Things I Take for Granted

There’s nothing like going to a farm to realize how spoiled and disconnected I am from my food.  In this case, my lessons came from the 100,000 acre Nokomai Station near Queenstown, New Zealand where 25,000 Silere Alpine-Origin Merino unknowingly grow our sweaters and protein in a lamb nirvana (and also one of the backdrops for the hobbit).
So, what do I take for granted?  As a city-dwelling middle-to-upper class American, there most certainly is no end to the answer to that question.  For now, I will just talk about the meat in my belly and wool on my back.
To observe the shepherds, the shearers, the pilots, the farmhands, the managers and the dogs do their work is to gain a mountain of appreciation and respect for all the work that goes into raising our meat and clothing.  The only hard work we do is take a package of meat off the shelf and put it on a grill.  We’ve got it easy.  Being behind the scenes on a working ranch is to get a glimpse into the unending list of things that go into good farm management: pasture management, animal health, diet, selecting the right grass for the right species, logistics and getting the animals to the abbatoir.  There’s the breeding and genetics and then the processing, distribution and marketing.   Trust me, I am just categorically scratching the surface.  I am not doing this list justice and anyone reading this that actually knows about ranching now knows that my understanding is basically at a preschool level.
There’s so many reasons why we are disconnected from our food.  For one thing, it is a great luxury to be free from worry about acquiring our sustenance.  Modern life gives us plenty else to worry about as well as the luxury of moving up Maslow’s pyramid.  But the connection to our food is often intentionally obscured by marketers.  For good reason — much of our food production is ugly.  Feedlots are nasty, for example.
But, there is also plenty of beauty in our food production.  I have seen dozens of ranching operations and I can say for sure that Silere Alpine-origin Merino is the class of the world.  It’s hard to impugn the ethics of eating meat when animals are raised this way.  Nokomai Station, a vast 100,000 open range that has been raising lambs for generations, is epically gorgeous and pristine.  I think the pictures speak for themselves.

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