Tonight it’s steak for tea. Yum. From Sally. That’s the name of the cow, not the farmer. The farmer is Frances.
I am very keen on knowing where meat, above all things, comes from. I strongly believe that if you eat meat then you are already involved with that animal and should consider that you have a kind of contract to know, as much as possible, that it had a good life. I always have photos of our pigs on the farmers market stall so that people realise that the animals they are eating are real. And if the customers say they don’t want to know that they get a stiff talking to.
One thing is for certain, if you buy an anonymous bit of shrink wrapped meat from a supermarket you aren’t taking any responsibility for the animal. A few years ago I talked with an organic pig farmer from West Norfolk. When he took his pigs to slaughter they went, in family groups, to a small abattoir just down the road. He also sold some of his pigs to Tesco’s for their premium organic range. Those pigs went off in a big lorry to Bristol for slaughter, where Tesco distributed from. That’s a journey of about six hours. He hated doing it and I just wouldn’t. I bet Tesco’s customers shelling out for best organic meat didn’t imagine that had happened.
All this makes a difference to what it tastes like too.
I’m in the fortunate position that when Frances takes one of her small herd of cows she’ll give me a call and ask if I want a box of meat in about three weeks time. I didn’t actually know Sally, but I’ve known other of Frances’s cows that I have bought.
I do always try to buy meat from friends who I know and trust, Ideally from someone like Frances with just a few animals. But if I don’t do that I buy from a proper butcher who I can talk to about where the animal came from. Never, ever from a supermarket.
I feel I owe that much to Sally and all the farm animals I’ve known.
On a less heavy note, I think I’m unlikely to find any Norfolk diet oats for my porridge. After a long phone chat to the very nice man at Garboldisham Windmill I’m becoming aware that processing oats is a specialised job and only a very few places in the country do it. Hey ho.
Toast with Strawberry& blackberry compote
Scrambled eggs (also from Frances, as it happens)
Steak (but you knew that) with potatoes and lots of kale
My chum Paul who runs Norfolk and Suffolk Food Direct has asked* me to mention that he has a special Valentine’s Day offer of a meal for two (naturally) including wine and chocs for £20. Something of a bargain
*No brown envelopes have changed hands. It’s just a good company.