I submitted this post to the Farmer's Market Report hosted here.
Clinton and I have been looking for a good farmers market for a few months now. Our first trek was to a very yuppie one which seemed more about soap and artisan bread and goat cheese than it was about vegetables - in fact I don't recall seeing any vegetables at all the time we went. It was like watching rich people pretend to be hippies, because they think it’s the “in” thing to do. Needless to say, that wasn’t what I wanted.
On Sunday afternoon we went to another disappointing farmers market. I want a farmers market to have a bazillion different veggies, fresh greens, generally look like the produce section in my grocery store without all the fluorescent lights. I did buy a couple zucchini, but I was hoping for more than that. Not more zucchini, there were plenty more of those, but more options.
Sadly, this one only had 6 booths. 2 had vegetables, but not many. Apparently this soap thing is big and salsas and jellies and pretty much anything non-vegetable. The first booth had grass fed beef. (And the zucchini and watermelon and local honey (although if it was local to his farm, that’s not local to where we were or where we live)). Now, as you will recall, we debated the grass-fed vs. grain-fed when we were shopping for our side of beef. We ultimately landed on grain-fed – mostly because the meat market we found only had grain-fed.
One of the benefits of speaking to the people who actually raise the animals that you eat? Their knowledge is something to be tapped into. At the very least, you can then go home and google it and see if they’re full of it or not.
In speaking with him, we learned a lot. Grass fed beef has significantly less fat, so you cook it to about 45° less than you would grain fed to get the same finish – which translates to roughly about ¾ of the time – and also instead of watching the clock, you need to watch the meat.
And a light bulb turned on above my head.
For the sides of beef we have bought, the difference between what we bought the first time around and what we bought the second time around is that the first time was prime, and this time was choice. Choice meat has less fat than prime. But we have been cooking this meat for the same amount of time that we did the prime meat, I think we stumbled on our problem with the new meat – here’s to happy eating the rest of that cow. I hope.
We did buy one grass-fed steak. It is a 1lb rib steak (that’s a rib-eye with bone attached). It was 16 freaking dollars. And it had better dance, and dance well. It has to serve as dinner AND entertainment. I don’t want the So You Think You Can Dance rejects. I want the winner. For serious. (I’ll let you know when we actually cook it. I did find a farm online that would sell me a grass-fed side of beef for roughly $4/lb – so if it does dance, at least I can buy it cheaper.)
But also when talking to him, he tried to sell me on their ground beef (HAHAHAHA have you seen my freezer? I do not need any more ground beef, thankyouverymuch), saying something to the effect that they don’t mix cows when grinding beef. All of the beef in any given package is from the same cow. And that somehow makes it better. He didn’t elaborate.
But the idea alone kind of puzzles me because cow is cow, and beef is beef, no? I mean, especially in the same herd. Theoretically they eat the same stuff, have the same general genetics. This is neither here nor there, because all the ground beef in each package in my freezer is from the same cow too. It’s just not a hoity toity grass fed cow.
When I brought up my confusion to Clint, he said:
“If someone cooked you, and then they cooked me, don’t you think we’d have different flavors?”
Gratuitous Kid Picture:
Why yes, that is a clown nose on his ear. The only place he was willing to wear it.
Scarlett finally figures out the best way to cool off in the pool: