grass-fed and local

since jim hit the ground running on june 1st with summer camp training, we haven't exactly  enjoyed much family time.  he leaves before the kids wake and comes home long after they're asleep.  we try to make it up to camp for meals, but we don't exactly get his undivided attention up there.  it won't always be this intense, but orientation is truly mad.

so when we were able to steal jim away to carol and dave's roadhouse for a dinner out on sunday night, it was a definite treat.  we ate on their deck, no fits were thrown, and jim and i enjoyed burgers from the grass-fed-and-finished beef from the kananga farm, which is adjacent to camp.

after i ordered (in a blur of juggling bibs, high chair straps, and sippy cups),  i realized that if i'd given more than a cursory look a the menu, i could have had a dinner with the kind of vegetables not served in the dining hall, but camp is definitely not serving up grass-fed beef, and these burgers were tasty.

more and more restaurants in our area are sourcing meat, eggs, and produce from local farms, and i love it.  i love knowing that my dollar is supporting not only a local business but a local farm.  i love knowing that the animals were pastured or the produce was not treated with pesticides.  i love that my burger journeyed to my plate from the farm in my backyard instead of being shipped who knows how far from a seedy factory farm.

if restaurants know that customers care about where their meals come from, they will source more local and organic ingredients.  the local food movement is definitely growing in my small town because of consumer interest.  i got an email this week from the ivy cafe saying they had veal on their new summer menu from a local farm where the cows were all pastured and not confined.  i have never ordered veal because of the awful conditions they are conventionally raised in, but i could definitely order veal from a local farm that i could trust and even visit.

when restaurants source ingredients locally and craft menus from what is in season, it's good for local economies and so much better for our health.  businesses will listen if they know that's what consumers want.  money talks, and we truly can cast votes with our dollars for better, locally-sourced food.

how important is buying local food to you?  do you have a favorite source for local food?

quest for real food is hosting a conversation on local eating, and the local cook has an interesting series on the intersection of faith and eating with a challenge about supporting local farmers.  check them out:)  this post is also linked to works for me wednesday.


m said...

This is so exciting! It gets tedious to explain to people what kind of meat I will eat. 'Happy animals' I'll say, and then we get into the discussion about what a 'happy animal' is. It is amazing how much people don't know about what they're eating.

Kelly Irene said...

I like Monica's comment about "Happy animals"; that's a great way to say it!
Suzannah, we have a few restaurants here that are sourcing locally as well, and my hubby and I are trying to make more of a point of spending our money there when we do go out. One of my favorites is a bison's delicious, and I know the family who owns the farm!
I'm glad you enjoyed a local meal in peace with your family :)

Misty said...

it's terrible that i wrinkle my noise at this!!! what i mean is i'm 98.67775% vegetarian, and DONT judge me too harshly for what i'm about to say: the occasional time i ever seem to eat meat is at that horrible place w/ the golden arches! isnt' that ridiculous! it's probably not even meat. and if it is, it's definitely not happy meat. i get so caught up in time constraints or whatever that the occasional meal out tends to be of the fast variety. ugh.
enough selfjudging, lol. i love eating locally when we can, and fortunately dallas has several restaurants that do specialize in such.. now if i could just get a datenight more often!!

Penny said...

I suppose one advantage of living in a small country is that "Local" can be a rather wider net.. so wherever possible I will buy New Zealand produced groceries. I think bananas, ginger and the occasional tropical fruit are the only I buy from overseas. NZ beef is all grass raised and finished, I can get free range chicken pretty reasonably. Pork is one meat that I try to buy free range as I have some issues with conventionally farmed pork here. If I buy seafood I try to choose the sustainably fished options, but I have issues with the fishing industry so we don't eat a lot of it. Milk, cheese and dairy come from the local farms around the city. We have it pretty good really. Which isn't to say we could do better! We have a number of local Farmer's Markets and if I drive 20 mins I can get to local vegetable farms and buy from them. (One of the places I get a vege box from is about 25 mins drive from me).

I do think that I am an exception though. I am fortunate that I have a middle class income which means I have some choice about where and what I purchase. Plus some education and interest in this stuff. There are those in our country who don't have this opportunity and I can hardly blame them for buying cheap, imported noodles over a tray of free range (but pricey) chicken.

Mari said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. We really are on the same wavelength. Great post!

Mommy Emily said...

i love this. i love that you care. about animals, about the environment... about things that matter to God. beauty. i am following you now. :)

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

Love this!!!

I don't think here are any restaurants in our little town who are the least bit interested (or able?) to buy local, but over in Oklahoma City, I know quite a few places are picking up the vibe.

Heather of the EO said...

I LOVE seeing this "movement" happening even in small towns. It's a beautiful thing.

This inspires me. I live in a small town too and there aren't many I hope the "trend" moves our way :)

'Becca said...

I am so glad that local foods are gaining more interest every year! Eventually we are going to run low on gas (and the oil spill will make it happen sooner than expected!) so we need to break the habit of transporting everything long distances.

This is my tenth year of buying a farm share and enjoying local, organic produce every week! Having the share keeps us committed to eating the local, fresh veggies even when we get busy and would be tempted to buy carelessly.

Earlier this year I gave up buying things from outside North America for Lent. That was educational but not quite in the ways I expected.

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