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How many people buy supermarket chicken and meat?

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Despite the constant messages in the food press that we should all be eating free range, grass fed, organic, etc., I have to feed up to four people a week on just my salary. I don't have a lot of time to shop in a lot of different places either. So a few times a week I feed my family chicken that I buy on sale for 69 cents a lb. at the supermarket, Trader Joe's hamburgers or frozen shrimp probably from Thailand. Am I slowly killing us all? Do other people feel this constant pressure to buy hyper-expensive meat and poultry, or do some of you also buy regular meat and poultry at the regular supermarket? I even eat farm raised salmon every now and then. We eat virtually no processed foods and never any fast food, but the cost of the real quality meat is cost-prohibitive. Will I go to foodie hell?

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  1. We are all going to die eventually, some slower than others. I like to eat healthy, but don't go for the hype.

    1. i shop at the local grade a market (shop right). not fancy. the butchers are good. i spent years making friends with them. i'm very happy with the meats.

      fish? i'm best buds with my local monger. they buy fresh every morning in the new fulton market. produce is my weak spot. i grow some but that's not enough. i need to do better.

      3 Replies
      1. re: steve h.

        Bingo...I buy meat at the supermarket, but travel to a good market, rather than the closest, which only has precut meat on a prewrapped on a styrofoam tray. In my case, that's Grade A, too, either Stamford (Comm Park) or Norwalk.

        For fish, I'm a bit pickier, and supermarket fish don't cut it. Fjord in Greenwich, or New wave in Stamford (more limited, but great quality, and 1/2 the price of Fjord. Closer, too.

        1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

          CBAM

          Take a drive up to Pound Ridge and try Scotts Market for some good beef. Great quality and jfood thinks better than Grade A in STM. Other place in the area on Route 7 in Norwalk is Leitizia but sometimes th\e meat is hit/miss. But jfood has found hangar steak there.

          1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

            I like the butchers at my local Grade A. We grind our own meat for hamburgers and the guys are always willing to supply me with beef fat so we can get the meat/fat ratio to our liking. They are also very happy to cut beef ribs to my specification (very long and across the bones) as well as veal shanks (thicker than most).

            Stamford Seafood is a small mom and pop operation. They shop at the new Fulton Market. It's always a pleasure asking them to procure something special.

            Make friends with your butcher and fish monger.

        2. We buy rotisserie chickens from Costco and Ralph's market - they're juicy and reasonable and tasty.

          I've bought fish at Whole Foods, Gelson's, Ralph's, and like getting Costco's king crab legs or lobsters...

          1. I do try to buy organic, free range meat whenever possible, but I can definitely empathize how expensive it can get. But last week, I just discovered "Buddhist" style Bo Bo chickens at a Chinese market. These chickens are fresh, lean, flavorful and are free range to a certain extent. And an entire chicken was only $5! I usually spend 3-4 times that for one at Whole Foods. So I was really happy to discover these chickens.

            I don't eat as much meat as the typical American. So spending more for my meat will not affect my budget as much as those who can eat a 1 lb steak on a regular basis.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Miss Needle

              Which market sells Bo Bo chickens? I haven't been cooking much lately.

              1. re: designerboy01

                This was in Flushing. Don't remember the name but it's a relatively new large market on Main Street near Sanford, I think. Here's their website which lists where you can find it.

                http://www.bobochicken.com/markets.htm

                1. re: Miss Needle

                  They got a retail market in Manhattan. Next time I make roast duck I'll get it from them. So that's where you get quail.... Thanks for the find...

            2. No, I do the same.

              1. I just blogged about this!!!

                I rob Peter to pay Paul. I have 5 kids, 3 of which are young men who can eat their own body weight in meat. I buy grass-fed, free range lamb on line, which works out to be about $17AUD a kg. BUT, I recently wanted to cook shanks... and at $3 EACH (x 7, mind you) even at the spewpermarket,the grass fed option wasn't an option. So it was Slaveways meat all the way for that dish (albeit I got about 24 adult serves out of one dish, but with 7 mouths to feed, I am creative like that)

                I find shopping at local orchards and farmers markets IS actually cheaper than supermarkets, for fruit and vegies, and then if I want to splurge and get some organic pineapple for just hubs and I, I don't feel so guilty.

                I get an online delivery of fruit and veg once a fortnight, so I don't even have to go out to always have fruit and veg in the house.. and my supplier is most certainly cheaper than the supermarket. It's not organic, but it is guaranteed Australian produce only. I also get milk, bread and cheese delivered at a noticeable discount from supermarket prices.

                So really, all I have to get is the occasional top-up of fruit and veg from a local source, and I buy my meat as ethically as possible,

                And sometime "ethical" means buying gas-packed supermarket meat, so I can afford the ballet fees.

                1. Don't believe the hype!!! You are not killing anyone by serving homemade food prepared from your local supermarket. Believe me, I would love to serve/eat only from my local organic butcher, farmers market, co-op, cheese shop, fish monger...but I work full-time + as most people do, and it is just not possible most weeks to make so many stops for food. And sometimes I am just too light in the wallet for the one stop shop at Whole Foods and SuperTarget is just so convenient and cheap. You are not dining with Chef Boy-ar-dee so don't stress. BTW...where is "foodie hell"?? I have always called Taco Bell "Taco Hell" so I will assume it is there.

                  1. What, exactly, is the toxin that we are supposed to be concerned about in the mainstream meat supply? If it is toxic, why isn't the average lifespan plummeting?

                    The fear and hype is nonsense. The USDA actually does a fairly good job of keeping our food supply safe and if you cook meat properly, it is safe. The only truly proven strategy for extending lifespan through diet is severely restricting total calories for adults but if you are a true chowhound, that would make life seem interminable.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: EdwardAdams

                      I think much of the organic movement is more about greener living and humane treatment of the animals, than it is toxicity(although for many hormones & pesticides are a concern too).

                      1. re: Full tummy

                        That's why I hunt and fish. My kids called it happy meat. It was happy until I dropped it, caught it. Organic too. And aerobic for the human.

                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                          I like it. My kids call the animals on organic farms "happy" too. We have become friendly with some pig farmers and my daughter calls them the "happy pig" people.

                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpuIqZ...

                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                            We don't hunt and fish, but we do buy all of our meat and poultry from local farmers where we can SEE that the animals have a good life until their time is up. I can see the animals grazing in the fields, and I've been to the butcher that takes care of the hard work for me.

                            I buy this way because I believe it is healthier, but mostly because I can't bear the thought of how animals are treated in mass production facilities. It is expensive, but the price can really be reduced by buying in quantity. We buy a half cow or pig at a time--granted, not feasible for all, but I have friends in apartments that do the same buying through small co-ops or amongst friends. Also, when buying a side at a time, I get all of the much cheaper cuts of meats that are wonderful for braising and slow cooking. They are actually cheaper than much of what I could get from the supermarket.

                        2. re: EdwardAdams

                          Boy, you are RIGHT ON! I used to work in a nutrition lab and my boss used to preach two words: "Moderation and Variety." to me, it's always been the golden rule of eating. Occasionally, I'll splurge when Stew Leonard's has a sale on meat but otherwise buy from ShopRite. My dad used to be a butcher and I know what to look for. Can't say I ever got an inedible or even a bad piece of meat. Once, as a birthday gift for a special friend, I bought an 8-lb (not a typo - 8!!!) lobster at the ShopRite on Tuckahoe Road for under $50 and it was incredibly tender and wonderful. And it fed 6 ravenous adults! We had to take a hammer to it to get to the meat but we did it!

                          1. re: JoanieBalonie

                            I think the issue is that "bad" piece of meat is defined differently by each of us, using variable criteria.

                        3. I dont believe the hype put out by the organic/greenie folks. I buy my meat & poultry at the local butcher shop, but if I do not get there on a weekend before he closes, or on a Sunday I will buy chicken, and cryovac pork products(ribs,pork loin,porkbutt,etc) from my local grocery store. Never beef though( I cant stand sub-choice graded meat at most supermarkets)

                          We never buy prepared foods, including rotisserie chickens from anywhere.

                          1. I buy most of what we eat from Scotts (division of Kroger), SavALot, Walmart, and occasionally Meijer. I don't buy meats at Walmart for the most part because they just don't taste that great and their prices are usually higher than the other stores....price match doesn't always work because they'll package items differently than the others. I shop the sales at Scotts and get some great deals, also buy the reduced for clearance meats there. SavALot keeps going up on their meats but I buy some if the price is right. Thankfully, I'm still able to find meat that hasn't been enhanced. I just want plain ole meat and will enhance myself, thank you.

                            I tried a local farmer's small meat shop and his prices were astronomical and, to be quite frank, the meat was worse than Walmart. He sells his good stuff to restaurants in Chicagoland and the rejects are sold to locals at his farm. Some people have even gotten rancid meat from him so he's quickly losing customers after just opening earlier this spring.

                            Produce comes from different places. All three stores carry some local produce when available and usually it's at a great sale price. I buy fresh when I can either at the local stores or at roadside stands. Living in Indiana, there's only a short growing season when those items are available. We also have a small garden and I can or freeze as much as I can for winter use. I don't go for the hype either but do my best to feed my family homecooked nutritous meals for an affordable price. I feed 2 adults, a 14 yr old girl, and 8 yr old boy for anywhere from $50-150 per week. That amount includes health and beauty, cleaning products, paper goods, etc. It fluctuates because when I find a good deal, I stock up for a week when work was slow and there's just not as much money in the budget.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: alliedawn_98

                              I will not buy meat from Wal-Mart, Sam's Club or anywhere it isn't cut on site. That's just me, though. I have good results from meat bought at ShopRite, Price Chopper and Stop and Shop home in New York and also from Hannaford and Market Basket in Mass. You just have to know what to look for - I buy only organic chicken and turkey and Angus beef, and limit our pork somewhat.

                              1. re: mrsbuffer

                                Just wondered why only Angus beef? I always thought that was just a gimmick to get folks to pay more. Is it better?

                            2. I've slowly started to ween myself off of supermarket meats.

                              But I'm doing so not necessarily because of health (or ethical) concerns. Rather, it's for taste.

                              I just joined a CSA for salmon and beef and I find the taste to be so much superior to what I can get at the market, organic or not.

                              I tend to eat less because the flavors are so much more pronounced that I think I probably spend the same amount of money, if not less than if I were to buy from market.

                              Bottom line for me? When it comes to meat (esp. beef and fish), I buy based on taste, not health or ethical considerations.

                              Nothing lives forever, not even planet Earth.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                ipse, can you please provide contact info for your CSA? thanks!

                                1. re: brandnewuser

                                  For poultry: http://www.rainbowranchfarms.com/Freq...

                                  For beef and salmon: http://www.fishhugger.com/index.html They aren't technically a CSA, but there's no membership and the prices are reasonable and the quality very good.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    thank you!

                              2. A lot of the pop science the green crowd touts is dubious at best, flat out wrong at worst. There's a lot to sympathize with, but there's a lot that's been peverted by politics. I would love to be able to buy more local, organic goods for the taste as well as for the social benefit, but the sad fact of the matter is that doing so would exceed my food budget two-fold, driving me into the poorhouse very quickly. So it's off to the mass market for me.

                                The USDA does an excellent job of ensuring that our food is safe and of high quality; as soon as any link in the supply chain is tainted, it is separated from general consumption and destroyed. The mass-produced meat mightn't taste as great as organic meats fed on natural feed and not pumped up with saline solution, but if you're into cooking, think of it as a challenge to your abilities. And know that at least it's far better than the rancid stock heavily spiced by the king's chefs in the court of Henry VIII!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: JungMann

                                  The USDA does an excellent job of ensuring that our food is safe and of high quality; as soon as any link in the supply chain is tainted, it is separated from general consumption and destroyed.

                                  *Snort* You must be joking. I have no doubt that lots of good people work at the USDA but the agency as a whole is an underfunded, understaffed mess that won't even let ranchers test for made cow voluntarily. The USDA has virtually no power to order a recall and our standards are so low that the vast majority of first world economies will only buy our meat and poultry because they get pressured into it because of their other economic interests.

                                  1. re: JudiAU

                                    JadiAU, Double *Snort*. Am with you. LOL.

                                    To OP, unfortunately, am like many and buy the inexpensive stuff in the store. Great question. Have been afraid to look into it - avoiding conflict just ignore the problem and look the other way. Whatever is on sale. Hope Foster Farms and the others get local inexpensive are not as bad as fear. My grandfather the chicken farmer with my nurse-grandmother wife who lived to be nearly a century are both turning in their graves. I know need to find a local good source for chicken and pork, while when try often the price is more than in the store with feast-and-famine supply cycle. When have the money to buy half a beef like to do that and find it is good product for a reasonable price, unfortunately have to get at least half a beef at times when not really thinking about buying a years supply of beef.

                                    Freezer space and ready cash are often required to plan ahead. Local farmers are a great way to get a quality product at a good price. Not everyone has freezer, money, and farmer contacts. We consumers often buy what is in the store as it is the easy choice, and what appears to some to be the only choice. And the majority vote is counted with our dollars spent quarter-to-quarter year-to-year. There should be common online place(s) connecting customers to quality local organic meat, farmers markets, vegetable, and fruit farmers. Do not know of anything like it yet and would provide a needed service to so many - finding local quality food when it is available beyond normal easy common retail stores.

                                    Unfortunately most government activities are driven by money. Often taking the path of least resistance. Including the USDA. So am sure bad chicken is in the food chain. Is hard for the consumer to know the good from the bad. It is often not on the label even if unhealthy are later proved unhealthy. Many things that should not made it by the USDA, FDA, State Governments, public vote, and federal governments unfortunately do.

                                    On CBS 60 minutes heard recently said, At the FDA only two positive studies compared to placebo are required to make something a prescription drug (even if there are 100 studies it doesn't work). And the FDA also controls food regulation.

                                    We should have only BPA-free plastic wrap, bags, and containers used for food. Saran brand plastic wrap and Ziploc bags are only a couple of the few. When most on the market, used in the food industry, and restaurants are poison. Plastics also leach chemicals like toluene into foods they touch especially when heated using a microwave.

                                    What is pink slime ammonia treated meat scraps doing in ground meat? Fed to kids in schools publicized by Jamie Oliver. Then found in all the meat everywhere. Still in most schools maybe next year they will label so schools can choose when current supplies are used up. Still in many markets. Still in many restaurants (happy to say one of the few who doesn't fortify its ground beef with pink slime on the record is McDonald's).

                                    What is cellulose 'seasoning' allowed in Taco Bell meat and others in such high quantity - wood pulp, a by-product of the paper industry.

                                    The smoke off of oil above its smoke point is known bad - Canola and others. Especially into your home without benefit of a commercial ventilation hood above the stove. Not talked about much in literature or on TV going for a quick brown.

                                    Big companies like Monsanto powered GMO soy now the standard as they run even the seed sorters out of business. With their rBST added to milk. GMO-corn rodents won't eat is made into feed for protein people eat including: chicken, beef, fish, and pork. Monsanto has more money to advertize against votes it doesn't like both directly with politicians and the public. And they are professionals with a goal to make more money who are well organized.

                                    Unfortunately even the court system is not just, as the person who can afford to have the best attorney(s) just wins (for example: OJ Simpson). When an individual has a problem fact is the big companies usually win in the end if the courts get involved. Even when an individual is right often they do not have the drive with cash to make it right against the flow of cash. And that also comes down to money.

                                    Hate to say it, but sometimes it is easiest for the majority of us to eat even bad things when the least expensive. Including cheap chicken brands we probably should not - so easy are those frozen boneless skinless breasts 3 pounds for $6 or less. And whole chickens often under $0.79 cents a pound. Is hard for the US consumer to know the good from the bad. Is not clear in labeling. So many poisons made it into the food chain when look back in history. And bad things like BPA plastic containers, GMO food, and GMO feed, are in our food chain now. No one seems to care nor can an individual like me in the end really do anything about it. Is hard for us normal people to create change - takes dedication, time, and money not many are willing to dedicate to the cause for free. Sometimes it seems easier for an individual to sit back and wait for others to make it right - when reality is often they never do. Unfortunately, the real world is not just, not right, and not fair. Money, wealth, and power is what ultimately drives things. Especially money. Toxins are in the food supply and not labeled as such be assured. When someone can make money putting it out there. Some of the chicken on our local grocery store shelves is not the best thing for us to eat, while can be the path of least resistance when think how bad is it compared to other protein choices. The energy, time, and effort it takes to know good from bad is exhausting so breaks people down into making bad food choices.

                                2. Hi Patty,

                                  I don't think it's really a health issue. All meat/poultry in the country is inspected and approved for human consumption -- the commercially raised animals/birds are treated with antibiotics and fed commercially-raised food that has been treated with pesticides, etc., but while there is speculation that the overuse of antibiotics in animals is contributing to "superbugs," and that the pesticides are bad for your health, there are not sufficient studies that prove this, or the practices wouldn't be legal for use, nor the meat/poultry approved for sale.

                                  IMHO, the reason to purchase organic/free range meat/poultry is because it has been *humanely* raised and is less damaging to the environment, not because of health reasons. My personal feeling on the subject is that the the price of commercially raised meat/poultry does not accurately reflect the cost to society -- if it reflected all of the environmental issues related to commercial agriculture, it would be more expensive, as it should be. With regard to beef, it's only relatively recently (like the last 30 years or so), that we moved from pasture-raised cattle to corn-fed; the latter allows the animals to get to market much faster than the former, plus the former requires much more land, so it is preferred now. In the past, it took around 2-1/2 to three years to get a cow to market, and so they were more expensive. Now, it takes 14 months.

