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The meat of the matter

Island butchers link consumers to local farmers and processors
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Bachir Boukhoali holds up an entire lamb at his store, the Quadra Village Butcher shop.

Victoria area foodies are blessed in many ways; one of them is in having some of the best independently owned butcher shops in Canada. These shops not only offer top-quality meat and poultry, they also help support agriculture on the Island by buying locally many of the items they sell. If you've yet to discover them, below are short profiles of six butcher shops in Greater Victoria.

SLATER'S FIRST CLASS MEATS

Over the years this wellestablished shop in Oak Bay has developed a loyal following. A testimony to that can be seen just before Christmas, when dozens of customers line up out the door to buy their local turkeys, hams and other fine items, such as Island lamb, duck, pork and wellmarbled beef. Along with other fresh offerings, such as bison, great cheese, pâté, deli meats and sausages, this shop also has a great frozen food section that includes duck confit, meat pies, venison, stews, stock, seafood and much more. Slater's also stocks a deluxe array of bottled condiments, sauces, oils and vinegar. 2577 Cadboro Bay Rd., Oak Bay; 250-592-0823

ORR'S FAMILY BUTCHERS

This family-owned butcher shop opened in Brentwood Bay in 1979. They now have a second location on Quadra Street. They sell prime Alberta beef and get their pork, lamb and poultry from Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley. The Orrs' Scottish heritage is reflected in the specialty items they make and sell, such as sausages, haggis, white puddings, black puddings (also known as blood puddings), Cornish pasties, meat pies, bridies and Scotch eggs. Their ground meat is done in small batches for freshness, and butchers are always at the ready for custom cutting. This shop also sells a wide range of traditional British food products, such as preserves, cookies and tea. Brentwood Bay: 6-7103 West Saanich Rd.; 250-652-3751 Saanich: 2A - 4011 Quadra St.; 250-590-8067 orrsbutchers.com

GLENWOOD MEATS

Glenwood Meats has a 50-plus year history of providing those in the West Shore and beyond with fine quality meat. This shop sells all the things you would expect to find in a butcher shop, such as beef, pork, lamb, poultry, sausages, bacon and deli meats. You can also buy those hard-to-find cuts and other items, such as brisket, flat iron steak, soup bones, ox tail and a range of organ meats. You can even find a goose here. They also sell cheese, and make and sell a range of tasty items inhouse, such as meat pies, stuffed mushrooms and turkey smokies. Beyond the quality products, people say what keeps them going to Glenwood Meats are the affordable prices and exceptional customer service. 245 Parkdale Dr., Langford; 250-478-6328 glenwoodmeats.ca

QUADRA VILLAGE (HALAL) BUTCHER SHOP

This fine butcher shop on Quadra Street, just south of Hillside Avenue, is Victoria's source for halal meat and related products, both fresh and frozen. In Arabic, the word halal means permitted or lawful. With regard to food, it is a reference to those foods allowed under Islamic dietary guidelines. The expertly prepared meat and poultry for sale includes goat, lamb, beef and Cowichan Bay chicken. This shop also sells halal deli meats, prepackaged frozen products, such as sausages and burgers, and some Arabic/Mediterranean-style food products, such as couscous and olives. 2618 Quadra Street, Victoria; 250-361-1200

ISLAND MEAT AND SEAFOOD

This food-filled shop opened last spring and has welcomed a steady stream of customers who live in the Cook Street Village area. They sell locally sourced meat and poultry, such as duck, chicken, beef, pork, bacon and organic lamb from Metchosin. This business says their pride and joy is their fresh sausages. They are made daily and come in 22 different varieties, which are offered on a rotational basis. As you can tell by their name, the other part of this "surf and turf" business is seafood, of which they offer a range of locally harvested items. 307 Cook St.; 250-382-3331 islandmeatandseafood.com

THE VILLAGE BUTCHER Oak Bay village has many well-frequented shops, and this well-stocked butcher shop tucked behind the soon-to-be opened Oak Bay Bistro is one of them. They are most proud of their Island items, which include lamb, pork and chicken, the last raised in Cobble Hill. They are also well known for their large variety of tasty, housemade sausages, which include chorizo, cumberland, lamb and turkey, among others. This butcher shop also sells fine bacon and ham, and they roast their own beef and turkey, which they cool, slice and sell as deli meat. 2250 Oak Bay Ave.; 250-598-1115 eakis@timescolonist.com Eric Akis is the author of the recently published Everyone Can Cook Slow Cooker Meals. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday.

eakis@timescolonist.com

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