I got an early Christmas present this weekend: a pound of Italian sausage.
Odd gift, maybe. I got it from Glenda and Keith at Forest Hill Farm when I went to pick up my order of 5 pounds of ground beef made from their grass-fed herd of cattle on their farm in Northeast Iowa--they make a stop in downtown Cedar Rapids every other week with orders for people here.
I found out about their farm when I stopped at their table at the farmer's market where I spotted a copy of Omnivore's Dilemma.
"I taught that book," I said to Glenda, and we were off into a conversation about free-range hens, grass-fed beef, and responsible farming methods. I bought their eggs, about a dozen every other week, all summer. Apparently their two sons, about the ages of Robbie and Eli, run the egg business!
I tried the beef a bit hesitantly--Bruce has a bit of trouble digesting beef. But Glenda suggested that he might have a different experience with grass-fed beef, which has higher levels of Omega-3s and Linoleic acid (whatever that is). It was true--the beef was easier for him to digest, and we loved the flavor! So we're back to eating the occasional burger again.
It might be a bit more expensive than ground beef in the stores: I think my 5# were $22. But it's better for us, better for the environment, and better for the cattle--who live a decent life out in the pastures instead of in horrid feed lots. And the farm isn't far away, which reduces transportation costs.
I think my Forest Hill Farm experience would be complete if I got a chance to visit there--I'd love to see their happy pigs, the mobile pasture pens for the chickens, and the happy grazing cattle!