Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Animal Welfare Approved Meat

Last week I said would ask this question when next grocery shopping for animal and or dairy protein:

"Can you tell me which meat and poultry items are from AWA-certified farms or farmer groups?"

I asked the question and a very nice young man at Whole Foods' meat counter said that he didn't know of that particular certification.

He did share that the Boulder CO Whole Foods sells Country Natural Beef, Nature's Rancher Buffalo, (pic above) Homestead Pork, Bell and Evans Chicken and Diesel Turkey and that all their animal protein is farmed according to animal compassion standards.

I googled animal compassion standards and found my way to an article that cites Whole Foods as the founder of the Animal Compassion Foundation, but the link to the foundation doesn't go anywhere.

Further googling came up with a link to Whole Foods website and a podcast about the foundation and its mission.

To tell you the truth, I'm starting to feel overwhelmed with missions: the various missions of the companies, farms, and organizations I've linked to above and in previous weeks, WFs mission(s), and my mission to find humanely-farmed meat and poultry.

I wish I could just buy my food at the grocery store and feel confident about what I'm buying, but alas, that's not the case.

I bought the pack of ground buffalo above because the nice boy at the meat counter did his best to assure me that this buffalo was raised according to standards that sounded as though they align with AWA-standards.

The Animal Welfare Approved standards are my benchmark these days because they are the "most rigorous and progressive animal care requirements in the nation."

If all meat and poultry items available in local groceries were affixed with the AWA stamp, I know I would feel more confident about my purchases.

I picked up Edible magazine a couple of days ago, specifically, Edible Front Range, which celebrates "local Colorado food, farms and cuisine, season by season."

(There's bound to be an Edible magazine in your community since it's available as a local publication in over 60 communities across the U.S. and Canada.)

Anyway, in the winter edition of Edible Front Range there's an article on Colorado-farmed bison, in particular buying a portion of a bison directly at auction.

Last month I wrote of the budgetary and ethical advantages to buying meat direct from the farmer and so I was happy to see details in Edible on how to order bison meat from one of 20 Colorado bison farms: For information on buying grassfed buffalo go to American Grassfed Association.

Additionally, there was an article on Colorado beef rancher, Dale Lasater. Lasater Grassland Beef is produced using traditional-farming methods, methods that align with AWA's standards.

As on the Niman Ranch website, you can order Lasater Grassland Beef online including 175-220 pound sides of beef.

Divide a side amongst 4 families and pay approximately $5.89 a pound for roasts, stews, brisket, ground beef, and steaks.

Of course you will need a freezer.

What I ultimately discovered reading Edible magazine is that it's a great resource for finding locally produced, high-welfare animal protein, artisan food, and organic produce -- food I can feel confident buying and eating.

Tonight, I'm sharing dinner with several women friends. I'm going to mix the above pack of buffalo with a tablespoon of seeded mustard (no hummus this time) and serve the burgers with caramelized onions.

We'll have a simple side salad to go with and I'll try not to get too stressed wondering if the AWA would approve of the way Nature's Rancher buffalo are farmed.

4 comments:

Brigid said...

Thanks you for being so diligent in your search for Animal Welfare Approved products at the grocery store.

We encourage you and your readers to continue to ask for Animal Welfare Approved products at grocers, farmers markets and restaurants. It's a very effective way to help spread the word and to let store, market and restaurant owners know of the high consumer demand for Animal Welfare Approved products.

The Animal Welfare Approved database is also a helpful tool for finding AWA products throughout the United States http://www.animalwelfareapproved.org/awasearch/search/bystate_product

Thanks again Louise and keep up the great work you're doing!

Lisa (newRDcook) said...

Hi Louise - I searched AWA's web site for Pennsylvania and only three options came up when I selected all the products, one of which was Whole Foods. The other two are on the other side of the state. As I'm a member of the CSA and shop regularly at Farmers Markets, I ask questions of the farmers and it would seem that they qualify - how can we get the word out to expand this resource? I'd like to support local agriculture as much as possible and with the growth in 'locavorism' I would think this could be a fantastic tool for consumers.

Louise Ross said...

Thanks Brigid and Lisa for your comments.

Lisa, Brigid is right, just keep asking questions and talking about this issue in your community, at the Farmer's Market, amongst your friends, and so on.

I also contribute to a blog
FarmToTableOnline.org and it is a great resource for information about the food renaissance happening across the country.

In other words read about, talk about, and then walk-your-talk so that you role model ethical and responsible consumerism.

Thanks again to you both for commenting.

Louise

Louise Ross said...

Thanks Brigid and Lisa for your comments.

Lisa, Brigid is right, just keep asking questions and talking about this issue in your community, at the Farmer's Market, amongst your friends, and so on.

I also contribute to a blog
FarmToTableOnline.org and it is a great resource for information about the food renaissance happening across the country.

In other words read about, talk about, and then walk-your-talk so that you role model ethical and responsible consumerism.

Thanks again to you both for commenting.

Louise