Les Newson, Craig Dudgeon, Laura Blackie and Shane Hickey at The Meat Merchant. Photo: John Gass / Tweed Daily News
Les Newson, Craig Dudgeon, Laura Blackie and Shane Hickey at The Meat Merchant. Photo: John Gass / Tweed Daily News John Gass

Butcher’s new brand is full of great concepts

LONG-TIME Tweed butcher Craig Dudgeon has taken a fresh direction with his entirely free-range, artisan butcher's shop.

The Meat Merchant, inside Coolangatta's newly renovated The Strand shopping centre, boasts a selection of products from his own brand, Byron Bay Free Range Beef, Mr Dudgeon said.

"It's all sourced from within 100km of Byron Bay," he said.

What isn't sourced from this brand is still free range and local where possible, he said.

"It's all about best practice - and low-fuel ks," he said.

Mr Dudgeon began his journey as a butcher two decades ago as an apprentice at Coles at Murwillumbah.

Since then he's owned a plethora of butcher's shops around the shire and had a few stints working for Meat and Livestock Australia.

Recently he said there had been a big shift towards more ethically sourced meat products.

I think it's really important, particularly with everyone being more focused on what they put in their mouth," he said.

"I've found particularly in the last five years people really want to know where their food comes from.

"It's all about having a premium product at a reasonable price."

Mr Dudgeon said aside from a strictly free-range policy, the shop boasted a salami room with vintage salami slicer and a Himalayan rock salt dry-age room for curing meats.

Mr Dudgeon also owns Tweed Coast Meats in Cabarita.

The Meat Merchant is open 7am-7pm (Qld) every day.



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