A meaty decision

So, no recipe today. Instead, I want to talk about meats, poultry and fish. And, where to buy them if you're following a strict diet made tricky by allergies and intolerances -- not just to ingredients, but preservatives and additives. I know, meat's not just meat, sometimes.

Everybody will have their own choices, based on where they live and how much they have to spend. I have to limit my cost and weigh that against providing my kids with choices. I also don't want to feed them too much beef, for example, because of its high fat and cholesterol content. Nor do I want to give them too much fish, because of health risks.

I buy meat both from a local farmer and from some national companies. And here's why. I hope it gets you thinking, too.

My local farmer lives about 30 miles away but sells each weekend at a local farm market, open all year. He sells beef, pork, poultry -- and that sometimes includes hot dogs, fresh turkey (for holidays) and both breakfast and dinner sausage. I also can speak with him face to face and ask him specific questions about how the meats are handled and made. I've been able to tell him about my daughters and the foods they cannot eat for medical reasons so he understands my concern. And, he's been able to assure me about most of his products. Some, as he pointed out, have some added spices, for example, that I might want to avoid. And, his prices tend to be even lower than the local supermarket -- not to mention that they are free of preservatives and hormones. What a deal.

Sometimes, my local farmer doesn't have hot dogs, and my kids love them. And, he doesn't sell lunch meat, and my kids are getting near to an age where lunch meat is handy. He also doesn't sell fish -- not running a fish farm. So, I look elsewhere. Some good companies I've come across that you might check out are Applegate Farms, Boars Head, Shelton's and Wellshire Farms.

These companies tend to offer foods I can use and they show exactly what's in their foods. They also make it easy to contact them with more questions. Boars Head is good for lunch meats. The others offer hot dogs, sausage, cuts of poultry, lunch meat, jerky and link snacks, etc. Many of these are uncured, with no preservatives and sometimes organic. Excellent stuff. You can order online or find these at a local food co-op or organic store. I buy the uncured, but not organic, hot dogs from Applegate Farms thru a food co-op in bulk -- cutting down the price. I buy Boars Head lunch meat from my local supermarket (I have them slice it first thing when they open so it's not contaminated by other meats). I buy Shelton's turkey dogs and am considering their breakfast sausage. Wellshire Farms makes a great dinner sausage that my kids love -- made from turkey, but you'd never know it.

Hope this helps.


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