Mar 2, 2009
To the Farm!
On a separate topic but still relating to our little "homestead" and our attempts to live more responsibly, we took a trip to the farm this past weekend! I was lucky enough to be able to find a sustainable farm within an hour's drive from us to source humanely raised meat. Being raised in Minnesota and actually living on a farm as a child, it is a subject close to my heart. I believe that we should all find a way to clean up our habits when it comes to purchasing food for our families. I know that financially it can be tough to practice what you preach in regards to food, but it's important to try on some level, even if it's just with making an attempt to buy locally to reduce transportation fuel consumption. We try to first grow our own veggies, then supplement that with local items in season at the farmers market, and now have found a sustainable, humane source for beef, pork, chicken & eggs. By the way, these products will become more widely available and affordable if we as consumers demand them, so ask your local grocer to carry them!
Anyway, on Saturday my husband and I took the kids out to Full Quiver Farm in Suffolk, VA to pick up our first meat order. The selection varies according to time of year, but we were able to pick up some great pork roasts, bacon, and fresh eggs while we were there, and put our deposit down on a share of beef when it becomes ready later in the spring. They use a local abbatoir for their pork and beef and slaughter their own chicken and turkey, all of which have led "happy lives" on pasture instead of spending their lives in a feedlot. The farm owners were friendly, helpful, and proud of what they do there and the kids had a great lesson in where their food comes from. The boys also had a good time petting the goats and seeing the baby chicks that will be their future dinner!
I will admit it was a little difficult explaining to them the process about where meat actually comes from, but we read a few books about it, and I can now show them pictures of feedlot animals and pastured animals and they can pick out the differences and also tell you why one is a better choice than the other. There is no way this Minnesota girl would ever go vegan, so my method is to be a responsible carnivore and support local, sustainable agriculture. If you are interested in a great book about the subject, check out author Catherine Friend's book "The Compassionate Carnivore" , it is a great source of info. For fun, check out her book "Hit by a Farm", a great read about moving from the city to start a new life on a farm. Yes, I may be biased since she lives about 40 minutes down the road from my parents' farm in Minnesota, but her books are easy to love, witty, humorous, and truthful, and she presents information in a very non-judgemental manner. On that note, she also has penned some children's books as well, one of which was the first book my son read aloud to me all by himself! I am now headed into the kitchen to make eggs and bacon using our newly acquired farm-fresh ingredients - I will let you know how they are!