Posted by Niti Bali on 4/29/2011
I appreciate folks sending me the name of new programs or stores that they feel are doing what I am doing with Farm to Fork Meat. I always research them and then chuckle inside because I actually still think like a corporate clone from years ago and feel as though I must know what is going on out in the market place. In reality, there really is no one in the marketplace who is doing what we are doing in this CSA. There are likely a variety of reasons why no one else is doing what we are. My best bet as to why I am the only one with this type of CSA is that there is no profit in REAL FOOD. There is only profit in imitation prepared foods or imitation stressed and diseased meats or dead fruits and veggies.
Sadly, I am not in this for the profit margin. I am in this business because I wonít eat food just to fill my belly; I eat food to nourish my body and to keep it healthy. I wonít feed my family store prepared convenience foods just so I can have a little more time to myself. Feeding my family is not an inconvenience to me. I feel it is my responsibility to nourish them, not just stuff them with whatever will allow me to have more time to play, work, or just have time to myself. This is hard work, but I have already seen how food can harm us just as easily as it can heal and repair us.
Today I researched a place called the Meat House in Raleigh. One of the members brought it to my attention. The owner was very nice and when I asked if he offered any pasture raised meats, he said they didnít pasteurize their meats. A misunderstanding of the question no doubt! I repeated myself and clarified that I wanted meats from animals that ate grass. He very kindly chuckled and offered me his White Oak Line. He said the White Oak Line of meats was grass-fed. So I asked him where this White Oak Line came from. He told me that it was coming from a distributor in GA. I did find White Oak Pastures online and they seem like a wonderful source for grass fed beef. They donít include the Meat House as a distributor of their meats, but perhaps they just havenít updated their website. I asked him if he offered any pasture fed chickens or hogs or lamb. He told me that all his chicken came from Ashley Farms that is located here in NC.
I called Ashley Farms which turns out to actually be Joyce Foods. When I called, the woman who answered the phone seemed frazzled. I asked her how their chickens were being raised. She told me they were all natural and free range birds. I asked her if they were outside eating on a pasture. She said well actually there is a lot of disease that results from birds that are raised outside. I told her that I appreciated her time but I was not interested in chickens raised in houses. She then said, ďWell, we have another line of chickens that are let outside every dayĒ. I asked her what she was talking about and she said that they have this Epicure Reserve Line of chickens that were better than anything I have ever tasted. She was referring to the Poulet Rouge French chickens, which I sell. I told her I was familiar with the breed and that I can get those from a farmer I know here. I asked her if there were any of their farms that I could visit. She told me that they had several farms that were raising their chickens for them all over NC but she couldnít give me a name of one or tell me anything about how they were being raised. I thanked her for her time and told her that I was only interested in birds being raised outside on pasture and not in such large numbers in a house. She became angry with me and hung up the phone.
I was shocked at this conversation. I felt as though she only wanted to sell me her brand. I donít try to convince people to join my CSA. I feel that if you want real food from real farms you will make a lifestyle change to ensure that you get those medicinal foods. There isnít any competition for me because sadly only less than 3% of the farmers in our nation are producing sustainable food. The other CSA programs that the sustainable farmers in our area are running are the only folks that are producing food of the same caliber as mine and collectively we canít produce and feed all the families that one grocery store feeds each week. The average grocery store supports 10,000 households each week. I can only feed about 100 families with the number of animals we have on pasture at this moment. With the amount of pasture my partners have available to them we can ultimately only feed 200-250 families each week. There is not enough food for us to satisfy the market. We need more folks supporting more sustainable farmers and most importantly, we need more sustainable farmers! Thanks to all my members for being conscious consumers! NO FARMS NO FOOD!
Hi, my name is Denis Dronne with Joyce Foods. I am sorry that you had a disappointing experience getting information from our company. I am available anytime to discuss our lines of products and especially the Poulet Rouge chicken we grow and process. I was curious as to which Poulet Rouge you are referring to and currently purchasing from one of your farmers. I know for a fact that we are the only company in the US with the true slow growth genetics necessary to grow a true Label Rouge type chi
I appreciate Denis's time to respond to my blog post. I still think the bigger issue is not the breed or genetics as much as the environment in which the animal is raised and the feed that is offered to the animals. I know that even with the genetics that Joyce Foods may have exclusivity on- they are not raising their animals out on pasture in the sunshine. The habitat in which the animals are raised create a healthy or diseased animal and animals in houses are stressed out and without sunshin