Monday, June 26, 2017

Food and Ethics

I have recently had a few people ask me about my food philosophy. One person asked if most farmers grow their own food and eat like we do. Actually I don't really know for sure, but I don't think too many of the farmers around our area do.

So what exactly is my philosophy?

I have very strong views on the farming of animals for a start! I believe that animals should only be farmed free range - ethical farming I call it. It is wrong and I believe unnecessary to lock animals in small, crowded cages/pens, where they don't have access to display their natural behaviours. We don't need feedlots (CAFO's) to feed the world. If we returned the farmland that is currently used to grow grain for cattle feedlots, to pasture, if we managed our pasture lands using regenerative farming techniques, if we de-centralised our food systems, we can feed the world.

Re-hydrating our land is one of the regenerative farming techniques we are doing.

(People starving in the world is not due to animal or land management, it's due to politics and I'm not going into that now!)

We grow our own meat, so I very rarely buy meat. If I eat out and there isn't a free range option on the menu, I will often have vegetarian. I actually don't go out very often, so it's not a huge issue for me. I've had to buy eggs lately, and I just cannot buy anything but true free range. If I can't get them, we go without!

Turkeys for food.

Vegetables and fruit I try and buy local where I can and when I can't grow them myself. I often go to the markets so will buy there mostly. Even though most of the time the local stuff is not organic, I choose local over organic and not local. Unfortunately potatoes, onions and carrots are essential vegetables for me and aren't grown locally terribly often. I usually buy spuds and carrots from my organic delivery person and when I do that, I'll often buy a few other veg that I don't normally get, just for  a change. Onions are often really expensive organically so I tend to buy commercial onions (and we eat a lot of onions). Spuds and carrots are only worth buying organically because they have so much more flavour.

Most of my dry goods I get from our local whole foods supplier. These are also organic. My preference with all food choices would be organic, but as I said before, local comes first for me. One of my concerns with non-organic farming (think wheat and other grains) is the amount of chemicals used. Glysophate is such a commonly used herbicide and I know for a fact that the withholding period is not long enough and crops are harvested too soon. I don't buy non-organic grains.

So in a nutshell:
Free range and/or organic where possible.
Local food comes first in vegetables and fruit (over organic).
Meat - I wouldn't buy intensively farmed meat even if it was local.
I try not to support Coles or Woolworths, because they DO NOT support farmers. If I can't buy dry goods from a local business, I will buy online (e.g. Who gives a crap toilet paper)
I support local food systems and small business.
I would prefer to buy things without single use plastic, but realise that this is not always possible for small producers going to the markets (it certainly isn't possible for our business)

And to be completely honest, I would stick to this at least 90% of the time. Sometimes, especially if I'm travelling, it's hard, but I'll support a local business if I can't get local food. One final comment I'd like to make, is I know it's expensive to buy organic, but I choose to go without other things so that I can afford to. I don't believe that we can afford to muck about with out health buying choosing less nutrient dense food. I also prioritise my time to grow and prepare food. It's all about choice!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

End of January already!!!!

It has been really hot for the last month (okay, for the last couple of months) and even though we've had some rain, we could do with a lot more - we've had just enough to get the grass growing and then the hot dry days come and the grass turns blue! I'm sure the wet will come in soon and we'll be waiting for it to dry out, but at the moment, we are just putting up with the oppressive heat!! I'm hoping to post soon about some farming things, but I thought I might just put up some photos of some of our food experiences while over in the West for our Christmas break.....

Whenever we travel, we like to look for local food and tend to stay in places where we can cook for ourselves. I like the concept of eating out, but it is so hard to find places where the food reaches my expectations! I have certain dietary requirements that aren't easily met. For example, I like food that is freshly prepared, in season and local. Preferably as organic as possible. I don't have dairy, grain or other intolerances, I just have intolerance to inferior quality. So I find it more satisfying to spend my money on good quality produce and then prepare it myself. A lot of the time, this costs as much as what I might spend in a restaurant, but I get to have the pleasure of cooking with quality ingredients and eating within my dietary requirements. And by buying local produce, we are supporting farmers like ourselves - people that care about providing quality food to the local market!

Rosemary grows so well in Western Australia, this plant is huge, and was one of the only things growing happily in my daughters yard - I did make her some rosemary salt as I couldn't help myself after seeing it!

I did a lot of shopping at local farmers markets, however WA is very good at supporting local food and most produce us labelled as grown in WA if it is.

Tomato bruschetta for lunch.

We have friends in the Margaret River area with a farm - they do market their own beef - Leeuwin Grass-fed Beef, however this was some of their lamb. Wiltsure Lamb - eaten on their farm.

Grass fed and finished beef from the Claremont markets. These were huge and very delicious!

Locally made chorizo in a salad for lunch.

Local Fish with veg.

Great seafood in WA, but the crayfish are the best seafood anywhere!!!

One of the main reasons we went to WA was to catch up with Kim's family, and especially his mother who turned 90 this year. We held a party for her, and Kim's cousin in-law finished the evening by cooking paella - it was great to watch the whole process.

I think I need one of these pans!