I believe in the Locavore movement, which is eating locally sourced foods so that less fossil fuel is used on food transport. That is one of the reasons why I planted a mini-orchard, converted our backyard to vegetable production, and set up a chicken coop with hens.
Even though we live in the megalopolis of southern California, we have many opportunities for eating locally grown food. We have purchased heirloom turkeys from Rainbow Ranch, a lamb from a farmer in San Diego, and boxes of organic produce from Tanaka Farms in Orange County. We visit our local farmers’ markets, of which there are many. And we often buy wines produced in southern California, with Orfila Vineyards in San Diego being one of our favorites.
Now we have embarked on yet another local food adventure, a locally raised steer. We found out about this opportunity from our local chapter of Slow Food USA, and jumped on it. We bought a 1/8th share of a steer in a 4-H project.
Jenna and Megan are raising the steers, which will be shown at the Orange County Fair next summer. It will be a long process of feeding and training the steers. Beaux, shown above, was the first to arrive at the farm in Orange Acres from the Star Cattle Company in Stevinson, Merced County, California.
Finally Bucket arrived to join Beaux. He is a purebred Angus. Jenna chose to raise him, so he is the one we will have a share of later next fall.
Jenna and Megan may decide to show their calves in a livestock show in Santa Barbara in February. If so, Vic and I plan to go to support them. The calves still have a lot of training ahead of them. They get weighed regularly, and their feed adjusted accordingly. They will learn to stand still while they get shampooed (with added conditioner to make their coats shine) and their fur will be trimmed for show time. Vic and I look forward to learning about what all is involved in getting a show steer ready for market.
These steers will be ethically raised with love and kindness. They are learning to enjoy being scratched and rubbed. After the fair next fall, they will be shipped to a private butcher in San Diego. They stay there for a week, getting fed and calming down from the transport process. Then they will be humanely slaughtered one at a time, never in a feedlot, never in an assembly line process.
We expect to receive about 75 lbs of cut, packaged, and frozen meat. We eat many vegetarian meals, and a lot of poultry and fish, so this may last us more than a year. Time will tell.