Apr. 20th, 2009

fortunavirilis: (Weird Food)
Gradually over the past year or two and more and more readily over the past year, with help from some active research, I've been pushing myself to each organic and local whenever possible. This was a pretty easy step with produce. We buy probably 95% of our produce from an organic buyers group, who in turn attempt to buy as much locally as possible (some produce just doesn't do well in Florida organically- and you DO need a balanced diet). I'm now trying to take things a step further and apply principles that I find both sound from a dietary standpoint and ethical/humane to any animal products that I eat (no hormones, no antibiotics, vegetarian feed only, free range, etc). This is proving much more difficult. Here's the catch- the FDA labels on eggs, dairy, and meat are vague and leave a good deal of wiggle room for interpretation. 'Free Range'/'Cage Free' eggs may be from chickens little better off than their battery cage counter-parts. And almost all cattle are grass fed UNTIL they reach the feed lots (which is where the problems start). So, unless I know what happens on the specific farm where my food was raised- I don't know what I'm getting.

Here's where I'm willing to take a few risks. Saturday I paid three dollars for a box. The box held a dozen beautiful eggs of various sizes and colors. But legally in Florida I can't buy the eggs, only the carton- unpasteurized eggs are illegal for sale. But I did it anyway. I know the people. And the eggs have 100 times the nutritional value of the grocery store eggs I can get, I just have to wash them first. In a few weeks, I'll start spending a little more (50 cents) to get eggs from another source who is a friend of my produce supplier. He also knows a dairy guy. AND he knows of a meat buyers group (meat is harder to find is south Florida because most of the cattle and other farms of that nature are in the northern part of the state). So I guess I'm going off the grid.

In the meantime, we had hamburgers for dinner last night. Hu wanted a fatty 'juicy' burger. So he bought two pounds of the Publix brand 86/4 ground chuck. I bought a pound of Maverick Ranch 91/9 Ground Beef (grass fed, 100% free range, never on a feed lot). We made out burgers separately- same seasoning, different meat. And I got him to concede that mine tasted just as good without without have lived on a feed lot. My beef tasted like beef (this is a household joke, but in this case was true- my beef was beefier).

Now to find some LOCAL beef and other meat PLUS cheese. I am a cheese junky and I have to find a source for that. This is like a big scavenger hunt with little tasty rewards along the way. And the funny part is my vegetarian produce guy is helping (even with the meat part) because I'm going about it from a humane and ethical standpoint- and he has not problems with the eggs and dairy to begin with since he eats those.

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