There are exactly two things I miss about Houston. One is my church and its members, the other is the year-round farmers' market. (I would also add all of our med school friends but most of them have now scattered about the country.) I could buy meat and veggies at the farmers' market year round. Here that is not the case, sadly. That's the downside to those four seasons that I'm so excited about: not all of them are good for growing things.
Anyways, one of the women I work with, Jill, has a farm and raises cows and pigs. Their ranch is called Haywire Ranch (www.thehaywireranch.com). Their animals are grass fed, not treated with antibiotics or steroids, and pasture-raised. We purchased 25 lbs of beef and 25 lbs of pork from them, both were $4.25 per lb. We got all sorts of cuts of meat: roasts, steaks, ham, ground meat, sausage, soup bones. And we are now stocked up for the winter!
If you've read this blog or ever met me, you might have picked up on my fondness for local food. This meat was raised within two hours of Salt Lake so it didn't take a lot of energy to get to us, which is an environmental plus. And I love to support local farms (as opposed to factory farms). Those are a few reasons we decided to buy our meat from Jill and her husband. But there are several other reasons that I much prefer grass fed meat to factory farmed meat. Grass fed meat is healthier for you, it's more environmentally friendly and it is more humane for animals. Here is some information taken from a website called Eatwild.com:
Factory Farming. Raising animals on pasture is dramatically different from the status quo. Virtually all the meat, eggs, and dairy products that you find in the supermarket come from animals raised in confinement in large facilities called CAFOs or “Confined Animal Feeding Operations.” These highly mechanized operations provide a year-round supply of food at a reasonable price. Although the food is cheap and convenient, there is growing recognition that factory farming creates a host of problems, including:
• Animal stress and abuse
• Air, land, and water pollution
• The unnecessary use of hormones, antibiotics, and other drugs
• Low-paid, stressful farm work
• The loss of small family farms
• Food with less nutritional value.
The Healthiest Choice. When you choose to eat meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals raised on pasture, you are improving the welfare of the animals, helping to put an end to environmental degradation, helping small-scale ranchers and farmers make a living from the land, helping to sustain rural communities, and giving your family the healthiest possible food. It’s a win-win-win-win situation.
For more information you can visit http://www.eatwild.com/basics.html
P.S. I try not to be a food snob. Though, I think most of my views qualify me as just that. So, just know that I don't look down on anyone for eating factory-farmed meat and non locally grown veggies. I know that it's more expensive to eat the way we eat. But I believe in the cause, so we make it work.
Edited to add: this amount of meat actually is not as much as it might sound like. I don't have a big freezer. Just a regular sized one on the top of my refrigerator. 50 lbs of meat fits in that sized freezer with room to spare. We also have a few gallons of berries and other veggies that I've frozen.