Know where your meat comes from.

23 Apr

No, I haven’t gone back to eating meat. But my husband and kids aren’t vegan, and I’m okay with that. It’s a personal choice. But, I’ve learned so much about the meat industry that I will never purchase grocery store meat again. My mission for April was to locate a local farm where animals are treated kindly and raised humanely and safely. A farm that doesn’t harm the environment.

I found one. It’s in Grand Rapids, Ohio, about 45 minutes from our house. Yesterday after school, we packed a picnic lunch and headed toward Grand Rapids. We stopped at Farnsworth Metropark and enjoyed a picnic dinner on the edge of the Maumee River. It was a beautiful location with ducks, geese and fishermen wading through the waters. The kids enjoyed the sights and eating dinner outside.

Afterward, we packed up and continued on to the farm. As we turned on the road, we could see the farmer moving the cattle from one location in the pasture to another. They are moved every 24 hours to a new area so they can enjoy grazing on fresh grass while fertilizing the soil. There were two moveable egg laying structures with moveable fence to house the chickens. These are also moved regularly so the chickens have fresh ground to peck around in.

We were free to roam through the pasture and check it all out. The hens were very clean and healthy looking. They were happily pecking away at our pant legs and squawking at us as we visited with them. And the cattle just stared at us with interest.

We walked back up to one of the barns with the farmer and discovered a pile of eggs a wandering hen had left in a tight spot. Logan was allowed to climb into the space and collect the eggs. Because he didn’t know how long they had been there, the farmer asked the kids if they’d like to feed the eggs to his two pigs. Silly question! They were jumping around with excitement as we headed to the pig pen. He lifted each of the kids in and let them feed them the eggs, some apples and pet them if they wanted. What happy faces — on both the kids and the pigs!

We chatted a while longer and then went into the house to wash up and place a deposit on a split side of beef. They’ll let us know when it’s all ready to be picked up and packed into our freezer.

So refreshing to know where our food is coming from. And to know that there are people out there who truly believe in farming the old-fashioned way.

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2 Responses to “Know where your meat comes from.”

  1. ErinGoBragh April 23, 2010 at 11:51 am #

    What a beautiful decision! This is what I'd like to do, as well. How did you find a place? I don't know where to start, and have my doubts about being successful in this area…

  2. Tamie Spears April 23, 2010 at 12:41 pm #

    Go to http://www.localharvest.org and you can search by the type of product you're looking for and the city/state. I searched about a hundred mile radius to make sure I covered all of them that would be within a reasonable amount of drive time. If you have a decent size freezer, it's a much bigger bargain to buy a split side (1/4 of a cow). But you get about 100 lbs of beef, so you'd have to be able to store that.

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