                                  I personally try to buy the organic/free range stuff, but I am not feeding a family of four. I'd rather eat less meat/poultry and know I am supporting better animal husbandry, environmental and land use practices, than eat more and not think about it. But I do not consider it a health issue (for humans, at least).

                                  What I would do if I did not want to pay top dollar at Whole Foods for meat/poultry is try to focus on the best of the commercially raised stuff. Foster Farms poultry is California grown, doesn't use hormones and uses only very limited antibiotics, for instance. Beef at Gelson's is hormone free and they have good price discounts at times. Costco sells nice lamb from Australia that claims to be "all natural." I would also try to focus on meals where meat/poultry is the accent rather than the substance of the meal, so you need to buy less and price isn't as big a concern.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: DanaB

                                    Well said Dana. I keep seeing discussions here about meat suppliers that fail to address sustainability and animal welfare. I don't think most people realize that the amount of fossil fuels required to produce a lot of factory farmed foods is astronomical This is not the case with grass fed beef. As far as cost goes, perhaps those of us who can afford local foods should buy them in order to try to bring the price down. Factory farmed foods are 'artificially cheap,' in that they do not reflect the true cost of making the food (monetary, environmental, or ethical). If small farms were subsidized to the extent that large scale corn producers are, we wouldn't be talking about this difference in price.
                                    JeremyEG

                                    1. re: DanaB

                                      Absolutely agree.

                                    2. I purposely didn't read all the other replies but would like to point out that "organic" doesn't automatically mean "better for you." Let's take a cow, who is not designed to grow up consuming nothing but grains, and because of the GI disturbances this can cause, they are given antibiotics in factory farms. If the factory farm is feeding them all ORGANIC grain, that still doesn't = a healthy cow, and if they are sending that cow to the same processing plant that values speed over quality and care, where ecoli is getting ground into the meat because of speed over precision, it doesn't matter what the animal ate. The animal living on corn and then you consuming that animal is the unhealthy part. Yes, you're taking in less chemicals and that's good, but I really think people need to start looking for sources, local sources if possible, where they do things with care and thought and try to do the best, most healthy thing they can even if they can't afford to be certified organic. My local amish people at the farmer's market aren't certified organic but when I talk to them about what they use to grow their plants, how they keep bugs at bay, what they feed their animals, how they live and where they are processed and they know all the answers, I feel 100% good about buying from them, and about my money going back into the local economy instead of to the giant farm who may have supplied meat, milk or produce at a place like Whole Foods (where I rarely shop).

                                      On top of that, Americans could do with eating less meat. Buying slightly more expensive meat and using it more sparingly while increasing consumption of inexpensive grains and beans benefits not only your pocketbook but also your body.

                                      For me, the choice is not Tyson chicken or we'll go broke, it's that if all that's available is Tyson, I will just do without chicken til I can find a better source and maybe have some pasta or rice and beans for dinner.

                                      1. I eat what I can afford.

                                        30 Replies
                                        1. re: mrbozo

                                          Bingo. I''m into not living beyond my means. Sometimes I can splurge on a free range chicken from an upscale butcher; sometimes I have to settle for a pack of Foster Farm's from Raley's. You can make wonderful meals out of either, and I don't believe the latter is going to do much to help end your life compared to the former. (Unless you're deep frying it and covering it in chocolate and eating like that every night!) I do worry about the hormones, but ultimately I am unconvinced that grocery store chicken's going to have a huge effect in the grand scheme of my life.

                                          1. re: Jadore

                                            In the US I thought it was illegal to use hormones in chickens. No?

                                            Also here's an article from a recent Costco Connection magazine about Foster Farms:

                                            http://www.costcoconnection.com/conne...

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              I think you're right that the hormones are illegal. I know there are other meat processing substances (other drugs, ammonia for cleaning meat, etc.) and we don't know the full long term effects on the body. My guess would be that industrial solvents usually used for disinfecting floors are not ideal for the body but other than the recent recalls, I don't know if there is much conclusive medical evidence.

                                              I'll eat less meat and buy from farms I know.

                                              JeremyEG
                                              homecooklocavore.com

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                >>> ultimately I am unconvinced that grocery store chicken's going to have a huge effect in the grand scheme of my life

                                                I've recently changed my opinion on this. I doubt that I will convince you or others but I'm throwing a seed in the wind and maybe it will plant somewhere.

                                                IMO, all that goes into producing that cheap chicken has a direct impact on the grand scheme. of everyone's lives.

                                                The choice to feed the belly cheaply is playing health Russian roulette. Will I be paying for subsidized health care for others decades from now should that eventually make people ill?

                                                Because of eating that chicken, we are all subject to unheallthy farming practices. One small example is the runoff from water at those farms has chemicals from growing the feed which eventually makes its way to the streams and oceans ... so my pricy wild caught salmon has probably picked up the cheap chicken chemicals and crap.

                                                That's just a small example.

                                                No one needs chicken on a regular basis. In my grandparent's day it was a luxury ... and yet they thrived and their families thrived.

                                                Maybe if we all stopped buying crap, companies would stop selling crap.

                                                They are now slowly pulling back on HFCS because consumers are voting with their pocket books.

                                                That Costco Foster Farm article is some indication that some companies might be starting to listen.

                                                And those posters will now sweep in like demons after the soul of a good person and shout ... no, proof ... no proof .. hype ... scare tactics.

                                                What changed my mind was moving and living in a third world country.

                                                All those safeguards put in place in the United States ... often ridiculed at the time by people ... they don't exist here. After decades, you CAN see the direct effect on the environment and health of the people ... it is stomach churning.

                                                As for chicken here ... although you can buy Tyson chicken at Wal-Mart in the big city, for the most part it is all organic ... to the point where most people, rich or poor raise their own.

                                                I have had the worst organic chicken ever here and the best I ever can hope to have ... the chicken of the gods ... it depends on how it is raised and what it is fed.

                                                There are the scrawny, tough white chickens that run around all day, truly free-range, living mainly on grass and grubs or the plump, golden pollo amarillo fed mainly on a diet of maize. Organic has nothing to do with taste.

                                                So for me, I won't buy that cheap chicken when I return to the states next year. Decades from now I don't want to see in the US what I see here .. the effect on the health of future generations of children because of careless use of chemicals and bad farming practices.

                                                I don't expect my little mini boycott to do much. I don't expect anyone reading this to change their minds. It can't be seen immediately. It just makes me feel like a better citizen of the world.

                                                I do hope and believe that eventually the general population will change their buying habits with more education. It will take years if not decades like everything else. The fact that 90% if the people in this post buy chicken based on $$ is proof of that.

                                                This is a non-food example, but one I think anyone can understand. Here the concept of spaying a dog is virtually unknown. In fact, when a dog is old enough, people actually make sure they have a litter of puppies. The streets are filled with dogs little more than walking skeletans. When I asked why dogs aren't fixed ... there was absolutely no comprehension ... the future of the puppies ... not in anyone's radar ... cute puppies right now ... they understood.

                                                It took generations for spaying to be taken seriously in the US.

                                                I think similarily it will take generations of education to get people to reject the chemically raised chickens in the US and to make grown up decisions on food that might mean cutting back on cheap, easy meat that gives instant gratification, in favor of more educated adult buying decisions that impact the larger picture.

                                                Again ... don't bother jumping on this. I have almost zero hope that anyone is going to pass up the 69 cent per lb chicken because of it. Diatribes on the other side won't change my mind. It is just something to think about.

                                                1. re: rworange

                                                  Thanks for your post. Well said.
                                                  JeremyEG
                                                  homecooklocavore.com

                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                    Actually... you have changed my mind. Considerably. I grew up fairly comfortably, let's just say, but I had a mother who was quite frugal and always taught me that I can, with some good cooking tricks, take average grocery store items and still create beautiful, delicious meals. I was sort of raised with the belief that grocery store chicken, as we've been discussing, is okay if you can't get something better, so long as you cook it properly.

                                                    But maybe I am wrong. Maybe I need to pay more, eat a little less, and take better care of myself and my husband, in an effort to take better care of my future children and community. Maybe you have a real point here. Quite a sobering thought, especially at 8:34 in the AM.

                                                    What country are you in now?

                                                    1. re: Jadore

                                                      It's a tough position to be in too. Feels like suddenly you have to pay more to be healthy which can be discouraging. I do cooking demos at the farmers markets and that's people's biggest concern; cost. I try to think of it as eating 'differently' rather than eating less but I think you can do it within budget. I love hearing from people on my blog about how they keep their costs down. It's possible and yummy.

                                                      I remember taking pride in making lower end ingredients taste really good and I know where you're coming from!

                                                      JeremyEG
                                                      homecooklocavore.com

                                                      1. re: Jadore

                                                        Guatemala

                                                        I don't expect I will be perfect, but I will try. At least buying raw chicken I can make that decision.

                                                        I like eating out too much. In an upscale restaurant I can deal with the meat issue, but I love them little mom and pops and street vendors so it is unlikely I'll pass those up.

                                                        Still, if buying habits at the supermarket impact the industry as a whole, maybe someday the standard chicken will be responsibily raised and so the only chicken available even for a street corner meal will be a better quality of bird.

                                                      2. re: rworange

                                                        Can one person make a difference? I believe so. Reading Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma makes me approach things differently. Not every time but some of the time. I tell a bunch of people and maybe a couple change a little. Your voice hopefully has reached a few today. If nobody does anything, then it certainly won't change. Hurray for ivory towers :)

                                                        1. re: rworange

                                                          Thank you for this informative and thoughtful post.

                                                          1. re: rworange

                                                            rworange, thank you for your post, it was extremely well thought out and informative
                                                            I buy from local farmers for the following reasons
                                                            A) Sustainable environmentally friendly farming
                                                            (Feed lots are ruining the environment)
                                                            B) The meat is healthier
                                                            Grass fed beef is lower in saturated fat and has a more favorable omega 6 to omega 3 ratio
                                                            Grass fed cattle has a higher CLA Level as well

                                                            The chickens I eat are not packed into a hut, ten thousand deep, breeding sickness and getting pumped full of antibiotics to keep them ‘healthy’ enough to live long enough to be slaughtered and hormones to make their time here on earth as short as possible

                                                            The cows and pigs that I eat are the same, they’re not crammed into feed lots wallowing in the excrement of thousands of others, being fed corn which their bodies are not meant to digest, just so they can fatten up quicker for slaughter

                                                            Not to mention the food that the animals I eat is not GMO nor is it sprayed with pesticide
                                                            (remember, we’re up the food chain, what they eat, affects us… DDT was banned because birds were eating the animals which ate the bugs which the DDT was being used to kill and the birds were being affected in that their eggs’ shells were becoming thinner and breaking and therefore these birds were becoming endangered

                                                            So what does it do to us, when we’re eating the meat of an animal that has consumed feed sprayed with pesticide it’s whole life?

                                                            I don’t want to find out

                                                            I eat animals that have lived “happy” lives doing what their supposed to be doing and they’re slaughtered in the most humane way and processed locally in a cleaner facility
                                                            (do you know how they cool down chickens? They dunk them in a vat of cold water, hundreds upon hundreds one after the other are dunked into the same bacteria laden water… YUK)
                                                            I drink unpasteurized milk! You couldn’t drink unpasteurized milk from the factory farming establishments, you’d get sick!

                                                            Does it cost more per pound? Of course it does…. My solution is to just eat less of it

                                                            We as Americans probably eat too much meat anyway… have more meatless meals in a week, beans, veggies and rice are inexpensive, good for you and tasty!

                                                            1. re: cgarner

                                                              1) chickens raised for human consumption are not given hormones.

                                                              2) swine, unlike cattle, do just fine on corn.

                                                              3) many people in the U.S. are sickened every year by drinking raw milk from family farms.

                                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                                I did not know that chickens were not given hormones, however that is not going to convince me to eat any other chicken than the ones that I see out pecking around at the local farm which I buy them
                                                                I mis-typed in lumping pigs with cows in regard to digesting corn, you are correct, pigs can digest corn quite well

                                                                I've been drinking raw milk for years, and would chose that over any other

                                                                the local organic food which I consume Does not contribute to the destruction of our water supply the way feed lots and “conventional” farming does

                                                                http://www.epa.gov/guide/feedlots/env...

                                                                http://www.epa.gov/nps/Ag_Runoff_Fact...

                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                  You're right that chickens are not supposed to be given hormones, but todaay the New York Times reported that chickens are "routinely fed caffeine, active ingredients of Tylenol and Benadryl, banned antibiotics and even arsenic."
                                                                  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/05/opi...

                                                                  1. re: merrill13

                                                                    Yikes, I've avoided factory chicken for years because of the antibiotics and feed that go into them, this is yet another reason. Tylenol and Benadryl???? lol

                                                              2. re: rworange

                                                                Not necessarily because it is better for me but I think the global citizen is the reason I have switched to my meat CSA. We need to vote without dollars and until we change some of our mentality the world situation is not going to improve. I was dragging my feet because I am the cheapest person on the planet but once I started calculating it out I decided it was worth it to me.

                                                              3. re: c oliver

                                                                I'm always hearing that our chickens are loaded with hormones, antibiotics, and the like... could I be wrong? Thanks for the link!

                                                              4. re: Jadore

                                                                You can also feel pretty good about the brand of Foster Farms. I just recently read a short article about the CEO/owner, they raise their birds in much more humane ways than many others and they do not de-beak the birds (no need as the birds have plenty of room to move about). Edit: I just saw someone below posted the article.

                                                                1. re: nvcook

                                                                  I posted that. I thought it was a good article also esp. since I frequently have no choice BUT Foster Farms.

                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                    I don't know where you're located, but Costco is carrying a two pack of Coleman organic chickens for $2.59 per lb. Supposedly decent conditions for growing them: http://www.colemannatural.com/compone...

                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                      This is excellent chicken! Before local, free-range birds became available here, this was my go-to brand. The flavor is very good.

                                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                                        I just bought two of these yesterday. Thanks for the rec.

                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                          I still have never even seen a Costco.

                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                            Doesn't everyone need 36 rolls of toilet paper at a time??? :)

                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                              I think I do. But you don't have Saw's and Hanneford supermarkets!

                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                We get our 36 rolls at Fred Meyer's, saves on the Costco membership, LOL. Never looked for TP at Hanneford the 5 days I was near one! Mostly wine and lobstah.

                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                  In the event of zombie apocalypse, the two greatest trade goods will be coffee and toilet paper. Forget holding gold, you want to hoard the Charmin.

                                                                                  1. re: beachmouse

                                                                                    zombies use toilet paper?

                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                      The idea is to not get caught by the zombies when you're making the supply run to scavenge what's left at the giant Sam's Club on the fringes of the containment zone.

                                                                                      1. re: beachmouse

                                                                                        Outside the containment zone are the Skitters and Mechs as well. Sheesh - living in a zombie apocalyptic world is tough!

                                                                2. I do not buy fresh meat from national mega markets, but I do not have problems buying meat at a local grocery. I know the local farmer they buy the meat from and I know where it was processed. They have butchers in every store that will do custom cutting and processing if given 24 hours notice. I have worked as a baker in their central commissary, and I trust them completely.

                                                                  The only meats that I will buy in mega-groceries are national brands such as Johnsonville, Nathan's and Bob Evans products.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Kelli2006

                                                                    I have the best butcher in Westchester and buy all my meat from him. He's at Stop and Shop and his name is Vinnie.

                                                                    1. re: dolores

                                                                      Dolores, tell me more about Vinnie - what makes him the best butcher? Can he get prime meats? Does he sell lamb top round? which Stop and Shop do you use? I shop at the Post Rd. store and find they don't know or will cut meats for me. Once the old Food Emporium closed in Mamaroneck and they transferred Tony to Briarcliff Manor, we've been lost.

                                                                  2. I think you got the answer you were going after, an affirmation all was well. Few people, I would guess, eat totally organic.

                                                                    Depends on why you think you should eat organic

                                                                    - Will I go to foodie hell?
                                                                    Other people's opinions don't matter.

                                                                    - Am I slowly killing us all?

                                                                    Who knows? There are studies showing that hormones in meat can be harmful to children. Depends on whether you believe them. Does the USDA do a good job of protecting us? IMO, no. What do you think the motive is of large meat producers ... to provide the healtiest product to your family ... or to maximize profit

                                                                    - I even eat farm raised salmon every now and then
                                                                    This area gets into whether you have a concern about the impact to the environment ... and extending it ... to the animals themselves.

                                                                    It depends on your beliefs and priorities. Even if the people sounding alarms are correct, it will be years before there might be an impact, if any. Depends on whether you want to play meat roullete.

                                                                    That being said, I try to eat organic as much as possible, but I buy supermarket meat and farmed fish on sale. I eat at restaurants I know don't serve organic meat. Then again, I'm older so maybe it won't catch up with me and I don't have kids, so that's not a concern.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                      Rw, what did you do with the Romanita tomatoes that were on sale just prior to the ban?

                                                                      1. re: EdwardAdams

                                                                        EdwardAdams is referring to the NON organic tomatoes that were on sale ...
                                                                        a 20 lb box for $1.59 ... yep ... that is for the WHOLE box ... couldn't turn that down.

                                                                        To make it even better they were in perfect condition and FDA approved as safe from the latest samonella outbreak. The following week the same store marked them down to 99 cents for a 20 lb box .

                                                                        Lots of salad, fresh salsa and just snacking. I put them in glass jars and still have a lot that are in stellar condition.

                                                                        Which brings up another point ... keep your eyes open. Yeah, you have limited time. However, it doesn't take much time to stop by those markets you've passed by a zillion times and check them out.

                                                                        I did this shopping on $3 a day thing and one criticism I got was that I had unlimited shopping time. Actually no ... I hate shopping ... even food shopping.

                                                                        However, if you take ten minutes once a week to stop and scope out a new market ... over a year that is 52 markets. I've lived in this area four years ... so I'm pretty familiar with what stores have the bargains.

                                                                        My local Raley's will mark down meat and fish. I once picked up whole organic chickes for two dollars each. We have a great store called Grocery Outlet that carries all sorts of organic food ... I picked up a pack of Aidell's organic sausage for $2.99 ... $5.99 in most markets ... Wild Alaskan smoked salamon 8 oz for $4.99 ... regular price $18.

                                                                        A local Latin market gets a whole pig every week from a local farmer which he cuts up. I can't say it is organic, but I do know it is an unintentianlly free-range piggy and the prices are less than the supermarket. The guy makes some nice sausages out of the pig. Also, he seems to glom on bargains. One week he had Rosie Organic chickens for 99 cents.

                                                                        And even if your market stop doesn't yield meat finds, if you get other discounts you can afford to splurge for organic meat if that seems like something worthwhile. Hey, I'm even a fan of Walmart, sort of ... and they have lots of low cost organic products.

                                                                        However, I really can't say the last time I bought meat at Whole Foods. That is just too expensive. Lots of the lower tier markets are starting to carry organic hosue-brand meats.

                                                                        1. re: rworange

                                                                          Safeway is greatly expanding its organic house brand of meat, dairy and canned goods, often puts in on sale, and the quality is pretty good.

                                                                          There is apparently some evidence (no idea if it is solid or anecdotal) that sticking only to organic dairy products and meats may lower the incidence of migraines in those that are prone (and dairy is one of the top triggers of migraines).

                                                                          I wil admit, when I am feeling broke I tend to eat less meat rather than buy lower quality, but it is much more because of taste issues than any big concern about health. I figure that trying to keep my sodium intake within reasonable amounts, eating only in moderation and getting enough exercise are much more important to my health than worrying about the source of my meat, and one can only do so much....

                                                                          I am particularly fussy about the source of seafood, and rarely buy it at the supermarket. However, much of my concern does have to do with environmental, not health issues (might be more worried about health issues and mercury, etc., if I were of child bearing age, but thankfully those days are past). I won't eat farmed salmon, but it is for environmental reasons, not health reasons or even taste issues (though I like the taste of wild better). If I can't find wild salmon at affordable prices, I do without (which means that this year I've eaten almost no salmon except on my recent trip to BC and Alaska).

                                                                          When I do splurge on expensive, high quality, organic meat, it is usually to buy chicken: I find the quality makes the most difference in taste (to me) in poultry. Obviously, this is less of an issue in recipes where the chicken will be cooked in a flavorful sauce, but I do find that my success with roasted chicken or turkey very much depends on the source of the bird. Besides, even the most expensive free-range, organic chickens aren't horribly expensive compared to high-end beef.

                                                                          Happily, eating less meat both helps save money and is environmentally sound.
                                                                          .

                                                                    2. I'm still in school, with a very meager budget. Not only do I buy supermarket meat and chicken, I often buy it at one of the down-market stores. And I typically purchase in bulk during sales. Earlier this week I stocked up on chicken quarters (thigh and leg) for $0.49/lb. I use the money I save to splurge on necessary luxuries, such as imported parmigiano-reggiano and fresh herbs (keep meaning to get my container herb garden rolling.)

                                                                      I don't buy fish or any seafood at the supermarket. Even there, the price is too high and the quality is suspect. I generally don't eat seafood unless I catch it myself, or I'm treated to a dinner at a resto.

                                                                      1. I get everything from WalMart. It would be a luxury for me to be able to think about how or what the animal ate or where my food came from. I'm lucky I can afford any food at all. So I never even think about it. Maybe if the organic food cost the same, I would give it some thought.
                                                                        At least I don't eat from fast food restaurants, even if I could afford to, I wouldn't.

                                                                        14 Replies
                                                                        1. re: charmin

                                                                          I won't buy any meat from Wal Mart. I can't speak for every Wal Mart in the country, but the 3 in my area that sell groceries do not sell "pure" meat...Every single package of beef, chicken and pork are marked as being "Enhanced with up to 10% solution". For one thing, I brine my own chicken and pork when I cook it, so I don't need this, and for another, this means I am paying for water weight instead of pure meat, so the lower cost of the meat really isn't that low.

                                                                          While I prefer a couple of the meat markets in Rochester, I have yet to find a grocery store that can even come close to Wegman's.

                                                                          1. re: cigarmedic4

                                                                            Every WalMart in the country only sells case-ready meat since September 2001 - the ones "enhanced with up to 10% solution".

                                                                            http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage....

                                                                            Of course, WalMart says "positive consumer response" caused them to expand their case-ready meats to all stores. And that solution is actually up to 12%.

                                                                            http://www.walmartfacts.com/FactSheet...

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                              that can't be true, since my walmart does carry Harvestland brand chicken. not enhanced and is a good tasting chicken.

                                                                              1. re: jackie57

                                                                                Well, if you looked at the story I linked, it *was* from 2003. So perhaps WalMart has finally realized that not everyone wants the case-ready meat and finally chose to distribute a little organic food. But overall, I'd hazard a guess that the majority of the meats at WalMart are case-ready.

                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                  You make a good point, Linda. But I think ALL supermarkets do the same, not just Walmart. Doesn't make it right but....

                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                    The majority of the meat for sale at all of the supermarkets near me isn't sold as cryovac'd with additional water inside. A lot is still plastic-wrapped by the supermarket "butcher" (a.k.a. meat guy) on their styrofoam trays. They're breaking it down however they get it and repackaging it. Do they get it in the larger cuts as case-ready? I don't know. But it's most definitely not sold that way.

                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                      On another thread I was writing about being unable to find chicken necks or backs or feet. Even at Whole Foods. I also needed pork skin. They didn't have that either. It comes to them all trimmed and ready to put in the case.

                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                        You might want to check with a butcher at Raleys. They are very acommodating. I've gotten several items by asking that weren't in the case - and, they do carry chicken that is theirs not foster farms or such.

                                                                                        1. re: nvcook

                                                                                          Raley's in Reno, I assume. We live at Tahoe but are in Reno every week visiting elderly MIL. Is there a particular Raleys that you like. Thanks, nvcook.

                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                            Actually, I live in Winnemucca, but, my understanding is that their stores all have on site butchers. So if you were to call one (of several in Reno) and ask in advance for the next time you headed to Reno they very well may be able to help you. I grew up in Carson City and went to college in Reno and I love Raleys compared to any other grocery store. I'm not incl TJ's or WF as, to me. they are more specialty. Not to mention, I'm old enough that they didn't exist when I lived in that part of the state.

                                                                                            1. re: nvcook

                                                                                              Actually we have Raleys at the lake in Incline Village. I just made the assumption that if none of the others had that kind of thing, they probably didn't either. I also prefer them. Thanks again. BTW, my husband is 65 and a UNR grad.

                                                                                        2. re: c oliver

                                                                                          I guess it just depends on where you live. I see the meat guys at Roche Bros., Stop & Shop, Shaw's, and Market Basket (all local to New England) continuing to cut up larger cuts of meat in the "space in the back" and repackage them.

                                                                                          ETA: I think chicken pieces are probably the only thing they don't cut up and re-wrap on the styrofoam trays.

                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                            Don't they have any whole chickens? That's my source for necks and backs.

                                                                                            1. re: 512window

                                                                                              Oh yes, I can buy a whole chicken. But I can't buy necks and backs without the whole chicken.

                                                                            2. I get the majority of our meat from Costco. We appreciate the taste difference compared to Walmart meats, and the only other 2 local chain supermarkets are super spendy. If I stock up at Costco on meat (we eat small, tasty meals now instead of huge portions like we once did) and our other essentials- I can just pick up my farmer's market veggies and fruits, and stop 1x a week for other things at the chain market. I used to think I was imagining the taste difference, but side by side- a rib eye from Costco tases WAAAAAAAY better to me than one from Winn*Dixie. I wish I had a local butcher to compare. I like the idea of it, I loved my butcher and meat options when we lived up North. I also made 3x more than my current yearly salary. The closest "butcher" to my house sells pre-shrink wrapped rock-solid frozen stuff that was tough, stringy and shrivled up when cooked. We get tasty hotdogs (Belly Busters) that are (I think) BEST brand from him -100% beef and everyone that tries them loves them, but I hated the bacon, NY strip and filet mignon we tried from his place. There is a butcher about 30 miles from here but I haven't been in.
                                                                              It's the same with chicken at Costco. I get the Kirkland ones, pre-portioned 2 per in the handy perforated packs that go right in the freezer. We can get 2 meals out of 1 pouch.

                                                                              I don't think I've EVER seen chicken on sale for 69 lb unless it was organ meat. I do shop the sales whenever I can and actually clip coupons (people laughed at me, now I have them all doing it!!)

                                                                              If I make the best choice I can to feed my family what is fresh, tasty and good for us and that choice happens to be a hunk of salmon from New Zealand (or wherever the f* it is that I'm not *supposed* to buy it from) then I live with it in my own bliss, you know? Simply because I can not afford to throw down $17 a pound for hand fed chickens who never spent time in a cage will never make me feel shame, ever.

                                                                              Lighten your burden, Chowpatty. Don't let anything mess with your head. And rejoice that you have a Trader Joe's in your area- I miss it. That and Wegman's, and Acme, and Stop-n-Shop... They used to TRIPLE coupons at some of those places!
                                                                              ;o)

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                                                Whole chickens are 69¢/lb this week at Albertsons ( I live in San Diego county) Split chickens are 99¢/lb...the price of not owning a knife.

                                                                                I buy what is on sale wherever every week. If it isn't on sale, I don't buy it. Sometimes organic is less expensive than non-organic.

                                                                                I also will buy at Costco and Trader Joe's if I have to have something that night and have no time to shop around.

                                                                                1. re: Cathy

                                                                                  We do have Albertsons about 20 miles north that isn't too bad when they do the $10 for 10 sales. I'll go if I'm in the area. In FL the big chain Publix is buying out the remaining few Albertson's, which is too bad... but I still won't buy red meat there if I can help it... Unless it's something I would throw in the crockpot...
                                                                                  If it's not on sale and I need to have it, I'll change my menu! Never to be done under duress- one night recently I ended up going home with nothing-I didn't take anything out of the deep freeze and I had no time to thaw if I took it out when I went home... I wandered the aisles, I was confused and pissed off (and hormonal, I'm sure). We ate soup and grilled cheese that night.

                                                                                2. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                                                  Excellent post! :)

                                                                                3. I buy most all meats and poultry from the grocery store. I tend to buy organic milk since I find it taste better. I like to shop at ethnic markets where available. More interesting with lots of choices and good prices. I have used a gourmet butcher/seafood/market for prime dry aged beef and like to get my seafood from the place near the docks over the grocery stores fish but do buy non local fish from the grocery store. Farm raised salmon is okay by me.

                                                                                  Interesting encounter at the grocery store the other day. While selecting eggs an older women started on about how much better the free range eggs were. "They don't give them all those chemicals and they don't put them in cages". She went on to say that she can't eat the regular eggs anymore because they taste terrible compared to the free range eggs. I nodded my head but know better that those free ranged chickens are not so different in that the cage door is left opened but it is not like they are running around the field all day. I have not been able to tell a significant difference in taste or texture between the different types of eggs in the supermarket. Now right from the farm/hen is a different story.

                                                                                  Although I would like to eat organic I find the cost prohibitive and always wonder if the difference between the two makes a big difference in one's overall health and life span. My suspension is that it doesn't.

                                                                                  1. Thanks for all your kind replies! We do eat pasta, beans and rice and we don't eat that much meat, in answer to those who suggested that. However I have a teenage son and he gets growly if he doesn't get any meat for days at a time. I do splurge on free-range eggs, decent parmesan from Trader Joe's, and try to get fruit and veggies from farmer's markets when possible. But you have all convinced me to consider joining Costco again. I never found it useful before but perhaps if I have to cook more meat it would be.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Chowpatty

                                                                                      I had a big dinner party recently for around 15 people where I wanted to serve the lamb chops from Costco. I went and bought 5 1-1/2 lb packages of the spring racks of lamb, at 9.99 per pound (about 7.5 pounds). When I went to the checkout, my membership had expired the month before, and I had to pay $50 on the spot, and I bit my lip but did it, figuring at some point during the year, I'd make up the difference. So at Costco, I paid approximately 75.00 for the lamb, plus the 50 surcharge, or $125.

                                                                                      I went to Gelson's afterward to pick up some other stuff, and the rack of lamb there was $17.99 per pound (or 7.5 lbs for $135 dollars). So, I actually ended up saving 10 bucks at Costco, even with the membership fee, assuming I'd decided to still serve lamb if I had to buy it at Gelsons prices!

                                                                                      If you are serving 4 on a regular basis, Costco will likely be worth it to you.

                                                                                    2. We don't. Supermarket chicken just tastes bad and I stopped eating it a long time again. Mr. JudiAU lured me back with good chicken and now we eat one every other week or so. I would rather eat a small portion of meat or eat the good stuff occasionally than eat the less good.

                                                                                      I buy half a pig (not certified organic and hee hee not USDA slaughtered) and a whole lamb every year. Excellent quality, always in my freezer, good for the environment, and more to the point it tastes GOOD. And, buying in bulk is much much cheaper.

                                                                                      I am still working on beef. I want to like grass fed but I was raised on corn fed. I just haven't found a supplier I like. I've always been really picky about grades and grass fed just tastes cheap to me.

                                                                                      I figure it is all a process. I want good stuff and thus far Tiny JudiAU doens't have a vote. We've been trying to be better about working some veg options into the week. That cuts down on the meat and carbon bill. We are also pretty good about "meat flavoring" options such as home cured bacon, pancetta, sausage etc.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                        Patty, As an aside, Slow Food Los Angeles may be starting a Meat CSA or a bulk buying club. It cuts the cost and the quality is really superb. You might consider jointing the listserv if you don't get it at www.slowfoodla.com

                                                                                      2. Yes absolutely... down to the farm-raised salmon. Before I became aware of the health & environmental issues we ate it once a week, so I figure a few times a year is a vast improvement. I actually have a lot of options for naturally-raised & organic, as well as great conventional butchers, in my area but it often comes down to one-stop shopping at the place that delivers. And not making my DH completely insane with my 'houndism... he likes to eat well but sees no need for multiple trips to multiple stores and markets. I've come to appreciate the simplicity

                                                                                        1. I buy range fed beef from the supermarket because that's all that we have here. Fortunately, beef in Colombia costs "only" about twice what you pay in the US. Chicken here costs about 4-5 times as much as in the US.

                                                                                          1. I may be stubborn, but I refuse to pay fifteen dollars for a damned chicken. Well, I did once. I was tired of chicken not tasting like the chicken of my youth, so I bought a free range organically grown scratch-on-the-ground chicken for about the price of a 24k gold chicken statue, and guess what? It didn't taste any better than the chicken legs I was buying in a ten pound bag for three dollars at WalMart. I do not like white meat. I find it tasteless, and I deplore those tasteless chunks that are ubiquitous to all lunch salads, whether at finer dining establishments or Wendy's drive through.

                                                                                            I think I may still have a couple of steaks left in the big freezer that are not organic 100% grass fed dry aged beef, but the changeover is almost complete. I figure if all of the information about how great grass fed beef is on good cholesterol and Omega 3's, I could probably eat that at least five nights a week and still be eating "healthy," whatever that means. (I think it means not having Oreos for dinner.)

                                                                                            But I do need a little variety in my diet, and I've been eating poultry since I was a kid and pretty much loving it. So now I've found that I can pick up a box or two of frozen quail at a price that's pretty decent, as in under two bucks a quail, and sometimes much less than that. I don't think it's possible to feed a family of four with two or three quail, and you'd probably have to save quail bones for at least a decade to make a half way decent stock, but I am one of those, "Yay, I live alone and I can eat off of the good china if I damned well want to" group. Two quail make a nice dinner, and when I'm in the mood to play with miniatures (I used to build "grown up" doll houses for a hobby), it's kind of fun to make a teensy bit of brown rice, apricot, Grand Marnier stuffing for the little birdies, toss a half rasher of bacon over their little bodies and pop them in the oven for a delicious and fun meal.

                                                                                            But every once in a while I do just have to have an old fashioned stuffed roast chicken with giblet gravy and scratch mashed potatoes, and when that urge hits, my experience is that WalMart chicken tastes every bit as good as one from Central Market or Whole Foods. But that could be all in the kind of sage I use...?

                                                                                            So stop worrying about "foodie hell," Chowpatty For me, foodie hell comes with check out at Whole Foods! Feed your family And try to have enough left over for some microwave popcorn and a good rented movie! Ain't nothin' wrong with that.

                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                              if nobody has mentioned it, Kosher chicken is raised and slaughtered in a generally humane manner and I think the flavor beats organic by a mile. (still not cheap)

                                                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                                                Agreed. Whole Foods often has Kosher chickens and it is one of the few products I will go out of my way to buy there..

