Monday, September 29, 2008
My neighbors across the street have been raising beef cattle for nearly fifty years. These lovely polled Herefords enjoy unlimited pasture, the freedom to raise their own calves, run and wander at will, and generally live a pretty natural and happy life for a cow, right up until the end. They are completely grass raised and grass finished, never grain fattened or sent to a feedlot. When the time comes, the knackerman comes and collects them right off the field.
Choosing one of these animals to be our meat for the year (along with our own pork, chicken, and kid) fulfills several goals. I couldn't possibly eat more locally; I've been looking at these cows out my window all year. I get to support two local family owned businesses: my neighbor's, and Keizer meats, the slaughterer and butcher. There is a great feeling of security in having a whole winter's worth of food in the house. I know for a fact that the animal I am going to eat has been humanely raised. And I get to refrain from participation in the feedlot system that is so incredibly detrimental to the environment, as well as being horrifically cruel to the animals involved.
And for those who say "All very well, but isn't it more expensive?", be informed that I am paying $2.25 a pound for my side of beef, which includes plenty of filet mignon and prime rib as well as hamburger and stew meat. My steer was picked up for slaughter Saturday, and I ought be able to collect it in about two weeks. I can't wait. Every time I look out the window, I practically drool.