WHY SHOULD I BUY HOPCOTT BEEF?
A Better Choice – At no time have any of our animals been implanted with growth additives, hormones or fed antibiotics. They are fed a specially formulated vegetarian diet of the cleanest and highest quality grain and a mixture of our home grown Non-GMO corn & grass silage.
Traceability – All our cattle are born on one of three select ranches within the interior of BC that we personally know and visit each year. In accord with federal regulations, each animal is tagged with a scannable RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) ear tag. This traceability system allows us to identify our animals and their origins.
Local – Once our cattle reach our farm in Pitt Meadows, they stay here. They are processed in a local federally inspected plant, delivered to our store and then to our farm.
Taste & Quality – Our beef is Canada Grade AAA. As opposed to other meat producers who cryovac and wet-age their beef, our meat is hung on the rail and dry-aged 21 to 28 days, resulting in a tastier more tender cut of beef. We do not ever need to needle or blade tenderize our beef.
Our Service – We pride ourselves on great service and having knowledgeable team members. As we are a custom-cut butcher shop, and have access to the entire animal, our butchers are more than happy to cater to special requests. Need help or cooking tips, just ask. We’re always here to help.
In a quick pitch, tell me what differentiates your business?
In a world of big business, fast food and over-processed foods, we’re really just a small traditional family trying to bring back the good old fashioned days, at least with the food we eat. The quality of our products has everything to do with our farming history and the importance of supporting our community and other local farmers. The passion we have for farming, and the growing and raising of amazing products, can be seen in everything that we do.
- we raise our beef without added hormones, steroids or antibiotics
- we feed our animals a high roughage diet of our own Non-GMO corn & grass grain
- we dry-age (21 to 28 days for maximum tenderness & flavor)
- we put in extra care with respect to how we cut our meat and present it, wrapped in traditional brown paper
Our dedication to supporting ‘’all things local’ is evident throughout the store, from the chicken & pork we source, to the breads, produce, and dairy. Our reputation is very important to us, so we strive to only carry consistently fresh products and place great importance on excellent customer service.
What is your aging process? What makes your meat different than, say, beef from Alberta?
We use the traditional method of dry aging our beef by hanging in on the rail for 21 to 28 days. This process allows the natural enzymes to slowly tenderize the meat and evaporate moisture to create a more concentrated and enhanced depth of flavour. This is not the most economical process, as lose 6 to 8% of weight per carcass. Most large meat processors wet-age their beef in cryovac bags to expedite the aging process.
Also, we don’t need to mechanically tenderize (a common practice known as blade or needle) our meat as it encourages the risk of E. Coli contamination.
If you find beef in Alberta that is dry-aged, it would probably taste good as well. But we ask, why buy from Alberta when you can buy local?
Is Hopcott beef certified organic?
No. The only difference is that our cattle are not fed organic grain and, therefore, is not certified organic. We refer to our beef as natural.
Is your corn Non-GMO?
Yes. The corn we plant and then harvest to feed our animals is Non-GMO.
In regards to past beef recalls, should I be concerned when buying from Hopcott's?
The cleanliness of our store is one of our top priorities. At the end of every day, all the equipment is sprayed with antibacterial foam, and then pressure washed. After being squeegeed dry, the entire cutting room is sprayed with sanitizer. Plus, our retail area is cleaned and sanitized every night. This is why we continue to, consistently, receive low hazard ratings from Fraser Health’s food inspectors.
Do you sell your beef at any other locations or deliver?
Unfortunately, at this time, we do not distribute our beef at other locations. We have thought about opening a second location or expanding into more wholesale customers; however, consistent quality and presentation is very important to us, and we’re afraid of losing sight of it if we expand too quickly. That being said expansion and selling our products at other grocery locations is still an option and one that we continue to explore. We are selling at some Farmers Markets, and will be continuing to expand that area. Delivery is also an option within our wholesale department. If you sign up for our newsletter, we will keep you informed of updates!
Explain to me the methods you use to raise your beef.
The cattle are born on one of three ranches within the interior of B.C. While on the ranches, the cattle are forage grass-fed. At seven to nine months, they are transported by truck to our farm where they are fed a high roughage diet of our own farm-grown corn and grass silage, mixed with grain. At no time are they implanted with hormones, steroids or antibiotics. Studies show that added hormones has a negative impact on tenderness, so the flavour of our beef is maximized, allowing our beef to reach Canada Grade AA and AAA. When they are about 16 to 18 months, the cattle are transported by truck to a slaughterhouse, about 5 km away and then brought back to our store. As the cattle do not travel great distances, there incur low stress, and help by reducing our carbon footprint.
How old are the cattle when they are slaughtered?
About 15 to 20 months old.
What breed are your cattle?
They are composed of the most common breeds in the beef industry, which includes Charolais, Angus, Hereford, and Simmental.
How are your animals slaughtered? What are your ethical practices?
While on the farm, we take great care in the well being of our animals. Farming is our life and the animals are a major part of that.
Our animals are slaughtered at a provincially inspected plant here in Pitt Meadows. It is a small family owned and operated operation, ensuring that more time and greater care can be spent with the animals. It is also a Halal certified facility, governed by Canadian law.
Do you use ractopamine in the cattle feed? What about the pork?
We do not use ractopamin in the cattle feed and neither does Johnston’s BC Pork.
Why don't you always carry the same selection of fruits and veggies?
As our focus is on local, we strive to carry local, in-season fruits and veggies. We’ll go as far as turning B.C. over, down to California, but then we strive to only bring in organic or specialty items. We aim to source a larger selection, and with the addition of our produce cooler, we are now able to offer more variety and maintain freshness. If there’s an item you really want to see, please send us an email and we’ll see what we can do!
I am celiac. Do you have any products that are safe for me to consume?
All our beef, chicken and pork is gluten-free. Some of our meats have a marinade which contain gluten but most do not. We also have many gluten-free items that we make in- house including fresh sausages, beef jerky, steak bites, pepperoni, deli meat, hams, corned beef and a large selection of cold smoked sausages, smokies, hot dogs & bacon. To add to this list, we carry gluten-free grocery items, such as sauces, rubs, marinades, soups and more. And then of course, we have our produce.
I’ve heard that raw dog food is great for my animal, but that he can get a stomach ache. Is this true?
Every dog is different. Some can handle the raw dog food, or smoked dog bones, and some can’t. We recommend checking with your veterinarian before introducing new foods.
Isn’t it a farce to say antibiotic-free for your meat when Canadian law dictates this anyway?
There’s no Canadian law to say you can’t give beef cattle antibiotics, hormones or steroids. We choose not to.
Chicken and pork is all hormone free, as per Canadian regulations. But can still be given antibiotics. They are fed a wheat based diet and are grown by local farmers. More information can be found at www.farmfed.ca
Our pork is fed a purely vegetarian diet and is raised by local farmers. More information can be found on the FAQ Pork page at www.johnstons.ca
What your environmental practices? How do you reduce carbon footprint?
Our butchers and staff are trained to waste as little as possible. What doesn’t qualify for our fresh meat case, we use in our deli products and home-meal replacement program. And then, whatever doesn’t qualify for this, we use in our raw dog food. We even smoke our beef bones and sell them as dog bones.
We use proper recycling practices for our cardboard, plastic and bottles.
We also use Earth Smart cleaning products for the front store and cutting room.
Also, because our cattle are born within a few hours’ drive, our farm is next door to our store, and the slaughterhouse is in the same city, there is minimal driving needed, thus reducing our carbon footprint.