The CHERISHED Life of Heather Leigh

Friday, August 5, 2011

Food, Inc. Friday - The lesser of evils

As I've continued my Food, Inc. journey this past week, I've discovered that choosing the lesser of evils, in most cases, is really what this journey is all about for me.

For example, I want to eat meat that is hormone free, free range/pastured, grass fed (beef), and treated as respectfully as one would treat something that is about to become dinner. I also want to eat locally grown, organic fruits and vegetables with out the use of GMOs.

This, of course, only occurs 100% of the time in Food, Inc. Utopia. However, we do not live in a perfect world. So, I recognize that in many cases, especially at the beginning of this journey, it's about choosing the lesser of the food evils that are in front of me.

For example, when at a restaurant - Do I order the meat that I have no idea what's in it (probably hormones) nor how it was treated (probably poorly)? Or do I choose a veggie option that I have no idea what's in it (probably not organic) nor where the vegetables came from (probably not from Michigan)?

From my personal opinion, the vegetable option is the lesser of these evils. And that's what I've tried to do when I've gone out this week: veggie pizza after golf on Tuesday (and no, I wasn't golfing at a pesticide or chemical free course), side salad and potato wedges at BW3's this afternoon as the rest of the family (except for Jordyn) all chowed down on the evil chicken.

But even when I'm going for an all fruit/veggie option, I've found that I still have to choose between the lesser of evils. For example, at our local Farm Market, Harvest Time, I was hard pressed to find ANYTHING that was labeled organic. Although I did find several items that were from Michigan. So, do I go with the Michigan blueberries or the California organic oranges? OK, in this case I bought both, because I haven't really decided which of these two is the lesser of the evils. I'm leaning towards organic over locally grown. But, I need to do some more research to come to a conclusion that I'm comfortable with. For now, I'm comfortable with both choices, because at least I now have an awareness about my food that I didn't have before. And that's empowering.

OK, enough about evil schmevil....onto this week's Hits and Misses:

I went to the Clarkston Farmer's market (HIT!) on Saturday and found the Fresh Source Farm booth where I met Lindsay Maybee (HIT!), the owner and farmer who raised the organic, pastured chicken that I made for dinner on Monday. I found it very gratifying to be on a first name basis (OK, she probably forgot my name) with the person who raised my chicken. And - GET THIS! I roasted a whole chicken. ME! All by myself!! For the first time ever!!! When I mentioned this to my girlfriend Kim, that I ROASTED MY FIRST WHOLE CHICKEN CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!! I'm pushing 40 and I just roasted my very first chicken!!!! She confided that she also had never roasted a whole chicken. I'm not alone! Well, I wasn't alone. Let me just tell you, the meal was absolutely delicious, even though we only got two meals out of the 4lb, $12.75 chicken when Lindsay told me that she usually gets four meals out of her chickens (my mom turned the left over chicken and rice into a soup that we all ate for lunch through out the week). I am heading back to the Clarkston Farmers market tomorrow to put my down payment on a fall poultry share (12 chickens). And last week I put down the deposit on our Thanksgiving turkey. Super excited. Like, beyond excited. Actually, no one should be this excited about chicken. But, here I am. Excited about my chickens.

On Sunday, my cousin Glenn (who plants a garden in Utica that's roughly an acre) brought some of his bounty to our family reunion....zucchini, yellow squash, mini tomatoes, green beans, & jalapenos. Most of which we've consumed already this week (we had jalapenos on our nachos tonight, and WOW! were they spicy, fresh, and delicious!!) My mom recently told me about how my grandma (my dad's mom), used to slice zucchini, dip it in egg, and then dip it in cornmeal and she would fry it up. This is now on my summer bucket list. Fried zucchini slices a la Lennie. Maybe not the epitome of clean or healthy eating, but it sounds YUMMO to me and will connect me to my roots. I also was given a couple of green peppers and cucumbers from a friend and a tomato from another friend's daughter, bless her heart. Produce from friends and family is definitely a HIT!

When I was at the Clarkston Farmers market on Saturday, the selection of organic lettuces was out of this world; the variety and the quantity was just amazing. But, of course I didn't buy any then! And, of course, I wanted to make a steak salad for dinner Wednesday night (using beef that my brother in law had bought from a grass fed cow). So, on my way home from work I made a point to go off the beaten path, through the mess of construction, to hit the Lake Orion's Farmers market. MISS! What a disappointment. No lettuce. Maybe half a dozen booths. It was quite sad, actually.

Organic pea pods that I had purchased a week before at the Oxford Farmers Market went bad before I ate them. Wasting food is a TOTAL MISS! And, ashamedly, something that I am guilty of all too often. I am now on a mission to only buy what I think we will eat, rather than buying in bulk and having things go bad before I get to them. I want to waste as little as possible. This, I think, might be my toughest challenge, yet since it will involve more frequent trips to markets, a task that I used to dread, but now I'm not minding all that much.

Hoping for more hits than misses this week. And hoping for more good than evil.


Kim said...

Great Post! Loving all the information.

The Zucchini sounds wonderful. Bill found a good recipe with green beans, tomatoes and bacon that was awesome. I will see if I can find it. I know it has bacon but at least I'm eating a vegetable which I didn't do when I met Bill. Lesser evil in my opinion :)

~Amy said...

Love that approach! Bummer about the Lake Orion market...would've been nice to have another one so close!I used to make eggplant that way except I used breadcrumbs. I haven't made it in forever and it sounds so good right now!

Great info!

Errica said...

This all makes me hungry!

This is so inspiring, wish we would have started this earlier in the year and we could have put in our own gardens and then swapped veggies. Put that on the list for next year.

My sister was telling me about the farmers market in Port Austin and how amazing it is, we should take a trip up there some weekend soon.