Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Source for More Ethical Meats Right Here in Mount Pleasant

I was a lacto-ovo-vegetarian for many years, but not really the healthy kind.  For many years I was only a vegetarian by virtue of not eating meat and gave no real consideration to how I was getting protein, omega-3, etc.  Then for a few years I paid attention to actual nutrition guidelines and was a bit of a healthier vegetarian, making sure my diet was composed of vegetables, beans, legumes, whole grains, etc.  In the fall of 2008, I started eating fish.  I can't remember why, maybe it was curiosity.  Maybe it was all those nights of All You Can Eat Sushi with my friends where I thought I wasn't getting my money's worth unless I started eating something more than edamame and yam rolls.  Salmon nigiri was my gateway meat and I began to eat it all the time.  When I got pregnant with Aias in the spring of 2009 I suddenly had a craving for bacon and all things meat.  Within a few months I was just your regular omnivore, eating oodles of fish, chicken, and the occasional slice of bacon.  I even had a hamburger once or twice.

Beef and pork are still sort of hard for me to eat (especially pork thanks to Charlotte's Web), and the thought of eating any kind of animal often makes me feel a little bit guilty sometimes.  When the buses with the giant PETA ads plastered on the side drive by, I'm definitely put off for a bit.  There were many reasons why I was a vegetarian but my primary reason was because I felt bad eating something that had a mother, something that had ever been a baby or something that could be scared.  What made eating meat a bit easier on my conscience was the discovery of more ethical meats.  What I mean by ethical meats are meats that are free range, antibiotic free and organic,  and meats that aren't taken from animals living in terrible conditions or factory farmed.   Now, I am a little on the fence about this because if I liken it to someone telling me I was going to be killed and eaten no matter what but I had the choice of spending my last days in a prison camp or at a resort, I'd still be like "Um, please just don't kill and eat me?"  I'm not sure how much it would matter to me that my last days were more pleasant if the ultimate result was going to be me dead and cooked on someone's plate.  Watching Food Inc made me feel a tiny bit better about ethical meats, and a whole lot worse for ever having eaten factory farmed meat. 

For a while we were going to Whole Foods and Choices Market and buying our meat from them.  This basically meant not only cutting our meat intake by quite a bit, but it meant spending a lot more money.  I'm pretty frugal in general, but I've always bought the free range eggs that cost 3x the normal amount and Morgan assured me it wasn't throwing money away to buy the free range meat.  Still, it was hard to walk around a regular grocery store and resist sale chicken breast knowing I was going to walk over to Whole Foods after and spend like 3x more money on a smaller package.  Still, it was better than not having meat at all and much better than feeling guilty about the conditions the animals had been living in.  After a while I started getting frustrated that apparently eating ethically was something reserved for the wealthy.  That being said, we endured it anyway.

After several months of big spending on more ethical meats, my mom mentioned a butcher she had gone to when she lived in this neighborhood as a child.  My good friend Jessica then mentioned there was a butcher she went to in our neighborhood and it turned out to be the same place.  I asked if I could tag along with her the next time she went to get meat.  I'm so very happy I did!

The butcher shop we went to is called Windsor Packing Co. Ltd. at 4110 Main Street in Vancouver.  I Googled Windsor Packing Company and couldn't find a website (there's another Windsor Packing Company in North Van but it's not the same place) but I imagine that's because this independent & locally owned business doesn't need any advertising; they get by amazingly well with their current clientele and word of mouth advertising!  Their meats come from local farms, and the vast majority of what they sell is organic, free range, and antibiotic free.  They simply don't even sell the factory farmed stuff you are likely going to pay more for at Safeway or even Superstore.  Even better is the quality and taste of the meat; apparently happier animals just taste better.  The chicken is juicier, the beef is more tender, and the bacon is the best you will ever taste.  

What we do now is get a freezer pack once a month or so.  There are two sizes: Family ($100) and Individual ($50).  Taxes are included so when they say 50 bucks they mean 50 bucks.   We actually did quite well with just the individual pack as long as we had a few nights of tofu in the mix.  The family pack is MORE than enough for a month.  Since there is no website, I thought I would post the contents of the freezer packs here so people can check it out before going into the store.  This is just the information from the fliers they hand out.  Bear in mind this is ethical, antibiotic, free range local meat in these freezer packs; not the cheap junk you get from walking into a grocery store chain. 

