COLUMNIST: Slow transition from 'Megaglow Mart' to Local Food Zealot
New York Mills HeraldPublished Wednesday, April 08, 2009
By Heather Cassidy
When I first moved here with my husband and two kids three years ago, I drove every week to a gloriously big grocery store 30 minutes away to buy my groceries. It was the type of store I was accustomed to - huge, with an entire aisle of organic foods, and at least 18 different varieties of pasta. It was so well lit that my spirits lifted out of the winter doldrums while I strode through the aisles filling my cart. They always had avocados that would be perfect for guacamole tomorrow. I could always find a bottle of tahini for my homemade humus, cold leafy lettuce with fine droplets of water, and fresh slabs of Atlantic Salmon any time I wanted it. But the nagging guilt of wasting all of that gas to get to this oasis of food wouldn't go away.
Soon, a Wal-Mart popped up only 15 minutes away, and I took my grocery dollars to the “Evil Empire” as some would call it. For 120 bucks I left that store with a cart overflowing with everything I could possibly need to feed my family for the next week. Feeling like a hypocrite, I would pull into the local organic food store across from Wal-Mart to buy all of the stuff that nobody else sells, like Kava tea and fresh local eggs with firm orange yolks. This went on for several months, but the high gas prices and constant din of “support our local economy” wouldn't quit buzzing in my ear.
I started thinking about why our meat didn’t taste very good, and learned about Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. Knowing how venison tastes after a deer has had a stressful and agonizing last few minutes of life, I drew unscientific conclusions that I was eating miserable animals. Flashbacks of chicken scalding and plucking from my childhood (spent at grandma and grandpas farm) no longer were a deterrent to raising my own meat after learning about the stacks of confined chickens that become Chicken Dinosaur Shapes in the grocery store freezer. I started buying my meat from local pork and beef farmers, filling my freezer with meat raised less than 30 miles away and processed locally. Read More
It’s funny how people talk themselves into things. The author believed that the locally grown meat tasted better than what she bought at the grocery store because of how they were less stressed and scared before they were harvested. Whether or not the taste was different is beside the point. The point is her reasoning for why is what is off base. There are many things that can impact the taste of the meat, but how the animal is harvested is a pretty uniform procedure. The stress level at the end would most likely be tied to how well the facility is designed, not the size of the plant.