Finding True Value in Local Food

Over the Christmas Holidays, Julie and I had the equally scary and privileged task of preparing the Christmas turkey at our house and then taking it in the van with us Christmas morning to my in-law’s for her family’s Christmas feast. We volunteered to try and cook it just as perfect as her mom so the pressure was on…

Instead of buying the generic $1.99 per pound utility bird at the local grocery store, I ordered a fresh, locally raised bird from our butcher. Fresh and local are the key words – this bird had feathers December 23 in the morning and I picked him up in the afternoon ready for us to stress about how to roast him to the high standards Julie’s mom has set over the years. The bird wasn’t cheap, $78 for a 22 lb. turkey but I am a local farmer producing local food and I support other local family farms as much as possible. This turkey had lead a good life, he had room to run around, eat whatever he wanted and I was confident that my purchase was supporting the local economy with every dollar I spent.

This isn’t a blog about how to cook a turkey, so I will save you the suspense. It was delicious. Probably the best we have ever had. Julie’s mom, the most important person in the whole equation was thrilled and so was I. It’s too bad the saying about “Happy wife, happy life” doesn’t rhyme as well with mother-in-law because it definitely applies.

What I really wanted to get to was the economics of supporting local farms. On Christmas day, that turkey fed:

Our 2016 Christmas turkey.

  • 18 people for dinner at lunch
  • 15 people for turkey leftovers later that day
  • 14 people Boxing Day at lunch
  • 14 people Boxing Day for supper

Then I brought the carcass and leftovers back home and made a ridiculously good soup that ate like a meal and fed no less than 38 people over the course of the next week.

So all in all, that $78 investment of which $78 went directly back into Ontario’s economy provided the protein portion of 99 meals. Less than $1 a serving for ethically raised, truly delicious table fare. Not bad if you ask me.

Many of my customers have told me similar stories about using our beef, chicken and pork in similar ways but this time the tables were turned and I was the customer – but the math still works just as well and I am back in mother in-law’s good books… for now.

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