Thursday, April 26, 2007

Organic beef in Central NJ

A couple of years back I read Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. I was already shunning McDonald's and trying to avoid fast food, but this- for me and for so many others- was the last straw. The descriptions of the factory farming system was horrifying. As a family now, we try not to eat too much meat, and avoid mass-market beef when cooking at home.

Luckily, in Central Jersey, there's a local organic farm to the rescue.

Simply Grazin' Organic Farm in Skillman offers certified (through Global Organic Alliance) organic beef and chicken. They also raise pork which is on the way to being organic.

Remember those factory farms from the book? How does this compare:

Pastured organic beef and poultry are treated with the utmost respect in a stress-free environment, with absolutely no antibiotics, growth hormones or steroids.
Cattle feed on organically managed fields without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers. They receive absolutely no grain at all. The growth rate is much slower, but well worth the wait. Rotational grazing ensures they have enough pasture throughout the spring, summer and fall. Organic hay is harvested all summer long and stored for their consumption throughout the long winter months.

You can taste the difference. Also, be prepared to pay for the difference; it ain't cheap, but it reflects the true costs of raising a healthy animal and eating quality food. Anyway, since we eat less meat, we can afford better meat.

They have a store at the farm, but I get my beef from Whole Earth Center at 360 Nassau Street in Princeton, where it is sold frozen. It's also sold at great area restaurants, such as Mediterra, Nova Terra, and Rat's.

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