That said, living completely off the corporate food grid is more challenging than it seems, but there are smart ways to reduce processed and manufactured stuff from your diet simply by paying attention to where your food comes from. The closer to home it is produced, the less impact that ingredients have on the environment and the fresher it is likely to be. Even though they are factory produced, we buy pretzels that are made right here in Pennsylvania because they don't have to be trucked in from several states away. In the summer, we grow our own vegetables and purchase from farmers markets. Most of the bread I buy comes from local bakeries and I try to buy locally grown and produced items as much as possible. Also, read the labels on your grocery items and look for the least amount of weird chemicals, additives and unnecessary ingredients. If you don't know what something is, how do you know what its going to do to your body?
I used to rely on McGinnis Sisters for all my local meat, eggs, produce and baked goods, but since they closed a few months ago I've felt a little lost. We inherited a big chest freezer last month when Jason's grandmother passed away and it was sitting mostly empty in the laundry room, so I'd been thinking about finding a good source for locally raised beef, pork and chicken and stocking up. And then an e-mail showed up in my inbox from Pittsburgher Highland Farm, purveyors of local, grass fed organic Scottish highland beef. I'd met these folks at a farmers market a few years back and signed up for their e-newsletter. Once again, inspiration arrived at the right moment.
|Scottish highland cow at Miles Smith Farm|
I started poking around on Pittsburgher Highland Farm's website and reading about their operation. They are raising a small but growing herd on a pasture in Laurel Highlands, just east of Pittsburgh, adhering to the very highest USDA standards for naturally raised, organic, grass-fed beef. Their cattle are given no hormones, fed no by-products or grains and spend their days grazing in the mountain pasture. In addition to beef and lamb, they have recently added bone broth, tallow balm and dog treats. Looking at the order form, I found a number of economy packs that would allow me to sample a variety of cuts at an affordable price. The next day, a co-worker of mine mentioned that he was also looking to try some locally raised beef and we decided to split a large order. I called that afternoon and spoke to Dana, one of the partners in the business, who told me all about the company, the herd and their products. I ordered an assortment of sirloin roasts, strip steaks, skirt steaks, stew meet and ground beef and it all came out to be about $7 a pound, which is a bargain when you consider what goes into its production . A week later, I went to Dana's house and picked up a swinging load of beautiful meat, half of which I delivered to my co-worker the next day.