Friday, February 11, 2011

Getting The Most Out Of Your Food: Part 8 (Where Does Your Meat Come From?)

This is a picture of my dad's cows. We get part of a beef from family members once a year. I love knowing where my beef is coming from and what they are eating. For those that know me, I can't say enough good things about buying your meats locally grown. The only meats we buy from the supermarket are the occasional "treat meats - ham, lunch meat, sausage, bacon, " when we run out of the good stuff. I could live without them, but my hubby claims he can't, so we compromise. 

One thing I think is really important for people to understand is the "organic and natural" labeled meats and dairy products in the store can be a real joke. My friend (a cattle rancher) summed it all up in an email she recently wrote me. This is what she said: 

"Being as I have been on hundreds of production agriculture sites in several several states.. I know that organic is the new best thing for many people but most people have never seen the facilities where their organic is being produced. I have been on sites that you could not pay me to feed the product to my family. I have seen cows struggling with mastitis and somatic cell counts of a million because they can't be treated, belly deep in mud where they are forced to be on 60 day "pasture" People get visions of animals on green hillsides just because it's organically produced. Consumers are paying for a feel good label with no idea where it comes from. I am a huge believer in locally grown and grass fed.. knowing exactly where your food is coming are so right about the omega-3's and higher CLA's from grass fed animals. I just wanted to make sure that people know that Organic does NOT equal grass fed."

People really balk at having to pay $10 to $15 for homegrown chickens, but they are so much healthier. Watch "Food, Inc" if you want to see were those $.79 a lb chickens in the store come from. 

Our family of four eats 1/4 beef, 1/2 pig, 1/2 lamb and a 10 chickens every year, which right now costs around $700 a year for all our meat (not including excess treat meats). If my husband gets wild meat, than we supplement with that. It is less expensive in the long run to buy farm-direct. The hard part is having the money up front. We try to set back some money from our tax returns to pay for our meat throughout the year. 

We also make buying raw milk a priority. Unfortunately, our state makes it difficult for producers by making it a rule that you can't milk more than three cows at a time. This is tough to produce a steady supply for customers due to natural calving cycles. If you can get on a raw milk drop, you're very blessed.

If you aren't already buying farm-direct meats and dairy, I hope you'll be inspired to start looking for some. Go out to the farm, don't be afraid to ask the grower questions. You have a right to know exactly what you'll be putting in your body. Next post will be explain why we choose raw dairy whenever possible.



Becky Imamura said...

Bravo!!! That is all I can say, BRAVO!!!

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Thanks, Becky! Love ya, Girl!

Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

Great post, Jackie. I wish I could find a cheaper chicken, because we are chicken eaters in this family. I can't afford to pay that much for chicken. I have seen Food Inc and it bothers me where they come from, but at this point I don't see what else I can do.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Our solution is to eat less chicken. It is a real treat when we get it. I really ration it out and make the most out of the meat and the carcass. I think what they are feeding commercial chickens bothers me just as much as they way they are stacked on top of each other in the dark.

Mary R. said...

We were stationed in England and cannot now give blood, because the English beef that we ate (which was even sold in the US military commissary where we shopped while there) was possibly contaminated with mad cow disease. We get reminder letters once in a while. I volunteer to back muffins during blood drives, but cannot give blood.

Makes you think. Most beef around here is raised in feed lots. Our family absolutely cannot afford organic foods, however. If we tried, we would have to make the choice between food or propane to heat the house in our 30-below climate. Sad.

But, as I have been told by farmers around here, our government is committed to cheap food. I guess if we are all fat, dumb and happy, it keeps us from rioting, I don't know, lol.

Mary R. said...

I mean, bake, muffins, not back, lol.

melaniek said...

I only watched part of food, inc. but the more I learn...the more grossed out I get by going to the grocery store! lol, this year I am having my sister care for chickens for us to butcher later this year.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Good for Melaniek! Scary stuff, Mary, I hope you can find some good all natural meats that are farm-direct and affordable!

Jill said...

Great post. I've seen Food inc. very eye opening for sure. We also try to go natural as much as possible with most things we eat. You are so blessed to get yours in the family.

Thanks for sharing!

Have a great weekend!


Jenn said...

