I grew up with a father who absolutely loved archery hunting for deer. While he may not have had much success during my childhood the love of hunting and the appreciation of time spent together as father and child were quickly instilled into my being. I can remember my dad letting me take time off from school to go sit in a hemlock tree in an attempt to fill the freezer with fresh meat, memories which I will cherish until the day I day. Fast forward to the present year, 2012. While healthy living has been around for a long time the consumption of organic food is a relative new trend.
Looking back on my childhood I now realize that while my dad didn't realize it, he was a pioneer of feeding his family healthy organic food. Between the fresh venison and rabbit meat we hunted for each fall and winter and the bounty of our home grown vegetables each summer and fall not only were we saving money on the weekly grocery bill, we were eating food that was beneficial to our bodies and not filling it with hormone laced, radiated foods.
Now before anyone corrects me, I realize he wasn't really a pioneer because long before anyone that is readings this was born that was how people survived and fed their family by raising there own meat, growing gardens full of vegetables and hunting for the rest. The fact is that is is easy to drive to the local grocery store and pick up what ever you are craving now but the quality and nutritional value of those foods can never match what you grow, raise and hunt yourself.
In the winter of 2009 I spent the morning in the woods with my daughter and one of my closest friends Seth which you can read about here if you so desire. (Click on the word "here" if you would like to read the story.) The deer Ariel and I harvest provide us with enough meat that we are able to limit the amount of beef we purchase and very little goes to waste during the process. The Meat, bones and organs are all used and usually the only waste is the stomach and remaining digestive track along with the head and pelt (although on occasion the pelt is used as well)
While the deer I harvested that day may not be the largest of deer it provided me and my family with over 30 large meals. The meat was portioned out for a family of 4 with enough for a guest or 2.
Once the animal has been skinned, I remove all the meat from the bone and cut the large sections of meat into the desired product.
All the tougher cuts of meat and scraps are ground (by hand with an old fashioned table mounted grinder) into hamburger. I don't add any pork fat to my hamburger when I process my meat. Depending on what we are making for a meal sometimes I add fat sometimes I don't.
Then there is the stew meat! This is good stuff - while we use it for stew it is also good as kabob meat and my favorite - stroganoff meat!
Then there is the "steaks" while they may not be your typical t-bone or rib eye steaks they are just as good if not better. I prefer not to cut through the bone because I have found the marrow in the bones leads to the heavy gamy taste that turns most people off to wild game. Of course there is the loin meat which is often referred to as the back strap and the tenderloins which are eaten the day of the hunt!
Once everything is cut up I portion it out and we package it for the freezer so it can be enjoyed over the next several months. I am proud to say that both my kids ate venison as part of their first meal of solid food. While I may still enjoy junk food I am doing what I can to provide my family with fresh organic meat from the game that Ariel and I hunt for along with poultry and eggs that we raise. I also wrote a post on my thankfulness for the above mentioned meat which can be read by clicking here.
I realize that a majority of people may not ever go hunting but with all the local farmers markets the option of purchasing grass fed, organic and hormone free meats, eggs and milk are readily available to most now. So my suggestion is get up and harvest it yourself or support your local farmers - your body will thank you for it!