Where We Live: Where IS The Beef?

We look at beef from a health, economic and environmental perspective.

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Where We Live: Where IS The Beef?
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Where We Live: Where IS The Beef?

In this country, omnivores ate over 26 billion pounds of beef in 2010.

All that meat sold for roughly $74 billion. Of course, some of that was the local, grass-fed stuff that food author Michael Pollan would approve of. A lot of it was the “other” stuff that goes into Big Macs and Whoppers.

But even with all those “Billions Served” - times are tough for the beef industry.

Overall, sales are down...then there was this year’s Texas drought, which dropped that state’s cattle population by 600,000. And salmonella in ground beef sickened some New England residents last month.

Today, we’ll talk with a livestock economist from Texas A&M and we’ll hear from a beef farmer from Connecticut who jumped on the grass-fed train before it ever left the station.

We’ll also talk to a reporter who caught an announcement from the FDA right before Christmas. 

This episode originally aired on January 4, 2012.

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Audubon Greenwich Film Screening Event:

“American Meat” - A film screening & panel discussion

Saturday, January 28 - 4:00-7:00pm in Greenwich, CT

American Meat is a solutions-oriented macroscopic documentary surveying the current state of the U.S. meat industry. Featuring dozens of farmers across America, the film aims to be an even-handed look at animal husbandry. The screening of American Meat will be followed by a short discussion about locally available meat and foods, and then Slow Food Metro North and Audubon’s partners on this event will host a reception.

The film explains how America arrived at our current industrial system, and shows you the feedlots and confinement houses, not through hidden cameras but through the eyes of the farmers who live and work there. Meet tens of farmers across the country that have changed their life to start grass-based farms, and we highlight every day tangible solutions that people can take, to change agriculture in America. From there, the film introduces the current revolution developing in animal husbandry, led by the charismatic and passionate Joel Salatin from the eco-friendly Polyface Farm in Swoope, VA. More information at: www.americanmeatfilm.com. 

$15/person. Space is limited. RSVP required to Jeff Cordulack at 203-869-5272 x239. Film will begin shortly after 4:00 pm and will be followed by discussion & reception. (Snow Date: Jan. 29). At Audubon Greenwich, 613 Riversville Road, Greenwich, CT 06831 http://greenwich.audubon.org 


  

Comments

Email from Gus

Grass fed beef is a far superior product in every way. Grass fed beef has more minerals from the earth and the perfect balance of omega fatty acids that feed your muscles and promote positive mood where grain fed beef has an imbalance which actually promotes lethargy and depression. I pay more for grass fed and eat less of it. And I ONLY buy meat of any kind without antibiotics.

Check out conciergefoods.com

Check out conciergefoods.com They work with all the area local farms and supply, produce, sustainable fish and locally raised meats. They deliver 5 days a week

Grass fed beef

vicki. many times the gress fed beef farmers will come to you. And you can go to your local farmers market in you area. To get that meat for you and your family.

Where to source grass-fed beef locally

Further to David's email about CT Farm Fresh Express, CT has many winter farmers' markets with pastured meat, poultry, lamb and pork vendors (all three in Fairfield County have at least one). In Westport, whole animal butcher Saugatuck Craft Butchery sources exclusively from small, sustainably run family farms in NY and CT and uses the whole animal. Mike's Organic Delivery and Concierge Foods deliver farm fresh food to Greenwich and Stamford residents and Graze (Vermont only foods) delivers to all of Fairfield County. Sourcing local and sustainably grown and raised foods is such an important issue that I have been running a blog dedicated to it for three years. See you at the American Meat screening at Greenwich Audubon!

Email from David

An interesting piece to add to the program:

Connecticut farm fresh express is a fabulous and amazing way for residents to eat local products, and is equally fabulous for the farmers to find an outlet with interested clients.

Email from Nancy

There are brands of beef in grocery stores that say they are antibiotic and hormone free. But they do not say they are grass fed. Can we believe the claims that they are truly antibiotic and hormone free?

