by Don Turner, Mid-Michigan Meats
Today we have more access to information, goods and services than ever before. This is a wonderful thing. Yet, we do run the risk of being overwhelmed and confused by all the access we have. Buying local meats is one of those things that is becoming easier. There is more to it than hauling the kids to the local farmer’s market.
Buying local sounds better to most consumers. Is local better for most of the things we buy? Most of us would say yes! These days, it seems like everyone is getting in on selling “local”. Don’t be misled by signs on the front of the grocery store that suddenly boast local products. Local in this context can, and usually does, still mean high volume corporate farms. These may just happen to be in your state. This is a function of supply chain efficiency. It is not about sustainability or your health.
Buying local meats means buying different.
The different appearance and the flavor of the meats that come from small family farms is obvious. Our new customers comment about the differences they immediately notice. Our repeat customers tell us that they would never buy anything but local meats from now on. It is no wonder why this is the case. Buying from small local farms means the animals were raised the way it has been done for generations. Family farmers know exactly what is going on with their animals at all times. They have a handle on every aspect of life on the farm. Family farms are typically multi-generational. The people that live and work on them are passionate and have a deep respect for the life work they have chosen. Family farming is not a job. It is a way of life.
Know the story
When you buy local, you are able to understand the full story of the meat you are buying. You should ask about the size of the farm the meat came from. You should also know what the animals are fed. You will also want to know how the animals are processed and butchered. The processing has a significant impact on the quality of the meat you and your family are eating. We always get asked about the farms, but we rarely get asked about the processor. One other area for you to think about is packaging. How your meat is packaged is important because it has a direct impact on the quality and shelf life of your meat.
Keep it simple
When you are talking to the person selling you meat, you are in control of the conversation. Make them slow down and allow you to understand what they are saying. You are the one who needs to be sure you are making the right meat purchasing decision. Don’t let a bunch of jargon get thrown at you. If the person you are talking with hesitates to answer any of your questions, move on. That is a red flag you should not ignore.
You don’t have to have a huge freezer
Years ago, buying local meant you had to store a side of beef in your basement or garage freezer. While a big freezer is still a pretty handy thing to have, it isn’t required for you to enjoy amazing local meats. Awareness of the benefits of local meats is creating a marketplace of new options for you. Asking friends and family can be a great way to get recommendations from others. Social media can also come in handy to gather options.
- Always know the source of the meat you are buying. The person supplying your meats should be able to tell you the complete story for the meat they are providing. If they can’t, it is unlikely that you are eating local.
- Local is not just about geography. Local is about size, methods and direct access to information about your food.
- With a little patience and a little investigation, you are able to find great, healthy meats for your family.
- Don’t buy meats that have to be shipped to you. These are not local and you have no way of knowing the story of these products.
Buying local meats is getting easier and more convenient. You will feel great about serving local meats to your friends and family and the peace of mind it gives you. You will love the feeling when they notice the difference and ask, “where did you get this meat from?”
Have a great day,
About Don Turner
About Mid-Michigan Meats
Mid-Michigan Meats provides beef, pork, chicken and many other meats direct to consumers in southeast Michigan. Everything comes from small family farms and is raised locally, the right way. Our wide product selection includes antibiotic and hormone free, non-GMO and organic options. All orders are delivered to customers homes at a date and time that is convenient for them. Customer service and delicious meats are what we do. Peace of mind in feeding your family is the value we provide. Learn more at www.midmichiganmeats.com