Small Farms, Magic Food
I had pre-ordered a grassfed Porterhouse steak for a special occasion. My butcher had dry aged the meat for several weeks. I waited with anticipation as he finished trimming off the dark, dry exterior, while leaving a healthy fat cap on the steak. When he presented me with the finished steak, I was stunned. I had expected it to look good, but not like this.
You can see the steak in the accompanying photo, with a deep, beautiful color, well marbled with fine flecks of life-giving grassfed fat. It was one of the most beautiful steaks I had ever seen. I could only imagine how good it would taste. It looked even better in person than in the photo.
I have had plenty of great meat from this particular rancher, but nothing that looked like this. I asked the butcher why this meat looked so outstanding. He told me that they had been getting some beautiful meat from this rancher recently, even better than his usual excellent grassfed meat. And he told me the secret. The rancher said that there was a special pasture that he could use only part of the year. There was something about that particular pasture that his cattle thrived on. Every year when they grazed that pasture, they produced outstanding meat even better than usual. And meat that had a great deal of beautiful grassfed marbling. And the taste was also much better. The rancher just knew that this particular parcel of pasture produced magnificent meat. He finished as many of his cattle as he could on that pasture.
We had that steak for a special occasion, and I can tell you that it tasted even better than it looked. The tenderness was outstanding, and the flavor—that flavor would have won a prize anywhere. If that steak was a wine, it would have been a prize vintage. It was like magic. The magic of a special pasture, used wisely by a skilled rancher, enhanced by the art of two master butchers.
No factory meat, fattened on industrial feed, could come close to tasting like this.
Real food raised by artisan farmers is good beyond belief, Industrial food has no magic.
One of the worst things about industrial food is that we lose the joy, the magic of food. Once, in America, farmers just did not use an industrial mix to grow food or feed animals. They used the unique magic of the land itself. The local people knew what farmer had particularly good cherries, or corn, or beef, and these farmers used their knowledge of the unique aspects of their land to produce food that was so good it was magical. Fruits and vegetables were eaten in season, at the peak of their perfection. Cattle were finished on special pastures chosen for their richness and wonderful effect on the cattle. Cattle and sheep might graze in a particular meadow, whose plants would give a nice flavor to the meat. Every farmer and rancher had their own special knowledge, often passed down from father to son, mother to daughter. And they would use this special knowledge to create food that was so much tastier and nutritious than the industrial food of today that there is no comparison. Eating this artisan food will renew your body and energy, enabling all the natural functions of your body to perform perfectly.
Industrial agriculture produces food that has no soul. This food, raised with chemicals from a lab, has a mediocre taste that is the same no matter where it grown, and no art, no magic. Just fodder that people eat because they have gotten used to the mediocre taste, and know no better. Food that is inferior in taste, in appearance, in texture, and in nutrition. Food with no magic.
My father, who grew up in rural Canada many years ago, constantly told me how much better the food was, and how modern fruits, vegetables, and meat had hardly any flavor, and never made you feel good. I thought he was old, and lost his sense of taste. I realize now he was right all along.
Magic food only comes from small farms and ranches.
I have been blessed in being able to eat some unbelievably wonderful food on many occasions. Grassfed beef, grassfed bison, grassfed lamb, and heritage pork that have the magic that only a master rancher, with great pasture, can produce. Vegetables with so much flavor that they make even organic supermarket vegetables taste like cardboard. And I have experienced the wonderful nutrition you get from food like this. Not only do you have the great pleasure of eating magical food, your body feels wonderful and renewed. You never feel stuffed or bloated on food of this quality.
But you can only get food of this quality from one kind of place. A small farm or ranch, where the farmer knows the magic of producing superior, real food. Every farm and ranch like this is a treasure, one well worth preserving. The quality of food from such a place ranges from excellent to even better. And sometimes, if you buy just the right food at just the right time, you will experience the food magic that most modern people have lost.
Let us do all we can to support our great small farmers, so the magic will not die.
Do you have a favorite small and ‘magical’ farm that you buy from?
This article originally appeared on tendergrassfedmeat.com. It is re-posted here with permission from the author.
Photo Credit: Stanley Fishman (steak image)
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