Friday, December 22, 2006

But I Love the SB Chicken Ranch!!

All this debate about vegetarianism certainly makes me pause and think. It's easy to be deliberately naive--I mean, who wants to consider the things they talk about here? [Warning: don't click on that link unless you are ready to get serious--it's all about cruelty in the industrial-poultry business.]

And it's not like you only see it on obscure .org websites either. We'll be driving down I-5 in a few days and will pass by Harris Ranch in Kettleman City. Like always, we'll joke about how bad it stinks and the kids will blame me for the smell, to which I'll respond "Hey, mine aren't that bad!" After all, there must be 10,000 cows packed into those dirt lots not much bigger than a few acres. They live in their own crap and eat cheap chemical-infused grain poured into their feed troughs. They are most definitely not Happy California Cows. We don't want to support this.

Trouble is, I am weak.

Tonight for example... just couldn't see cooking after a hard day of holiday shopping, so where did we go for dinner? Yep, Matt's Santa Barbara Chicken Ranch. We love that place. Best tri-tip burritos in town.

And look what was right next to our table! An authentic signed yellow jersey. That's right, even Lance goes to the Chicken Ranch when he's in town.

So my question for Matt is: where do you get your chicken and beef?

Please don't tell me it's from Tyson Foods or some other mega-industrial meat company. If so, please consider another source. I'll gladly pay another buck or two per burrito.


Sherry (your little sis) said...

Hey Mark-

It looks like the SB area is getting a Whole Foods store sometime soon. We do most of our shopping at our WF store here because of the high quality, mostly locally grown produce & humanely raised poultry & meat. It's definitley more expensive, hence the nickname "Whole Paycheck" but we feel better knowing our food is not coming from places like Harris Ranch! It becomes more tricky of course when you're eating out, because you usually don't know where most restaurants get their food...

susan, your sister-in-law said...

Hi Mark,

Growing up in Nebraska as a big beef eater, I know what you mean. But, we raised everything we ate: chickens, ducks, geese, cows, pigs.... Kinda disgusts me to think about it, but at least they were all free-range, and we did love them. Even named a few, although my parents were pretty careful not to let us name animals intended for our own consumption. For example, my pig, Cecilia, named for the Simon and Garfunkel song, was sold to someone else (who probably ate her), and our cow, Cuddles, went to the sale barn, too. Still, at least we knew that the bacon and steak in the freezer wasn't some of the "special" livestock. It was easy for me to give up meat when I moved to California, because, being raised on Nebraska beef, nothing that I bought in the store tasted right anymore, so I quit eating it and didn't miss it. (Although nothing is quite as wonderful as a piece of bacon now and then.) And after reading Fast Food Nation, I was even more appalled and do have trouble eating chicken and eggs sometimes. As Sherry said, stores such as Whole Foods do help consumers buy responsibly, and there are several restaurants, usually the more expensive ones, that will tell you where they are getting their ingredients. And to add another twist, Steve and I have tried very hard to eat fish responsibly, which is very challenging at times. We haven't had some of our favorites for a very long time, and we are disappointed to see many restaurants making little effort to stop serving over-fished populations. That means no swordfish, shark, or sea bass for us. We're basically looking at halibut and wild salmon right now.

Marco Fanelli said...

Hey Sherry and Susan,

Yeah, you're right. It's worth it from a lot of standpoints to pay more for responsibly-grown food, both meat and produce. Better tasting and ecologically sensible. As you know, we're pathological cheapskates, but this is important enough that we're doing it.

Now, if only we were willing to pay more for really good wine, eh!?!