I go into a lot of homes. I love it. I love seeing what people are shopping, cooking, and eating. I also love learning about what people are looking for in their foods. I especially love hearing about what people are – and are not – feeding their kids.
I, too, put lots of thought and energy into what goes into my little men’s little bellies. I only want the best for them. But sometimes figuring out what is best for them can be exhausting. In a world where hormone free, organic, GMO free, and free range are all options – just not always in my budget – I needed some help figuring out how to make the best choices….for my family and my wallet.
So naturally I turned to someone who knows a lot more about this than me. Because I am all about going straight to the source. Morgan, a farmer in Colton, SD and her family invited us to tour and learn with them. I had questions, and Morgan had answers! Here is what I learned:
When buying chicken, if you are purchasing hormone free chicken, you have been tricked! No chicken gets added hormones! Save your dollars and don’t buy the chicken labeled “no added hormones.” You are essentially just paying for the lettering on the package.
If a cow is treated with antibiotics, it cannot be sent to be butchered until the antibiotics are out of the animal’s system. If you are purchasing meat that is organic, it means it has never had antibiotics. This meat is often more expensive as the survival rate for animals that are not given medicine and live with other animals that are not treated is pretty low – which means fewer cows to butcher and higher prices.
And to stay on the topic of cows….the majorty of the farms in SD are able to feed their animals with what is grown on their farm and other local farms. Due to increased technology and science, farmers are able to grow larger amounts of crops on smaller plots of land – which means increased crops with a decreased foot print. I am into that.
GMO has nothing to do with pesticides. It stands for genetically modified organism. It means they had to use science to change the seeds and stuff. (No one has ever accused me of being a science genius.) GMO seeds are often heartier and farmers have a bigger crop – which allows farmers to feed more people, and cows, with smaller plots of land.
These are a few things I am taking to the bank…and the grocery store next time I go. I am not feeling so guilty about skipping the organic label. You shouldn’t either. I feel empowered knowing that I can make good choices for my family, support local farmers, and eat great!
As I was working on this blog post, I asked the boys what they learned from the farm tour. I was expecting “tractors are loud” and “cows stink.” But this is what I got
Hank: “There are big things under the cow barn that collect the poop. The poop can be turned into fertilizer and help things grow.”
Gus: “Chickens don’t like to be chased. If you chased a chicken, they hide in the trees.”
Hank: “Chickens learn how to keep their eggs clean. When they are little and lay eggs, they sometimes poop on them on accident. When they get grown up they know they aren’t supposed to poop on their eggs.”
Gus: “Cows will come if the mom (Morgan) goes to get them, because they like her better.”
And in case you are wondering…all of these things are true!
A special thank you to Hungry for Truth and Morgan and her family for a wondeful experience on the farm. If you want to learn more about how SD farmers are raising crops and animals, head on over to www.hungryfortruthsd.com.