                                                                                                1. re: hill food

                                                                                                  Couldn't find the original article I read but it contained horror stories of children as young as 15 working 12 hour days without proper training using implements and on lines forbidden to anyone under the age of 18 at Agriprocessor, the nation's largest kosher chicken processor. I don't care how good the poultry is or if it's a bargain, I won't buy from a corporation that unneccessarily endangers kids in this country, illegal immigrants or not, just to save a buck or because it tastes better. Bad enough it happens in other parts of the world.

                                                                                                  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26042783

                                                                                                  1. re: morwen

                                                                                                    That was a terrible story. There is an interesting piece in the NY Times from last year about some Jewish foodies who are reexamining the definition of 'Kosher.' In a nutshell, they ask if it's more ethical to eat Kosher birds produced by slave laborers and using environmentally harmful ingredients even if the plant technically conforms to Kosher standards. I can't find the original article but it's certainly in the archives.

                                                                                                    I know Michael Pollan argues that most of these issues would be solved if meat processing plants of all kinds allowed visitors or were 'glass walled.' He argues that many would become vegetarian and that the days of slaughtering 400 cows/hour would end, and that the price of meat would rise to something closer to the true cost of producing meat. I wonder if that's true. Certainly many I know were horrified by the actions of this Kosher plant and have made changes accordingly.

                                                                                                    1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                      I suppose I should have seen that coming, but I didn't. It's horrifying and needs a 21st century update on the part of the people who decide what Kosher means. The loopholes would make the word a laughingstock.

                                                                                                      Michael Pollan may be right, but there are a lot of us out there that would never in hell visit a slaughterhouse. call me what you want but i do not want to be introduced to something I'm supposed to eat, because I wont'. In a meltdown situation where I'd have to kill my own meat I'd go vegetarian in a big way and I'm not ashamed to say that.

                                                                                              2. Sometimes I eat free-range, grass-fed, organic, and hormone free, but it is not something I can afford to do all of the time. I don't eat tons of meat, but my husband does so I have to have it in the house pretty consistantly. I've been trying to cook with more tofu to get less and less of this in our diets, and after a month of raw eating that I began today, I won't be eating anything but hormone free meat for awhile(have a pre-existing health condition and trying to get pregnant). It would be nice if everyone could eat this way all the time, but most people cannot afford to or do not have the access so there is no point in feeling guilty.
                                                                                                Arika
                                                                                                http://rawforamonth.blogspot.com

                                                                                                1. We're just two and I pretty much buy whatever suits me, although lately I can't help but notice the prices. I paid over three bucks for an eggplant a couple of weeks ago, definitely an eyebrow raiser. I try to shop for very fresh vegetables, organic wherever possible, which is easy here in northern California. When it comes to meat, I buy what looks good, sometimes at Costco, where the sheer volume means that things are very fresh, sometimes at Safeway, for the same reason and for their amazing sales, and sometimes at local independent markets, because I can pick and choose and get things I might not see elsewhere. Chicken is probably what I worry about most, and I clean and trim it carefully, but like others have said, I resist spending a lot of money on it.

                                                                                                  I suspect we pay a lot for hype and at the moment, we're paying the price of fuel, so I tend to distrust what anyone says and to trust my own instincts. As far as I can tell, we haven't died from what we eat. Foodie hell is reserved for people who feed toddlers on MacD's fries three times a week (there are more of them than you can imagine). So give yourself a break.

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Judith

                                                                                                    Just how 'green' is that food if you have to spend an additional 30 minutes or more in traffic to go get it? "Local" produce in this area (Reno) means anything grown west of the Rockies--the local Sparks 'farmer's market' is virtually all California produce at the couple of stalls that are actually selling produce (the other 70 or so other vendors are selling cell phones, crafts, face painting, and other garbage....)

                                                                                                    1. re: NVJims

                                                                                                      I was at my mom's house in Carson City this last weekend and she came back from that town's farmer's market with corn, tomatoes, green beans, squash, potatoes, and, of course, cantaloupe, all grown locally (the farthest away being the famous Fallon cantaloupe). Of course, you'd still be driving 30+ miles to get there!
                                                                                                      I've heard that about the Sparks farmer's market - also that it's mostly corporations - what a shame!

                                                                                                      1. re: NVJims

                                                                                                        Right and don't even get me started on the ecological cost of all that water intensive farming, soil amendment and fertilizing that's going on in places where nature just flat out never intended farming to happen.

                                                                                                        Of course, I live right next to one of the best agricultural education and research institutions in the world. We've got a meat laboratory where they slaughter, process and package lamb, beef and pork into bacon, steaks, hamburger roasts, you name it on site. You can get a 25# family box vacumn wrapped so it won't freezer burn for $59.99. Sausage too and jerky so good it was featured in the NYT. The variety boxes go on sale too.

                                                                                                        If I'm looking for a really good deal I keep an eye on the Sam's prices for whole pork tenderloins or beef tenderloins and steaks. They will even slice them for you at the butcher counner!!! But with a family of 3 I have to be really careful about freezing and using promptly. It's not environmentally responsible or a bargin if is dies a freezerburn death.

                                                                                                        Still even with the naturally excellent growing conditions we have her, local foods take an environmental toll and you just want to try and find things that are grown where they naturally grow best and haven't been shipped ridiculously long distances to get to your market. I'm lucky, watermelon, berries, corn, melons, onions, pretty much most produce grows well here for much of the growing season. I stock up and freeze or can what I can and then buy frozen when there's something I need during the off season. Canning jars are your friends!

                                                                                                    2. Fortunately here in the Great White North air chilled chickens are readily available and they do have more flavour than water processed birds. Brining further enhances taste.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: mrbozo

                                                                                                        I have a feeling the supermarket chicken and beef is quite fine -- not to be feared, at least. I don't eat that much of it, preferring fish or vegetarian entrees. Mainly I buy it for my pets, mince it up with scissors, serve it raw, and they've never gotten sick. It's not all tainted, like some people fear. Believe me, my cats are very fussy eaters --they would know. The dogs, however, would eat anything...

                                                                                                      2. We're not red meat eaters. For poultry, the local supermarket carries Springer Mountain Farms chicken, which seems to be a reasonable middle ground in terms of price, flavor, and humane treatment of livestock.

                                                                                                        1. Personally, I am more concerned with the origin of the food than sticking to the real quality meat. In other words, I would buy the chicken for 69 cents a pound (and do all the time....but my chicken meals tend to be Indian versions so I don't feel I need the quality I would look for if I were roasting it....). OTOH, I would never buy the frozen shrimp unless I were assurred it WASN'T from Thailand. I don't want to pay for the gasoline to get it here, nor do I want the gasoline wasted on frozen shrimp anyway. And my husband and I long ago stopped eating fish that we hadn't caught ourselves (or was caught by friends). It was partially a health concern on his part, and partially the fact that we realized that once you've eaten line-caught halibut there really is no going back to the supermarket stuff.

                                                                                                          I have to confess that I do splurge on the free-range organic turkeys....when you are roasting one for Thanksgiving they are much better.

                                                                                                          I try and eat a healthy diet, and stick to locally grown produce whenever possible. But I certainly don't obsess about it. You shouldn't either.....

                                                                                                          1. I'm in the UK and I don't really buy meat from the supermarket. It's not a health issue and is mainly for ethical and environmental reasons, but also because you get much better quality meat if you buy it from a butcher. I am particularly fussy about chicken - I very much disapprove of the intensive farming which gives you that 69 cents per pound bird (although it would never be that cheap over here). My local budget supermarket (a German chain called Lidl) has recently started doing free-range chickens which are double the price of their normal ones but still a bit of a steal at around £5 each so I will buy those when they're available. Apart from anything else the flavour is so much better. I bought regular chicken thighs from a halal butcher the other week and they were tasteless - I won't be doing that again in a hurry.

                                                                                                            If you're worried about ethical farming, lamb is often your best bet. It's impossible to intensively rear lambs, so you can be pretty sure that they've been grazing in fields, like they should.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                              Whole Foods is too pricey. I go to a fish market for fish, and an Italian salumeria for sausage, but otherwise, buy all my meat and chicken from Stop and Shop. Then again, I'm lucky to have my butcher Vinny cut my meat when I place an order.

                                                                                                              There are no Vinnies in the other Stop and Shop stores, so I can only recommend, Chowpatty, that you get to know your butcher. And hope he's a Vinny. Good luck.

                                                                                                            2. Hmmm...Maybe I'm one of those who has fallen for the constant messages from the food press, but I no longer buy 69 cents a pound for chicken. It just doesn't seem possible to get a good animal product at that price. And, I say "animal product" because I think we sometimes forget that chickens are actually chickens, and ground beef comes from cows-ethical and moral considerations aside!

                                                                                                              Plenty of previous posts already detail the dramatic price difference between regular/conventional/supermarket meat an the amish/local/CSA meat. But there are many people, with both small and large families, who choose to pay the higher prices. It is (lets hope) unlikely that you are killing your family by feeding them TJ's hamburgers, but if you are asking about it, then there must be a personal concern there.

                                                                                                              I had that personal concern as well, and now I pich pennies to get the money to buy local meat! And, when I find myself at Harris Teeter I make it a point to pay for their organic brand. I am super lucky that I can afford this, but even in these changing economic times, I am not willing to let go of my common sense... they say if its too good to be true, then it probably is! Well, paying so little for chicken rings of it to me!

                                                                                                              As an aside, I have a feeling that more people who think this way are not responding to your post because this is such an emotionally charged question that easily devolves into a sanctimonius answer. I feel preachy as I type this because it is hard to advocate for something with so many bad implications (ie-cheap meat is bad, it has hormones, hormones could be bad for children, don't you love your children?!).

                                                                                                              I hope everyone takes this only as my two cents, not an indictment

                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: AnneBird

                                                                                                                There are lots of issues here. I think the OP was referring to the quality of the food that can be made with supermarket meats. I think most of us who cook agree that even a lower quality chicken can be made delicious (brining, proper seasoning, etc). But there are much bigger issues in play here.

                                                                                                                Most of the 'food press' that people keep referring to, would love us to continue buying factory raised meats. Indeed, the industry doesn't have complete control over any other kind of meat. When people mention 'the hype' about organic and local foods, it reminds me of 'the hype' we heard about the need to switch to hybrid vehicles about 10 years ago. I agree that the pro-organic message is often carried by annoying messengers, but that does not change the fact that factory farmed meats are not sustainable (by anyone's analysis that I know) and do not reflect the true cost of the food.

                                                                                                                I think we foodies are in an unusually powerful position to effect change in the industry. Bittman's article from the NYTimes.com about changing the way we think and talk about meat is a great start. His example of making 'grilled vegetables with some chunks of lamb' for dinenr vs. 'a leg of lamb with some veggies' is clear and probably reasonable for most of us (even the carnivores among us). The food industry may be able to count on the masses to buy whatever meal deal is being advertised at the time but for those of us who cook, regardless of our cooking abilities or budgets, do not have to take the bait.

                                                                                                                Yesterday, I spent $13 on a black feather chicken which was locally and humanely raised. That's more than the supermarket chicken costs. Much more. So my fiancee and I had a delicious chicken dinner last night. Tonight, I will simmer the carcass and make a chicken/rice soup with veggies and potatoes. Tomorrow, I have tortillas and chile in adobo to make chicken tacos with black beans and homeade salsa. That's 4-5 meals from the one chicken that did indeed cost more but we'll survive on what I believe are 5 great meals for under $5 a piece. In fact, we'll do more than survive. We'll eat very, very well, and pick up another locally raised bird later in the week.

                                                                                                                Maybe we need a separate board to help people who want to switch to local foods stay within their budgets? That might be fun. So many good ideas on this board.

                                                                                                                JeremyEG

                                                                                                                1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                  I did the same the other day...

                                                                                                                  bought a decent free range chicken from the local butchers, costing about £7 ($14). I got the butcher to take all the meat from the bones. With that i got 4 decent portions of chicken (2 breasts, 2 legs, plus the carcass)

                                                                                                                  Once at home, I
                                                                                                                  - Stripped all the excess meat from the carcass, and made a chicken burger
                                                                                                                  - Rendered down the excess fat to save for cooking, leaving some chitterlings
                                                                                                                  -Boiled down the carcass to make 4 portions of stock (which I froze and made into soup, used for risotto, and stews)
                                                                                                                  - stripped the cooked meat off the carcass after making the stock, and mixed with mayo and other stuff to make a chicken sandwich.
                                                                                                                  - made a delicious chicken stew using one of the breasts
                                                                                                                  - roasted one of the leg portions with herbs and lemon
                                                                                                                  - made a great chicken pie with the other breast
                                                                                                                  - made a tasty paella dish using the other leg.

                                                                                                                  So all in all, that one chicken went a long way, working out very economical and providing many meals over the course of a week or so. Takes a bit more effort than buying packaged and prepared chicken from the supermarket, but its a hell of a lot more rewarding

                                                                                                                  1. re: foreignmuck

                                                                                                                    I'm curious as to where do you find free-range chicken for £7. In London a two-kilo bird will set you back more than a tenner.

                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                      Was at Willam Rose (I think) on Lordship Lane.
                                                                                                                      Wasnt organic, but it was free range....

                                                                                                                2. re: AnneBird

                                                                                                                  Good post. The religious quality of much of the promotion of organic and local foods is getting and will continue to get a backlash - so I must commend anyone who manages to dial that tendency *way* down, because that quality will ruin the cause to which is intended to serve.

                                                                                                                  1. re: AnneBird

                                                                                                                    I thought hormones were banned from all poultry, no matter how cheap or mass-produced, at least in California?

                                                                                                                    1. re: Chowpatty

                                                                                                                      Hormones are, indeed, prohibited for use in poultry throughout the US. When your chicken's label says, "Hormone Free," it is basically like labels on olive oil declaring "no cholesterol." No reason for it to be there in the first place, except for marketing purposes.

                                                                                                                  2. I buy sale chicken, beef, pork and lamb at Safeway often. I also buy these products and some seafood and fresh fish at Costco. And I usually buy fresh fish and sometimes buy fancy free range chickens at my local "gourmet" market.

                                                                                                                    I don't consider Safeway any safer than the "gourmet" market, though. Note that this week Whole Foods recalled (nationally) a bunch of "natural, organic" Coleman Ranch ground beef because of e-coli problems. Even though the beef was raised "naturally," and without hormones, etc. Coleman's decided to have it processed by Nebraska Meats, a company notorious for problems with federal meat inspectors. They've been cited many, many times in the past 6 years, according to the Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

                                                                                                                    And now there has been an e-coli incident traced to this meat.

                                                                                                                    I do spend money at farmers markets for varieties of fruits and vegetables that are bred for flavor rather than for ease of picking, but I can't afford to buy organic, grass-fed boutique beef, pork and lamb. It's just too expensive.

                                                                                                                    1. I have no idea where to buy one of these specialty chicken products anyway. The supermarket is it. All other options are over 30 minutes away. Well, in the last year or two, a place that sells very expensive beef and a little pork opened up about 20 minutes away, but even so, I don't think they had chicken. Surely most people in this country can't get these specialty foods without long drives?

                                                                                                                      26 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: saltwater

                                                                                                                        When I visit my Dad in NH it used to be the same deal. 3 Large supermarkets (not even that small a town) and no access to naturally raised meats of any kind. Just this last visit though I walked by the health food store which now has a meat case about 50 feet long with beef, pork, bison, and chicken and the supermarket now stocks bison. I know some people complain about frozen meat but I can't taste the difference so I try to stock up when I find a good supplier and just toss it in the freezer. It's true though, it can be difficult to find naturally raised meats. It's even sadder to me, as many people have mentioned, that animals raised on the foods they were born to eat (cows on grass, chickens on vegetarian feed, etc) are now considered 'speciality items,' and the genetically modified animals that are fed foods they can't digest followed by drugs to fight the infections caused by the foods are called 'regular.'
                                                                                                                        That's been a real triumph of marketing in the agribusiness field.

                                                                                                                        There are also many sites like "Animal Welfare Approved" that have searches by zip code that might help you find suppliers nearby. Also lots of places like Niman Ranch ship directly. By the way, Niman Ranch Bacon is really something special. : )

                                                                                                                        JeremyEG

                                                                                                                        1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                          That site you mentioned lead me to check on Trader Joe's and see that their newest location in my area is closer than the old one. Still not really in my tromping grounds, but closer. Perhaps I will scope it out sometime this week if I get enough time for the drive. I'm not averse to freezing if needed.

                                                                                                                          I did notice in my searching about a poultry called Miller Amish Country Poultry. Their website seems to claim their chickens are raised by family farmers in an open floor barn with no antibiotics. But it isn't local. It must be shipped to get here. I have seen one of these birds somewhere locally before. I remember the label. I'm not sure this is the same as free-range, though. Anyone heard of this brand of poultry?

                                                                                                                          1. re: saltwater

                                                                                                                            The local vs. organic/humane issue is always interesting. Certainly few of the meats we buy in the supermarket are local. Depending on where you live, they might have traveled 2000 miles to get there but probably in larger quantities which makes shipping more efficient. As far as I know, most of the Amish poultry is well raised and the chicken I've eaten has been delicious but you should check with someone who knows more than I do (not hard to find such a person!).

                                                                                                                            Someone whom I really trust explained that for now, it's better to boost demand for these products if you afford them. When I was in college, a free range chicken cost $6/lb because it was a rare specialty item. Obviously the price has come way down as companies have realized how profitable free range poultry could be. At the Farmer's Market yesterday, a grass fed beef farmer I spoke with just constructed his own processing plant because his mail order demand got so great that he would have had to send his cows to a large plant and didn't want to do that. His demand is about double his supply and it's allowed him to buy more land for his cows to graze on naturally. We want land used for organic farms, not for Tyson processing plants.

