Since early summer, my girls and I had anticipated visiting a local farm that sells free-range chickens; grass-fed, hormone and antibiotic-free beef and pork; and farm-fresh eggs and milk. (Understand, though, that when I say “local” I mean a one-way trip of over an hour.) Seeking better quality meats is another step in our journey toward healthier eating.
One afternoon last week we set out on our adventure to the country. As we drove down the lane to the farm, it was quite interesting to wonder if one of the chickens strutting through an adjacent field would be a future meal.
The lady who greeted us was very knowledgeable and accommodating. She answered all my questions and explained how best to cook this leaner meat. I bought a beef family pack that included a whole chicken, two pounds of ground beef, beef stew meat and a pot roast. I also got a dozen fresh eggs. Next time I’d like to try some pork; she didn’t have much of it on hand as they’d just sent a hog out to be processed that morning. (Doesn’t “processed” sound much better than “slaughtered?”)
When she saw how curious my seven-year-old was, she took us out to see baby chicks and young turkeys, then led us back to a fence that held what had to be the hugest hog I have ever seen! I will admit that this experience confirmed that farm living is NOT the life for me. Between the flies, the smells and the manual labor, I’ll gratefully maintain my place on this side of the food cycle.
It does, however, give you an appreciation for all that goes into farming. Shaking hands with the person who is providing your meat is a different experience from picking up a package of meat in the grocery store. While finances don’t allow me to buy all of my meat this way, I hope to at least make occasional bulk purchases. I was delighted to learn that the farm delivers food weekly to a farmer’s market – that’s only twenty minutes from our house.
To prolong my feeling of making healthier food choices and stimulating the local economy, I stopped to buy produce at a roadside stand on the way home – and even resisted the urge to stop for ice cream at McDonald’s! But don’t put me on a pedestal just yet; my kids’ snack yesterday was chocolate chip cookies – courtesy of refrigerated Nestle cookie dough!
Do you have a tip for helping your family eat healthier?