I’m completely for humanely raising our food. 100%. I hate factory farming and all that it drains from animals, land and people. The more aware I’ve become, the more I’ve been learning how to convert my consumer buying.
It’s been a gradual thing. Informed choices take thinking, research, and education. Where is that ‘safe’ meat? How was it raised? Is it organic? Does it matter?
It also takes creativity. Rightly so, non-factory farmed meat costs more money. How can you make the switch while not bankrupting your food budget? For me, its meant trimming down on the meat cooking and consumption, making the meat I do prepare count for more.
As I tend to chickens for fresh eggs and I toil in the garden all summer for fresh produce, I learn those lessons as well. Rightly raised meat is part of the journey. I understand the increased cost non-factory meat because I know that having my own backyard flock costs more than buying eggs at the store. I embrace the cost as part of what it takes to be a conscious consumer. The process has been enlightening. To learn where my food comes from (or to grow/raise it myself) makes it less disposable, more precious.
Sometimes it’s hard. It’s hard being an informed consumer when you’re used to being blissfully unaware. It’s not always easy to change habits that reach into every area of your life. It’s hard to stand against the flow in a nation where social interaction largely revolves around food.
In the midst of the switch, while there’s still ‘good’ and ‘bad’ meat in the freezer, I decided to conduct a taste test. I’m always curious. When we got our first backyard-laid chicken eggs, I fried them up along with the store-bought (cage-free) eggs to see if I could REALLY tell a difference. I could. A big one! (I wouldn’t have given up chickens if I couldn’t tell a taste difference…I just like my taste buds to back me on this journey!)
So, when it came to beef, and buying the wonderful, free range, organic stuff at Farmer’s Market all summer, I wanted to try it next to the others and see if I could tell a difference in taste.
For the beef taste test, I cooked beef from Farmer’s Market, Trader Joes and Costco. I marked each patty with a toothpick of a different color (and only I knew which was which). I popped them on the grill and brought them in for a taste test. Our panel, made up of seven people (ranging in age from 7 to 50) took several bites from each patty before determining their final vote.
Here’s the results:
Trader Joes: 0
I love the eating healthy is more than just being healthy. I love that eating free range isn’t just for the health of the animals and the health of us. I love that it tastes better, too. So much better that even a 7-year-old can tell the difference.
Yay for farmers that are taking the initiative to give us food that’s healthy (and tasty). Thank you.