CHOOSING LOCAL: One couple’s journey through 1/4 of a grass-fed cow.

                Lots of beef lately – hamburgers, sirloin and porterhouse steak – all wonderful.  It’s a bit boring to write about eating beef, however, so I’m more focused right now on the local angle of this journey.  As important as the grass-fed aspect is the fact that our beef came from a neighbor just 20 miles away.  My 1997 GMC Sonoma truck gets 20 miles to the gallon so it took 2 gallons of gasoline to get a quarter cow into our freezer.  I’m confident that is a lot less – in terms of environmental impact – than getting a quarter cow into my freezer from a feedlot in Nebraska via multiple trips to the grocery store.

                We’ve made a few additional local choices recently as well.  I bought a locally-raised, fresh turkey from our local organic grocery store for a family gathering rather than a frozen Butterball® turkey from the regional chain grocery store where I work.  The price difference – $1.99 vs. $1.69 per pound – was insignificant.  I can’t swear an independent tasting panel would give the nod to our locally-raised gobbler but I thought it was pretty damn tasty and I liked putting the dollars into a local farmer’s pocket rather than putting them toward industrial agriculture’s bottom line.

                How much more local can you get than hiring family for work which would otherwise be done by someone else? We just hired Linda’s son, Nick, to work with us for two days at our home on Lake Michigan in Good Hart.  Nick needs the work, we need his expertise and work ethic, and the money we paid him may well come back to us as a dish he brings to pass at Christmas.

                On our way back to Ann Arbor Linda and I stopped at one of the great farm markets in Michigan, Bill’s Farm Market outside of Petoskey.  Visit their website at  We’ve got enough squash to get us through the next few months.



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