                                                                                                                            But I never know at Whole foods whether to buy the local conventional veggies or the organic flown in from Chile. Certainly a tough call.

                                                                                                                            Please report back on how the chicken works out!

                                                                                                                            JeremyEG

                                                                                                                            1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                              JeremyEG,

                                                                                                                              Initial report:

                                                                                                                              I drove to the Trader Joe's and secured an Empire Chicken for around $10, which was less than I thought I'd be in for. Interestingly, this was the first chicken I've ever bought that still had a few feathers attached. They were easy enough to yank. This is related to the cold water used in the processing of the chicken. The wing tips were missing, so I couldn't fold/tuck the wings in my usual manner. I did not salt this chicken since it had been Koshered. I usually do, though. I preferred the raw odor of this chicken to my typical chicken (some unlabeled supermarket bird). There was some liquid in the cavity, but I patted the whole bird dry and let it dry more in the fridge to mimic my usual treatment, minus the salt. I roasted it.

                                                                                                                              I found the breast portion to be more flavorful than my usual chicken. Not the tenders, though. Those seemed lifeless as usual. Possibly the thigh was better as well. Not the legs, really. I'm wondering if this relates to my seasoning habits compared to theirs. Anyway, the leftovers made great stock. Oh, I don't consider the wings a fair comparison, since they were slightly overcooked.

                                                                                                                              When my spouse can accept another roast chicken, I will report back on the Miller Amish chicken and any final conclusions.

                                                                                                                              1. re: saltwater

                                                                                                                                Thanks! That sounds good. I'm always hesitant to season Kosher chicken as well because it can be so salty. So how many meals will you get out of the $10 chicken? I keep finding that the per meal price is reasonable with a little creativity.

                                                                                                                                I just had a grass fed porterhouse last night. They cook much faster than supermarket beef so I overdid it by a few minutes but it was delicious. I am simmering the bones now to make beef stock which I'll turn into French Onion soup tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                Thanks again for your report!

                                                                                                                                1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                                  I never would have guessed that how the beef is fed would change how long it takes to cook. You'll get it just right next time!

                                                                                                                                  I think the chicken would have made three meals serving two. I got the original roast chicken dinner, then chicken salad sandwiches the next day. It made enough stock to make a small soup recipe, but I didn't do that. I froze it into 2 T ice cubes to use here and there. You have to realize that what counts as one serving for my spouse is really one and a half or two servings for another person.

                                                                                                                                  So, I'd say that chicken made 6 servings up to 9 servings, depending on hunger levels. That isn't too bad on a per serving basis. Roast chicken is nice for utilizing the whole bird. It is one of the few items I'm good at using that way. If I'd been even more on the ball, I could have saved the schmaltz.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: saltwater

                                                                                                                                    Second report as promised:

                                                                                                                                    I tried the Miller Amish Country Poultry this evening. The bird was a nice looking one, and had no giblets. It was slightly smaller than the Empire one I tried. Just as with the Empire chicken, I found it nicer to handle in terms of odor and skin, etc. than my usual bird.

                                                                                                                                    I held it to dry up a bit overnight and then roasted it. What a difference a wing-tip makes. I was able to tuck these properly, and these wings were very yummy, better than my average bird. Also, the breast was better as well. I felt the dark meat was like my typical chicken. So, overall it is a better bird than the typical no-name supermarket bird. It wasn't much more expensive, either. It was more like $1.50 a pound, which just isn't that much more expensive than a regular bird. I think I'll switch for purposes of roasting a chicken. I could look into their chicken breasts as well, but I don't know if my market carries those in this brand.

                                                                                                                                    Thanks for encouraging me, Jeremy, to report. It gave me the motive to buy and try the bird. Otherwise I might have just said, oh well, it can't make much difference.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: saltwater

                                                                                                                                      I definitely find the Miller chicken to be superior to the usual grocery store brands. For me, especially with the price of everything else going up, they are a good alternative to the very pricy Bell and Evans or Maverick Ranch.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                        I live maybe 10 miles, if that from Miller Amish Country Poultry in Orland, Indiana. Their website says that Kroger distributes it but I never see it in my local Kroger-owned grocery store. In fact, I can't remember seeing it anywhere in this area!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: alliedawn_98

                                                                                                                                          It can be so frustrating to find a particular food! I get cooking magazines and they have brand recommends in them, but I rarely can find their recommended brand, unless it is something like Heinz Ketchup.

                                                                                                                                          There you are a few miles away and you can't get the chicken. Life is so like that.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: saltwater

                                                                                                                                            I actually saw the Miller Amish Country Poultry in a local store last week. It was a small local chain store. I didn't buy any because I have 5 chickens in the freezer already but after I use that up, I'll go over and try it.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: alliedawn_98

                                                                                                                                              Glad you found some. Unless you roast chicken often, though, you probably haven't eaten those five chicken yet.

                                                                                                                                              Since I reported before, my local market switched to a different brand, which I don't like as well!

                                                                                                                          2. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                            Chickens are not vegetarian! They eat bugs, worms, rodents, pretty much anything they can get at! If you buy a chicken that was purportedly raised on a vegetarian diet, you can be pretty sure it was not a free-running bird. Chickens were not "born to eat" pelletized corn and soy. Furthermore, rampant infections in commercially raised chickens is due more to overcrowded conditions that promote the spread of disease than the feed itself. Chickens have no inherent problems with digesting commercial feed. I think you are conflating the issue of ruminants being raised on a primarily corn and soy based diet (which can cause g.i. illness) with the general issue of poor animal husbandry, which includes chicken, pork, and beef production.

                                                                                                                            1. re: laguera

                                                                                                                              Yes, I agree with you that chickens aren't meant to be vegetarian. I think what Jeremy meant to say is pastured chickens -- chickens raised on grass, where they can eat grasses, insects, etc.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                My bad. I'm well aware that chickens love to eat bugs (especially larvae right?). I did mean pastured. You seem to know quite a bit about this. Do you know why pastured birds seem to have so much more flavor than commercially raised birds? Is it the breed? The age of the bird at slaughter? Just wondering. Thanks.
                                                                                                                                JeremyEG

                                                                                                                                1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                                  I think it's partly because they get to run around like chickens are meant to so their flesh has more muscle and therefore more flavour. They're also older when they are slaughtered.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                                    Greedygirl is right, the superior flavor of pastured chicken comes partly from getting to run around, and partly because they come to weight more slowly so are slaughtered later. Some of the flavor differences are in the breed too. Commercial chickens have been bred primarily to put on weight quickly. Broilers are slaughtered at 6 weeks in a commercial operation! Flavor is a secondary concern.

                                                                                                                                    But a lot of the flavor comes from the diet. Pastured chickens eat a much more heterogeneous diet than factory raised chickens. They will eat whatever they can forage and whatever scraps you throw at them: vegetables, fruits, spoilt milk, etc. The difference is most visible in the egg yolks: pastured eggs usually have bright orange yolks, whereas eggs from battery hens are pale yellow. It is real hard to eat grocery store eggs after having the real thing.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: laguera

                                                                                                                                      Greedy and laguera explained it well. The best eggs I've had were in Thailand. The yolks were so orange and so rich. I've never had scrambled eggs that were so satisfying.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                        MN, do you ever get to the Union Square greenmarket? Not all the egg vendors are great, but there are a couple farms that have superior eggs.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: laguera

                                                                                                                                          One of the egg vendors at USQ also sells pasta made with the same eggs. Even the pasta has a rich buttery taste. I can't remember the name of the vendor but man, those eggs are serious. I sometimes poach them and serve them over salad. Delicious summer meal.
                                                                                                                                          JeremyEG

                                                                                                                                          1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                                            That is Knoll crest. Their chickens are not pastured. There are other vendors that have far superior eggs.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: laguera

                                                                                                                                              Do you have a favorite? Thanks for the info about Knoll Crest.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                                                Violet Hill. They are expensive, like $8 per dozen, but they are really good. Windfall farms' are good too, but they are $7/half-dozen. I think all their eggs are from Aracuna hens (blue/green shells).

                                                                                                                                          2. re: laguera

                                                                                                                                            Yes. When I get eggs for things like bi bim bap or scrambled eggs or anything where you can taste them, I get them at Violet Hills Farms. They're kind of pricey, though. I believe it's about $4 or $5 for 1/2 dozen eggs. But they do taste superior. If I'm baking or something like that, I get my eggs at Whole Foods or from Knoll Crest at the greenmarket. I just can't bear to pay that much for eggs if they're going into a cake.

                                                                                                                                            Violet Hills are good. But I still have to give the nod to the Thai eggs. My sister and I were staying in a hotel in Phuket where they served "free" breakfast. I really didn't expect much, but was so surprised how delicious the eggs were. I had them every morning.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                              Violet Hill's are the best! Windfall has good eggs too but they are $7/half dozen!!!

                                                                                                                                2. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                                  JEG, by "genetically modified animals" do you mean normal cross breeding? Humans have been breeding domisticated animals since domestication. Otherwise, livestock are rarely if ever genetically modified organisms in the same sense of a few of our food and fiber crops.

                                                                                                                              2. I am the youngest of a family of nine and as far as I know my parent bought all the groceries from the grocery store, that was if they could afford chicken that week. I remember the nights we had cubed steak with onions, and peppers, boy what a treat. They did what they could and we are all still alive. Gee, now that i think of it I remember drinking water from the garden hose. I even shared a soda with a friend. Come on now, lets drop the paranoia and start living a little

                                                                                                                                1. I try to eat all organic and it drives my husband nuts. The regular supermarkets in Maine (i.e. Hannaford) have a good selection of organic meats that are reasonably priced so I buy my meats right there. In Delaware, we are not so lucky. There, I buy my meat from Hickman's butcher shop and pretty much everything there is organic. However, I will share a funny story. I was recently turned on to cooking whole chickens on the grill. The first time I bought a Perdue chicken (definitely NOT organic) from the grocery store and cooked it. It was awesome. The second time I bought an organic chicken from Hickman's and prepared it exactly the same way. There was a definite difference in taste, and the Perdue chicken was better. However, I'm sure I don't want to know what was pumped into that chicken to make it taste better : )

                                                                                                                                  Anyway, I don't think you'll go to foodie hell.

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: JenBoes

                                                                                                                                    The same thing happened to my mom! I'm not sure if it still says so, but the Perdue chicken package used to say something like "Up to X% of weight is comprised of a sodium solution" That sodium solution is what makes the chicken "juicy" and for many years it was the reason people didn't like brining because things would turn out too salty!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: AnneBird

                                                                                                                                      That X% is actually up to 18 percent that is initially injected into the chicken. Much of that leeches out into the "diaper" underneath the chicken, so the processor can say "May contain up to 12% added water." However, the sodium stays behind, so that chicken is actually quite high in salt. The rest of the water leeches out during cooking, which is why the meat shrinks.

                                                                                                                                      Chicken processors do this for two reasons: to "plump" up their profits (obviously, we are paying for this water in weight), and as a preservative. That Perdue or Tyson chicken was processed at least THREE weeks before it landed in the grocery store. Once in the store, held at 40 degrees, the bacteria count doubles every six hours, or four times per day.

                                                                                                                                      The USDA has not made our food safe, despite what some posters here think. They have left the onus of preventing poisoning on the consumer, which is why all of our beef, poultry and pork come with cooking instructions -- heat to 160 degrees. The industrial growers and processors are allowed to continue with their profitable and potential harmful ways.

                                                                                                                                  2. Although I'm a pretty leftward leaning person, I'm finding it harder and harder to justify the time and expense related to eating organic meats. In a foodie town of just over a million, I do have an awful lot of options but with a 40 hour work week, a 90 minute+ commute, a husband who often travels 4-5 days a week, and a two year old, it's just not feasible. I'm lucky in that we have a decent chicken that most regular stores here carry (Foster Farms) but am getting pretty frustrated with beef. The circle of stores I'm willing to purchase beef at is slowly dwindling and after a purchase yesterday of truly tasteless steak from Safeway, I'm down to one store that I can afford rarely and one butcher shop that is simply too far out of my way.

                                                                                                                                    Maybe I was spoiled growing up in Iowa, maybe times are a changin’, maybe it’s the end of the world and you better eat well now because tomorrow you’re going to be eating soy rations.

                                                                                                                                    1. I have been slow to post because I so despise American grocery store chicken. I too have had a large family w/ 4 boys and an adopted Bolivian daughter who despite her diminutive size could polish off a whole pollo a la broasted w/ black beans, rice, platano and yucca in one sitting if allowed. I truly believe American supermarket meats are not heathy. Our meats are not allowed for import to European Common Market countries. And 2 months ago the S. Korean gov't nearly fell for allowing importation of American beef. The reaction was that strong to the idea of consuming our "all American" beef. I lived a long time in N. Europe and S. America and loved the chicken.
                                                                                                                                      I'm lucky that I can walk out my door and hunt, fish (trout in the freezer), gather etc., but I see you live in LA and that is not an option.
                                                                                                                                      So what to do? Go Mexican young women, go Mexican. I buy pinto beans, corn meal, wheat and rice in bulk (25 lb. bags) from the local health food stores. Luckily I have a wonderful brother that keep me supplied w/ New Mex Hatch chile. I use a lot of deer meat in mext food, but will also splurge for organic pork and chicken because if you make a big batch of red chile, it uses so little meat. The beans and corn create whole proteins and it tastes sooo good! I just used 2 pork steaks to make a big batch. We have 9 people in the house right now! One kid is a vegetarian and everyone loves bean tostados. During the winter I also make lots of peasant style soups & stews; so little meat, so much flavor and health. Do you have room for a garden? Ours really helps stretch our food dollar.
                                                                                                                                      I hope this is healthful, I mean helpful.
                                                                                                                                      Mark

                                                                                                                                      1. <Will I go to foodie hell?>

                                                                                                                                        No, but you may compromise your health, or that of those you love.

                                                                                                                                        I haven't bought supermarket meat in more than 20 years. I know the cost of the "good stuff" is high, but I would rather eat less of it, and/or less often. We also enjoy meatless meals, as well as many meals where the meat is just one of many ingredients, and not at the center of the plate.

                                                                                                                                        I'm not preaching. Folks have to do what they feel is right for them and their families. That's just what I do for me and mine.

                                                                                                                                        1. I won't eat supermarket chicken or beef because of the taste. I think the taste is a pretty good indication of whether it's harmful to your system, if you feel it's fine, then don't worry about it. btw, if you never eat fast food and hardly any processed you are probably way ahead of the game.

                                                                                                                                          1. No. We don't eat supermarket meat. I don't buy the argument that organic/free range/halal/kosher/humane meat is "too expensive". Just eat better meat, less often. It really is that simple. I think it is a very American mentality to think that you have to eat meat ever day, even if that meat is tasteless frozen chicken breasts that cost $0.69/lb. I also think that it is important to remember that meat does come from-gasp-real chickens and cows! I realize there is a value judgment at play here, and if eating organic/free range/etc. isn't among your top priorities or concerns so be it. I won't judge you for it. But saying you value these attributes but you can't afford to buy such meat is rubbish, IMO.

                                                                                                                                            Our family moved to London last year, and as a result our entire cost of living doubled. Obviously the cost of food went up drastically as well, but we manage by eating meat less often (2-3x a week) and eating vegetarian the rest of the week. My carnivore husband never thought he would see the day that he was happy to eat a meal of braised swiss chard tacos, but even he is a convert.

                                                                                                                                            1. Hey - I just want to toss this out there, because I notice that most posters seem to think that we free-range, grass-fed, organic beef eaters are fixated on eating this meat purely because we're worried for the future of Earth. My family does it because we are concerned with the health and safety of OTHER HUMANS. I never even considered where my meat came from until I conducted a study of a pork processing plant in Tar Heel, NC. I won't share any details here, but anyone interested can easily search Google for some news results on this particular plant. I know people like to denounce the horrific CAFO stories as some vegetarian/hippy agenda, but let me assure you, I am neither. But I will not buy meat from the supermarket unless I know it's not from a CAFO. We've had to reduce our meat intake and cut back on some expenses to afford this, so I know it's tough, but knowing my food doesn't come from these places is well worth the extra price.

                                                                                                                                              Oh - and as a suggestion, CSAs and other farms are excellent sources of affordable, pasture-raised meats. We recently bought 1/8 of a beef for $2.60/lb. Sounds like a lot, but we got not only ground beef, but also steaks, ribs, etc. So it's quite a deal!

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: RosemaryHoney

                                                                                                                                                I get my meat from a single farm too, and although some specialty items (like porterhouse steaks) are considerably more expensive than their supermarket equivalents, buying in season and stocking up when I can makes the cost feasible.

                                                                                                                                                At the end of the day though food is just another line in the budget. How much priority each line gets is a very personal decision. For my boyfriend and I food is a very important line! Looking back at the OP, it looks like it is an important line too!

                                                                                                                                              2. I can buy free-range chicken and more politically correct meats at the supermarket, so I don't really have a problem with shopping there. However, budgetary concerns do have me shopping the cheaper brands at the supermarket as well.

                                                                                                                                                Heck, sometimes it's a matter of availability. I really wanted cornish hens for a dinner party once. I tried Whole Foods and they didn't have any. I went down the street to Stew Leonards who has a huge meet department. They were in somewhat short supply of hens, and I ended up with Perdue - the last brand I wanted to buy.

