Up From the Frying Pan into the Fire

It’s no secret that I’m a meat eater. After all, my love of pork — of nearly any meat that comes from the pig —  is one of the reasons this blog is named Whole Hog. But I’m particular about the meat I eat. I try to eat only meat from animals that lived a natural life, on pasture, with room to roam and animals that are fed food that they can actually digest.

It’s not always easy, of course. As Food Inc and The Omnivore’s Dilemma point out, it’s surprisingly (and intentionally) difficult to find out where our food comes from these days. Plenty of feedlots call themselves farms or ranches. The words farm and ranch conjure up images of animals on pasture, but that’s not often the reality.

To me, it’s worth the extra effort and extra cost (feedlots are subsidized by the government, pasture isn’t) to eat pasture-raised meat. It means that I don’t have to choose between eating vegetarian nutloaf and E.coli-tainted beef. And I don’t have to worry about the latest beef recall, or inadvertently dosing myself with hormones and antibiotics via my dinner. Avoiding factory farms is also a ‘greener’ choice: factory farms can produce as much waste as a small city.

Even better, perhaps, pasture-raised meat is really delicious.  If you’re a pork lover like me, there’s simply no comparison between pasture-raised pork and industrial-raised pork. Try it. You’ll see. Here’s how:

Finding Pasture-Raised Meat

The simplest way to find pasture-raised meat is to shop at your local farmers market. You’ll get to learn what pastured-raised meat is available in your area and meet the rancher and ask questions. A good local market can also help. BiRite has introduced me to new providers.

Or, use online resources, like Eatwell Guide, Eat Wild (a guide to grass-fed meats), and Certified Humane to find local ranches, grocery stores and restaurants that use more responsibly-raised meats, nationwide.

If you’re in the Bay Area, here are some farms that raise animals on pasture:

*Available at BiRite Market in SF.

Salamis, Sausages and Prosciutto from pasture-raised animals:

  • Fatted Calf (salumi, sausage)
    Their store is in Napa, but you can also  available at the Saturday SF Farmers Market (ferry building) and the Berkeley Farmers Market.
  • Boccolone (salumi, prosciutto)


One Response to “Up From the Frying Pan into the Fire”

  1. Gonna Spread My Word Standing On This Box « Whole Hog Says:

    […] My post on finding pasture-raised meat can be found here. […]

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