The Conscious Carnivore, in Madison, Wisconsin, is a butcher shop that provides expertise to help customers be more knowledgeable about what and how they eat. The store on University Avenue was the first retail outlet for Black Earth Meats (Black Earth, Wisconsin), the first humane certified, USDA processor in the area. With a growing demand of Madison-area consumers for grass fed beef and pastured pork, The Conscious Carnivore opened with a mission to educate the home cook.

At The Conscious Carnivore, customers find meat that is locally-sourced, healthy, and handled properly. From local animal harvesting and processing to on-site, high quality butchering and packaging, The Conscious Carnivore can ensure certified organic, grass fed, and healthy meats through its self-contained supply chain. All animals are sourced from Wisconsin and the Driftless area, and since the forced closing of the Black Earth facility, we work with local, state-inspected abattoirs to ensure our animals are slaughtered humanely.

Then there is the fish! While we can’t source local, wild-caught ocean salmon, we are working with a Madison-based fisherman who brings back his catch from Alaska. You will appreciate the quality, flavor, and care of Bering Bounty’s salmon, cod, crab and other specialty fish.

We encourage you to attend our various workshops, tastings, and classes on proper cooking and meat cutting techniques. Talk with our staff about antibiotics in animal agriculture (and why we are against them), heritage breeds, and local sourcing. Work through your recipes and menus with us — we are here to help! Pull up a chair, open a beer, and read through our library. Kids are welcome to color at our big kitchen table and we are always happy to connect with you.

We believe it is time to recapture the power of cooking, of connecting with family and friends over a home cooked meal. As we say, “Let’s slow down and eat good food!”

-Bartlett Durand

The Zen Butcher