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Meat like no other- the University of Florida's Meat Market.

Maybe you're planning a special dinner, or maybe need the perfect steak for Valentine's day? Well some say look no further than the University of Florida's own Meat Market.

Every Friday locals flock to get some of the freshest meat in town. Not a lot of people know about the market but some customers are saying the flavor is very distinct and that's because of the dry-aging process it goes through. But what else makes it good?

"Locally raised right here in Gainesville, University of Florida," UF Lab Technician Tommy Estevez said. "We take a lot of pride in it. We produce a good product. And the customers that purchase from us, they love us, they come back for more."

Customers say they have top-notch meat. "The meat is trimmed to a whole different standard then what you would find in a big store or a box store. It's some of the best meat we've ever seen," Mike Joyner said.

"Our beef has the tendency to be a little sweeter, more beefier, intense flavor. It taste like it used to taste 40 years," said Estevez.

For decades UF has produced beef and pork for the community to enjoy, with a flavor you can't find anywhere else. And at the university the animals are pasture-raised, dry-aged in a cooler that creates it's distinct taste. While most meats found at large retailers are boxed up, pre-cut and aged in a vacuum bag.

"We're not killing 10,000 animals a day. I might kill five a week. So we got less hands on, like I said we have a handful of us that touch the meat. But in the industry there might be 400 people touching one piece of meat," said Estevez.

Only a few faculty member work in the meat processing center with a large amount of effort provided by students, with many in the beginning have no experience.

Morgan Gravely a student worker said they are apart of the process from start to finish. "There's a lot of cutting wrapping and a lot of cleaning involved. But we all get to do a little of everything, which is really cool." I think a lot of people it's something they just fall into (on experience). There are a lot of people that are going into the meat industry once they graduate. Then there a lot of people that aren't even animal science majors. So some are looking to make a career out of this and others just think it's a really cool thing to do."

Workers at the market have their regulars and hope the good word continues to spread. The UF Meat Market is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Friday except holidays and is located at 2250 Shealy Dr. (on the side of the building). Word is, it's best to go early before things sell out!


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