Outsourcing Or …

During this unique time in our lives, I have noticed that many of us are beginning to slow down (do we have a choice?) and with the slowing down has come the time for some serious reflecting. Now like you, I consider reflection as a singular activity; you know the rainy Saturday afternoon by yourself at home time that you allow your brain to come upon some pushed aside thoughts that deserve  your attention. These thoughts are sometimes random, sometimes specific. Whatever they are, they are usually hindsight, rear view mirror thoughts. I have had quite a few of these thoughts recently. Some to do with the “good old days” of childhood memories-carefree summers on the family farm. Watching my mom tend to the family vegetable garden and my dad raise bands of turkeys out on the back of our property. My parents were not outsourcers. They grew a lot of what we put on our table. It was rare to have store bought meat or grocery store vegetables. And as to what I remember about food as a youngster? I remember that my mom was a great cook and the food was plentiful and delicious. There was always enough to feed the family and the occasional guest. 

And then came adulthood. Eating in restaurants, grabbing fast food and when I cooked, it was food from the grocery store. I outsourced a lot back in my early adult days. Farmers Markets came much later into my realm. I frequented them on the occasional Thursday night or early Saturday morning. The farm stands with the farmers behind them. Proud and hardworking, they often traveled great distances overnight to set up their tents to sell their just-harvested produce to the outsourcers like me. I knew what fresh tomatoes tasted like from childhood and I was delighted to re-connect with the farming community. It was like coming home to my family farm. And although I was still a food outsourcer, I was getting closer to eating clean and eating healthy.

Today, as I have had ample time to reflect on many things, I decided to begin to research and source my food. As fortune would have it, I met a young woman named Sarah who along with her husband owns a cattle ranch some 20 miles from town. They sell meat-beef, pork, and chicken. Home grown meats. I called Sarah recently to ask about coming out to the farm for a visit and to buy some meat from her. She was gracious about taking time from her busy day (she is also a mom of two) to meet me at the farm. We walked and talked about raising cattle. Like me she was a 4-H kid and she told stories of raising her first steer to show and how she cried when it was to be auctioned off and that her dad bought it back and brought it back to the farm for her. I saw the cattle that would soon become meat for someone’s table. Today, raising a herd of beef cattle is so different than when I was a kid. There are online cattle auctions. Blood lines are a serious topic of discussion and ways to select just the right cows to help strengthen and build up the herd. Suddenly I realized that Sarah and her husband were sourcing their cattle but just at a greater distance and with internet speed of the 2000’s.

It all came full circle to me. Just like in childhood I was given the opportunity to source my protein for the highest quality and best-tasting meat to be found in the area. I was helping a farmer and I was loving the experience. And while we will all surely get back to our lives soon enough, why not take some time while you have it and reflect on some sourcing of your own. What is important to you in your life? How will you begin to change the way your purchase products and services? How do you find the right things for you and your family? I guess it will all begin when you meet someone like Sarah, who is making a living and a life on a cattle ranch just outside the city. And who is willing to educate and inform about living the life that she and her husband have created so that you and I can become food sourceeducated to live a healthier life.