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Monday, August 5, 2013

Sourcing Our Meat

I feel that our food source is almost more important than what we are eating. I was terribly put off by the meat and poultry industry a while back.  The way our mass farm raised cows and chickens exist is horrific. Besides the fact that they are fed a genetically modified diet of corn, they are subject to dangerous bacteria and live most of their lives knee deep in feces. I say " no thanks".  Chickens and pigs are no different except that some of them never see daylight. Most of the meat and poultry in supermarkets are these animals. I wouldn't even feed this to my dogs.

Because we do enjoy occasional meat ( although less and less for me), we found a beautiful farm here in Berlin, CT. They have a closed source of cattle which are humanely treated and are only grass-fed. They are processed at a reputable facility and we are able to go and see the cows.  We shared a cow with two other families and have a deep freezer of beef we feel safe eating. If I am going to eat beef, it will have to be our cow. I even bring the beef to other people's summer parties.  Not because we are jerks but because we know where it came from and everyone else can enjoy it as well. 

We have recently found an organic free range chicken farm in Killingworth and have ordered our whole chickens from there which we will break down ourselves and freeze for winter. The meat takes a long time to go through since we eat it sparingly. To give you an idea of cost, one quarter of a cow is about $750. It will take the two of us almost a year to finish it. The freezer is an 8 cubic foot chest, which is new and energy efficient. If you think about how much you spend on steaks and ground beef throughout the year, it can easily total more than $750. Just 4 large rib eye steaks can run close to $60.

If I had my choice, all meat we consume would be wild. We are lucky to have friends who have given us some tasty venison and we have rationed it out to the max. Unfortunately, I can't hunt. It's not in me. I am happy to accept the carcasses of whoever is willing to offer though.  We eat very little pork if at all. Joe enjoys it, but I really could live without it. To satisfy Joe's love of bacon, we use either uncured all natural bacon with no additives, sugar or preservatives or turkey bacon. Applegate makes a nice uncured bacon if it's something you like. It will NOT decrease your caloric intake but at least it's not a mass farmed gas chamber pig.

I will share the links at the bottom to some of the farms we get our meat from. There are many others and probably one in your town, but we are only familiar with CT. If you are looking for local sources for your own meat, you will find your local farmers at farm markets in your area.  That is how we found our chicken source. If you have a more adventurous palette, many poultry farmers will also have pheasant, quail, guinea hen and duck. Duck is fattier than chicken and the others are leaner.

When I think about how much meat we actually consume, it's very little. Sometimes we go weeks without any meat at all and other weeks, we have some defrosted and need to use it up. We do not use meat as our primary protein source. For that, we rely more on legumes, vegetables and whole grains.

I am extremely turned off by fish farming.  Not because they are farmed, but because they are often fed the same genetically modified corn that the farmed cattle are eating. One can argue that there is nothing wrong with genetically modified food but studies are finally starting to come out in Europe that show increased incidence of cancer and it supports large corporations such as Monsanto. Most European countries and now Japan have banned GMOs and I choose not to eat fish that are eating these products. Farmed fish is also fattier than wild caught. We don't eat fish more than once or twice per week because of mercury levels and tend to eat fish that don't carry risks of toxicity.

Poultry CSA The Wooly Pig
Beef in CT
Eat Wild Connecticut Directory

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