On Your Table: The Country Butcher keeps it local

Locally sourced foods and old-fashioned service make for a Kennett standout

By Cathy Branciaroli, Food Correspondent, The Times


Dan Boxler of the Country Butcher in Kennett shows off his case of dry aged beef. The shop has been a staple in southern Chester County for a generation and features locally grown and raised foods combined with attentive customer service.

KENNETT — Stepping into the Country Butcher shop in Kennett Square is like a blast from the past.  The place is filled with locally grown produce, cheeses made in Chester and Lancaster Counties, meats from area farmers along with freshly made sandwiches, baked goods and deli items.  The employees are knowledgeable and helpful. You almost can’t help yourself, loading up a grocery bag full of ingredients to prepare for dinner tonite, or maybe tomorrow.

Myself, it was the dry aged beef.  More specifically it was the dry aged rib-eye.  Owner Dan Boxler, who was born and raised in the area and has been running the business with his wife Dorothy since 1982, helped me pick out and purchase two huge bone-in cowboy steaks to take home to my meat-loving husband.   When I got home, we browned them in a cast iron skillet then threw them in the oven for a few minutes while my husband sautéed Kennett Square button mushrooms with white wine and Dijon mustard to use as a sauce.  A simple salad with spring lettuce and balsamic dressing finished the meal.

Dining on dry aged beef is an experience worth having.  Dry aging changes beef in two ways. First, moisture is evaporated from the muscle. This concentrates the flavor and taste. Second, the beef’s natural enzymes break down the connective tissue in the muscle, which leads to a more tender cut of meat.

The process of dry aging usually also promotes growth of a certain mold on the external surface of the meat. This does not cause spoilage, but actually forms an external crust on the meat’s surface, which Dan was kind enough to trim off so that the meat was prepared for roasting.

During my visit and while Dan and I were discussing what cuts of meat might be the best choice, a long-time customer, Walt Wrzesniewski weighed in on what makes the place special.  He said that quality and enthusiasm differentiates The Country Butcher. He especially praised sincere employees for their helpful attention.

The Country Butcher was built on the simple idea that their customers value the very finest quality foods in a welcoming and warm environment. They started by offering their customers the first USDA prime meats available in the area. In addition to the meats, they also offer 17 varieties of hand-made sausages, including a chopped brisket filled Philly Steak variety as well as healthier chicken and turkey options.

“The place is built around the meat” but we’ve expanded with the deli and bakery,” Dan told me.  “We buy sides of beef from area farmers and do our own processing.  We know the breed, the history of the farmer and how the meat was raised or fed.  More than ever, folks want to know about what they are buying.  Customers are health conscious and are knowledgeable about what they are purchasing.  They also want to purchase from local growers.”

Indeed, my friend Susan Hoffman, of Over the Top Farm, provides locally grown eggs from free range heritage chickens in season. “Right now, the girls aren’t laying too much but they will be come spring,” she told me.  “They need stronger and more sustained sunshine so that they will be inspired to lay eggs.  But it will be worth the wait.  The yolks from these eggs are the color of sunshine.”

I don’t know about you, but locally grown meat, eggs from free range chickens and local produce make for a wonderful menu at breakfast, lunch or dinner.

The Country Butcher Market is located at 145 S. Walnut Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348 and is open Tues. – Thurs. 8 – 6 , Friday 8 – 7, Saturday 8 – 4.  The café is open from 7am.  Both establishments are closed Sunday & Monday. Telephone is 610.444.5980.

Cathy Branciaroli also writes about her adventures in the kitchen on her blog Delaware Girl Eats


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