Choosing Quality Meat and Fish with Emma Pike of Farmer’s Market – EP015

 In Podcast

Do you know what to look for when you choose meat from the butcher? What characteristics reveal quality and freshness? And how do you interpret the different grading systems? As we work to be more conscious consumers who consider the source of the food we eat, a basic understanding of label designations and the attributes of quality meat become necessary.




Emma Pike is the director of Farmer’s Market, a premium online butcher based in Hong Kong. The products are all naturally farmed from sustainable sources, and include fresh Australian beef, lamb, pork, salmon, chicken and duck. Farmer’s Market seeks to bring restaurant quality products to the retail market at an affordable price, offering traceability and a high level of customer service.

When Emma moved to Hong Kong twelve years ago, she had access to quality meat at a reasonable price. But over the years, she noticed a decline in the quality without a reduction in price. On a mission to know where the meat she was feeding her kids originated, Emma started importing product from Australia as a hobby and sharing with friends. As others caught wind of the venture, it expanded to become Farmer’s Market. Today she shares an explanation of meat grading systems, the differences between farmed and wild salmon, and her advice around choosing the best fish and meat. Listen in to get educated about labels and the importance of knowing where your meat came from!

Topics Covered

[1:25] The differences in quality of meats

  • Much variation
  • Flavor, texture affected by environment where raised
[2:02] Why Emma chooses to import from Australia

  • Originally from Australia
  • High standards
  • Strict rules, regulations for exports
[2:33] Where Farmer’s Market meat originates

  • Beef and lamb from Saphire Coast of NSW
  • Fresh salmon from Huon in Tasmania
  • Chicken from Golden Farms in Melbourne
  • Pork from Rivalea in Melbourne
[3:07] The difference between grass-fed and grain-fed meat

  • Grass is natural food, meat contains good fat
  • Grain fattens up animal, meat contains bad fat
  • Look for ‘100% grass-fed’
[4:23] Meat grading systems

  • American system: A, AA, AAA
  • Australian system: MSA 1-5
  • Age: C, SS, PR, PRS
  • Choose AAA, MSA 3-5 and PR/PRS
[8:43] Other labels to consider

  • Organic (may cost more as farms incur fee for ‘certified organic’ designation)
  • Naturally farmed (hormone- and antibody-free, but farm didn’t pay fee)
  • Pasture raised
[9:20] How you can be certain that labels are accurate

  • Traceability (butcher should know location of farm)
[10:43] The quality offered at Farmer’s Market

  • SS, PR and PRS
  • 100% grass-fed
  • Fly chilled (fresh, not previously frozen)
[12:09] The differences between farmed and wild salmon

  • Fewer fish in ocean, environment has changed
  • Some farms better than others
  • Sustainable fish farms give room to grow, control environment and nutrition
  • Farmed salmon contains 16X the PCBs in wild salmon
  • Wild Atlantic salmon 27% Omega-3s, Farmed Atlantic salmon 17% Omega-3s
[16:23] Emma’s advice around choosing the best fish and meat

  • Fish with clear eyes are fresh (avoid cloudy, glossy or missing eyes)
  • Look for rich meat, eye-catching color (spotty meat is older)
  • Don’t be afraid of ribeye with fat running through it
  • Know your cuts
[18:59] The best way to prepare meat

  • BBQ, oven or saucepan
  • Let it rest (take off heat before finished cooking)

Learn More About Emma Pike

Farmer’s Market Website

Resources Mentioned


PCBS in Farmed Salmon

Huon Aquaculture Salmon

Farmed Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids




Recent Posts

Leave a Comment