Things have been going well for us at the restaurant and at home. Business has still been strong so far this year and sales are up for the first two months over last year! Hurray for that.
As for me, well I haven’t been working out, or blogging. I have been cooking on and off and reading. I just finished two books that have turned my whole life upside down. The first, which was the start of it, is “Meat“, by Fearnley-Whittingstall and the other, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollen.
Both books were excellent. But “Meat” was what started my new found desire to eat only humanely raised animals. If you are not aware, and you are probably not, 99% of all pigs in the United States are raised indoors, and for a large portion of their life, they are unable to turn around, root in the ground or do anything at all that resembles normal pig behavior. Worse yet, pigs are one of the most intelligent animal species and are smarter than dogs and resemble the intelligence of a three-year-old child.
I’m not going to post the picture of what their confinement looks like, but if you are interested take a look by clicking here.
I’ve had a very hard time with this for the past three weeks. I’ve always been interested in animal rights and have donated money to many charities, but over the past three weeks I’ve spent hours and hours reading about factory farming of animals in the United States and can tell you I have cried, been pissed off and overall just plain sick to my stomach.
So what have I done? Well first off I’m not buying meat for our home, nor will I have any meat in my home that comes from Factory Farms. No more frozen pizza with pepperoni on it, no more ribs, bacon, chicken, etc. from the supermarket.
I’m buying all my meat from Whole Foods because they have the highest standards currently in any type of grocery store model, and I’m looking into purchasing a partial cow and partial pig for my home freezer. I’m calling local farmers and visiting their farms to see how they take care of their animals. We have always bought free-range organic eggs and I couldn’t imagine buying battery caged eggs.
As for the restaurant we have always used organic free-range eggs and I just tonight have sourced humanely raised deli ham meat, as well as bacon and salami. This is where I will start and will expand from there. Let me also say this is so important to me that I will personally be eating all of the increased cost for this humanely raised, antibiotic free meat.
I’ve been working very hard to understand all the ins and outs of organic meats as well as humanely raised meats so please share with me your experiences or questions.
Here are some resources if you are interested in finding out more about this:
Applegate Farms – Humanely raised meats
Niman Ranch – They started it all
Animal Welfare Approved – program and food labelthat promote the well-being of animals and the sustainability of humane family farms
Local Harvest – Get connected to a local farmer in your area
Eat Wild – Another site to find local farms
Farm Sanctuary – Non Profit Organization dedicated to saving animals
So I will be back to posting recipes soon. You might not see as many with meat as my plan will include spending much more for it, so I will enjoy it more and eat it less!