                                                                                                                                                There aren't a lot of CSAs availalbe in my area and I have to go a long way to find a farm that sells direct, so buying that way really isn't convenient for me. Whatever I might save in terms of the planet or money in buying farm-raised meat, is made up for in gas spent.

                                                                                                                                                1. I'm retired and my wife is due to retire. Our income is less than it was and will reduce further but we will still make the choice to buy free range or organic meat. It is important to us. Any economies will be elsewhere in the budget.

                                                                                                                                                  1. I buy cheap meat lol. We have a small food budget. Other than that I have no real excuse for not going organic and such *shrug*

                                                                                                                                                    I try where I can, and slip in some areas, and organic meat is that one for me. I do try to go with local veggies, breads from the bakery and such.

                                                                                                                                                    I've never been to a butcher, the nearest one is about 20-30 min away, but I may go check them out soon. They send out flyers quarterly, and the prices look good, and I've heard good feedback.

                                                                                                                                                    1. A small aside - I stopped by a mainstream grocery store that I rarely shop for meat at last week just to pick up a whole chicken. They didn't ask any. When I asked the butcher, her reply was: "Well, IF we had any, they'd be there" and pointed to a fully stocked boneless chicken display. "If?" I replied. "Well, we usually only get whole birds by accident", she responded.

                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sebetti

                                                                                                                                                        Are you serious? Where do you live? That is really sad!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                          The suburbs.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sebetti

                                                                                                                                                            Yikes!

                                                                                                                                                            I live in the suburbs of Detroit and EVERY store has whole chickens. Even the relatively small market 3 blocks away--with a meat counter that's maybe 20 feet long--has both whole roasters AND fryers!

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: sebetti

                                                                                                                                                          Wow. Just wow.

                                                                                                                                                        3. < Will I go to foodie hell?>

                                                                                                                                                          Chowpatty, by the powers vested in me by the State of California health code and her foodie holiness St. Julia Child, I hereby pronounce your perpetual State of Gastronomic Grace, thus delivering you from the fears and evil glamour of the hype machine that besets and afflicts so much of the world of consumer food. Go in peace and fredom, daughter, content in the realization of the innocence of your motives and the purity of your intent. Reject forever the devilish glamour of the hankie-twisters, fear mongers and the small-minded.

                                                                                                                                                          Go in peace, eat in freedom.

                                                                                                                                                          1. I haven't bought meat at a grocery store for almost a decade now, which is about half of my adult life. We eat little meat, and the meat we do eat I try to source from places where the animals are treated humanely. Admittedly, this is more expensive, but I'd rather pay more and eat less, ending up with the same financial outlay as if I was purchasing the cheap stuff.

                                                                                                                                                            1. Many of us have no other viable option that doesn't require a 2 1/2 trip into a larger town (Reno, Nv). While Reno has good shopping (relatively speaking) - 2 1/2 hours 1 way makes for a long day.

                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: nvcook

                                                                                                                                                                I love Jack rabbit stew. My bro wants to retire where you are. You are better off making the long haul for supplies than living in Henderson, in me 'umble opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                  I not only respect your opinion but must second it. I wouldn't move from here for love nor money (fortunately dh feels the same).

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: nvcook

                                                                                                                                                                  And when you get to Reno, your options are very limited. In the last month I have tried to find fresh squid, duck, and other items and they are not available in town. Looking for specialty items means looking on the i-net and hoping you can get it shipped in fresh.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NVJims

                                                                                                                                                                    You're right. Just the other day I tried to buy chicken feet, backs, necks, whatever. Not at WF, not even at the Asian market.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                      I'm also lucky that my dh hunts and we are blessed with an abundance of deer, antilope, chukar, geese and duck. Love smoked duck breast. He shoots our elk in Montana. All I have here on my little 3 acres of heaven are cottontails, Eurasian ring necked dove and peach fed (the little bastards) quail.

                                                                                                                                                                3. All of us can only do that which we are able to. If you can't afford local, free-range meats, then you can't. You might want to consider eating less meet and more vegetables, though, but don't beat yourself up because you can't afford the greenest choice. (Especially these days.)

                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                    I'm reading Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma. He's talking about how little of our money goes to buying food. So I CAN buy those items and yet I seem to be more price-driven about food than I am about my shoes. How irrational is that? I'm going to be working on that, I guarantee ya.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                      I seem to remember that Americans spend a lot less as a proportion of their income on food than Europeans, and we in Britain spend less than we used to. I will admit to being shocked by the prices people quote on Chowhound for meat - they seem almost obscenely low sometimes.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                        You mean $1 for 2 cheeseburgers seems low? Impossible! That couldn't have anything to do with US subsidies to the factory farming and corn industries right?
                                                                                                                                                                        : )
                                                                                                                                                                        JeremyEG

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                          Factory meat and chicken is very, very cheap in the US. Actually, so is free range and organic meat compared to Europe. Our free range and organic prices are similar to British regular prices. Only the highest end choices are similar in price.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. I do buy meats, fish, and poultry from my local Shop-Rite or Shop-N-Stop. I simply cannot afford to go to my local butcher for locally grown meat and poultry. I'd LIKE to, but not on my CWA salary. All of us are slowly dying anyway and I am reminded of one of my co workers who said she doesn't let her kids go to Mcdonalds because she doesn't want them to eat crap....yet she smoked while pregnant and continues to smoke around them. I'm not saying we should eat McDonalds, I'm just saying that we need to take steps to live as healthy as we can personally be, and if one simply cannot afford to by locally grown, grass fed meats, they can at least try to buy as fresh as possible from the supermarket they go to.
                                                                                                                                                                      My hubby fishes and I do buy eggs from a local farm. I'm trying!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cookieluvntasha

                                                                                                                                                                        My guess is that you're doing more than trying if you get your eggs from a local farm. Avoiding the factory farmed egg industry is a big deal! How are the eggs? When I can get them from a farm fresh they're really special.
                                                                                                                                                                        Eat well.
                                                                                                                                                                        JeremyEG

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                                                                          Everyone I know in the UK buys free range or organic eggs. Even people who aren't particularly well off. It's very much frowned on to buy battery eggs, if you care even a little bit about food.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                            I like that philosophy. Ever since I had my backyard hens I've bought the most humanely raised eggs I can find. I really miss those big old green, blue, and brown eggs. Best eggs I ever had, by a long shot.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                                                                            They are wonderful! We had some friends over for breakfast one day and did a test as to which eggs are best. The farm fresh eggs where bright in color and had a wonderful texture. The store bought eggs where slimy looking in comparison and had littlle taste. I wish I could go to my local butcher and I already told my husband

                                                                                                                                                                        2. The only places I'm willing to buy chicken and/or meat are Wegmans' and Whole Foods. In suburban Philadelphia, the other choices, generally, are Acme, Genuardi's, Giant, and ShopRite. I don't find any of those near the quality of Wegman's or Whole Foods. I usually buy seafood from Wegman's, and Whole Foods, but also buy a lot from Assi Asian Market in North Wales.

                                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: RAGHOUND

                                                                                                                                                                            If you would buy seafood someplace, why not their chicken?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                              The short answer is quality/price. I know that lots of folks refer to Whole Foods as "Whole Wallet", but it's pretty hard to beat their .99/lb whole chicken, that's cleaned and trussed, ready for the oven, in weights below 4 lbs., which is exactly what I want. Wegman's, almost always, has whole chickens for .88/lb. Being someone who makes his own stock, whole chickens are my buy about 98% of the time. I don't find those prices, or the basic quality of the product, in other stores, as a general rule.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RAGHOUND

                                                                                                                                                                                Ah, so the Asian market's seafood is better quality and price than their chickens. That makes sense.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                  Sense or cents? The fact is that the Asian market's chicken prices are higher than the stores where I normally buy it. What's your point?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: RAGHOUND

                                                                                                                                                                                    My point is that I agreed with you :)

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Another good option is to go to a county fair and buy either a half or whole (assuming you have 3+ freezers) cow, pig or lamb. You can also buy rabbit. Here in Humboldt Co. Nv, it's a 4-H project and there is butchering, wrapping and delivery also. Go in on it with a friend and it is a very good price plus wonderful meat.

                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nvcook

                                                                                                                                                                              County fairs sound like a good option. Beware of some "farmer/ranchers who boast grass fed, born/raised on the farm beef and pork. We had one such operation that had a pen of "show" pigs and a pasture of "prop" beef cattle. You picked out which one you wanted specified how it was to be butchered, etc. Then the "farmer/rancher went to the livestock auction bought an animal and brought it directly to the abattoir. Hmmmm, a few of us were stung on that scam. Who knows what those poor animals looked like, were fed, how grown, etc. etc.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                                                                Potemkin cattle, what a thought.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. I buy air chilled "diet controlled" chicken simply for the taste. I don't believe that other chicken would kill me but I've made chicken the same way multiple times using the mass market supermarket chicken vs the air chilled chicken (also purchased in a supermarket!) and the air chilled comes out on top every time. WAY on top. I can still make the mass market chicken taste good enough though! A brine does help. All my other meat is generally mass market though (except for steaks). I also buy free range veg diet chicken eggs. I can tell the difference when I make fried or scrambled eggs. If I'm getting a lot for a casserole or brownies or something though I will get the "mass market" eggs, though it seems that free range veg eggs are now the other mass market!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Why not just eat less meat?

                                                                                                                                                                                Even if you don't believe that diseased cows and chickens that are literally fed garbage and by-products, and then kept alive with antibiotics and pumped full of hormones, is bad for you and your family's bodies, the fact is we cannot keep on producing and consuming meat in the methods and amounts we have become accustomed to.

                                                                                                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: bonemarrow

                                                                                                                                                                                  Instead of eating less meat, we eat more unadulterated meat, all of what we buy for home.

                                                                                                                                                                                  To that point, though, I have become conscious of buying smaller portions for single meal fish and meat, and larger portions of those used in ways that make good leftovers.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                    nice mcf.... I too eat meat, but almost always grass fed organic meat from reputable places. I cant afford to eat large portions of these types of meats, because they are generally quite expensive. But ive found that im just as happy going without meat several days a week, and i really enjoy it when i can cook up a meat heavy dish made with fantastic ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Honestly, the meat in most supermarkets is just so gross i cant imagine just picking up the "regular" stuff. My local grocery has seriously cheap meat (and in manhattan too) and it just looks terrible, not like something you would like to eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bonemarrow

                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, it grosses me out, too, and I just cannot bring myself to touch it. I keep imagining the conditions it was in before it got there, and during processing. Bleah.
                                                                                                                                                                                      I have to eat protein, mostly animal proteins, at every meal; it keeps my diabetes tightly controlled without any meds. Veggies, rice and bean meals would put my kidneys and nerve cells back into the danger zone.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                        If you eat animal protein at most meals, are you saying that you buy all local, farm-raised products? Also I'm confused about your kidneys and nerve cells and their relationship to your diabetes. Did you leave something out? (I frequently do that)

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                          My DM was undiagnosed for many years til I bought a meter and tested myself. During those years, I had protein in my urine and developed severe peripheral neuropathies. These went away on a very low carb diet, and after decades, I still maintain good control with no medications for DM. This means I need protein at the center of every meal, though a higher percentage of my calories come from fat. I buy wild caught fish, free range or pastured poultry, mostly organic, and grass fed dairy when it's available for the item I want. I buy pastured lamb (is there any other kind?) and grass fed beef. I don't buy feedlot meat. I care more about conditions, free range and especially grass feeding than I do about organic, though I prefer both.

                                                                                                                                                                                          The connection to my diabetes was only that I was commenting that I need substantial protein at every meal, and vegetable proteins do not provide, for me, anyway, the same consistent blood glucose control. I mentioned it in response to the advice to have meatless meals as an alternative. I can do that only very occasionally, and not with the same excellent results as an animal protein meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't buy only local, though I try to when I can. If not immediately local, I go for regional first, but some is from a distance.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                            mcf: "I buy pastured lamb (is there any other kind?) and grass fed beef."

                                                                                                                                                                                            You are right that most lamb is pastured. Unfortunately, there is a growing number of farms who are starting to raise their lambs/sheep in confined barns. The ones here in Ontario are usually in huge hoop barns. Not that I agree with the method, but the main reasons being predator control (too many loses to coyotes) and greater "efficiency". Hopefully, not too many farmers take this route.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: earthygoat

                                                                                                                                                                                              I looked into lamb as a possible sidebar and it's amazing how much the loss to predators drops with the simple addition of guard dogs (someone in Idaho or Montana reported that after years of losing up to 25% of her herd avery year it dropped to almost nothing) although in the US the USDA will subsidize a lot of things, dogs, despite their proven effectiveness are not one of those.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                Llamas work great, as well, and are easier to maintain than dogs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                                  When we lived in Oregon, it was quite common to see a llama or two out in the field with horses, sheep, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I absolutely love my livestock guardian dogs. We have two Maremmas and they protect our goats (25 or so) and pastured chickens so well, that we haven't lost any animals to predators since we got them 3 years ago. However, a large sheep farm near us (1300 ewes plus lambs) has about 10 Great Pyrenees to protect their sheep and just lately, the coyotes are starting to outsmart the dogs and their losses are creeping up again. Coyotes are very adaptable!!! They might have to get more dogs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Llamas work great with smaller herds of sheep or goats as long as there is only one llama (or donkey). With larger herds, you need more llamas to keep an eye on predators and to outsmart them. Once you get more llamas, they will want to stick together rather than with their flock of sheep. Predator control is an ongoing process.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: earthygoat

                                                                                                                                                                                                    interesting stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I generally buy nothing but supermarket meat/chicken/produce with the exception of in season vegetables from the local farmer market. I bought 1.5 pounds of ribeye steak today for $5 from my local grocery store. Their beef is generally excel choice, sometimes prime. I could guy to the specialty butcher shop in town but if you look behind his counter you'll see the same boxes from ibp, excel, etc I think a lot of people just find perceived value in paying more for their meat, or buying from a boutique shop but never consider that it comes out of the same cryovac as the big grocery store down the street. Odd that people don't think paying more for their new XYZ cordless screwdrive at the town hardware store means its any higher quality than the same item from walmart. If you're paying more it has to be tastier, safer, more friendly to animals, or something right? That doesn't mean I don't have my preferences. I won't buy hormel pork because its enhanced, I would still order something like wagyu, sometimes I'll want prime beef, etc.
                                                                                                                                                                                    Of course I also have ill will toward a lot of the organic/free range /whatever movement. It seems like its often condescending, pushes bad science or out right lies, is often nothing more than an increased revenue stream for the same big producers as usual, and relies heavily on guilt. We're all pretty lucky to have the safe and affordable food supply we have that a lot of the rest of the world doesn't. I think a lot of people feel guilt over that. I think a lot of people want to find something wrong with our system to feel less guilt. On a lesser note I've noticed a lot of people cite taste but in the blind tests I've done with friends, their taste buds apparently aren't as accurate as they thought.

                                                                                                                                                                                    20 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Soybomb

                                                                                                                                                                                      Excellent, I have also felt that the 'organic' game was a mixture of voodoo, hype and sharp marketing. There are major differences between sustainable 'localvore' food, organic, and general factory farming. It makes no sense to ship food thousands of miles to a location that produces that same food. Shipping chicken from California to NYC makes no sense as there are chicken farms within a couple of hundred miles of NYC.
                                                                                                                                                                                      What would improve safety would be to require the 'last mile' processing of the food. By that, I mean ground meats and final cuts would be produced in the final sales location rather than at 'MegaSlaughter Meats' from hundreds of animals. "by products" produced at MegaSlaughter" could be used in cooked processed foods (canned soup,frozen entrees, etc.)

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NVJims

                                                                                                                                                                                        I solve that by grinding my own.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                          +1

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: NVJims

                                                                                                                                                                                          My dad was a butcher for A&P when I was a kid and worked there until the early '70's. He did that "last mile" processing and as far as I can remember that's the way most stores where I grew up did it . His store got wiped out in the '72 flood and they never rebuilt. There were family operated butcher stores still running when I moved away in '93 but on trips home over the last 8 years they seem to have disappeared. Totally bummed. The local goodies I use to load up on and bring back with me seem to be gone now.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: NVJims

                                                                                                                                                                                            I have a dear friend who only buys organic foods (including packaged foods) for the family. I just have to laugh. How on earth are "organic potato chips" any more healthful than Lays? The kids eat these organic hot dogs - ok no nitrate/nitrites, fine, but they still have the same high fat content and are loaded with sodium, not to mention that nitrites/nitrates is resolved by ascorbic acid - Vitamin C! I just have to laugh when I see the 2 yr old kid throwing the $10/lb organic lunchmeat on the floor the same way my 2 yr old throws the $5/lb regular ham on the floor. They also pay twice as much per gallon for organic milk, convinced that it will save their daughter from going through puberty too early. Let's face it, this is a marketing ploy, for the most part. And the organic foods movement is preying on upper middle class- upper class people with scare tactics to get them to part with more of their money to eat "better" and therefore feel superior to everyone else via the much "better" organic foods that only they can afford (and not regular working class Joe Schmo). Nuff said.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: grlwhoeats

                                                                                                                                                                                              grl: I do sort of agree with your marketing opinion, until the FDA and USDA agree on a consistent standard on what the term really means and enforce it (ha!) it's largely pointless. I also have to say the beauty of a place like Whole Foods is (as a friend pointed out once) you can just close your eyes, grab a piece of produce and it will be perfect. expensive, but perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: grlwhoeats

                                                                                                                                                                                                And your two year old gets more with that $5 lb ham such as SODIUM LACTATE, SUGAR, SODIUM PHOSPHATES, SODIUM DIACETATE, LACTATE, SODIUM ERYTHORBATE (MADE FROM SUGAR), SODIUM NITRITE.

