UK college runs butcher shop

Jessica Gallager rings up customer Bob Maxwell's purchase in the butcher shop now open in the basement of the Garrigus Building in Lexington, Ky. on Wednesday, February 20, 2013. Photo by Emily Wuetcher | Staff..


By Shelby Streicer | @KyKernel

UK’s College of Agriculture recently opened a butcher shop in the basement of the Garrigus Building.

UK Dining Services paired with the college’s meat lab, where university livestock is butchered and processed, to open the shop.

This collaboration spawned a butcher shop where different meats are sold.

The meats come straight from UK’s farms around Kentucky, said Gregg Rentfrow, a meat science professor for the Department of Animal and Food Science in the College of Agriculture.

Opening the butcher shop has helped agriculture students learn different aspects of meat processing, Rentfrow said.

“We have always taught them starting from the farm gates to the grocery store, and now they get to learn the restaurant part,” Rentfrow said. “They get the chance to see the ‘art’ side of it.”

The shop is open on Wednesdays and Fridays from 1-5 p.m. to the university’s students and faculty as well as the general public.

Rentfrow said its regular customers are UK personnel but he hopes to see more local customers soon.

Customer Bob Maxwell shops in the butcher shop now open in the basement of the Garrigus Building in Lexington, Ky. on Wednesday, February 20, 2013. Photo by Emily Wuetcher | Staff..

“Seventy-five percent of the UK customer traffic are faculty and staff; the rest are a mixture of graduate students and undergrads,” he said.

The shelves in the shop are stocked with tons of different kinds of meats, varying from ground beef and breakfast sausage, which are the top-selling items, to country ham and beef cuts.

Other items sold include pork, lamb, Italian sausage, bacon, salami and bratwurst.

Agriculture education freshman Dustin Ellegood, who works in the shop, said his favorite items to make are the brats.

“It’s really interesting to see the whole process of making it, and obviously they’re really good afterwards,” he said.

Bob Harmon, chairman of the animal and food science department, said he believes the shop has many benefits both for the students and those buying the products.

He said the research done there shows how different diets affect the animals’ nutrition. The students and teachers see how changing the nutrition the animals receive affects the quality of the meat.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are the typical harvesting days for the animals. The animals are killed and processed and brought into the USDA-approved shop for retail, weeks or days later, depending on the type of meat.

Public service and leadership senior TJ Morrison also works in the shop.

“One of the biggest benefits of purchasing these products, I think, is that you know exactly where it comes from,” Morrison said. “These animals are being produced on the UK farms, they’re being processed here at the UK meat lab and you’re buying it from UK. You get to interact with the people that actually process the food, and everything is handmade.”