A repost from the Love made the Radish Grow blog. (with a few edits to make it more relevant to this blog)
There has been a lot of hubbub here lately in several of the Real Food Media blogs I read about a slight scandalous moment for a producer/sponsor of theirs: US Wellness Meats. I haven’t taken any side on anything, but after reading several blog posts both for and against the purported issue at hand (lactic acid spray used in the processing of the meats) I think there is a more important issue at hand, one that we hope to really push home with our own real food challenge (in the works-keep watching for more details). That is, yes you should eat meat. Yes it should be grass fed or pastured, at least for the bulk of its life.
But even more important: you should buy locally and from a farmer you know and trust. I think that relationship is what gets left so, so, so often in these discussions. Yay US Wellness uses a lot of small farmers to provide their meats. Yay they’re grassfed. But, unless I can talk straight with that farmer and go visit, and it doesn’t take me more than an hour, hour and a half to get there, I am failing.
Real food should be in season. Real food should be something as local as possible to you as you can bear. I admit, we use things like coconut oil and chocolate in our household. If push came to shove, we could cut them out. But they aren’t causing as much of the food related problems in this country as big ag is. US Wellness (or at least their supporters) push that they are not big ag. My beef producer breeds, raises, hauls and has witnessed the processing of my beef. My beef gets processed by mom and pop lockers where they depend on loyal customers and word of mouth to continue in their business. Oftentimes you run into a whole family working in one part or another when you walk in. I can ask any question about the processing of my animals and get straightforward answers.
Can you follow your beef from birth to your table in person? What is the name of the farmer who raised your beef (or any meat for that matter)? Where are they located? What breed of beef are you eating? What happened to all the parts you didn’t care to purchase from that animal? What is the name of the locker/plant it was processed at? Did you pick it up, or the farmer, or did a third party get involved?
Real food should focus on locality as much as it focuses on tradition. Tradition was based on what was local and in season.