I’ve just updated my “useful links” section of the sidebar with links to three websites that I hope will be life-changing for you: American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, Local Food, and Slow Food.
These sites are dedicated to some aspect of healthy, old-fashioned food, whether it be heritage breeds of livestock, heirloom vegetables, buying food locally, or preparing food the slow, old-fashioned way.
Slow food is the opposite of fast food. Instead of grabbing a mass-produced product that is the same all over the world, search out regional foods and savor local cuisine. Slow food means taking the time to cook things from scratch rather than buying prepackaged, prepared foods. Vegetable gardeners are the ultimate slow food aficionados.
The odd thing about heritage breed livestock, heirloom vegetables, and local cuisine is that to save them, we must eat them. I grow many varieties of heirloom vegetables in my garden. Heirloom vegetables are open-pollinated varieties that have been passed down for generations, not hybrids that won’t breed true the next generation.
Vic and I have purchased heritage breed turkeys for Thanksgiving from Rainbow Ranch Farms. We’ve had free-range Narragansett and Broad-breasted Bronze turkeys, straight from Xenia, the farmer who raises them. I found her through localharvest.com. I visited her farm and saw that it was clean and that the birds were raised in a healthy, natural style. While these turkeys were expensive, they really had superior flavor, far better than the turkeys we usually get in the local grocery store.
Vic and I bought a heritage breed lamb a couple of years ago from a farmer in San Diego. We found him through localharvest.com as well. I visited the farm and saw that the lambs were clean and well-cared for, and then picked out my lamb from among several heirloom breeds. I chose a Border Leicester, a breed raised by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. I arranged for a butcher to go to the farm to slaughter the lamb and process it. Vic and I split the meat with another couple, as a half lamb will fit into a typical freezer atop a refrigerator with room left over for frozen vegetables, fish, etc. We’re pleased that our lamb was locally raised and didn’t travel half way around the world to get to us.
We certainly don’t live in a rural area. Far from it. We’re in an urban environment, the greater Los Angeles area. We live amidst 14 million other people. And yet we are able to buy heritage breed livestock straight from the farmer within a 1.5 hour drive, and grow organic, heirloom fruit and vegetables in our yard (front and back). If we can do it, so can you.