|Sunny Cedars Farm|
So why do it? I do it because it tastes far superior to any conventional product; it's not loaded with antibiotics, added growth hormones, and million dollar words you can't pronounce. I want to know where my food comes from and how it was raised.
|West Ridge Farms - Premium Beef|
So what about me, what is my background? My family has had a vegetable garden for as long as I can remember, and we now have a raised bed garden I call my "kitchen garden" where we grow a variety of produce. In fact my husband comes from a long line of people who farmed for generations, including his 2nd great-grandfather, Isaac Hill Marshall, who was a scientific farmer (see link).
|Wishbone Heritage Farms|
I began this journey to "source our food" from local farms and markets a few years ago. Why? Because I was tired of not knowing what was in our food. This stemmed from some things I'd seen via the Internet, but I was determined to find out for myself what this "just eat real food" business was all about.
|Seldom Rest Farm|
|Hill Creek Farms - Hartsville|
In fairness, most small farms can not be certified organic due to the substantial cost, but if they are using organic practices, that's all I need. Most all farmer's are more than happy to share their farming philosophies and practices with you if you simply ask. Don't like what you hear from one farmer, go to another, it's that easy!
|Turkey Creek Bee Farm|
And you don't always have to live "high off the hog" as the saying goes, buying the most expensive, premium cuts of meat. Pork shanks, as an example, are often overlooked, but when prepared properly as German Schweinshaxe or Pork Osso Bucco,they are delicious. Goat meat is also growing in popularity and is fairly inexpensive to purchase, as is ground chicken, turkey or lamb you can use instead of ground beef in most any dish.
|Carolina Bay Farms|
The other thing we've discovered is we eat less of the meat because it's more satisfying. And believe me, my husband is a total carnivore. We used to cook bone-in chicken breasts and everyone would have their own. Now we cut the breasts in half (making 2 into 4 pieces) or grill them and slice the meat off one chicken breast for dinner, and use the other one for sandwiches, chicken salad, or a casserole another day.
|Old McCaskills Farm|
With beef we have discovered lessor popular cuts such as Skirt Steak and Hanger Steak. Both are delicious, and very tender, again when prepared properly.
|Paradise Acres Farm|
I'm proud to say I haven't bought meat, produce or dairy products (butter, milk, cheese) in the grocery store for over a year now, and while it did take me more than 2 years to get there, I'm glad I did.
Recently some friends purchased meat products at a local farm for the first time and told me "More people just need to try it, they would really like it too. To be honest, I was a little skeptical at first about trying all grass fed meat, but not anymore. I did a price comparison for chuck roast at the grocery store today and the difference was less than $5 for the same weight."
I'm happy "I shop local" and support my local economy. Every bit of money spent with a local family farm, market or foods store helps them continue to do what they do best ... provide quality products for you and I to enjoy, and I say that's a win-win!
For more information about our food system, or to simply educate yourself, check out this video:
Until next time,
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