                                                                                                                                                                                                http://brands.kraftfoods.com/oscarmay...

                                                                                                                                                                                                It is difficult to understand the impact of the choices we make for food if there isn't an immediate problem ... kid drinks a glass of milk and instantly grows breasts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                That doesn't happen so things look safe. But as I wrote earlier in the thread, it is not only about your personal health in terms of eating that item, it is about how large-scale conventional farming effects the planet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                You might roll your eyes at that and say you don't see any such problem and a few months ago I might have done something similar. But I moved to a third world country and I can see the devestation that years of unchecked farming practices has caused. I don;t see anything to laugh about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Here's the link to my comments earlier in the thread
                                                                                                                                                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5304...

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: grlwhoeats

                                                                                                                                                                                                  grlwhoeats, for some, it's about eliminating the chemicals/hormones/antibiotics which have found their way into so many products which we eat today. it's sad to me that people THINK that you have to spend more money to eat better... I know for a fact that I spend less money now, that I've all but eliminated pre-processed/packaged food from our diet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Like HIllfood, I buy my meat & dairy directly from the farmers and my produce as well... so I spend less money now than I did before
                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's just a chioce that many people today are making, and as long as we're not getting all "preachy" about how you should do the same as we are (though I'd love to see everyone turn their backs on convenience food and factory farmed meats) then don't scoff at us and presume that we feel superior because we eat the way we do
                                                                                                                                                                                                  (that's like saying a vegan feels superior because he or she doesn't eat anything with a face... it's just their choice, most are not making judgements on how others choose to eat, we're only looking out for ourselves and wishing the best for our family and friends)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I hope those who have the luxury of buying and then eating the way you do also realize that many of us don't have the choice of buying direct from a farmer or rancher without driving hundreds of miles. And also that some of those foods cost multiples of grocery store foods. On another thread, the OP was talking about the chickens she's raised. I believe she is selling them for $7/# and is HOPING to make a small profit. I want these worlds to get closer together. I don't expect their to ever be just one utopian food world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I totally get that I have the luxury of making food choices wrt cost that many folks don't. I think regionalizing food supplies, supporting local agriculture with gov't dollars instead of current supports in the system will bring better and safer foods within the economic reach of everyone. In my area, some low income communities have gotten non profit grants to teach kids to grow organic veggies in lots in their neighborhoods, too. There are some creative, low cost solutions, but not everyone can afford the purest foods, nor garden or farm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                        There was a great piece in the NY Times about a Bronx CSA that this guy has started for lower income residents.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/23/din...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        JeremyEG
                                                                                                                                                                                                        homecooklocavore.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                        coliver you can find places to buy food closer than you think,

                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.localharvest.org/

                                                                                                                                                                                                        will show you where to buy food locally, also google has been a tremedous 'research' tool for me as well as

                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.slowfoodusa.org/

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Case and point we were driving home from the beach and took a back way to avoid traffic... along the road side there was a stand with a "certified naturally grown" sign

                                                                                                                                                                                                        for $15 I filled my shopping bag with tomatoes, beans, potatoes, peaches, cantaloupe, black berries and corn

                                                                                                                                                                                                        These worlds are coming closer together because I believe that people are becoming more aware of what they're eating and people like MIchael Pollan and Carlo Petrini are helping us to open our eyes to healthy food
                                                                                                                                                                                                        it's frustrating I know it is, I thought I was feeding my family well too, everything I did was to feed my husband and kids well balanced 'healthy' meals... we don't eat junk food and when we do eat out, we do the 'healthy stuff' like eat a salad first, skip fries for a vegetable, broiled or grilled not fried....
                                                                                                                                                                                                        and then I started reading articles connecting the pesticides in our food supply to all kinds of health problems and then I read Omnivore's dilemma and In Defense of Food and YES Michael Pollan wrote those to make money and controversy makes money, but what he's saying rings true to me, so I began slowly but surely looking around to find places where I could feed my family from (other than Whole Foods, who serve a purpose, just not mine, really)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wow, I did find two. Thanks alot. I wish you'd start a thread about this if you haven't already.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Grlwhoeats brings up a good point: many organic processed foods are not much better than their non organic counterparts. But many people have legitimate concerns about the preservatives and chemicals in non organic foods (I have an allergy to a preservative sometimes used in ice cream). I'm not sure that a diet high in those chemicals is the same as one without, fat and sodium aside. And Cgarners's point about processed vs. nonprocessed foods is right on. In addition, there are very real and documented health concerns with diets high in processed foods. The comparison should probably be between potato chips and a plate of roasted potatoes made at home instead of organic vs. nonorganic chips. In any case, I don't feel superior eating unprocessed foods but I certainly feel healthier and the food in our house has been much more delicious.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        JeremyEG
                                                                                                                                                                                                        homecooklocavore.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Interesting stuff concerning what "natural" means:
                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.dailytidings.com/apps/pbcs...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bbqboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I give no creedene to the word "natural" on any mass markted product, or any product with the word "natural" on it in the supermarket at all
                                                                                                                                                                                                            "certified Naturaly grown" is a new movement, based on practice rather than the organic certification which has become so much more about documentation and money that most small farmers don't have the money nor the resources to be "certified organic"

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Jeremy, I just got around to looking at www.homecooklocavore.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                            wow, this is exactly what we're talking about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            people are under the assumption that you have to spend alot of money to eat organic
                                                                                                                                                                                                            not true!
                                                                                                                                                                                                            (oh, and I'm trying some of those recipes right away)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Everyone acknowledges that natural has no creedance, just as certain "low-fat" terms are meaningless.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              That was one of the reasons "certified organic" was created. Then the big companies used that as a selling point keeping to the letter of the law. That is good in that I know I won't get a list of chemicals in my food, but it has a lot of negatives because people think it is more than it is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              "certified Naturaly grown" would have the weasels finding ways around it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The only way around that would be to have some trusted organization trademark and let people use it. Sort of like the Good Housekeeping seal of approval.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Slow Food should take this up. At a minimum I might find that creditble even though I have problems with Slow Food in general. Though they have done some good stuff, this seems very elitist to me and they need to get some real people on there staff so they are not so out of touch with the regular folk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Still, I'd give some credance to a stamp from that group or something similar

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                                                                                                                as what UL (Underwriters Laboratories) did for small electrical appliances

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.naturallygrown.org/
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  here's the link to the CNG website, (which also has the CNG farms listed per state mapped out for you

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you read up, I think that they're doing their best to make sure that the farmers that get the certification are chemical free.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: cgarner

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I see that you can't "judge" all people who make the choice to buy organic for whatever their reasons are, those are good reasons to them. Fine with me. Not trying to judge. I was speaking specifically about one person who "preaches" along with a few others in my group about the superiority of organic foods and basically insinuate that I'm poisoning my kids because I buy regular plain old milk. That's why I laugh. These folks have fallen hook line and sinker for what I see as a marketing ploy. Correct, processed foods organic or not, have few redeeming qualities and little nutritional value. But, these friends of mine, love 'em dearly, don't have the least bit of evidence to back up their claims other than a random "60 Minutes" report or something from Reader's Digest or whatever. Believe me, people at this income level, with little to REALLY worry about (and I'm at this income level) will find something to obsess over while the rest of the middle and lower classes don't have the time to even think about organic foods much less the money to consider them. We in the upper middle class and upper class are absolutely 100% being targeted by marketing that plays into our fears because frankly, we don't have to worry about the McMansion roof over our heads or how we're getting to work if the bus drivers go on strike. I hate being played. I've yet to see real facts- just theories and heresay, that would drive me to any other conclusion other than why the heck does my local market (in an upper class area with many young families) have 4 aisles of organic products, plenty of organic fruits, veggies, meats, etc. when I can drive 30 miles to a working class area and find nothing organic at all? Why? Because we've got the money to buy it, that's why. Oh, and the marketing certainly does have a certain "superiority appeal." The farmer's markets and CSAs in my area, and there are plenty, are very much en vogue, and therefore pricey. I'd sooner plant my own veggie garden and may just do that next summer. The CSA and farmer's market prices are 1/3 to double the cost at the grocery store. Why? So, basically, I'm stubborn. I don't believe in the global warming theory either. To which my friends gasps, "But it's TRUE!!! How can you not BELIEVE?!?!" and got tears in her eyes like I'm pitiful. Are you getting the idea that I enjoy messing with this person's mind a little bit? My answer was "how do you know it's real? Cause Al Gore told you?" She actually didn't even have an answer to justify her conclusion. Scientific method people, a fact is only a fact if you can prove it. A theory is just that. I think organic foods are part marketing and part theory designed to empty my pocketbook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I just got a bunch of moose meat, garden summer squash & zukes given to me by a friend last night. Tomorrow for sup. keep to moose frozen and slice thin, fry w/ zuke, onion & fresh garden oregano. sorry Bullwinkle, but yum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I buy half a steer, whole pigs, and chickens (organic, free range, etc.) directly from the farmer at a GREAT savings. For instance, I have a certified organic, half steer (grass fed except for some supplemental corn the last few weeks) and it cost me just $2 a pound! For that, I get hamburger and rib steaks; both ends of the spectrum, price-wise...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        My pig--also organic--was a bit more expensive, but still cheaper than REGULAR pork in the grocery stores. And the hens run about $8 per but they're big roasters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I haven't bought any commercially raised, feed lot, mass produced beef, chicken, or pork since about 2003, after reading Fast Food Nation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Beckyleach

                                                                                                                                                                                                          You seem to have found great savings by simply paying close attention to your food sourcing. What a great lesson for others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I bet you eat some GREAT quality meat too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'd love to hear how you use the meat. Do you cook the bones down for stock? Do you braise? Sear?
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Congrats on finding a good source for meat and I'd love to get the name of your farmer for my blog!
                                                                                                                                                                                                          JeremyEG
                                                                                                                                                                                                          homecooklocavore.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                                                                                                            we just picked up the hindquarter of a steer from a local meat locker/butcher. it came to about $2/lb or so. granted that runs from steaks to ground burger and they made no claim as to organic or anything, but around here it's small producers and grass is plenty, so no need to use feed, and it wasn't processed god only knows where or how it was handled. will give it a try soon, but temps Tuesday or projected at 100+ so maybe no grillage just yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Beckyleach

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I did the same about 20+ years ago when my mother and stepfather raised two steers. I bought a quarter of the animal(s) each year, and it kept me in beef for quite some time - ground beef to soup bones to steaks and roasts...all for about $1.10 a pound at the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            However....most people cannot do what you do, Becky, from a space perspective.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. Most people buy their meat at the grocery. Listen, I raise chicken (including little cute roasters), but when chick goes on sale for 79 cents, I buy them. Is the meat really so different that I care? No. Surprisingly no. My chickens are free range happy fatties, but they are not cheap (pardon the pun). I would never ever ever and did I say ever? buy an organic free ranger in the store. ever. They are a collosal rip. My local grocery is safeway and their meat is so darn good. I buy 95% of my beef there. Sometimes I trade a lady who buys a half of a cow some beef (namely I want the tongue) for eggs and fruit. There is also a couple who raise lambs (some for eating, but mostly for their wool). She gives me a lamb every year for a party we do. I do go to the butcher for fat for my bird seed cakes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            My local fave farm just bought pigs. I might be tempted to snag one of those. Pork in the store stinks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                              lamb party? never ever ever post your real address as I WILL have to crash.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Free range chicken in your local grocery store may be a rip off according to you, but I feel you're ripping the chicken off if you're buying the chickens raised in abysmal conditions. I'd rather pay the extra. Or go without, as I often do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Unlike you, I don't raise my own and don't have that option, at least for now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Labels are meant to deceive the customer. It is as simple as that. They are a marketing ploy. Unless you see the conditions in which they are raised, you don't know what you're buying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Free range chicken means nothing more than chickens that are allowed access to the outdoors. That means there can be one tiny door on one end of a huge chicken house and that door leads to a tiny patch of grass. Chances are that the majority of chickens never even know what a door is or what is out there. I would call that "abysmal conditions." So, you have to know what labels mean. It is not always a good thing to pay an extra $1 or $2 per pound. It may make you feel better, but that is blindly ignoring the facts and the chicken companies are laughing all the way to the bank.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Shaw Oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks Shaw, I was going to post this as well :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    On this subject, I highly recommend the book "Real Food: What to Eat and Why" by Nina Planck. I'm sure it will convince many people that paying for higher quality food is not a waste of money and is completely justified given how the industrial food system has completely changed our food, often times from a healthy food to an unhealthy one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Nate650

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well said. Not only that, the shortsightedness that one has to have to think that 49 cent a pound chickens carries no future health, labor, or environmental costs is crazy to me. I get the whole Adam Smith thing and I understand that in a perfect economic system, the lowest price captures the entire market but I'd like to think we can be a bit more nuanced in our thinking as well.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the book rec!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I also write on my blog about how to stretch more expensive and humanely raised proteins so that the consumer's final cost comes down to around supermarket prices (or below). It's fun to cook with better ingredients and make them last.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      JeremyEG
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      homecooklocavore.com

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        quoting @JeremyEG
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        " also write on my blog about how to stretch more expensive and humanely raised proteins so that the consumer's final cost comes down to around supermarket prices (or below)."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ding ding ding ding!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Why do we think that we (using the collective "we" as the "new" generation) eat so much meat? My grandparents lived healty lives up to their eighties and they ate very little meat. I can take a smallish whole chicken and feed four adults with it AND have an awesome stock for my freezer to cook with later.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        why? because along with the chicken I'd have quinoa, brown rice or lentils as well as at least one green veggie.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If you want to cut back on your grocery bil, EAT LESS MEAT, and then you can eat better quality of meat
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (I'm getting preachy I know it)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Julia Child said it best
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Moderation. Small helpings. Sample a little bit of everything. These are the secrets of happiness and good health"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Shaw Oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I live in Canada, and we don't typically have "free range" options in a grocery store. Nevertheless, one can contact the supplier farms to determine what is meant by a label and the conditions their animals live in. I only purchase meat from butcher shops that are committed to selling humanely raised animals. Yes, I absolutely agree with you that we should not buy blind, but buying factory farmed meat for 79 cents a pound is scary to me... pretty much a guarantee that the animals don't live anything like the life I would like to think the animals I eat do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I am skeptical of "commercial" free range chickens that are shipped thousands of miles to your store.. Try and find a local "Backyard" farmer or a CSA that raises and slaughters on site, I know there are legal, USDA, state reg. problems with this approach but at least you see your food before it is processed. Same applies for all animals, rabbits, poultry, beef and hogs.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Workimg with a small producer sometimes, paying up front is a good option for a year round supply of fowl.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          All the meat I buy comes from within an hour or two away. The shops I buy from source locally. I do sometimes buy direct from the farm, when freezer space permits, hahaha.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Your meat supply is something I am sure you are happy to have found. In some areas local is a real "hunt" to find.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I buy chicken at my local supermarket, usually Bo Pilgrim's brand. The Tyson cuts seem to be bigger than I want. I am pickier about my beef, though. I do buy it at a local meat market. The family that runs the meat market has been in some kind of beef business for several generations. They're the only place in my small town where I can find Choice beef. When we get to the big city, I'll stock up on some Certified Angus Beef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't think there's any nutritional difference in the hyped brands and what you find in your supermarket. IMO, the health benefits of grass fed beef just aren't there when you consider the price.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.npr.org/2010/04/08/1257220...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: FEF

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't consider the finances when considering the health and environmental benefits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: FEF

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Read the comments at the bottom of the article you posted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. We eat a lot less meat than we used to, but what we eat is almost entirely locally produced, and pasture-raised. Occasionally a supermarket steak, but never pork or chicken. I can't support those factories.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        One effect of this change made in the last few years by a significant number of people locally: it's helping keep some farmers in farming, and in particular their children are staying to keep farming . This is a little county, with still enough ag in place that two or three such decisions can affect a lot of farm acreage. Pastured cattle is the traditional ag base here to begin with. I'm thrilled to have available a wide variety of meats that I feel good about on many levels -- the animals' lives and health, my health, and the strength of the local food economy. I'm willing to pay more for them; considering the returns, it's a bargain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Phew. I was worried that most of you do not buy meat at a supermarket. I have three growing children, all of whom are as healthy as can be. While I can tell the minute difference in taste between supermarket and free-range poultry, they can't. I have five of us to feed. End of story.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I buy supermarket meat because it's cheap and easy. I buy fish from WF's and the local fish market. When I have more money to spend and more storage space in the freezer I will probably join a meat CSA, but until then I buy what I can afford at the supermarket.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Sure why not. At Costco, the prime beef is the best l can find without shipping it in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The problem I have at my local Costco is that the don't seem to employ any real butchers and the meat they put out is always wildly unevenly cut and pretty hacked looking. It's a shame because my alternatives are much, much pricier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sebetti

