Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Everyone - go hug your meats!

My friend, C, over at Krazo Acres (who is hilarious, btw) was kind enough to post this news story on 'the facebook' the other day.... and she graciously allowed me a "told you so."  Yep. "Who could have possibly have guessed," "what did you think was going to happen", and "good luck, suckers."

Go hug your meats. 

You can read more about this latest scandal here... and here. Think about the players here - McD's, Yum Brands, and Starbucks. Do you really think these big companies didn't do their due diligence? No one set any standards or had any requirements in these enormous contracts? And the meat companies still couldn't get it right?

Good thing that we have a trade deal that allows chicken to be processed in China.... without any country of origin (or processing) labeling.

I'm sure everything will be fine.

In the meantime, we butchered some more chickens on Sunday and will probably get a few more done today. No one is happier for those creepy meats than I am.

I've had a few discussions with non-farm folks lately about butchering our own meats. These conversations always go about the same way and include arm flapping, squealing in horror, and shocked looks. Sometimes there is crying - not by me.

I recently was up to our Good Vets office when one of the techs came out and tried to pawn off some of her extra roosters on me. She even tried to bribe me with a bottle of wine. Sure - I'll always take some booze.

"But you know," I said, "We always say 'when you start to crow, you got to go' so those roos are going directly into the pot."  I thought she would appreciate my honestly.

Tears filled her eyes. "But... but...they are just banty roosters and they are so cute."

"Ah...so they are useless and small, well... they will make for some smaller meals but that is OK..." I said thinking about how they would best be cooked.

Then I realized a grown woman was about to start crying right in front of me. I hugged her. It didn't work. She might have muttered "you monster" under her breath. I shrugged because I knew she was about to go back to eating her lunch that she got from a fast food place. Where did she think that chicken sandwich came from? After a while the irony kind of grinds on you so I just didn't say anything else.

We also had an incident where a friend of someone we know got a mixed bag of chicks...and a couple ended up being meat chickens. They didn't know what to do with them and asked if we wanted them? Sure. So we ran right over. There was, for me, entirely too much arm flapping and bewailing the fate of those creepy meats. And hugging. There was too much hugging. We just nodded and put the meats in the cage in the back of our car and drove away fast. It was weird.

Some people think that we farm types have a hard edge but I like to think we are just more realistic. The circle of life and death spins very very tightly around here and we have a front row seat.  I'm no longer squeamish about it. We aren't grossed out by butchering - we think it's kind of interesting and results in delicious food that we made ourselves. Are we grateful that we have these skills? Yes we are.

Not only are we free from worry about who, where, and how our food is processed... we also have better quality meat than can be found at the store. Food independence? Oh yes. Thank heavens.

Can you make your own meat? Yes you can. Most folks have similar concerns before they get started with raising their own food. Here are a couple posts to help you get started:

How to eat food that you know

My top 10 butcher day tips

What do you do with the roosters?

How do you decide who is first?

 Rooster day tips

The hardest thing in getting started is... getting started. How you think about it is the key. Can you do it? Yep. Just get out there and give it a try. If it really is too creepy you can probably find a local processor so all you need to do is load up the meats and drop them off. I don't think that is cheating and if it works out better for you that way then that is just fine. Everyone has their limit.

If you don't have anywhere to raise your own meat then what can you do? Shop locally. Go to your local farm market, ask for recommendations, seek out smaller butchers who can tell you where the meat was sourced and processed. There are a lot of great options out there.  Including some very special farmers around here.

While they don't currently have chicken Tilton Hollow has have amazing pigs. You can buy feeders to raise yourself or reserve your half or whole pork when they are processed in the fall. They have turkeys too!

Don't forget about their gofundme project to rehab their glorious old barn.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Are you shocked and horrified by the latest Chinese food scandal? I don't know about you but the only Chinese chicken around here is going to be later today when I make General Tso's for dinner. 

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