So this coming Saturday we will be butchering 150 chickens. We raise meat chickens, process them, and then sell them. You see, raising your own animals and eating them is 100% new to me. Growing up I did, unfortunately, like the majority of America, not know where my food came from. I ate mostly processed foods and I’m pretty sure my parents just bought the cheapest meats at the grocery store. I never thought about the farmer who grew the wheat and vegetables I ate (though I rarely ate vegetables and when I did they were mostly fried), the peanuts in my peanut butter, or the animal my meat came from. I saw wheat fields all the time but never noticed they were there and if I did I most definitely did not think that bread came from them. I had a complete disconnect with where my food came from. And that is the problem with America today. That is why so many people eat junk because they don’t think about where it comes from. Knowing your food came from a hard-working farmer or a cow that was treated humanely makes you want to eat those foods.
Not only has learning how to farm been a journey, but learning where my food came from has been one too. I am way more conscious of what I eat. It hasn’t exactly been an easy ride though.
When we lived in OKC we bought a lot of our vegetables and meat from local farmers. I never had to see the animal alive and well. For some reason it is very difficult for me to see the animal alive and then eat it a few days later.
Even though we butcher our chickens very humanely, using processing equipment, it is still extremely difficult for me to eat chicken. We butchered 100 chickens in June and I have still not tasted our own chicken or hardly any chicken at all. I know it is 1 million times better than grocery store chicken. I know those chickens lived clean, happy, and nurtured lives without steroids injected into them. They saw daylight everyday and were moved to fresh new pasture with new bugs to eat every single morning.
It is just very difficult for me to see the animals I cared for and fed everyday processed in just a few hours (I’m going to leave it at “processed” for your sake). Last time we processed them it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It took me several minutes of self-motivation before I could even touch the finished product to clean it. Yes, I did cry. So knowing what is ahead of me on Saturday makes me very nervous because I do not handle chicken day very well.
However, I pressed forward last time, and I’m sure I will this time. I just have to remember that those chickens were given the best life possible and I am providing the best food my community can get.
I am the same way with any animal. I get so attached to them and start making them have feelings and thoughts. I know God put them here for us to have food. He put those animals here for us to take care of them properly, which I genuinely believe we do.
I do know this: my children will be taught at a very young age where food comes from. They will take care of animals, giving them dignity and a good life, but understanding that those animals will be food. Thinking about that makes me very happy and giddy!
In saying all of this I ask of you 3 things:
- Know where your food comes from. Know how that animal was treated. Was it given a good life? Treated ethically? By the way…not all food is real. Some of it is 100% fake ingredients so if you’re eating that throw it away right now!
- Pray for your farmers and thank them for their hard work and providing the food you eat at your table.
- Pray for me on Saturday as we give our chickens their ultimate purpose in life: to be food for friends, family, and community members we so cherish. And too that I will be able to get past this issue and eat chicken again.