Returning from a warm, sunny Florida vacation, I took some time to reflect on my last couple of weeks. One of my more interesting reflections I had was about a particular, unexpected food choice I made while in Seaside, Florida. Just for the record – I had never been to Seaside, Florida and honestly didn’t know what to expect. It was one of those “let’s go check out this place and see what it’s like” type of vacation. What I found was an upscale vacation haven. A beautiful beach, a colossal number of bicycles for transportation (because the roads were too narrow for easy car travel), funky cottages with a menagerie of architecture and colors, quaint stores and, of course, good food! The food choices aligned themselves to the upscale environment.
On the first night we arrived, I took one look at the menu of a food stand and immediately felt a bit rebellious and rejected all of the “grass fed, hormone free, family farmed, antibiotic free” meat choices. You see, I know the way we raise animals on our farm and I know it results in safe, healthy and nutritious meat. And I also know our pork is antibiotic-free, hormone-free, humanely raised, and from a family farm – even though it is not marketed that way. However . . . on the second day, I decided to step outside my boundaries and celebrate food choices. I was going to choose a food that I would not normally order. . . So, here goes my confession . . (Sigh . . .)
I ordered myself a “GH, HH, HF, HR, AF, FF hot dog!” (that’s a grass-fed, heritage hog, hormone-free, humanely raised, antibiotic-free, family farm hot dog).
What led up to this decision?
Well, being this was my first trip to Seaside, Florida, I picked up the city’s newsletter, The Seaside Times, to find out what made this city tick. And alas, I found an article that talked about Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs located about 4 blocks from our cottage. The article stated the hot dogs are purchased from a company called “Let’s Be Frank.” According to the newsletter, the company “supports the ever-shrinking group of family farms and ranchers committed to raising their animals in a humane, conscientious, and healthy manner.” (yes, this statement probably warrants a blog on it’s own – maybe later.) In addition, Emeril Lagasse ate these wonderful hot dogs and loved them! Curiosity got the best of me and I had to try one.
Yes . . . I ordered myself a “Mutt Dog,” which is a combination of pork and beef. And, yes, the menu states it is grass-fed beef, heritage hog, hormone-free, humanely raised, antibiotic-free and from a family farm. Imagine, all of that in one hot dog!
So, what did I think?
They were okay. I thought they tasted a little “gamey” but that may have been from some of the spices used. I did think a lot about what I was eating and how this hot dog was making certain consumers feel better about eating it. It just reinforced my conviction that we, as farmers, need to connect with consumers. The hot dog cost me $5.25, which was not a bad price compared to other menu items. Would I order it again? Probably not. But for that day, I was just going to celebrate food choices. We can choose what we want to eat and feed our families and that is definitely something we need to protect!
If you are interested in what I experienced and thought about Seaside, Florida, read my blog post “10 Interesting Things I Learned about Seaside, Florida.” It was quite interesting! In the meantime, let’s celebrate and protect food choices!