$100.00 FAMILY PACKS Consist of:
3x2 pieces Centre Cut Pork Chops-- 12.00
4x1 lb Medium Ground Beef-- 10.00
1x2.5lb Baron of Beef (inside round)-- 15.00
1x3 lb Boneless Pork Butt Roast-- 9.00
2x1 lb Windsor Pork sausages-- 6.00
2x1 lb Windsor Beef sausages-- 2.00
2x1 lb Lean Stew Beef -- 7.00
1 Whole Fryer Chicken- Cup Up- 1 per bag-- 9.00
1 Whole Fryer-- 9.00
4x1 pc. Boneless Ham Steak-- 7.00
Steak of Choice-- 14.00
Soup Bones at no charge

$50.00 INDIVIDUAL PACKS Consist of:
2x2 pieces Centre Cut Pork Chops-- 8.00
2x1 lb Medium Ground Beef-- 5.00
1x3 lb Boneless Pork Butt Roast-- 9.00
1x1 lb Windsor Pork sausages-- 3.00
1x1 lb Windsor Beef sausages-- 1.00
1x1 lb Lean Stew Beef-- 3.00
1 Whole fryer chicken cut up-- 9.00
2x1 pc. Boneless Ham Steak-- 4.00
Steak of Choice-- 8.00
Soup Bones at no charge

Substitutions can be made for any item with another item of comparable price.  Any additional items will be invoiced at the current retail price.  We personally trade the beef sausage and 1 lb of the pork sausage for bacon.  Usually we get about a lb.

They suggest you either call in advance or place the order a few days in advance.  On one occasion it wasn't busy so they just thew a $50 pack together while I waited, and on another occassion I called the $100 pack in and went and got it 3 hours later.  I imagine it varies on how busy they are at a given time.  

The contact information for Windsor meats is:
Windsor Packing Co. Ltd.
4110 Main Street (at King Ed and Main)
Vancouver, BC V5V 3P7
Phone: 604.872.5635

Finally I like to end it with a picture, because heck, what's an entry without a picture, right?  I did a Google image search on "Happy Meat" and this was in the first slot. I followed it to the original page it came from, and strangely enough it linked me to a blog entry from Green as a Thistle which was bizarrely about almost this same exact topic I just wrote about above.  Crazy, right?  In case you were wondering, you won't find smiley faced pork luncheon meat at Windsor ;)




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6 comments:

  1. Hi! Found you through a blog hop and am now following you on GFC. Come and say 'Hi!' at http://avalon-lion.blogspot.com ;-) Have a lovely weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi!! I'm stopping by and following from Hoppin' Weekend Blog Hop. I hope you'll check out my blog Frazzled Mama at http://frazzled-mama.com and follow me back. Hope you have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ethical meat are important, I think, not only for the treatment of the animals, but for the sustainability of it. Cows and other meat animals should not, in my opinion at least, be being fed huge amounts of grain to produce meat when that grain can be put to use feeding people around the world and the cow can be raised more humanely in a grass pasture, with only limited grain supplementation to its diet.

    Then again, I'm also of the opinion that anyone who eats meat should have to help butcher an animal at some point. Many people seem to have forgotten that those neat little clear wrapped packages in the store were ever a living, breathing, feeling being.

    Anyway, thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm following back and look forward to new posts.

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  4. Ooooh, we might need to check these guys out! Thanks Monika!

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  5. I really enjoyed this post, and would like personally, to look into finding my own ethical butcher. Whole Foods aka "Whole Paycheck" has great product selections, but they are just too darn expensive!

    I especially enjoyed the argument about the prison vs. the resort. That was cute, despite the circumstance.

    So you know, I'm newly following courtesy of the "I Heart Maternity" site, and we're also new FB friends. (You joined my page yesterday!)

    Lastly, if you are interested, I'm hosting my first link-up starting tonight, The Sundae Hop. I'd love for you join in! Oh, and Happy Mother's Day!

    Baby Talk without the Babble

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great blog! New GFC follower from the Saturday Spotlight Blog Hop and I hope to see you at mine though I'm just starting out. ☺ ☺ ☺

    http://diversity-unlimited.blogspot.com/

    Odahingum

    ReplyDelete

I've adopted the same commenting policy as seen here at Off Beat Mama (http://offbeatmama.com/about/comments). I won't post comments if they strike me as attacking, judgmental, rude, or unproductive. In general if you are willing to put your name to something, I'll post it, but remember to keep your words sweet, because someday you may have to eat them.