From Field to Fork: Caring Where Your Food Comes From

| 10/11/2011 10:50:08 PM

Callie HeadshotFarm to fork ... pasture to plate ... no matter how it is dressed up with attractive alliterations, eating meat involves the demise of what is being eaten. It happens all the time, breakfast, lunch and dinner, in the animal kingdom, in the human realm. That most of us are completely removed from any experience of what life and death is like for the meat we eat speaks to the reason we have massive monoculture factory farms in this country. If we knew the whole story of each item of food on our plates, I believe we would make more sustainable, health supporting choices.


Three weeks ago my fiance, Matt, joined Dan (the sheep herder I intern for) and myself on a work day sorting lambs. Matt purchased a market lamb back in May. A market lamb is a sheep that is younger than one year old, generally a castrated male. It could also be a female whose genetics a farmer doesn't want contributing to their future flock. A market lamb is also by definition destined for the dinner table. By late September Matt's lamb weighed 90lbs and was 'finished.' Finish is the amount of fat cover on the animal and is decided most easily by feeling the loin area on each lamb.


We sorted all the lambs; those under 90lbs got to go back out to pasture. Those over 90lbs were loaded in the trailer and taken to the nearest lamb processing facility about 55 miles away in Dixon.

The next week, we picked up our meat, a freezer full and seasons worth of roasts, racks and chops.


Nebraska Dave
10/13/2011 8:03:57 AM

Callie, I truly believe that if folks had to kill what they eat there would be a lot more vegetarians in this world. It's not my favorite thing to do and in this season of life I don't do it at all. I have processed the animal that goes in the freezer starting from a child and continuing through my high school years. Farm life is all about life and death of the animals. It's brutal to face for some but as you stated it happens all the time in the animal world. Insects are even more brutal in their survival instincts. In most cases it's eat or be eaten. I'm kind of glad that I'm not a part of that world. Have a great day.

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