In a world where value is only calculated in dollars, let’s do some calculating. I purchased a hog grown locally, by a farmer that I know and trust. I paid the farmer five dollars per pound for one hundred forty pounds of pork. I paid the processor one dollar per pound to cut the meat up just the way that I wanted it. I wanted ground pork for home made sausage and wursts. I wanted a slab of belly meat to cure and make my own bacon. I wanted roasts instead of pork steaks, because we like pulled pork and carnitas. I wanted the rest in chops, and I wanted my fat for lard. I got all of these things in abundance. I have spent 840 dollars on pork, my freezer is happy. I have many dozens of pork chops.
It has been a while since I bought a head of beef for my freezer, and until I put the pork in it I could once again see the bottom of it. When I get another head this spring I expect to pay around the same amount per pound as I did for the pork. I will be getting meats that are cut to my exact orders. My beef will be free of antibiotics and will be grass fed right up to the moment it gets on the truck to go to the locker. Processing meats this way takes a little bit of planning and patience. If I want it I have to plan ahead a couple of months, get in the processing line at the locker. After the beef is delivered it has to hang for ten days. The pork processing waits on the ten days that it takes to cure hams. An uncured ham is just a pork roast, the curing and smoking are what make that cut so good. Good takes time and good costs dollars. You also have to have a freezer, and mine is a big old chest freezer from Montgomery Wards. Just that name should tell you how many years it has been in service. They don’t make ’em like they used to.
I got chickens yesterday, five frozen birds, fresh from the farm. I pay ten dollars per chicken. Mine are not the bionic birds you find in the grocery with the gigantic Dolly Parton breasts. Mine never have broken leg or wing bones. Have you noticed how many of your chickens get to you and have compound fractures of the leg or wing? That is not normal, folks, I don’t remember ever finding that in my younger days. Broken bones in your meat show at the very least rough handling and probably are an indication of unhealthiness in your poor food animal in other, harder to spot ways.
I got three dozen eggs that are from happy, healthy, actual pastured hens. I am not certain what they are fed every day, but they are free to eat things that they find in the yard, too. When I eat the eggs from these birds the shells are stout, the yolks stand up tall and are a brilliant orange yellow. I know that what I pay for a dozen, three dollars, is an absolute steal. I am getting a full dose of natural cholesterol, omega 3 essential oils, and whatever else nature has in mind for natural consumers of chicken eggs. I feel good that I am contributing my small share to encourage a world where we don’t have to buy foods from he soulless machine of modern industry. These animals are no more cogs for a machine than we are, and to encourage them to be treated as such is something that I consciously choose not to do.
I paid 56 dollars for five chickens and my eggs. I paid way less than the total cost to the universe that the same quantity of factory meats and eggs would cost me. I know that me doing this is not going to make any difference to Tyson or Perdue. IBP will continue to make money hand over fist off of doing things the way they do it, treating their workers the same way they treat their raw materials. Let them profit, but I am out of that system for good.