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My Costco also has a problem with uneveness;however, it is usually in size of cuts, not thickenss. there might be two 10 oz.cuts and two 6 oz. cuts. Hubby and I usually split one steak and I supplement the smaller steak w/ larger sides. I would rather pay 8.99/lb. for prime than 6.99 for choice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. We raise our own chickens so eat those (between 30 and 35 a year, each one lasts 3 meals). They grow to between 6 and 8 pounds and are beyond delicious. I used to buy store bought chickens and never got much broth from them, even though they were injected with some sort of nasty saline broth solution. With ours, I get about 1 1/2 cups per bird of the most golden and rich broth. The gravy is to die for, you could eat it with a spoon (and hubby does, LOL:)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As for beef, we bought 1/4 of a grass fed cow this last year but weren't huge fans of the taste. We might buy another 1/4, but maybe go with grain finished instead of straight grass fed. For me, it is a matter both of better taste and of economics. I can get freezer beef from a local (we're in NE Ohio) farmer for $3 a pound including butcher fees, which is cheaper than the lowliest cut of meat at our local market unless there is a whopper sale on. Our chickens cost about $220 to raise altogether, and yield about 200 pounds of meat at slaughter, so again, much cheaper than store bought. Next year we are toying with raising a pig or two. Depends on how much of a glutton for punishment I want to be, adding one more chore to the already busy summer of chicken rearing and veggie and fruit canning and freezing:)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I do because supermarkets are open on Monday. I work Tues- Sat and observe Sunday as the Sabbath, so all shopping is done on Monday. Also, I make $10/hour no benefits and have a loan to pay off (to my dad, for school) so supermarkets it is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If someone wants to make the change time and money don't becom reasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm trying to wean myself off supermarket chicken and pork ... and it isn't easy. It means no cold cuts, fast foods, or proccessed meats. If commercial chicken raising is horrid, you should see what they do to pigs. A local newscast about pig farms just left me feeling that I no longer want to be a part of that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm still working on this. but I'm upping meals that don't rely on meat and when I buy meat I know how it is raised and eat less of it. I just want to get away from the misery that puts that meat on the plate. I think many of us would not kick the dog or pull the cats tail which is like nothing compared to wha happens to baby pigs, chickens and other meat.. But out of site, out of mind ... so what we don't see doesn't hurt ... us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Still ... isn't easy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't eat meat every day, and I never buy cold cuts or fast food, because I cant afford it. Half my paycheck goes to healthcare, most of the rest to rent, and a little is left for food. I work 7 am or 8am to 6 pm Tues-Sat (usually, today I finished at 5 YAY!) I haven't found a market that sells better meat that's open hours I don't work. If I could afford it, I would, but I can't right now. It's something I'd consider in the future.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hey, it's way cheaper to live without meat. So, if you're worried about your budget, skip the meat altogether. Have you seen how big a bag of lentils you can buy for the same amount of money you pay for a couple of chicken legs?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mostly I do, but I like meat, so sometimes I buy a teeny tiny roast for Sunday dinner, or a bag of Foster Farms chicken, but mostly I do beans and tofu and veg with pasta or rice. I do meat once or twice a week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            just makes the days you get it more special.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            there was a period in my life with crappy roommates and I was working hard to save money to get out, but could not keep food in the house, so ate cheap lunches out (and kept leftovers in the work fridge) and only bought what I could cook/eat that night (unless it was flour, because I knew those slugs wouldn't have a clue) and since it's really hard to avoid meat eating even cheap lunches, the veggies were so vastly cheaper than meat in the supermarket I went mostly veg, esp at home, occasionally I'd bribe the housemates to clean the house in exchange for stir-fry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. There are just the 2 of us here: Mr. Sueatmo and me. We eat less meat than ever before in our lives, and we still eat the bargain cuts. The stuff I get at my market is fine with both of us. I venture to WF's meat display, and move away real fast. I can't afford the stuff frankly. I almost never buy fresh fish. I do buy frozen and canned. I think the thing is, we never thought we could afford fine meat for our family, and so we never think we can now. It is a way of thinking. But as I have posted elsewhere, we shouldn't be eating so much meat anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Wow. Informative thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, and yeah I buy meat from the supermarket I work at. They have good prices on chicken and a lot of variety. Hearts, whole chickens, whole but already cut up, thighs and backbones, gizzards, rotisserie, and livers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Also, your kids are fine. I can get fresh gulf shrimp and river shrimp where I'm at, and I've still bought shrimp from Thailand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. When 3 billion people are struggling to get enough calories every day, it's an amazing luxury that some Americans obsess about free-range/grass-fed vs supermarket meats. Just amazing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: smoledman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Actually by purchasing/raising/consuming local free range, pastured animals will allow more food for the rest of the world. It is all about sustainable protein, (meat) not grain fed animals where the ratio of conversion to meat protein is very inverted. It is truly amazing that more folks do not recognize the unsustainability of factory farming; where animals are kept in batteries stacked several "storie"s high, overfed grains and animal by products, then processed and shipped thousands of miles in freezer compartments to distribution centers, on to supermarket,s and finally to the consumer. This vs. a backyard, (read locally) raised chicken, rabbit, pork or beef. and leave all saved agricultural effort used in growing feeds (corn, soy, oats, wheat, milo, etc). to produce food for people that are struggling to get enough calories everyday. Not to mention the fuels saved for shipping and storage, (freezing)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            While that's all true, it's one thing to know intellectually that factory farming is bad for most everyone in the long term, and quite another to get to the front of the checkout line and not have enough money to buy your groceries for the week. It's quite literally a dream of ours to someday be able to just buy organic, free-range/grass-fed, humanely produced meat, but in the meantime, groceries often end up on the credit card because we don't have the cash this month. Since we switched to organic milk, cage-free eggs, and as many organic vegetables from the farmer's market as we can afford, our grocery budget has tripled. I feel such guilt and disgust with supermarket meats that we probably only eat meat once every 2 weeks, but when we do, it's from the market and it's on a very big sale. It's one thing to know the $4.99/lb chicken is better for all concerned, but when the $.99/lb chicken could make 5 meals for the same price...most people are going to pick cheaper, even those of who try to stay high-minded. It's a vicious cycle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: thursday

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't mean YOU thursday, but most Americans are spending way, way less of their household budget on food than other developed countries out there, and yet continually bitch about how expensive it is. Part of it is lack of knowledge of cooking and what to buy and fix that's cheap - the overfocus on the expensive and tasteless boneless, skinless chicken breast serves as a perfect example and the food snobbery not seen in other countries where we turn our noses up at cheaper cuts like oxtail or chicken livers or trotters, or where they use meat as a flavoring item and not a Fred Flinstone steak as the main part of the plate. I can also tell you, having been in over 100 homes while house shopping over the past 2 years, that the other big, big problem is that people are not putting food and cooking as any sort of priority in the household budget. "JUNK" and unnecessary crap fills the basements and garages of these homes to the rafters. Great big play kitchens, bikes that nobody rides, broken exercise equipment, whole rooms filled with "crafting" supplies, food and eating right are not put on a high priority for the family's budget dollars, and when they are, it's complained that too much of the budget is going towards food when comparatively speaking, we spend very, very little of our monthly budget on food compared to other countries on a per home basis. It's not a high priority. Having 3 cars is. Or an annual vacation or 2 or 3 vacations. Or a small boat. Or an RV or camper. Ski trips. New furniture. Thousands upon thousands of dollars in knicknacks from China to decorate the inside of the house. If something gets a hole, throw out out and buy new instead of fixing it. If something breaks, buy a new one instead of having it fixed. $300 a month on cell phone plans. $120 a month on cable and internet. Of course there's nothing much left for food, and especially when you're trying to buy chicken breasts at $2.98 a pound instead of the whole chicken at .49 cents a pound and then eating it for 3 or 4 meals including using the bones for broth to make soup. Our grandparents in the depression made do with a LOT less money than we had and usually many more mouths to feed but all you hear is "we don't have enough." "Stuff" and keeping up with the Joneses needs to go lower down on the family priority list and proper shopping, cooking and eating needs to be raised up higher.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                While I don't disagree with any of that, and as much as I'd like to see a change in farming practices, eating practices, and everything else, what you point out is of course a much more vast, most likely insurmountable problem that only affects food as it affects any other industry. Charging more for food will just make said joneses complain more and find new justification for wanting cheaper food - it's how factory farms began and how they'll continue to flourish. Attitudes will have to change before prices and habits really can, and I don't know how to make that happen as quickly as I'd like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: thursday

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As Mother Theresa once said, "Don't wait for leaders, do it alone, person to person

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    +1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      +2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Feed your family - put clothes on their backs and a roof over their heads - save a little for your retirement - and make wise choices about consumer purchases when you can.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          However, by thinking about you purchases more carefully I bet you can shop smarter and eat better with a little thoughtfulness and creativity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. 100% of the meat I eat is factory-farmed supermarket product. The entire history of agriculture has been a constant drive toward cheaper, more productive, more efficient processes, and to deliberately abandon this direction in favor of less efficient farming methods in the face of a disastrously swelling world population is rank madness. Factory farms maximize meat production for least cost, period.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The responsible thing for first-worlders is to eat vastly less meat of all kinds, but when you do indulge, go for the most efficiently produced option.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Regardless of the way it was raised, taste, and potential harm it could cause to the consumer. If efficency is a driving principle. the Oatmeal and Bean diet should be right in line with this premise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Absolutely. Because the optimum of vastly less is none at all, which is what our family has been doing for over a year now. Weight loss, lower cholesterol, and other indicators of increased health is what we've seen. And it's less costly. I highly recommend it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah, then we could all be diabetic, instead of just half of us. Just sayin'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Actually, in cultures that eat very little meat, there is virtually no diabetes. There seems to be this misapprehension that whole grains are responsible for diabetes. Yes, carbohydrates (especially refined carbohydrates, which one can easily avoid) elevate your blood sugar in the short term, but studies show that it's eating fat over the long term that starts diabetes. Of course, it's also not as simple as that, too, but you can certainly find out more, if you wish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You may be interested to read Dr. Neal Bernard's work on reversing diabetes through a low-fat, plant-based diet. Which is to say, no meat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.amazon.ca/Neal-Barnards-Pr...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That is so seriously wrong to be dangerous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i spent a year in a country that eats very little meat relying on beans and rice and there wasn't one family that didn't have some member with diabetes. it was plant-based with fresh corn, tomatoes, squash etc supplementing the diet. Lots of fresh fruit too. Processed food was almost non existant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think I've read most of the above comments and surprisingly I don't think anyone mentioned the type of feed given to factory farm chickens. Animal by-products make up the majority of the feed of these chickens along with the antibiotics but as most have clarified, no hormones (not legal in US, Canada or Europe). IMO this practice should be outlawed. Let's put an end to this factory farming run by the big boys. If I'm not mistaken growth hormones are allowed on cattle, correct?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We're working from very different information. Neal B spews ideology, no support in the available science. Diabetes is created by carbs, and fats and protein are protective against it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sorry but food doesn't "create" diabetes - an imbalance in how the body produces insulin does. If this imbalance occurs, then foods you eat will affect glucose levels in the body. If it doesn't, then it won't. Healthy people can eat carbs, fats and proteins without fear if this insulin imbalance is not present in their bodies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JoanieBalonie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Food choices are what drive the imbalance. In fact, you pretty much cannot produce or induce type 2 DM without dietary carbohydrate, unless, you have an extreme condition, like a minority of cases. High carbs = hyperinsulinemia, which cannot be sustained, thus leading to type 2 diabetes due to pancreatic stress and beta cell loss.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. The question is now will you buy supermarket cicken or chicken meat made from stem cells in a laboratory.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Green meat - sausage and burgers and nuggets, oh my!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/834807

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Green as in ecologically friendly because the need for land to pasture animals is no longer needed because one ckicken could provide the same meat as a million.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The first meal will probably be used for sausages, burgers and chicken nuggets until the color, texture, size, and, I guess, taste improves. The first burger may be produced by the end of 2012. More info in the above link.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Since price was the only consideration for some maybe look at that thread and decide if you would buy in-vitro meat if the price was less than a regular chicken and it tasted the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    " Maybe the meat blob's not taking in enough nutrients. I guess I could try and give it a mouth"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Better of Ted, such a great tv show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'd give it a go.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Odd, but true, Winston Churchill in an article about the future puplished in "Popular Mechanics wrote in 1932
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://rolandanderson.se/Winston_Chur...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium. Synthetic food will, of course, also be used in the future. Nor need the pleasures of the table be banished. That gloomy Utopia of tabloid meals need never be invaded. The new foods will be practically indistinguishable from the natural products from the outset"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      He was only off by a few decades.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: rworange

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "O brave new world,that has such people in't!?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ever since my decanting I expected this day would once arrive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        and PS to RW, I like the (assumed) typo of 'cicken'

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. I was just in the Cayman Islands on holiday and bought some supermarket chicken breasts imported from the US. They were the biggest (chicken) breasts I have ever seen - Jayne Mansfields, in the immortal words of a poster here - and utterly tasteless compared to the free range chicken I buy in the UK. They were pefectly moist and tender but lacking in flavour. I managed to eat maybe a quarter of mine before giving up in disgust.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Can anyone confirm my question about growth hormones in cattle (see post from Jan 12, 2012) in both the US and Canada.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ios94

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Factsheets/B...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ios94

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            For Canada
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/vet/fa...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. 75% of the beef and chicken produced in the world contain growth hormones & antibiotics. We don't even want to get into the animal bi-products that they are fed. The sad thing is that so many producers who claim their products do not contain these items are committing FRAUD because they do contain them. Those that really don't contain them are few and far between and often cost prohibitive for a large family. Pick your poison. I love steak and I am not giving it up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What I try to avoid are cold cuts that are loaded with nitrates (A known Carcinogen) and farm raised seafood, especially from Asian countries who care so little they use lead paint on children's toys. (Think about it) Read up on SWAI fish and the river most of it comes from. Read up on the Tilapia's main source of food, " Shrimp" Sh*t " . Nasty Nasty Nasty!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tom, are you referring to baby chicks having traces of antibiotics but are then raised without them? I agree with you but at least some farmers are making the effort to raise them to slaughter without antibiotics. I posted about this last year, see thread...http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/765471

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I agree with you about the farmed fish, shrimp swimming in lice infested waters in Asia and nasty Tilapia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ios94

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I know you can get clean chicken, beef & other food products from individual farmers & special suppliers (Big $$$$$) but most of the claims made by products at the big supermarket chains are misleading to say the least.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Mekong river Swai comes from is a toxic cesspool. Tilapia are used to clean the shrimp farms. The bacteria count in the seafood farms requires tons of antibiotics and then they soak shell fish in additional chemicals to preserve it and retain water.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. both our farmers market is seasonal so as soon as they open I will be buying local beef pork and buffalo along with produce - have to buy grocery store meat in the winter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: winepoet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If you have a consistently great source for you meat, you could stock up in the fall, vacuum seal and freeze it for 6 months or more to get you through the winter. One of the secretes is no big clumps when freezing, scatter through out the freezer, this makes it freeze faster. Then slow thaw in the frig.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. There is another option. Look for an Ag Sciences school in your state and call them about purchasing meat and poultry from them Most Ag schools have a beef and poultry program coupled with a food processing program and will sell the meat and poultry to the public. You will have to buy a quarter or half steer, but one that I have used will cut it and grind it, wrap it as you wish--don't want 15#'s of round?--they will grind it into hamburger for you. You will have to go pick it up and transport it yourself. Ditto poultry. You get good meat, they get $'s from you--everybody wins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Your concern for your family is admirable, but I think worrying will kill you faster than supermarket meat and farm raised fish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We'd all like to buy the best of everything, but even farm-raised, frozen shrimp from Belize beats the hell out of a Hungry Man dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Breathe..no foodie hell for you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Christina D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My point is if thats all thats out there you kind of have to go for it........but in most cases with a little homework and a few extra dollars you can get much higher quality products that both taste better and have fewer additives.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    EX: The Asian IQF farm raised shrimp have little flavor and are saturated with water. If you figure in the cost p/lb your paying for the added water, your at about the same price p/lb as Ocean Garden Farm Raised Mexican shrimp ( which have real shrimp flavor & texture without the added water and Ocean Garden has one of the longest / best track records in the industry which is why so many Chefs use them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As for Hungry Man dinners, I have never eaten one. The closest thing to it for me would have been a Swanson TV dinner in the 70's before microwaves. Nasty! Talk about mystery meat!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Lastly, Nitrates have been proven to be a carcinogen. Unfortunately it appears there is no substitute at the moment so their use is continues. (Kind of like the prolonged use of asbestos). I know you can't avoid them, all I am saying is read package ingredients and limit your intake of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Chowpatty,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I certainly sympathize with your sentiments. I am a student on a fixed income and thus I cannot afford the luxury of organic poultry/meat. As a whole, the price organic food is prohibitive. Those who vehemently condemn those of us who do not purchase organic produce do not seem to take income into account. Individuals whose wages are hovering or below the poverty line spend 40% of their income on food. Due to the increased cost of organic produce/meats, individuals could be spending 50-60% of their income on food. Is this not unethical to humans? We are constantly barraged with admonitions to eat health and condemnation for those who do not, yet we do not provide a means for the have-nots to purchase better quality foods. Even conventional supermarket food has increased in price. I have noticed that in the last year the amount of food I can purchase for the same amount of money has declined slowly but surely. My only compromise is that I will purchase organic condiments and bread. My nutrition rule is simplicity. I try to purchase foods (although not 'organic) that are close to their natural state. When I cannot, I purchase the organic equivalent because the ingredient list is simple and does not contain crazy chemicals that I do not want to have in my body.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MelanieV

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think your talking about compromise & moderation. One secrete is to be a smart shopper & learn the sale/coupon cycle. Also THOROUGHLY wash all produce and use your nose at the supermarket to avoid old products. Read Labels and limit nitrates and processed foods like chicken nuggets and be careful of Asian farm raised seafood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have some good sources for clean high quality food & some stuff comes from the supermarket. Local Farm markets are also very competitive and usually very fresh. Like is a compromise.