Getting to know your farmers

Today I had the privilege to be part of a small group of nutrition practitioners who had the opportunity to go on a farm tour with a well known farm here in Southern California.

Primal Pastures is a farm about 75 miles East of Los Angeles. The coolest part about learning about Primal Pastures, if that their farming operation was started by a few young men, who really didn't know much about farming and just wanted to raise 54 free range chickens, named 'primal chickens', to later turn it into a full fledged operation that continues to grow as the supply and demand for clean food continues as we learn more about the farming in the United States.

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Today, Chef Eric and his wife Beth guided us on a tour of Primal Pastures and taught us about their operation and what you as consumers should be looking for when buying your food, particularly meats and eggs and the various types of farming practices that go on. I certainly have learned a lot over the past few years, but today just solidifed all that I have read and learned about farming, and the information behind it. 

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Now you see here, so many people living in Los Angeles, have probably never been on a farm in their lives, but I consider myself lucky to grow up in suburbia in Eastern Connecticut and was surrounded by farms my entire life. Despite the fact I was surrounded by farms and fields, especially tobacco barns, it didn't really dawn on me how important farming is until I started working in the nutrition industry. This may seem odd, but truth is when you live by the beach, you almost take advantage that the beach is so close, and living in an area of the country where farms are quite common, you don't think twice about it. I loved learning the basics of farming as a young teen when I went to visit my friends chicken farm ten minutes from my parents house. I got to see how the chickens were raised in their coops and how they thrive. That is exactly how animals should be treated, to thrive, however the practice of humane farming is becoming a lost craft.

The American food supply system has become insanely greedy and the best practices that once were, have gone out the barn door, literally. Marketing dollars are what matter most for large greedy corporate farms. I learned recently, one of the companies that claims to be organic and non-gmo doesn't have safe farming practices and have a slaughterhouse that truly isn't meat that I would want to be buying. Fortunately, I have been buying directly from a farmer for over a year now, at my local farmer's market. I will soon be ordering direct from Primal Pastures now knowing the humane operation that they have. 

As a result of the food and farming in America Americans are sicker than ever.  So many children and adults are finding out they have food intolerances and allergies that they didn't have many years ago. Allergies among children in the USA are at their highest. According to an article published earlier this year, 'allergies are costing the United states $25 billion annually. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reported that 3.6% of Americans have some sort of food allergy, with women affected at 4.2% and men at 2.9%. Reactions include shellfish, fruit, vegetables, dairy, tree nuts, additives, grains and even more deadly are the well known allergy to peanuts that so many children and adults have.' Therefore, we really need to start paying attention to where our food is coming from more than we ever have. 

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One thing you may be shocked to find out is that organic certifications on meats may just mean that the animals are being fed organic feed, but are being brought up in inhumane conditions. So, how can one 'really,' know how their chickens are being raised and what sort of feed is being fed to the animals they are putting on their dinner table at night? Well, let's start with visiting your local farmer. I was shocked to learn that the certification for having a pasture raised animal isn't what you would think and the certifying agencies don't even go out to visit the majority of farms to actually verify the humane practices. This is quite alarming and shocking to know that the meat you think is 'grass fed,' or pasture raised and or humane most likely isn't so. Not to mention so many farms are feeding animals dirty feed, to include genetically modified diets, of corn, soy and dirty grains. 

You will be happy to know the reason behind Primal Pastures tours, is to allow their visitors and consumers into their farming community to see that they are doing it the right way and the clean way. No soy feed is being used at their farms, so their animals are being fed clean feed, in addition to grazing off the land, which is what they should be doing. Bugs, grass and the land are what animals should be eating.

One important anecdote I learned today from Chef Eric and Beth that I think is important to pass on is, "Don't trust labels, trust your farmers." This my friends is why I will jump on the Primal Pasture tractor to support their human operation of allowing their animals to protect each other and eat from the land that we need to continue to take care of. The below photo is of one of the nearly thirty pigs by way of New Zealand that are seen on the farm.

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Primal Pastures has been in operation since 2012, so they are a fairly new farm. Many of the staff on the farm did not grow up in the farming community, which makes it that much more interesting and beautiful that they are self taught or taught by others who have wanted to learn to treat mother earth and its animals with care to live a happy and healthy life, until they become the food for your to nourish your palette.

Primal Pastures ships various products to the following states, which could be subject to change at any given moment.  

**"All products shipped frozen in a fully recyclable, insulated box with dry ice. Home delivery to: CA, AZ, TX, NM, NV, UT, CO, WY, ID, WA, OR, MT** (per the Primal Pastures website)  Primal Pastures pack orders once a week, so the deadline to order is Monday at 11:59pm to receive your meat the same week."***

Primal Pastures does the best they can to meet supply and demand, but at times there could be  certain foods that may not be available, so please check their website for more information. If you want to arrange a farm tour, you may reach out to them directly via their website.