Growing up as a farmer's daughter has its advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages are the pungent perfume that clings to your hair and clothes, animals confusing your hair for straw, and countless tumbles, boo boos and doo doos that never wash out and always leave a neat little scar.
The advantages far out way the superficial problems, easily solved with a Band-Aid, shower or run through the washing machine. The advantage is the food.
I was fortunate, since my infancy, to be raised on good food. Not only is my mother an excellent cook, but the ingredients were largely from the farm. At the height of summer, every meal on the table was entirely from our garden or from our farm, save for the pepper and salt. My lunches too, reflected the lifestyle at home. Ham sandwich on homemade bread with mom's pickles, an apple from grandma's yard and of course delightful course of cookies.
My fortune stretches to helping at the barn.
To many people, meeting your future meal seems like a grim affair. Yet I found it an important part of my growing up. When I ate my dinner, be it steak, stew, chicken, sausage or burgers, I knew where it came from and I knew how it was raised.
As I got older, I went to university, carrying my homegrown education with me. In university, I only ever purchased meat once. It was chicken thighs, and I was rearing to try and cook something. I've had store bought chicken before and I'm not adverse to eating it, but something clicked in me shortly after. I didn't know where this came from. This chicken was, without a doubt, one of those sad little creatures pumped full of hormones, corn and other medication to keep it up right and fat until it was slaughter time, if it was fortunate enough to live that long.
I made a personal vow from there on out, not to purchase meat from the grocery store. And I never did. Throughout university, I was basically vegetarian, save for the meat my parents sent over, and that was saved and savored for special occasions.
What I'm getting at, and I am leading somewhere with this, is that I've been spoiled for choice. My spoiling comes, not from being haughty about the quality of my food, but where my food comes from. If I know the food came from a nice farm, where the animals are treated with some level of dignity and not as a piece of quick meat made for marketing, then I'm going to buy and support.
Its knowing where your food comes from that gives an important perspective on your life choices. On occasion, I've seen it turn people vegetarian. They can't stomach seeing an animal die for food and I respect their feelings. More often than not though, people develop a better understanding of what it means to purchase local. It means that they understand where there food comes from and are willing to sacrifice the big box price for not only the quality of taste but the quality of life for the farmer and the animals. You and I are able to make the decision and that's being spoiled for choice.