I’m not going to pasture a cow in our backyard, but have decided that I need to opt out of the mainstream meat production as much as I possibly can.
The first step in “buying our cow” is acquiring a deep freeze. If you aren’t going to get your meat from the market, you’ll likely be buying it in larger quantities and that will require a freezer.
In an effort to ensure anyone could do this – I found our deep freeze on craigslist in the free section. It took a few weeks of steady checking – but one day there it was – an upright, clean, free deep freeze.
I don’t think we’ll buy a whole cow, we don’t eat that much meat – a share will do us nicely.
So why am I doing this?
It’s my belief that the food system in our country is very broken and one of the areas that is of particular concern is the meat industry. It’s no wonder so many people turn to being vegetarian. About 70% of ground beef in America contains a filler product that is washed with ammonia in order to kill e-coli – it’s time to for a change.
For me and my family that means eating less meat, higher quality meats and whenever possible – supporting local farmers and ranchers.
Recently, I had a great discussion with a farmer named Xenia, from Rainbow Ranch Farms in San Bernadino, CA. She used to be a vegetarian – now she has a farm, and on her farm she has chickens, goats, cows, and 2 dogs. She raises these animals in the manner that we imagine all the farm animals are raised. Unfortunately meat we are getting from conventional grocers isn’t raised in this fashion.
Xenia can’t sell to any stores, she can’t sell to whole foods, and she can only sell to folks who are shared owners of her farm. The good news is anyone can become a shared owner of her farm or many of the other CSA farmers around the country!
More good news – there are farms that are licensed to sell without requiring a CSA share. Many farms will ship anywhere, but see if you can’t find a great ranch close to you.
Don’t think you have a small farm in your area – you’d be surprised. Spend a few minutes with Google or www.localharvest.org.
You can also find local farmers who sell meat and eggs through the Farmer’s Markets.