Before I begin the real content of this post I want to dedicate this to a couple that came to our farmers market booth last week-end. I had the perfect opportunity and a willing audience and so the discussion began. They were looking through our coolers for some lamb. As it happens from time to time, she looked up at me and said,
"how can you do it?"
here it comes, get ready for it, the predictable yet perplexing comment..........
"I could never eat an animal I raised."
Before farming, I never really thought about how food got to our local grocery stores. Through that plastic wrapping at our local SUPER market I felt confident I had enough experience to spot freshness, what else should matter?
Now, as a farmer growing sheep, pastures, eggs (no worries, I'm not laying eggs), and vegi's I have a whole new perspective. I truly didn't have any idea what was involved. I didn't have to know how the food got to me, the choices were provided and available to me and I knew no other options.
My bet is many of you can relate.
I remember once my family was in England for the holidays and we decided on prime rib for our Christmas dinner. We went to a local butcher because that's often the way they still do things in England. He presented Bessie, photos; family photos, and all. The butcher and his family loved Bessie. Needless to say I couldn't eat Christmas dinner.
If I knew then what I know now!
Through my journey I have concluded, we as consumers are so disconnected from the whole dang process.
Every time we take a few lambs to the arbitrator to be processed, we shed a tear, we hold hands and say a prayer, then we bless them ...it never gets easier.
I have really wrestled with this. I've contemplated my options. We could stop raising lamb and I could become a vegetarian. For a variety of personal reasons I won't go into, vegetarianism isn't for me. So, what would I do if I stopped processing our lambs because it was difficult? If I didn't give up meat would I go into the grocery like most of America and buy those hermetically sealed packages of meat from animals pushed through a food chain living uneventful lives with no tenderness or compassion for their uniqueness on this earth?
|This is an example of where most grocery store meat comes from.|
It would certainly have been easier to do.
And that... would be so hypocritical.
If folks had to engage in the process there would be a much greater respect for the animals and the food on their tables.
If folks would engage in the process or at least be aware, they couldn't eat meat raised in the horrible conditions so many are raised in.
If folks would engage in the process and be aware, fewer people would be eating meat.
In our house, if we are going to consume meat/fish it will be humanely raised which I also believe is difficult (not impossible) to do if not from a small farm and definitely not from a factory farm.
Because of our new found respect for meat and how it gets to our tables, we don't eat a lot of it.
When we do eat meat it is only from healthy happy animals and farms that strive for that. Yes, it's more expensive and that is part of the reason why we eat less.
Regarding the interaction with the customers last week-end, I followed up her comment sharing the content of this soon to be realized blog, in a few less sentences of course. They were so thankful that I shared the experience. I truly believe they will be more respectful of the process.
I want to thank them for reminding me there are people out there that want to know....