Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Meat


It's never been a priority for me; in fact you could call me a vegetarian for most of my life, and it is still my preferred way to eat. But my outlook on meat has definitely changed.

I committed to eating as a vegetarian in college as a way to make a conscious choice about how I eat and what I eat. When I had that epiphany in Freshman Bio about the food chain, energy, and resources I just simply could not go on eating at the top of the food "pile". I didn't feel any more entitled to greater than "my share" of the Earth's energy than the next person.

But this year we raised Tamworth pigs. Pasture raised, and nut-mast and fruit finished. (With a bit of commercial grain to cover us). And suddenly it was my energy raising them, my efforts to provide drops and nuts, those were leftovers from my organic garden. I was hauling water, and moving fences and chasing them when they got out. And for the first time, I wasn't looking at meat that had been raised in a commercial operation with petro-fuel feed that my consumerist American culture had thrust upon me - I was raising quality, heritage-breed stock that had been a key part of my whole cycle of living, growing, working and family.

So, I now eat pork. My pork. Our pork. (And, it's not half bad!) I'll still take chickpeas over ham anyday...but it's growing on me...

This summer we are going to try meat chickens. Stay tuned...

7 comments:

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

I love pigs and then I admit I love ham, bacon, the swine works.

Melodie said...

I want to try to raise some pastured hogs.That is the next thing on my list,but it will be awhile before we are situated enough to get some.

Christy said...

I did meat chickens last summer. If you have any questions let me know. I decided it wasn't worth it money-wise. I have a good source for pasture raised chickens that cost as much as I spent and I don't have to process them myself.

melanie said...

I was amazed at how well the pigs did; and besides the moments when they were smarter than the farmer (like trying to get them in the truck), they were enjoyable and easy.

I am currently very intrigued by a raised-bed system for the meat chickens so that we capture the "fertilizer" so I'm not sure how to quantify that item in the final tally, but we shall see...thanks for the offer of advice! I'll be dropping a line, I am sure! What kind did you raise?

melanie said...

Apologize ahead of time if weird spam comments show up...working on solving the problem!!!

Mountain Woman said...

What an interesting post. I've been thinking about raising animals for food and it was good to read your thoughts on the matter. There's something so different about living on a farm and having a connection with the animals. A different experience entirely from eating factory farm produced meats.

melanie said...

I feel strongly about only taking what is "my share". In other words, the Creator blessed us with "enough" if we can learn to capture it - certainly taking more is the way of most Americans, and I can't live with that. When I wasn't involved at all in the food cycles and systems (other than as a consumer) I made choices that tackled the issue of "enough". Now that I am much more involved in supporting and producing sustainable cycles of food and living, I make different choices, but always with balance in mind. At the very least, I get to make sure any animal that goes to my table has the highest quality of life I can give it. On the other hand, I also try to make sure the raising and use of that animal is an act of balance and necessity.