Always, Sometimes, Never? Questioning Your Meat's Origin

Call it a trend, call it increased awareness or just good behavior, but asking where your meat comes from and how it was raised is becoming more commonplace.

San Francisco-based Pastoral Plate, a meat-buying collective, was featured in The New York Times last week for their work distributing humanely raised local chickens. The piece profiled other businesses emphasizing the importance of knowing where your meat comes from. If you watch the popular IFC show Portlandia, you'll recall an episode where ordering chicken from a restaurant menu required a rather finicky and eco-conscious couple to drive out to the farm to meet the farmers and see where the animal was raised. Now that's obviously a spoof and an extreme case, but it does raise questions about our own behavior.

For many of us, buying local, organic meat raises a financial question. We would make that choice 100% of the time if cost wasn't an issue. I place myself in this category, and have found that the solution is buying local, humane meat but not very often, so I rely on a largely vegetarian diet at home.

How about you? Do you try and buy only local, organic meat? If so, do you think about the origin of the meat and whether or not it was from a local farm? I'm seeing the practice of listing an animal's origin more and more on restaurant menus but I'm curious how it extends to the home cook and whether or not this is something you've started to think more about.

Related: Smart Shopper: What to Look for When Buying Meat

(Image: Megan Gordon & Flickr member Artizone licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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