As I've mentioned before, I'm plowing my way through The Omnivore's Dilemma. Love it and hate it. I woke up this morning with a nightmare of a pig chewing Ariana's ears off. Horrible.
I'm currently fascinated with the idea of taking a set-in-stone grocery budget and at least running some calculations on how much (as in, what percentage) sustainability can be purchased by making some alternate cooking choices. Now, mind you, my cooking already has some severe limitations, and already does NOT contain any prepackaged meals, the big exception being mac-n-cheese boxes and ramen noodles which make up at least some of the kid's lunches. (They prefer it when I make the mac from scratch. Maybe I should take a hint and get hard core about that one more thing.)
So I'm knocking about on the internet, seeking to find some local sources of decent meat and eggs and the farms are all a hundred miles away. Are there any local sources of meat and eggs? If so, WHY don't they have web pages? (Sheldahl Consulting would be happy to design a few).
Pathetic, I know, but I was wanting to run some numbers and think about it a little. From where I'm sitting, I feel proud of myself when I shop Kroger instead of Walmart. Only two items were unavailable at Kroger that I normally buy: Sugar free Ketchup and Sugar Free bread. Both of which I COULD make from scratch if I decided to put time and effort into it. Time I have, energy not as reliable. But it's worth thinking about.
The other question knocking around in my oversized head is this: I know Laura's Lean beef is grass fed, etc. and that is how the leanness is achieved. How, then, is the leanness achieved in Kroger brand extra lean beef (93/7) if feedlots and grains fatten beef more than this? I don't even know where to begin to go to answer this question.
It's all so interesting, forgive my rambles. I find this is always, like I alluded to above, about one more thing: The whole wheat pastry flour replacing the white flour. The local Mennonite-made all-fruit sugar free jellies that my whole family loves replacing the two jars: jar of generic strawberry and the jar of generic sugar free nasty chemical strawberry for me. It's about making a smaller, leaner meatloaf and cooking an extra serving of vegetable to round out the meal. It's about picking up Laura's Lean Beef when it's on sale. It's about choosing stevia more often than splenda. It's about smaller portions. It's about at least getting the eggs that don't have meatpacking castoffs in their feed. Always compromises, though. But which ones? That is the operative question. I could go on and no. No, wait. I DO go on and on.
I find, despite all my rantings and ramblings, that I'm very very willing to spend twenty cents more for Earthbound Farms organic lettuce than I am for the Dole. Ok, so even that choice is not as "pristine" as a nice basket of CSA veggies or even better, something I grow in my own back yard. A twenty cent difference I can deal with. A three or four dollar difference I can't.
So, where are all the farms? Are there any farms? Surely there are? Where do Farmer's Market die-hards buy their eggs in the winter time?