We eat quite a bit of wild game, usually 5 deer a year. Plus we raise our own Turkeys and rabbits. This year we were able to purchase a whole hog. I know if we couldn't hunt and raise our own meat we would be in the same boat as Stacie. There is no way we could pay $10-15 for a chicken.

Jenn said...

Okay, I have to comment again. I just tried to figure out what we pay for all the meat we eat in a year. My husband and I figured it to be around $700 this year since we bought a hog. But, in previous years it has been more around $500 for a family of 6. (that's about 6 turkeys, 20 rabbits, 5 deer which we process, and any geese or ducks my husband shoots)

Bernice said...

"Unfortunately, our state makes it difficult for producers by making it a rule that you can't milk more than three cows at a time."

This is maddening to me even thought I don't live in your state. It just makes me relize how much control the states and government is getting in control of OUR lives. grrrr...

I am so thankful that we have our own milk goats and are not limited yet in what we can do, except we can't sell the milk.

Camille said...

What a wonderful series of posts Jackie! Thank you for taking the time to put all your thoughts down for the benefit of all of us! :)

Many blessings to you my friend!
With Love,

Catherine said...

I am so blessed to have our own meat, organic milk,eggs, and poultry from friends. Have you Michael Pollen's Omnivores Dilemna?

Justine said...

My husband and I are taking chickens this year for eggs and since we are feeding them I figure we'll throw in a few for meat as well. We also have been throwing around the idea of getting a freezer for beef direct from farm. We know beef farmers who raise really healthy beef it seems like a waste not to take advantage of that! I am looking into raw dairy, everyone in my family thinks I am crazy but I just think it cant be any worse than what we are eating at the supermarkets right? Well thank you for all your wonderful posts I love them!

Bernice said...

I am excited to say I got to go shopping yesterday. I got Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, sucanat, coconut palm sugar, don't know if this is exactly the same as coconut crystals but it sounds like it. I got to replinish my coconut oil too. I am excited to try these new products and start feeling better about my diet. Thank you again for posting this info!

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

That is wonderful. I'm so proud of you and KNOW your body will thank you :)


Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

That is wonderful that your hubby is such a great hunter! That must really help on the meat budget :)

I have heard of that book, but have yet to read it. One of these days :)

Camille and Jill,
I'm glad you're enjoying the series.

Hang in there! Raw dairy is my next post :) After reading it, hopefully you won't feel crazy anymore for wanting to go raw in the dairy dept :)

Anonymous said...

We raise our own beef,chickens,and hogs.We have dairy goats(although dry)right now.We love knowing where our food is coming from!!!It is not always easy as it is not fun to have to slaughter and process animals you have raised and fed.It just seems like a good idea.We could not afford to eat meat otherwise.Nikki

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

You are very blessed, Nikki!

Helen Hoke said...

Hi Stacie,

I was very inspired by your post and started looking into buying meat directly from a local farm. Question, what kind of freezer do you use/would recommend buying for storing all the meat? Upright or chest style? what size does it need to be? Thank you so much!

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

Hi, Helen! Stacie is actually my twin sis. My name is Jackie. It is funny that we get mixed up even in Blogland, LOL ;) Anyway, I'm thrilled to hear you are wanting to by farm direct! I actually have two freezers, an upright in the house and a chest freezer that was given to us that we store in the shed. It is a really big one. I think it is six foot, but we not only store all of our meats in it, we also freeze many vegetables and fruit that we eat all year round. It really just depends on how much meat you are going to buy and if you are going to use your freezer for more things. They say to keep them full and that chest freezers are more efficient. Hope that helps! God Bless, Jackie

jyhoke said...

Hi Jackie, Helen again. Our family just moved to a rural area of northern california where my husband is now the pastor of a local church and I finally started my SAHM life. Very exciting! I wanted to start buying meat directly from a local farm but didn't know where to start. I saw tons of farms with cattles on grass all around us but couldn't find any contact info online. Then I remembered your blog where I got the idea from the first place. Any tip on how to get in touch with some local farm to buy meat and raw milk? BTW, if it is not too much trouble, could you email me @ Thank you so much!

jyhoke said...

On also, we were buying from a food coop in oregon but since we moved, I haven't been able to find something similar where I could buy local fruits like berries or such. any tip on how to find local farm to sell fruits, say u-pick berries?


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