Posted by: Kate | April 8, 2009

Can You Eat It After you Look It in the Eye?

This is a crucial question if you want to really know where your meat comes from. And it is a question that turns some people into vegetarians, which I respect and understand.

I can look an animal in the eye and know that it will be on my dinner plate eventually. I’m ok with it, and in fact prefer it to not knowing where my meat has come from (or rather knowing but not being able to see or really fathom it).In the past we have bought both pigs and lambs locally, and this year we plan on expanding our local buying.

We are fortunate that in this corner of the world we have a fair bit of small-scale farming. There are many vegetable farms, as well as mixed farming (meat and vegetables and eggs). We visited a friend on Monday who already supplies us with eggs.


Was it your egg we had for breakfast, chicken?

Was it your egg we had for breakfast, chicken?

Thanks in part to our encouragement, our friend has recently gone into pigs. His small farm can only support a few pigs at a time, and we have dibs on one of the first ones. 


That's called a mixed diet!

That's called a mixed diet!

They are cute and fun now, but the reality is they are there to become meat. We are ok with that. What matters is that I can see the pigs are well cared for and allowed to be pigs while they live. They are fed well, respected and given room to root and play as pigs do (they’ve already dug up the small pen they are in and as soon as they get just a little bigger they are moving to a nice, overgrown fenced area where they can root for grubs to their hearts’ content).

We can even buy beef from a farm (not our friend’s – that’s too big for his little hobby farm) in this area. We might do that, but we also happen to have a local butcher who sells local beef. He sells it in family packs that are about the right size for us (as opposed to having to buy a quarter or a half of a steer at one time from the farms). He will also be the butcher who prepares our pig for us.

All of this local meat does come with a cost. You pay more, but for me that’s ok. I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, paying a little more for meat I’ve seen grow and can know what it eats, is worth the extra cost. 

And giving my son the opportunity to make that connection between the farm, the work, the feed and the animals – that’s important to me as well.


Give me more tomatoes, little boy.... or I'll eat your shoelaces.

Give me more tomatoes, little boy.... or I'll eat your shoelaces.


  1. I’m with you. I grew up in a rural area, although not on a farm myself, but it was always understood where the meat on our plate came from. This year I signed up for a meat and eggs CSA from a local farm, I’m very excited. The farm is also committed to giving their future meat products a healthy, relaxed life first.

    But boy, the form I had to fill out–am I OK with pork, with beef, or only poultry, and what about processed meats…I just want meat. Give me anything. :-)

  2. I agree totally. I could look it in the eye in the morning and eat it at dinner. That is just how the world works. I think it is great your son is growing up knowing how these things work.

  3. Nice post as a follow up to your review…I’d enjoy hearing more about how you are approaching food issues in your daily life. Being in the field as much as I have the past decade, I haven’t been able to really explore these types of options here. But starting last year, because we were actually home more than 2 months a year, I started looking into it. There are more options than I realized and I’ve taken advantage of quite a bit…hoping to do even more. Posts like this remind me to continue keeping these decisions, these choices, in my thoughts on a daily basis.

Welcome! I always like to hear what people think of a post, it often leads to a great discussion! I am now responding to comments and questions right in the comments themselves, so other people can follow the conversation.

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