Thanks for your show.

Email from Jamie

I'm from Cornwall CT but have lived in Ireland for 11 years. I can tell you that it's absolutely possible to adapt one's palate from corn fed to grass fed beef. There's no doubt that the taste is different, but it's reassuring to know that the cows I see grazing all around me our fed on Ireland's 'forty shades of green' rather than being locked into corn industry inspired feed lots.

Email from Eleanor

I'm a 68 year old CT native who stopped eating meat at age five. Since my very orderly middle class parents seemed to equate eating meat with good health, patriotism, and upstanding American values, they continued to put meat on my plate. I developed a quick and easy work-around: that is, get them engaged in conversation with each other and then slip the meat off the plate into my napkin. Cause and effect is not very clear to a five year old so when I deposited the napkin's contents into a giant vase in the living room, it did not occur to me that a disquieting oder would soon permeate our house. About 6 week later, while engrossed in playroom activities, a scream came from the living room. Instantly, I knew that my mother was standing over the meat-filled vase; I also knew I would never be required to eat animals again.
Last June, after a medical exam, I received a call from my new internist. The doctor thought I should have my cholesterol test re-done as my scores seemed extremely low. I explained that my diet was meat-free. That was that.
By the way, my husband of 38 years is a devoted carnivore who was air lifted to MassGeneral with a heart attack and has had three subsequent angioplasties. His doctors have not suggested dietary changes.

Apart from warning a host or hostess before a dinner party, I never talk about not eating meat as it seems to really unnerve people. i just say that I am a chocolatarian.

Thanks for this program.

Email from Paul

It is a shame to think that the same kind of special interest exploitation that gave us a bogus mortgage market and national financial crisis is responsible for corrupting our food supply and long-term health as a society. Is it likely that the nation's warped perception of these can be reversed and a more healthful and consumer-oriented approach be made part of public policy?

Email from Julie

Very passionate subject for me. I quit eating meat about four years ago after reading John Robbins' Diet for a New America. I even had trouble with dairy for about a year but my meat-eating boyfriend cajoled me back into cheese. I still stay away from milk, sticking to soy or rice drinks. Since my switch, I've made myself more educated about where the foods I eat come from. I thank Food, Inc. for exposing unhealthy food production practices. I thank Michael Pollan for getting his message out to the media.
I'm also thankful that my boyfriend now works at Firebox restaurant and is able to work with high quality meats. I have, in recent months, moved back to certain meats, when I can be sure where they came from and how animals have been treated. Because he has become more educated in his cooking practices, I am able to enjoy meats every so often and feel okay about the choices I've made.
People always ask me why I don't eat meat. Its very frustrating to me that of all the choices we make in our lives, people are simply uneducated and dont take an interest in where their food comes from. Its no wonder to me that we have become such a chronically ill population.
I am still a sucker for sour cream, I must admit. How much do I need to worry about antibiotics used in the production of the dairy cows who produce products such as Hood and Breakstone's?
FYI, when it comes to food, cost is not usually an issue. I consider it an investment in my health and I wish others would feel the same way. Lets stop eating fast food!!!!!

Email from Vicki

I would very much like to switch my family away from COFO beef to locally raised grass-fed beef, and I'm willing to pay more, but for me it is an issue of convenience. I do most of my shopping at grocery chains such as Stop and Shop or Big Y, and I don't have time to drive out to a farm just for beef.. Is there a way for a local producer to get their products into a big store?

Email from Monica

Your program began while I was driving home from a farm in Hebron, where I just picked up 167 pounds of beef. We decided to buy beef from a local farmer for a few reasons...the conditions of CAFOs and the drugs as mentioned on the show and to support local farms. I read Animal Factory by David Kirby. Every American should read that, then maybe the FDA would not have to make announcements right before Christmas, when most people are not paying attention.

Facebook comment from Tracy

Very excited about your show today! My husband and I eat beef, but we pay a lot more for grass fed. Whole Foods has a rating system and I buy #4 almost exclusively."