Now it’s on to the Farm – a 50-mile drive from the plant.
As city dwellers, we did not know what to expect at the “chicken” farm. Wise Organic Poultry contracts with farmers willing to raise chickens to its high specifications – combining humane methods, proper feed, and ample space. To visit one such farm, we traveled to a picturesque well–maintained farm, owned by a grower in the Susquehanna Valley of Central Pennsylvania.
Our Bubbie and “grand” Bubbies may have known how to make a famous roast chicken and of course, chicken soup, but certainly did not face the same chicken challenges that the kosher shopper faces today. Most chicken is no longer raised in the back yard! The consumer is now faced with numerous choices in quality, type and price.
Chicken has become a multi-billion dollar industry in America. Kosher chicken is no exception, but is somewhat more complicated. There has been extraordinary growth in kosher poultry sales in the last few decades. Along with observant Jews, many non-Jews and Jews who don’t necessarily adhere to kosher laws now purchase kosher poultry. Why? There is a perception that kosher certification adds a layer of clarity and transparency to poultry purchases. In addition to the FDA and government regulatory agencies, the processing plant must adhere to the specifications of a supervising kosher agency and rabbinical authority. Many consumers welcome this extra layer of inspection.
Due to my son being an only child with little perspective on living with siblings- friendships, fights and loyalty, my husband and I adopted mans “best friend” with the hope it would become Jonah’s “little brother”. The big hope was that our gorgeous red and white cocker spaniel rescue dog was to would teach my son the responsibilities of caring for another dependent being. We had images of my son walking and feeding our new addition to the family.
What actually transpired was far from my vivid imagination. Flynn gravitated to me – I became his world and he, my shadow. Irrespective of my mood, Flynn was always happy to be with me and tail wagging to prove his point.
Milk may be the single most historically important food to human health. Not just any milk, mind you, but raw milk from healthy, free-to-roam, grass-fed cows. The difference between the milk you buy in the store, and the milk your great-great grandparents enjoyed is, unfortunately, enormous. If we lived in a country where raw milk from healthy, pastured cows were still a legal product and available as readily as, say, soda or a handgun, we’d all be taller and healthier, and I’d see fewer elderly patients with hunched backs and broken hips. If you’re lucky enough to live in a state where raw milk is available in stores and you don’t buy it, you are passing up a huge opportunity to improve your health immediately. If you have kids, raw milk will not only help them grow, but will also boost their immune systems so they get sick less often. And, since the cream in raw milk is an important source of brain-building fats, whole milk and other raw dairy products will also help them to learn.
My interview from earlier this month was featured on Our Hen House‘s podcast this weekend. We talked about Torah teachings about compassion for animals, how well Judaism and vegetarianism mesh together, kosher slaughter, the new Jewish food movement, and vegan versions of traditional Jewish foods.
Last week, YNet reported that Israel’s Knesset is considering using free-range eggs in its on-site eateries. YNet noted:
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin is considering banning the use of factory-farmed eggs at the parliament’s eateries and instructing them to use free-range and organic eggs instead ….
The Knesset speaker told Anonymous [an Israeli animal rights group] that he has instructed Dan Landau, the Knesset’s director-general, to check whether the change to free-range eggs can be made during the signing of the next contract with the owner of the parliament’s eateries.
A couple of months ago, I noted that the office of Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger in Israel had released an encouraging statement that seemed to mark the end of Israel’s imports of meat from animals killed by shackling and hoisting in South America. (The cruel slaughter method is no longer used in Israel or the U.S.) I was, however, skeptical because a similar forward-looking statement in 2008 was never enforced. This time around, it looks like the Chief Rabbinate’s plan will be enacted.
On June 18, Haaretzreported that “by 2011 the Chief Rabbinate will no longer certify [as kosher] meat from slaughterhouses that use shackle-and-hoist – a controversial method employed in almost all South American kosher slaughterhouses, which provide 80 percent of all the meat imported into Israel.” This is a major step forward, both because it means action will be taken within the next half-year and because business considerations (e.g., the fact that an overwhelming majority of Israel’s imported meat comes from the slaughterhouses in question) will not be allowed to determine what’s right.
