From chick to plate

The theme for Blog Action Day is Food and the hashtag is #bad11.

As dairy and beef farmers within the EU, we have to ensure traceability of our beef (as to sheep farmers etc too) and while there has been an emphasis in recent years for restaurants to show that they are buying Irish and buying local, sometimes I think it just doesn’t go far enough. We seem to want food to be cheaper and cheaper all the time, something that the supermarkets use to advantage by cutting the price of certain meats or vegetables which of course, means that the supplier has to take the cut too whether they like it or not. ?But good, traceable, safe, flavoursome food costs money to produce so my question is would we be better eating less of it but paying more for good food?

Last year we bought 18 chicks to rear and kill as meat. ?I estimated that each bird probably cost us an average of ?10 between the buying and feeding cost, that doesn’t include the hours we spent plucking and cleaning out. ?Yes, the birds were the size of small turkeys by the time we killed the last few but it really irks me when I go into a supermarket and see a chicken on special offer for ?5. Apart from the fact it isn’t much bigger than a sparrow, I wonder how much the supplier actually got for it.

I usually get most of our beef and lamb from a nearby butcher who we used to supply with beef heifers when we used an Aberdeen Angus bull. They have opened a little factory shop now and when I was last there, I queried where the chicken breasts I was going to buy came from – the answer was Holland so I left them back. ?The rashers were packaged in Ireland but came from Holland too so I didn’t buy them either. ?I don’t necessarily want to do Dutch farmers out of a living either but surely we have plenty of beautiful pork and chicken here which we can consume without resorting to meat that has travelled miles, plus we need to be buying more Irish in terms of doing our bit to help the economy especially if the price is going to be the same.

8 thoughts on “From chick to plate

  • Moregeous

    It’s the same in the UK, we try to mostly buy from local suppliers even if it costs a little more. In the long run it will ‘cost’ us far more to beholden to the big supermarkets like Tesco *washes mouth out with soap after saying that name*

    • Lorna

      I know, Sian, their monopoly over producers is really getting scary. One of the big supermarkets Superquinn here was taken over recently by Musgrave’s who also own another line of supermarkets. What was very scary was that although many of the suppliers were not going to get paid the money that Superquinn owed them, very few spoke out as they wanted to be able to supply the new owners. Many thanks for visiting this blog xx Lorna

  • Amanda

    I wish I could find the stats now but I believe that less of the average income goes towards food than ever before. When I hear talk of taxes being put on junk food I wonder why they don’t incentivise people to buy healthier food instead.

    I have to admit though that I do fall for the low priced foods. Even though I know enough about the food and supermarket industry to understand that my choices are detrimental to suppliers. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m lazy or if I get swayed by the stupidly low prices too.

    • Lorna

      I know,, I get swayed too and yes, I often feel guilty afterwards. I was shopping in Tesco’s tonight and all the offers at the end of each aisle were pure overpriced junk (and yes, I bought an occasional one!)
      I read about those stats in a paper some time ago but yes, I believe we are spending less on food (proportionately to total income) than ever before but I guess we are spending more on entertainment, technology etc than ever before too.

  • ayearinredwood

    Lorna, I so agree with you with regard to the pricing etc of meat! A hobby horse of ours here too! And yes I’ve seen those factory outlets for meat popping up everywhere and we’ve asked the same questions….. most of the meat comes from outside Ireland and is just packed here!

  • M?na Wise

    I love that photo Lorna!
    I agree about the place of origin with the meat and produce we buy.
    The price does sway us, of course, but we strive to only buy Irish, Organic or free range at all times. I think that there is a band of people really trying to support the local markets and producers, but the majority are strapped for cash and reach for the cheaper chicken.

    • Lorna

      Oh, I know Mona, and I have bought meat that is half price on offer too even though I know the supplier is the one being cut. And I know having produce from other countries gives us choice and perhaps value for money but I don’t like to see them passing over meat from other countries as Irish by packaging it here, that is bordering on dishonesty.



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