Fred Nuxoll starts his Saturday morning with breaking down a side of beef into its different cuts.

Nuxoll Food Center has always focused on providing local meat and produce – even before it became fashionable to consume locally produced food.

Third generation owner Fred Nuxoll Jr. is as focused on local foods as his father and grandfather were in their own day.

“We’ve always done that,” he said. “We’ve always had loyal people we’ve bought off of, and we’ve always had a good product … We know what we’re looking for.”

The grocery store, located at 1211 S. Banker, features local beef and pork, as well as Miller Farms Amish chicken from Orland, Indiana. Also for sale are local rabbits, ducks and more.

Nuxoll is impressed with the high quality of beef he gets in central Illinois.

“It’s a high quality beef, good marbling,” he said. “We have good people who have good beef here.”

When the farmer feeds his or her own grain to their livestock, it helps the farmer keep the costs down, which means Nuxoll can save his customers money as well.

He also enjoys the little something extra local farms offer over factory farms states away.

“These aren’t big factory farms, they’re small farmers,” he said. “They take more pride in their livestock, and I think that gives it better flavor too.”

When he can’t get away from the store to check out livestock himself, Nuxoll has a handful of head hunters he trusts to look for the best quality meats.

“They know how many pounds I want, and how prime the meat is,” he said. “They’ve always been local beef buyers also, and they know what they’re looking for.”

As for produce, he looks for that as locally as possible too, and the community provides that opportunity.

“I’m getting produce off local farmers just south of town, such as zucchini, squash, cucumbers and tomatoes,” he said.

And soon he’ll have some even more locally – from an employee’s large “wonderful” garden. From that plot, he’ll have more squash, tomatoes and zucchini, as well as green beans, eggplant, fresh herbs and more.

Nuxoll was a partner at the inception of Altamont High School’s supplementary garden, and intended to purchase any spare produce they had at the end of the year. The first-year garden didn’t produce as much as anyone had hoped, he said, but he’s got his fingers crossed for next year’s harvest.

“I look forward to the Altamont school garden,” he said.

Nuxoll Food Center has been busy this summer, and Nuxoll himself looks forward to what the rest of the season brings.

“We have it all,” Nuxoll said. “It just depends on what you’re looking for.”

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