A few weeks ago, PETA released an undercover investigation of a kosher slaughterhouse that practices shackling and hoisting, a cruel method of slaughter in which live animals are tied up and hung by their limbs prior to having their throats slit. The facility is located in Uruguay and is a major supplier of Alle Processing, which became the leading kosher meat supplier in the U.S. in the wake of AgriProcessors’ collapse. Nathaniel Popper wrote in the Los Angeles Times, “Meat from [the site of the investigation] and other South America factories is used to produce most of the processed kosher meat consumed in America, including deli favorites such as salami and pastrami, kosher authorities say.” Dr. Temple Grandin, a leading animal welfare and slaughterhouse design expert, said, “This plant is definitely doing the method of shackling the live bovine and then hoisting and dragging [the animal] out of the stun box and holding [the animal] down. This is a cruel, dangerous practice that should be stopped.”
Thanks to Karen Radkowsky for this guest post. Karen is the President of Limmud, NY.
When Alan Glustoff founded 5 Spoke Creamery in 2005, he put his years as a dairy technologist to work. Glustoff set out to make artisanal kosher cheeses that rivaled their non-kosher counterparts, and his success speaks for itself. Today, 5 Spoke Creamery’s Kof-K certified cheeses are served in the finest non-kosher restaurants (including Per Se), sold in leading specialty food stores (like Zabar’s and Murray’s), and touted in major food publications (from Bon Appétit to Epicurious).
What makes Five Spoke Creamery’s cheeses different is that they are handmade from the raw milk of grass-fed Holstein cows that are free of pesticides and hormones. Because grass-fed cows get to roam, picking and choosing from a variety of grasses, herbs, flowers and weeds, raw milk from a grass-fed cow has a depth of flavor that cannot be duplicated.
In case you are wondering, raw milk cheeses are perfectly safe. They are made from unpastuerized milk and follow state laws requiring a minimum of 60 days for aging which eliminates pathogenic bacteria. In fact, the safety record for raw milk cheeses span many centuries, and over 70% of European cheeses are made from raw milk.
Thanks so much to Sal Cardoni for his great cross-post. Sal is a writer living in Los Angeles by way of Wilkes-Barre, PA, covering Environment Issues for TakePart.com
Photo courtesy of Kirk Anderson
It’s a resplendent Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles, that rare smog-free day. You decide to charbroil some burgers for lunch. You creek open the lid of your backyard grill and…bzzZZZzzzz! A bee-hive! In ten seconds flat, you’ve hightailed it back into the house, slammed the door, and Googled “exterminator.”
Best to kill those sons-a-beeswax before they swarm, right? Wrong!
Many of you may have missed this story on Marketplace about KOL Foods during your Passover celebrations. You can learn more about ethical kosher meat in general here on JCarrot, and more about our friend Devora Kimelman-Block’s unique partnership with a halal meat producer. Thanks to Ari Daniel Shapiro, an alumnus of Hazon’s New York Ride and an independent radio producer, for sharing this story with us. Check out more of Ari’s stories here.
To hear the Marketplace story “Unlikely duo teams up for kosher, halal” click here.
I just got home from seeing Jonathan Safran Foer speak at B’nai Jeshurun in Manhattan. Foer spoke for a short while and read from his new book, Eating Animals, but a large portion of the event was devoted to Q&A.
Foer noted from the onset that the synagogue was a fitting venue to have a discussion about the ethical issues related to eating animals. He said that religion strives to lessen violence and suffering in the world and that it affects our relationship with the Earth and nature. He said that while he does not consider himself particularly observant, the Judaism passed down to him from his parents and grandparents “informed” Eating Animals.
He read a sample of the book’s opening chapter, which also appeared in The New York Times Magazine last fall. The concluding line “If nothing matters, there’s nothing to save” was a great “thesis” to shape the conversation that followed.
My boyfriend is really into good podcasts and came home the other night insisting that I watch this. And he was right, Dan Barber gives a charming and very insightful talk about sustainable fishing. Check it out:
KOL Foods, LLC puts kosher meat and ethics on the same plate so consumers can feel good about the meat they eat. KOL Foods sources and sells grass-fed, non-industrial, healthy lamb and beef and pastured poultry directly to individuals. Since its foundation in 2007, the interest in KOL Foods’ products has grown rapidly, and, consequently, they are now available in the East Coast and the Midwest primarily through our website. As demand is increasing KOL Foods is seeking to expand in the Eastern United States and, in the near future, nationwide.
KOL Foods is unique as it operates differently from industrial kosher meat businesses. As a values-based business, our mission is to produce food that is in harmony with nature, neighbors and tradition – all the way from farm to fork. For further information on KOL Foods, please go to: www.kolfoods.com .