I love a passionate and inspired person. Most likely because I am one and I recognise the traits of hard work and an enthusiasm that make for success, and Gary Jackson, owner of Jackson’s Real Food Market in Bryanston is just that.
Jackson’s believe in being REAL about their food and produce – and that literally means honest, delicious, good-for-you food of the finest quality you’ll find anywhere in the country.
The store (which is a foodie shoppers dream by the way) is literally bursting at the seams with produce that is supplied directly by small local farmers and suppliers with good old-fashioned principles.
Now in it’s 3’rd year of operation, and including a premises change to increase the size of the store relative to the demand from it’s clientele, Jackson’s stocks nothing but the best – and that’s the best in taste, quality, value for money and nutritional value as well.
“It’s all about keeping customers thrilled and exceeding their wildest expectations.” says Gary.
I met up with Gary recently to chat a bit further about his latest crusade – The Real Beef Revolution. Gary believes in only the best, and this is why he has partnered up with a few like minded other retailers to get to get his suppliers/farmers/meat processors on the same page.
It’s not about the breed, or the taste – but the wellness of the animal will directly translate to tasty beef, and healthy beef too.
Gary and his team have met with some local farmers and meat processors and restaurants to work together on a new project in the Eastern Cape.
Cattle in the Eastern Cape have been roaming with small farmers for years around the country, eating whatever they can, but as food is scarce, that is all the animals focus on – getting food all day, no time to rest or play.
Regenerative farming is the term they use, and it is unique. The idea being that farmers get together as a group, and using a piece of land, which can be divided up in to a pie shape, a central water hole being the middle of the pie, a long piece of electric wire at just about ankle height and some animals – they get started.
The animals are kept in one “pie” wedge for a week, eating what is available, their hooves mix up the soil, the effluent produced get mixed in to the soil like manure as they walk up and down.
Acting like weed eaters, the animals cut down the grass, preparing the ground for when the rains come – the soil is now broken up and ready to receive the much needed water.
At the end of the week, the electric wire is picked up and moved over to the next wedge, and the process begins again. The animals are not eating off the same area for months, allowing the soil to rest and regenerate. And so it goes on.
Look at the difference on the same piece of land a year later in the piccie above!!!
Gary noticed that the animals, so used to having to scrounge for food, instead are now eating their fill, and then playing, with each other, running up and down, being happy and this leads to a healthier cow that lives longer.
A cow can only live as long as it has teeth to chew it’s food – constantly eating wears down the teeth and the animals life span is shortened – now farmers are finding that their stock are living longer, are healthier and heavier and getting a better price at the market.
Whats more the meat is more succulent, there is more meat as opposed to bone and fat, and it’s healthier – no need for medicines if the cattle are healthy, right?
Grain fed versus grass fed – the picture below says it all, no more words needed:
The Grass Fed Association have joined in and support this initiative whole-heartedly, which is something that is important, and slowly Gary and his team are starting to shift the mind set of not only the farmers and the meat processors, but also the consumers.
Listening to Gary speak, I was actually starting to feel ill when he told me how many South African’s – myself included purchase solely on price as they have no other option – but we have no idea where that meat has come from – the condition of the farm, the cattle, the amount of vaccines or medicines that have been administered to the animal, cattle have measles when they are slaughtered – you just don’t know, and that is exactly the point.
To be able to know where your meat comes from, what condition it is in, and to pay the same as you would in a normal super market – well, now that is a no brainer!!
I am seriously impressed with the passion and energy that Gary is adding to this project, and hope that very soon we will ALL be able to know exactly where our meat comes from, and what we are putting in to our bodies.
For not only great meat, but loads of other healthy and organic goodies, make sure to pay them a visit:
A: 300 Bryanston Drive, Bryanston, entry on St James Crescent
T: 011 463 1598