Piper commended Harris Farms’ introduction of its Curious Cuts program, saying it was essential that retailers start driving Australian domestic demand for beef cuts that are not as popular as grilling cuts like traditional eye fillet or sirloin steak.
“The introduction of Curious Cuts will help strengthen the local meat industry by encouraging the consumption of the whole beast on-shore, increasing its value while reducing the amount of production resources wasted,” he said.
Harris Farm Markets meat buyer Antony Williams said with wholesale beef prices having risen by more than 30 percent in the last six months, re-valuing secondary cuts was a ‘no-brainer’ as they would save shoppers money – and when cooked well, were just as tasty as premium cuts.
“It’s a win, win for everyone,” he said.
Last year, Harris Farm Markets launched ‘Imperfect Picks’ to start a conversation about food waste in the fruit and vegetable industry, and said it was now seeking to continue that conversation with the goal of improving the sustainability of the meat industry, through the introduction and popularisation of Curious Cuts.
“It’s time to start changing consumer perceptions of secondary meat cuts, which will ultimately benefit the planet and our Aussie farmers, while also being great for shoppers,” Harris Farm Markets chief executive Tristan Harris said.
“It’s our responsibility as a food supplier to start this movement.”
What’s on show under the ‘Curious Cuts’ campaign
Here’s a sample of items featured in Harris Farm’s ‘Curious Cuts’ promotion:
Beef brisket: Beef brisket is a full-flavoured cut that lends itself to many international cuisine styles from Japanese to US barbeque. Beef brisket is a star of the US barbecue scene, particularly in the southern states, where rubs and marinades add regional flavours before the brisket is ‘smoked’ slowly over wood or charcoal. Like most red meat cuts, brisket should be rested before serving. It is commonly cut into squares to serve, when consistent presentation is required. (Click on each image for a larger view).
Beef chuck rib: Traditionally popular in countries like Korea and Japan, beef chuck ribs are increasing in popularity all over the globe. The larger scale and fat content makes chuck ribs a near foolproof cut that delivers tender results every time. For best results, marinate short ribs with a wet or dry rub before barbequing, or alternatively braise the ribs for meat that literally falls off the bone.
Beef bavette: The bavette (more commonly known as skirt) is an extremely versatile cut of meat; long and flat with coarse grain running across the entire muscle. This means the meat is perfect for marinating, yet firm enough that it won’t collapse during the process and subsequent cooking. Bavette also reacts well to a good naked flame where it is cooked fast – just be sure to cut across the grain.
Beef Tri-tip: The tri-tip has nearly always been sold in butcher shops, however it has been sold still connected to the other rump muscles. The tri-tip is located at the bottom of the rump. Not only does it have a rich flavour, but also tends to be lower in fat than most other cuts. The tri-tip is extremely versatile and can be cooked sliced or whole. Because it is lean, be careful not to overcook it – medium is as far as you should go.
About Harris Farm Markets
Harris Farm Markets operates 22 up-market fresh food and grocery outlets across NSW, plus a thriving online business.
Established by David and Cathy Harris as a single store 44 years ago, the business continues to be family-owned and operated. It employs 1000 permanent and part-time staff, and claims to serve 11 million customers each year. Headquartered at Sydney’s Flemington Markets, the company claims to be Australia’s largest individual (non-corporate) retailer of fruit and veg.
Click here to view more about Harris Farms and its Curious Cuts campaign.