A while ago, Gwen and I decided to change our food buying habits. Wherever possible now, we buy as close to the producer as we can and we select ethically grown products. We’re not fanatics about a 100 mile diet. Life would not be worth living without tea, coffee, German Riesling, olive oil and other essentials.
The easiest change to make is the buying of meat. That’s probably the most important change a family can make because factory techniques can be reprehensible. Examine this article from Michael Moss and the New York Times. An excerpt:
The frozen hamburgers that the Smiths ate, which were made by the food giant Cargill, were labeled “American Chef’s Selection Angus Beef Patties.” Yet confidential grinding logs and other Cargill records show that the hamburgers were made from a mix of slaughterhouse trimmings and a mash-like product derived from scraps that were ground together at a plant in Wisconsin. The ingredients came from slaughterhouses in Nebraska, Texas and Uruguay, and from a South Dakota company that processes fatty trimmings and treats them with ammonia to kill bacteria.
Living on Vancouver’s North Shore, we shop at 3P Natural & Exotic Meats or Sebastian & Co. Fine Organic Meats, both owner operated small stores with incredible commitment to safe and healthy products. Do you want to know which farmer grew the meat in your package? Just ask. It will have been prepared in-store, from one segment, from one animal, from one farm and that farm, probably family owned like these, is dedicated to the highest levels of husbandry. That is a fundamental requirement of being a supplier to Paul or Sebastian.
Does this cost a consumer more? Of course it does. But, when you factor in quality and lack of waste and shrinkage, the advantage changes. And, switching to ethical choices allows you to feel superior to the person you used to be.