Acme Meat Market Ltd
By Athena Raypold

Born to be a Butcher

As a little boy, Corey Meyer would visit his dad’s butcher shop, Meyer’s Meats, don his miniature apron, “splash a little bit of blood and mess on it, to be like Dad” and do little jobs, like sweeping, while taking lunches in his “office,” the spice storage room. Corey’s drive to become a butcher stemmed from growing up in a German trained meat cutter’s shop – you could say it’s in his blood. And while his dad’s shop ignited his entrepreneurial flame, Jack, the previous owner of Acme Meat Market, mentored Corey as a new butcher and groomed him to take over his family's business.

After high school, Corey went to NAIT and took the their meat cutting course; his first job out of school was at Acme Meat Market and he’s been there for more than 20 years. As his mentor, Jack challenged Corey daily to improve his skills, while modelling the quality workmanship and customer service that Acme Meat Market has been known for since 1921. “When I first started, I gauged how well I was doing by how many times something would be put back in front of me,” says Corey. “I would tie something up and put it in the case, and Jack would come and take it out and put it back in front of me. He would make me figure out what wasn’t good about it; so then I got the feel of it.”

As long as the animal is treated ethically, raised in a proper manner and respected, especially after it’s disposed of – trying to show respect to the animals as much as we can, it was raised for that purpose, so I don’t want anything going to waste. I make sure that everything we carry is used to its fullest and respected. - Corey Meyer, owner
Photo provided by Acme Meat Market

Sourcing from Local, Ethical Farmers

As a neighbourhood butcher, Acme Meat Market takes “big pieces and makes little pieces,” meaning that they don’t raise or slaughter animals. Rather, they build relationships with local farmers that raise animals, sourcing their offerings (which include lamb, veal and grass-fed bison) from people who share their values. Corey seeks out local farms, taking the time to tour their operation and get to know them and how they raise animals and slaughter. “As long as the animal is treated ethically, raised in a proper manner and respected, especially after it’s disposed of – trying to show respect to the animals as much as we can, it was raised for that purpose, so I don’t want anything going to waste. I make sure that everything we carry is used to its fullest and respected,” he says.

While organic is the industry’s current buzzword, Corey chooses to focus on naturally raised animals that “are treated well, that see the light of day” because organic is not always synonymous with ethical or humane. “My old boss used to say, and it’s true, ‘A happy animal tastes better.’ It’s true because if any stress is put on the animal, you can see it in the meat, it does reflect in the meat,” he says. Corey has sourced his grass-fed beef from the Pine Haven Hutterite Colony for years and swears it’s the best grass-fed beef he’s ever seen. “They’ve been doing it for so long now, they choose which animals they use for breeding that are disposed to better marbling and better fat cover on the outside of the animal, so they actually breed those genes into future generations of beef cattle. It’s incredible,” he says.

That said, Acme Meat Market makes their own sausage and occasionally whips up some marinated skewers for customers, but more often than not, “we shy away from doing too many marinades, we like to let the meat speak for itself,” says Corey. “We have the best meat in the world in Alberta – might as well let people taste it.”

Photo provided by Acme Meat Market

Community and Customer Service

In addition to its dedication to quality, ethical raising and respectful treatment of the meat, Acme Meat Market values community, especially Ritchie, which has been its home since the 1980s. “I love this community,” says Corey. “Ritchie is such a great place; it’s one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Edmonton, it’s so steeped in history, and it’s rejuvenating.”

Between spending his childhood in a family butcher shop, and then building his career in a butcher shop, Corey loves the physical nature of the work. He lives to grill delectable meats, beautifully cut by his team, but the real draw is the people. “The staff and the customers keep me rolling out of bed in the morning,” he says. “I’ve been doing this so long, it’s like second nature but the biggest part is that I look forward to coming and hanging out with the crew everyday.”

The congeniality and camaraderie at Acme Meat Market are palpable. From providing suggestions on how best to prepare a cut of meat, to asking what each person is making so they know how best to cut and prep it, the service they provide to their customers continually goes above and beyond, bolstering their beloved reputation as an Edmonton gem.

Photo provided by Acme Meat Market
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