Thursday, October 13, 2011

Supporting local farmers

Our Upstate Locavores group had a potluck dinner this evening.  Delicious food, as usual.

But a high point was a brief talk from a local farmer who raises grass-fed beef, free-range chickens, and free-range pork.  (I was supposed to talk about 'Five-season vegetable gardening' after him.)

It was a compelling call to think about how we need to support small-scale agriculture, in a vast county like the U.S., and one that's been dominated by big agriculture for decades.

It requires visiting farmers' markets, local food networks, and small scale groceries or coops as alternatives to our regular grocery stores.

I grow a lot of vegetables, and more than we can eat frequently, so I try to freeze whatever we can't eat. (Nothing normally goes to waste in our household!)

But I'm not a purist, although I think I'm pretty well-informed, and I hate to admit that I've still been buying commercial chicken (even knowing about many of its unsavory production aspects).  The cost point just seemed high.  But, Bud, the local farmer who spoke, was eloquent about how he raised his meat animals and how the commercial chickens are bred so that they can't actually walk very well on their own, because of the overly large breasts and spindly legs.  Yikes.

OK, I need to get my head around whether we still need to eat meat (maybe not), only eat organic meat (hmm, I'm not sure the supermarket organic chickens are raised so nicely, either), or do I just need to support local farmers for beef, chicken, pork, goat, farm-raised trout, etc., not to mention eggs from free-range chickens, too.

I'm frugal, and it's hard to pay three times the amount for a whole free-range chicken.  But my locavore friends assure me that these chickens are so much more tasty than supermarket.

The experiment awaits.  There's a 6 lb. frozen free-range chicken in the freezer.


  1. I have been enjoying Putney's eggs....fresh eggs are a bit more expensive, but very good!! Also get our beef brisket from BarT---some of the best best best brisket Charlie has ever smoked.
    Have been enjoying our upstatelocallygrown association. Your dinner sounds great!

  2. Lisa,

    These kind of chickens are much more tasty. We too have a hard time paying so much for them. We buy local free range eggs most of the time. Very tasty eggs.


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