Finally, Park Slope has a butcher shop where they do some actual butchering!
Brooklyn’s first outpost of Fleisher’s, a conscientious — and consciousness raising — Hudson Valley meat retailer and butchery, has opened on Fifth Avenue between Union and Sackett streets.
“We use healthy, local, sustainable animals only, and we never buy parts — only whole animals,” said Joshua Applestone, who runs the seven-year-old business with his wife, Jessica. “And we use every last part. It’s not just the art of butchery that’s been lost, it’s caring about what happens to every single part of that animal.
“Our line is, we don’t sell meat, we sell trust,” he added.
It’s not just a catchphrase. It’s news you can use. Applestone says that he encourages a dialogue with his customers so that they can ask about cuts they’ve never seen.
“The more they ask, the more they learn,” said Applestone, whose retail store comes after years of selling sustainable, hormone and antibiotic-free meats to local restaurants such as The Farm on Adderly in Ditmas Park and The Meat Hook in Williamsburg. “The more they learn, the better off they are. We love that!”
Tenth Street resident Ondie Israel currently turns to Fresh Direct for her hormone and antibiotic free-meat, but she welcomes the chance to get better acquainted with her groceries again.
“There was a culture that was part of getting our food when I was growing up,” she said. “I remember going to the butcher store with my mother, and getting handed a piece of bologna. Now everything is butchered behind the scenes, sold in big stores and wrapped up in cellophane. There’s a total disconnect.”
Pasture-raised, grass-fed meat — with a side of great customer service — costs approximately 15 percent more at Fleisher’s than at most supermarket chain stores, but Applestone argues that good-for-you, good-for-the-environment beef needn’t be an indulgence only for the well off.
“Meat is expensive, but we also think people eat too much of it,” he said. “You don’t need a whole rib-eye or a huge burger. You don’t have to sacrifice eating well. Everyone would be better off just to eat a little less.”
An improbable statement coming from a butcher, but Applestone is proud to have made a meaty living doing — and saying — exactly what he believes in.
“We’re not corporate people. We’re just trying to feel good about ourselves,” said Applestone.
Fleisher’s [192 Fifth Ave. between Union and Sackett streets in Park Slope, (718) 398-6666].