So, the time has finally come for me to try and "make a difference" and all that and start buying local, pasture-raised, and/or organic meat. Let me tell you why!
First, I read a really disturbing article (in Oprah magazine, click link only if you want be totally depressed) about CAFO's, or the factory farms that are just no good, and that most normal meat comes from, I assume. I know there is lots of talk on the subject out there, but I'd been avoiding it because, well, it's depressing. I prefer to not be depressed in my day to day life. So sue me, it's true!
Anyway, after reading the article, I kept thinking about the factory farm topic -- it sort of haunted me for a few days. My thoughts shifted over from, "wow, that's terrible and I wish it was different, but hey, gotta eat" to, "Say, you know, I could start buying all that free-range pasture-fed natural happy meat if I wanted to, and my small choice could make a teensy tiny difference, maybe, and then I could feel good about NOT supporting those factory farms."
Up until this point, the "happy meat" was way too expensive, and my
frugal side won out. I simply didn't care enough about the situation to actually pay THAT much
money for my grocery staple. Why the shift now? I don't know! I've already made the mental shift to paying more for food in order to be healthy, so perhaps this meat plan goes along with that. Yes, I now go to the store and instead of cringing over the cost of fresh veggies, I actually buy them and eat them. Yes, I'm willing to pay more for things like pre-cut baby carrots, etc. because the convenience means I'll actually eat them.
(Let me interject and say I do my main shopping at Winco, where food is already cheap. If it were not for Winco, I may still be resistant to the crazy high prices out there.)
Oh, and when it's open/in season, I now freely spend my money at the farmers' market for fresh FRUITS and other things, because they're all so good, and my health is WORTH the high price. I think before, I only wanted to save money and wasn't thinking about being healthy. Maybe the shift has come from living here in the Northwest, where it's easy to do healthy things! We've actually lowered our meat consumption over the past couple years as part of this health thing, so I wouldn't even need to buy as much as I used to.
When I looked into how and where I could buy happy meat, it didn't seem so bad. We have a deep freeze, so if we wanted to buy, like, half a cow in bits and pieces from somebody at the farmers' market, we could. I checked some local grocery stores and the new Vancouver Co-op, and settled on the meat at New Seasons Market. Apparently all their meat is happy, so you don't have to worry. They also have these value packs at a great discount, which make ME very happy. And, they have a new location in East Vancouver, which means I will actually go there because I don't have to cross over into Portland. THANK YOU NEW SEASONS IT'S ABOUT TIME!
Oh, and apparently the Foster Farms chicken we've been buying at Costco is also fairly happy, so I don't have to worry about that, either. It's a good price, and we're mostly eating chicken these days anyway. (The FF fresh chicken is also grown in the NW, to boot!)
So, yesterday I picked up my value pack from New Seasons! I froze most of it in the deep freeze, but made a Madras curry with the chicken breasts. I have to say, there was not much flavor difference or anything, but I felt like a do-gooder for once.
Will I now buy happy meat exclusively? That is the plan!
Will it be the first thing to go if money gets tight? Probably.
Will I stop eating meat? Hells no!
Will I refuse sad meat if someone serves it to me? No. And yes I will keep eating the Costco hotdog, YUM!
What about deli meat? I don't know! We tried the happy Lebanon bologna at New Seasons and it was AWESOME, but their pastrami wasn't very good. I used to roast and cut up my own pork roasts for lunch meat, but that was decidedly Sad Meat . . . but it's super-cheap for something we eat every day. I don't know!!
Will I buy organic produce and milk now, too? Probably not -- I'm not ready for that yet. I do buy organic here and there, but I think local is more important. I love the farmers' market! I also grow my own fruits and veggies in the summer, but the amounts are so paltry, of course I have to supplement with purchased produce.
Anybody else switching to happy meat? I know it's a luxury, but it's probably an important one in the long run.