Mislabeled foods, fear-based marketing, distrust for the food systems — there are so many reasons that consumers could be worried about their food. Antibiotics, GMOs, rBST, “natural” and so many more labels can be mind-boggling to sort through.
Food prices are going up in the grocery store, but where is that extra money going? We have the benefit of having our own home-grown beef to enjoy, but the price of pork, chicken and other products makes me double-check my receipt when I leave the store. I like to say that all beef is good beef, but I’m especially partial to locally raised meat that cuts out the middle man on its way to my grill.
In the midst of COVID-19, we saw an increase in direct marketing of meat, which helped ranchers connect with local consumers to provide home-grown beef. This helps end consumers know where their food was grown, and supports local ranchers while cutting out large corporations who pocket the upcharge.
Farmers markets in the fall can be a great place for producers and customers to connect, while cutting out the corporation and travel in the middle. Some of us might not be gardeners (like me) and getting home-grown veggies and other products while supporting local business is great. Not everyone has the chance to grow their own food, or knows where to look to find a local rancher.
Our growing season here in the North also limits how long farmers markets are viable with such things as produce. Beef, pork and other meat products can be flash-frozen for freshness, but these markets still can’t run all winter long. Strolling through an outdoor farmers market on a Saturday in fall is a lovely thought — one that doesn’t have the same appeal in mid-February.
A new opportunity
This is why I was so pleasantly surprised on a recent grocery stop in Bismarck, N.D., to see a large sign on a meat freezer that the meat inside was raised by a local ranch. The sign showed the Roswech family of Mott, N.D., in their field alongside some of their cattle herd. It also said to try some home-raised Angus beef from their operation and to check out the ranch’s website.
For those customers who can’t find a rancher to connect with, or those who are concerned with the recent discussions around country-of-origin labeling, this meat case shows a great opportunity. It’s not just an opportunity for great beef to stay in state, cutting transport and retail costs, but also an opportunity for ranchers to make the connection about how their beef is raised.
Even with our home states heavily immersed in agriculture, there are still those who don’t know how beef is raised or how it gets from the farm to their table. While the store didn’t have any signage or information about how the beef was processed or grown, the website given showcases it. You can find out more about the Roswech family’s story, their beef operation, and how they are working to cut out the stops your beef makes to your table at south40beef.com.
Buying local meat is an easy way to support your home communities, and nothing tastes as good as home-raised beef.