Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tongue Tied

I guess I've just had the awfullest bit of writer's block lately. I just have not been able to organize many ideas for posts. In my defense I have been fairly busy though! I've had pottery orders to fill and deliver and, multiple firings of same and still trying to frame the chicken house in between all this. Unfortunately, most of the pottery orders have been on consignment, so they haven't actually sold yet. The lady at one gallery assures me she will move my stuff though, so we will see.
This is a funny little critter in the photo above; does anybody know what it is? There are lots of them around here.

I did want to continue some of the train of thought I had going a couple of posts back. In an effort to get away from corporate or industrialized meat and all that implies, Jack, Mama and I all went in and bought a half a side of beef recently from a local rancher. As a matter of fact, his pasture is right across the road from my Mom's house and he stores his hay on Mama's land since it is not used for pasture anymore. So, we can see how this guy raises his cattle. I see them roaming the hills and I know he is kindly to them. They have decent, healthy pasture and he does not give them drugs or hormones. Now, he does take them to a smaller lot when it is close to slaughter time and supplements their grass with grain, but it's not corn for the most part. He told me his recipe, which he grinds himself, but I forget most of it to tell the truth. It was good, natural grain though with a little molasses thrown in. This grain is to fatten them a little more because we have all become so accustomed to that. However, they are still pretty lean compared to the meat you get in the store and it has a different flavor. To me, home raised beef is much more flavorful than the bland, mushy stuff in the stores. I would say it does take a little getting used to but it has a much better flavor and texture.
I feel much better about this meat for several reasons: 1. I am helping to support a local rancher, not a conglomeration. 2. The meat is superior in taste and much healthier due to a natural diet and no drugs. 3. The cattle are happy, or seem to be anyway. We see them running and playing a little; they have a nice place there. 4. They are local, so there is no 18-wheeler hauling them or the meat hundreds of miles to me. We drove about 30 minutes to the slaughter house and picked the stuff up. 5. I'm also supporting a local meat processing place and the people there were really nice. 6. The natural environment they are raised in does not significantly contribute to environmental damage. No huge amounts of toxic runoff from their feed lots etc. In fact, you can go gather up their poop to put on your garden! 7. Last but not least, it is a great value. Now, it is a large sum at once to buy half or a whole beef but, generally it is significantly less per pound than in a grocery store. We paid $2.20/ lb. hanging weight and this included the meat processing fee. (Now, some of this was the fact he owed my Mom for letting him store his hay). Hanging weight is after the beef has been dressed (gutted) but before it is chopped up. Admittedly, there is some waste, so you are not getting every ounce of that whole side but you get quite a lot. They will actually give you practically everything back if you ask for it. For instance, you can get the heart, tongue etc. for dog food if you would like, although some people eat these too. I got the bones too for making stock. Here, in my area, even the cheapest cuts of beef are up to $5.99/ lb. , and it goes up from there, so I think this is a great savings.
Once I have the meat I am very frugal with it, or try to be anyway. Any scrap or trimmings (gristle, fat) go to make dog food. Left overs are eaten completely. Bones go to make soup stock and then the bigger ones are chew toys again for the dog.
Now, I'm not so naive to think there are no bad implications to this method. The cattle are killed after all and some people have a problem with that and that is their choice. I know even the small slaughter houses can have their issues too, but you can shop around and pick ones that seem to be conscientious. But for me now, until I can possibly raise my own, I feel this is a good option. The cattle are treated well, no huge amounts of petroleum are used in the process and I'm ingesting clean meat not tainted with hormones or large amounts of antibiotics that are necessary in industrial settings because they are so massively nasty. And it's cheaper!! Do any of you buy a half or whole beef at a time?

11 comments:

Gin said...

It's a clearwing hummingbird moth, but to me they look more like bumblebees than hummingbirds. :)

Anonymous said...

ditto Gin

Ed said...

I agree with everything in this post but you haven't lived until you have eaten a local corn fed beef. It makes grass fed beef seem tough and flavorless. We get half a beef at a time but go with local corn fed beef. The marbling (i.e. flavor) is much better and not so tough. We also get half a hog, quite a bit more often than we do beef, just because I love pork.

edifice rex said...

Hey Gin and Anon! thanks! yeah, they look like a bumble to me too! :D

Hey Ed! Well, Daddy used to raise our cattle on corn and it is good; I know what you're talking about! but now days I prefer not to go that route. Practically all corn commercially produced (especially for feed) is genetically modified and heavily treated with pesticides and I am just not comfortable with consuming an animal that has been raised on that. Plus, numerous studies have shown the meat from those animals is much higher in cholesterol etc. That's just me though and I know it's everybody's choice to pick what they want to eat.
Even though this farmer only gives them grain towards the end the meat is very tender; I was actually quite surprised how much so.
And yes, home raised pork is WONDERFUL. It's like a whole different animal from what you buy in the stores. That's my next project I think. ;)

Sissy said...

Just wish I had someone to go in with and buy a half beef.Used to raise one each year. Black Angus. When you can cut a inch and a half steak with a fork, you know you got some good eating. I miss those days but don't eat much meat anymore, knowing how the industry works today.

Don't know the insect but sure like those posies. What are they? Dang, your plants look so good. Nothing planted here; looks like I may be going hungry if I don't get on the ball soon.

HermitJim said...

Now you've made me want to go get a steak! Sure do want me a good ol' homegrown piece of beef!

Pork is more and more attractive to me as of late because it's so much cheaper than anything else!

Jenn said...

Sounds yummy. I was looking for a source of grass fed beef in my area, and the one I did find has ceased operation, because the local slaughter house can't meet the demand. How sad is that?

I suspect you got an Exceptional deal on that meat.

edifice rex said...

Hey Sissy! yeah, Angus are gooood! Right off hand I have no idea what those flowers are. I may have the tag somewhere...the bloom looks like sweet William but it's not, I don't think. The foliage is wrong for that.

Hey jim! yeah, pork is cheaper but not by a whole lot! at least, not here.

Hey Jenn! that is bad! Yes, I did get a good deal but this guy is real reasonable anyway. Or has been in the past anyway.

kayceebeebee said...

Those flowers look like coreopsis. I've only seen the hummingbird moth a few times. You're lucky you have so many.

kayceebeebee said...

Me here again, I changed my mind, they look like dianthus.

edifice rex said...

Hey Kaycee! yeah, I think they are dianthus!