Today's food section prompts me to write about something I have been meaning to mention. One of the articles cites Ecofriendly foods as a source for pork. They come to both Dupont and Arlington farmers' markets. I'm one of their biggest supporters and have been buying it for years, now. I have to say that over the last several months, I have had the best pork from them that I have ever had anywhere. The fresh pork is best, of course, but if there isn't any, get it frozen. If they have any left, try the pork from pigs that grazed on acorns for the last weeks before slaughter. Excellent. It's not cheap, but it's worth every penny.
Too cool. Just turned on to these guys by reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, and am plotting strategy for how to find some decent meat. I think Eco Friendly shows up at Arlington on Saturday mornings? Are you buying mostly pork roasts or what? And cooking how?
If you haven't read TOD, you must, as there is an interesting discussion on the pig's function as a pigaerator in the cattle stables.
Yep, they're at Arlington Saturday a.m. I've bought about every pig cut that they sell. Typically, they have chops, roasts (both with bone-in and bone-out) and whole tenderloins. I sometimes badger them to bring pork belly and liver and things like that.
Good chickens, especially their new poulet rouge, and rabbits, too. I don't eat much beef, so I shouldn't comment on that, but it looks good to me.
What is The Omnivore's Dilemma? I'm very intrigued.
That is cool, I am heading over there tomorrow AM.
I was pretty much in the dark about food ingredients until I read the book. I'd sum it up for you like this. Due to advances in technology and screwy government policies, US farmers produce way too much corn. We can't eat it all, so the excess corn has to go somewhere. Enter 2 major players: food processors and the beef industry. The food processors turn excess corn into stuff like high fructose corn syrup--which cheaply sweetens sodas and countless other products--and a host of other thickeners, preservatives, emulsifiers, etc. The book enumerates a number of disadvantages to this, not least of which is the cheapening of sweetened foods to such an extent that we consume too many of them, giving a third of our children Type II diabetes.
The beef industry converts the cheap corn to meat by feeding it to cattle. The problem is that cattle weren't made to eat corn, so the rich diet and other poor conditions they live in tend to sicken them. This requires antibiotic and nutrative infusions that degrade the beef's quality. But hey, whereas it took 5-6 years to get them to slaughter weight in the 1930's, the corn'll get 'em there in 18 months.
That was a huge eye-opener to me. The other major interesting part is the discussion on grass feeding operations -- this is basically the right way to farm, because it harmonizes animal feeding with managing pastureland in a very sustainable way that generates very high quality meat.
Eco Friendly foods is mentioned in the book because they mostly process and market this pasture-fed meat, and are strongly supported by the farmers that operate like this.
I've only captured a small part of the book for you here, but hopefully illuminated some of it. It's well written, fascinating, and the kind of book that you keep discussing with others for months after you read it.
Thanks very much for that explanation. I'll definitely look for that book.
If Bev Eggleston is there, engage him in a conversation about their feeding practices. He is a very enthusiastic, interested guy. If he's not there, Bruce, who helps him out here, has spent a lot of time with him on the farm and butchering, too, so he also is very up to date. Just quieter.
My favorite is Cederbrook Farm pork (it's from hierloon pigs) at the Dupont Market. Very,very tasty.