Monday, May 30, 2011

Operation Grassroots Alaska: Mat-Valley Meats

This week's highlight for "Operation:  Grassroots Alaska" is on a business that I have not used enough the past decade that I've lived here:  Mat-Valley Meats.  Honestly, I had no idea that we had a full service butcher in the Valley until my husband pointed them out to me when we were on our way to the Creamery on our way home one day and he asked me if I wanted to stop in and get some steaks.  Yes, I used to travel on the Palmer-Wasilla highway that seldom.

Mat Valley Meats is the only full service, old-fashioned meat market in Alaska's Matanuska Valley. They offer not only a storefront (located over by the bus barn in Wasilla, just a stone's throw from the Mat-Valley Creamery actually) that is like your old time meat market/butcher shops, but they also offer meat processing in-house as well, so you can get your wild games processed and turned into sausage and stuff like that. They are also the only place I've found in the Valley that sells Porterhouse steaks, which is awesome because it'll save me a trip into Eagle River to buy some for my anniversary :).

Mat-Valley Meats has something else that just intrigued me when I went and checked out their website. They have meat PACKAGES! I looked over what they offered for meat packages with my husband and we decided that if the package contained good tasting meats, the Family Package would work well for us for a package to pick up once every couple of months, which would in turn take care of our meat purchases (pretty much anyway) for a couple of months and thus keep me from having to run to the store to buy meat (and in turn pick up impulse buys while I was there) and save some money.

So, I went in a couple of weeks ago and bought us the Family Package of meat and I have to say the things I've made so far are pretty DARN good. I made the round steaks we got on the grill without marinating them first, which was PROBABLY not the wisest course of action (lots of connective tissue in that cut of meat of course). Although chewy as all get out, the meat was still darn tasty :). The pork chops I've made out of the package were awesome and the hamburger was really good too. So, so far, so good on making a wise purchase that way.

If you are in Wasilla, I'd encourage you to go in and check their storefront out. They are now even open on Sundays from 11 to 5, so you'll have plenty of time to check their store out during the week. Their prices are almost the same per lb as what I've seen at Fred Meyer...okay a little bit higher, but still worth it for the quality of meat in my opinion.  And the people who work there are SUPER nice (the gal that helped me even helped me carry my meat out and put it in my car :) and super helpful (I asked what she considered the best value meat package was and she's the one who suggested the family pack over the budget pack).  If you buy their packages of meat you also get a discount as well, so keep that in mind as well. Like I spent 169.00 on the Family Package and that comes with...

2 lb Bacon
2 lb Breakfast Sausage
10 lb Lean Ground Beef
5 lb Whole Chicken
6 lb Chuck Roast
3 lb Sirloin Roast
2 lb Sirloin Steak
2 lb Round Steak
5 lb Pork Chops
3 lb Ribs
3 lb Pork Roast
2 lb Italian Sausage

Trust me, it doesn't seem like that much meat on paper but if you check out the picture above that's what my actual meat package contained when I got it home and out of the box (I think...I put it all in the freezer and sort of forgot to take a picture, so I had to pull everything back out of the freezer later, so it might be missing a few things :).

If you have a tremendous lack of options for meat where you are located, Mat-Valley meats will ship their meat packages within the state of Alaska.  You can order online and pick up the order at the store or you can ship it to your location (they'll contact you with your actual freight charge).

So, final verdict?  I definitely plan to go back to Mat-Valley Meats for my meat purchases in the future (well, except for probably chicken since I can still get that pretty cheap with whole chickens on sale at Freds or Carrs :) and I look forward to doing business with them again. 

So, why not go and look up the local butcher in your area and see what they have to offer?  Support your local Alaskan businesses (and if you find a good butcher shop you'd like to support e-mail me and I'll highlight them here too :) and get some good quality meat while you are at it.  Enjoy all!

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