We strive to buy grass fed, free range meats, some of you already know this and also strive for the same thing. We’ve been on the bandwaggon for about four years now, we started by committing to a beef, pork and chicken CSA – it was great. All humanely raised, naturally fed and local.
Since our CSA meat provider discontinued service we have been forced to discover the availability of other meat providers. Remarkably they are often quite affordable too! Admittedly, good, humane meat is a bit harder to find than simply visiting your local grocery store but it really isn’t impossible and is certainly worth the effort in our opinion.
Over the summer, we bought an entire half cow from an organic dairy farmer that was reducing his herd size due to drought and feed costs. It that was free range and grass fed, it was a screaming deal and the freezer is still stocked with beef!
Over the weekend we got a whole hog from a nearby amish farmer. Each time we buy from a private seller the process is a bit different. With the hog, we had to be present for the processing. We made it a family outing…
Being city raised folks, we really had no idea what was in store but we feel understanding the process of processing meat is essential if we are eating the meat. We also aim to teach our girls about it all because we dont want them to be so far removed from their food that they are completely ignorant of the cycle.
The emotional aspects of processing our own food makes us all the more grateful and respectful.
Being sheilded from the reality of where our foods come from not only makes it easier to be gluttonous and also to disrespect the animals but it also makes us blind to the not-so-ethical farming practices that are now mainstream in the farming industry.
If you had to go kill an animal (often times a very sweet one) just to feed your family you’d likely eat less meat and you would certainly be more grateful and respectful for the sustenance that animal’s sacrifice has provided. This is why we feel it’s important for us to emerge ourselves in the whole life cycle of our foods as much as we can.
We’ve already experienced processing our own roosters and we exposed the girls to the gentler aspects of it… hogs were the next step.
The girls did great with it all… Didn’t even bat an eye at the fresh hog heads the puppies and barn kittens were dragging around and eating! It was a gradual initiation for us and our girls and we are glad we did it.
Why on earth would you expose your kids to something like this?
Now before you go getting all judgey about allowing the kids to be present know that the killing of the hogs was done before we arrived. So, they were already beheaded, entrails removed and scalded to remove their hair and dirty skin. All we witnessed was the cutting and packaging of the meat… and the severed hog heads that the animals were enjoying. My reasoning for including them is still the same as the reasoning behind us wanting to be present and aware of the process.
And if there ever comes a time when the girls should have to see something meat animal related, like beheading or perhaps a freshly killed deer strung up in a tree, or meat rabbits all strung up in a row as my mom shared with me, they will be less shocked by it and more equip to handle the experience than we were.