The buzz word is “Pastured” – Pastured eggs, pastured poultry, pastured meat

At first, you wanted your animals to be fed a healthy diet so you looked for “grain fed” or “no hormones or antibiotics” or “organic.” Then we start to find out that “organic” standards are slipping and they are no longer what they were supposed to be. We begin to realize “grain fed” is not the best thing (or even natural) and we start to ask ourselves what grain? Now we hope to find “grass fed” because its better than “grain fed.” Companies put grain fed on their labels to mislead buyers like grain fed animals are healthy and it’s a good thing. And still we have to worry what crap they are pumping our meat full of!

Then comes “free range” and we think, “Ok our chickens are running around happy and free.” In the beginning, this may have been true but “free range” has changed. There is no qualification of time or space that the USDA has given to qualify as “free range.” It could be 2 minutes outside; it doesn’t even have to be outside. All it means it chickens are not locked in pens. They can be kept equally poor in a huge chicken house with over crowding and too many birds in one area in their own poop! Your chickens can still be de-beaked!

“Local” is also another buzz word that defines produce as well as livestock grown in close proximity to where it is sold. Many farms local to Long Island also tend to be humane animal farms as well it seems. Buying locally, reduces ones carbon footprint and also allows them to see first hand how animals are treated if they wish. It also adds to the freshness of your meat and reduces the need for chemical preservatives if its not trucked hundreds or thousands of miles and frozen and who knows what else.

And now we come to the new term, “pastured” when taking about our animal products. This is defined as grass fed and raised on a pasture to eat natural food that they would normally eat if they were not being used for the slaughter. Generally, food produced from this method tends to be more nutritious, humane, sustainable, and it just tastes better. This method is not necessarily “organic” but from my research, tends to be the best current method of raising animals to eat. This method has been widely used since 1997 but is now growing in popularity. There is an amazing article about pasture raised livestock here.

With a little research, I was able to find local farms or stores in Long Island that sell “pastured” milk, eggs, and meat: Fairway in Plainview (also in Brooklyn), Garden of Eve farm in Riverhead, Whole Foods, Wild by Nature, Fresh Direct, Jandi’s and Rustic Roots Delivery. I am sure there are more and I encourage readers to post other places they get their animal products from.

Now buying meat products with all these guidelines is a good thing but in reality, you could drive yourself crazy trying to live up to all these standards. Plus, eating out at a restaurant becomes impossible unless you ask everywhere you eat where your meat and eggs and dairy comes from. I love me some diner omelettes! I admit, I do not strictly only eat meat from animals that are “treated nicely” as I put it. I will go out for a good steak once in a while and say whatever. I will not let the desire to be a better meat eater run my life. Instead, I will make a conscious effort when I buy eggs to purchase the locally produced, pastured eggs instead of the cheaper white eggs, I will buy my burger a little more expensive so that I can get grass fed beef, and I don’t drink milk (I am allergic to dairy) so that has never been a problem. When going to the Fairway or local butcher, I will opt for the grain fed, pastured, meat instead of the cheaper who knows where it comes from version. I will consciously make an effort to make better choices; I will not let this choice run my life. Plus, I think it tastes better.

Links for more information/where I did my research


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. mymatejoechip
    Nov 20, 2011 @ 08:55:36

    Thanks gluten free is important to me.
    I worry about egg labelling so much of it is just a marketing ploy.


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