I was in a hurry Saturday afternoon. I had to make a pot roast, but I had very little time. So I decided that we would settle for a meal that was good and nutritious, but simple and easy to prepare. I browned the grassfed roast in grassfed beef suet, took it out of the pan, and browned an onion and some shallots in the drippings. I returned the roast to the pan, added some water, salt and pepper, covered it, and stuck it in a low oven. The whole procedure took about ten minutes. Several hours later, we ate what I thought would be a mediocre but acceptable pot roast. I was wrong.
The roast was absolutely delicious, with a wonderful rich flavor, and a great texture. We all remarked on how wonderful it was. I was shocked that it tasted so good. After thinking about it, I realized what made the meal so wonderful—the quality of the ingredients.
But why were the ingredients so good? After all, all the meat we eat is grassfed, and all the vegetables we eat are organic. After some thought, I realized that all the ingredients came from farms that had particularly great soil, from farmers who really cared about the quality of their food The lesson I learned is that even in the world of real food, some food is exceptional.
The Importance of Soil
Every plant and grass gets its nutrition from the soil—the richer the soil, the more nutritious the plant. Grassfed cattle get their nutrition from the grass. Grass growing in rich soil makes great feed for cattle, resulting in great flavor and nutrition, and fatter cattle, which are more tender and flavorful. Factory agriculture depletes the soil, relying on chemicals and artificial fertilizer to produce plants that are far inferior to plants grown on rich soil. Yet even good soil is not as desirable as great soil.
The Wonderful Meat
The roast came from U.S. Wellness Meats. I have been ordering grassfed beef from U.S. Wellness Meats regularly since August 2006. They sold me the first grassfed meat I successfully cooked. Their meat was excellent then. The business has grown a great deal since 2006, and the quality of the meat has changed. It has become steadily better, more tender, more flavorful, more energizing. While the quality of most companies’ products suffer as they grow bigger, U.S. Wellness Meats is an exception to the rule. I credit the fact that their meat is getting steadily better to their founder, John Wood, who constantly takes measures to improve the quality of the soil on his farm, and to raise even better meat. This blog post I did on how John is improving the soil on his farm shows how he did it: Grassfed Farmer Renews the Land. The improving quality and terrific flavor of his already superb meat show the results. The wonderful natural flavor of the meat was a huge factor in producing this easy, yet delicious roast.
The Amazing Onion and Shallots
There is a farm at our local farmers market. A couple months ago, I passed their stand and was struck by the beautiful vibrant color of their organic Italian peppers. We already bought our produce from another organic farm in the market, and were very happy with their produce, but these peppers looked so wonderful, I bought a few. After sautéing the peppers simply, we were completely blown away with their incredible flavor and pleasing texture. And we felt good after eating them, a feeling I usually get only when eating grassfed meat.
Next week, we stopped at the stand, and bought all kinds of gorgeous produce. I talked to the farmer, and told him how much I enjoyed the peppers. He said, “This is the food I feed my family.” He said it seriously, with pride and satisfaction, as if feeding his family was the most important thing in the world, and it was his duty to do it well, and he knew he was doing his duty. We talked a bit more, and he spoke about the natural measures he took to improve his soil, which he did every single year. No chemical fertilizer or pesticides for his family! No wonder his produce was so wonderful.
The onion and shallots came from his farm, and their rich complex flavor blended perfectly with the fantastic meat from U.S. Wellness Meats.
All factory foods taste pretty much the same. Factory beef has the same flavor, no matter where it comes from. All factory vegetables taste pretty much the same as well. But grassfed beef had a wide variety of tastes, and grassfed beef from cattle raised on healthy grass growing on rich soil has incredible flavor and tenderness. Organic or the equivalent vegetables also vary widely in flavor, but the very best comes from those wise farmers who improve their soil. When you eat food of this very high quality, even a simple, easy recipe can result in a magnificent meal.
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