This past weekend we decided to make a quick little trip out to Candian Rocky Mountain Ranch (CRMR) to pick up some naturally grass raised bison, and take a walk through the buffalo and elk yards. While we really don’t eat much meat at all, the meat we do eat MUST meet very specific criteria before I consider exercising my vote as a consumer and make a purchase… It must be naturally + humanely raised, free of hormones and antibiotics, it must be local, and most importantly I really like to meet the farmers and just talk with them about their farming practice, and when possible I like to go and see their operation for myself, And that is exactly what we did on Saturday. I have purchased from CRMR before through the Millarville Market, after playing 101 questions with the super knowledgeable and very helpful team, and enjoying some tempting tastes! We went direct to the Ranch, and found the prices were a little better (as your not paying for the premium 17th ave overhead like at their retail store) Seeing the animals was really great for all of us. This is the part of the cycle of food we most often overlook, or aren’t allowed to look into. After reading only a zillion books on the subject of CAFO’s (confined animal feed operations) It was a really refreshing visit, and a reminder to me (ever the pessimist) that some people are really raising animals in environments which are contusive to healthy living, for both the end consumer and the creature who is turning solar energy into food energy for us to enjoy + be nourished by.
I think that meat is over-consumed more than just about anything in our western world, right up there next to water and petroleum, and I don’t believe it is sustainable to eat at the pace we are eating today (we being the majority of fat Westerners). So it only makes sense to ensure that when you are purchasing this product that you are mindful of the impact your purchase makes, choosing local and naturally raised animals make a HUGE and positive impact on the environment, animal welfare, the local economy, water, chemical and petroleum use. I think there are many misconceptions out there, that organic and naturally raised meats are just too hard to come by and too expensive, or that we live in Alberta and we have the best meat in the world! I challenge you to seek out some of these great businesses and see for yourself just how much better these meats taste, and consider the impact your dollars spent have made towards a brighter future.
To make this easier I have put together a list of my favorite local meat producers and lots of them have great direct pricing and bulk packages, as well most of these are easily found at local natural foods stores or at Farmers Markets: