Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy meat and other news

It was almost exactly a year ago when I read this FoxNews article about pigs being abused in slaughterhouses. That article started our journey to happy food. I don't know that there has ever been a time in my life when I have so actively sought information on a topic. Maybe when I first became a Christian and began to devour books about my faith and read the Bible voraciously -- that's really the only time that I can think of when I was so passionate about learning about any one topic.

My brain has become a veritable library of food knowledge. Okay, maybe not library. Maybe bookshelf. In the past year, I've read several books and countless articles on the benefits of naturally-raised meat and produce. By "naturally-raised," I of course mean "beyond organic" or "the way God or Mother Earth intended" which is not the same as the "naturally-raised" label on meat at your chain grocery store down the street. This newfound knowledge and passion turned to action immediately after reading the initial article about the abused pigs -- that's when I started abstaining from factory farmed meat which meant, for a while, abstaining from all meat until I figured out how to find meat that was acceptable to me. At first, Scott thought I was a little nutty and that This Too Shall Pass, but when he read Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, he jumped on my bandwagon.

So here we are, twelve months later, with a freezer stocked (STOCKED) with what we here at Our Little Family call "happy meat," a garage and pantry stocked with local, organic squash, potatoes and onions, and several bags of green beans, tomatoes, and other summer veggies from our CSA put away in the freezer for winter. In case you're local and you're looking for sources for happy meat, here is a list of where we got ours. There are many local ranches here providing happy meat, it's just a matter of finding one that matches your schedule and budget. This list is just the sources that we happened to go with. So, here's what's in our freezer:

  • 1/2 Hog (Berkshire pork, a tasty heritage breed) from Socolofsky Farms in Larkspur, CO.
  • 1/4 Grassfed Beef from Edmunson Ranch in Walsenburg, CO.
  • 5 Chickens, 3 Turkeys, 1 Goose (AKA: Christmas Dinner), 1 Duck, and 1 Grassfed Lamb from Grant Family Farms in Wellington, CO.
Really, my only gripe has been with the butcher who cut up our beef. He royally screwed up the Tri Tip cut (it looks like he sliced it lengthwise in half) and he wasn't willing to cut my ribs crosswise (Korean style) which, I am guessing, was because he didn't know what "crosswise" or "Korean style" meant and was too macho to ask. In case you're a butcher and you need to know how to cut Korean style short ribs, there's a photo to the left. The beef itself has tasted awesome, I just won't go to the same butcher.

Actually, we're considering not getting beef next year at all because we like our Berkshire pork so much. The sausages have been incredible, the loin chops have been awesome, the bacon's incredible and the ham is tasty, too. In fact...I've got a ham to cook for Christmas Eve. Better get on with that. Here's a parting shot of our packed 21 cubic foot freezer:

And, in other news -- first, you might want to join us here as we track Santa flying around the world. A fun way to convince the kids to go to bed early AND get in a few good geography lessons! Hopefully you will track Santa without the added joy of a swollen lip and cheek, which Brynn is suffering. You see, she had to get a filling yesterday (how EMBARASSED am I that my kid, at just six years old, has a cavity?) and she's apparently allergic to the sulfur in the topical anesthetic. At least, that is the theory put forth by our dentist, and, for the record, I think he's right. This was her last night after a dose of antihistamine. Some of the swelling had gone down by the time I took this photo. Poor Schmoopie.

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