Real Food Mama

Musings about cooking, eating and everything in between.

Locally Grown Grass-Fed Beef and the Problem with Eating Meat. February 26, 2010

Filed under: Eating local,Fight Back Fridays — realfoodmama @ 1:40 pm
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This last winter we bought about 50 pounds of grass-fed beef to store in our freezer. It lasted us about 3 months and while we didn’t get a lot of variety, we did get some fabulous meals out of it.

It was such a success that we have decided we really want to buy more this year and as luck would have it, there is a local ranch doing a special in May. For $600 you can buy a cow, and then take it to the butcher for a pre-negotiated price. I am incredibly excited about this for a few reasons. First, I can request some very specific things from the butcher such as suet and organ meats. Secondly, it has given me the opportunity to meet a local butcher. This will come in incredibly handy in the event we ever want to process any of our livestock for meat. Lastly, I love the idea of meeting the animal beforehand. The whole point of the special this ranch is promoting is that you actually go there and pick out your steer. And this is where the whole thing fell apart when I was explaining it to my partner.

My son’s father is more tenderhearted than he cares to admit. He won’t hunt, he doesn’t like the idea of eating any male chickens we end up with, and he absolutely refuses to let us raise our male goats for meat. The idea of going to a ranch and coming face to face with his Rib Eye steak literally made him get up and leave the room. He just can’t help but personify his animals, and that makes it hard for him to eat them if he thinks about it.

Now I have a totally different take on the situation, of course. I think that coming face to face with your food really forces you to realize how important food is for life. I like the idea of coming to terms with the sacrifice, so to speak. I think that the biggest problem modern food production has is the unwillingness to look into the eyes of our food and recognize that the animal before us is giving its life to feed us. I personally am incredibly grateful to all the birds and cows I’ve eaten. However, I can understand that people don’t always see it that way.

However, I think it would be easier to support eating animals that have had a nice life rather than the de-humanized industrial existence that most of them get. The irony is my partner doesn’t like grass-fed beef. He prefers the grain fed variety in terms of flavor and texture. Whats a girl to do?

Well, this girl is going to leave the baby daddy at home, drive 100 miles to pick out a happy cow (no, not like the ones from California) and then quietly serve her partner a Rib Eye steak without pointing out how cute said steak once was, and leave it at that.

Life requires sacrifice, and that’s just the way it is. The only reason why people don’t cry over vegetables when we harvest them is because they don’t have faces. I bet if a rutabaga looked like a bunny rabbit, people would have a harder time rationalizing vegetarianism as a cruelty free way to eat. I personally think the ability to thank your animal in person for his or her flesh will make every meal taste better. However I appear to be alone on this one.

This post has been my contribution to Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday’s blog carnival.

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2 Responses to “Locally Grown Grass-Fed Beef and the Problem with Eating Meat.”

  1. motherhen68 Says:

    I went to pick up some meat Friday @ the slaughterhouse. As I drove up, I saw a few cows waiting “to meet their maker”. You know, it’s not like it’s a secret that the hamburger is from a cow, but I still felt sad for the cow. I sat in my car for a few minutes and thought about how thankful I was for that animal which was going to help my boys to grow up to be men. Thankful for the circle of life. I know it’s gassy, but it’s true.

    I think the 600.00 for a whole cow + processing is an AMAZING deal. I’m so jealous of you. We have a friend who raises cattle for his own use that pastures them by our house. I”m actually think of buying a weaned calf and putting the calf w/the herd of my friend. I’d pay him a rent for the pasture. I’d have 100% grass fed beef that was mine from the beginning. I’d have to own it. Own it’s life and death and it’s eventual consumption.

  2. Beth Drechsel Says:

    I have been reading your blog the last few days–I just found you. My hubby and I are eating organic/local as much as possible. I preserve food; canning, dehydrating, freezing. This year we have bought half a cow (my sister has bought the other half) and it’s being raised like yours is. We also will share the butchering costs for a couple of my sister’s goats so that we can have that meat as well. I just wanted you to know that I’m enjoying your writing, you have a nice balance of humor and facts. Thank you!


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