Friday, September 2, 2011

The River Cottage Meat Book (+Giveaway!!!)

I cannot declare quite enough my admiration for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I've written about him on here before, gushing, fawning and otherwise sustainable-crushing on him. Based in the U.K., Hugh is an advocate for so very many of the things near and dear to my heart, including land sharing, sustainable agriculture, and preparing wholesome, delicious foods to share with loved ones. Furthermore, Hugh and his work brought me in a roundabout way to Elisa Rathje, living across the pond in Sussex, whose blog is sheer heaven.

Some of you might recall this post, written shortly after Huxley was born, in which I mentioned my return to meat-eating. I realize that consumption of animal products isn't for everyone, and I honor that. In fact, I held that stance myself for a long, long time. For me, though, the return to eating grass-fed beef and pastured poultry has paralleled a profound leap forward in my own health.

We are immensely fortunate to live in an area where such foods are readily available. Back in June, during the Farm Tour, we visited two of the farms from where we acquire our meats, Hickory Nut Gap (beef) and East Fork (lamb). It's an incredible experience to meet the farmers and view the land responsible for producing the foods you and your family eat.

I invite you to visit the River Cottage website. It's full of inspiration, wisdom, and education. To honor Hugh and his crew and all that they do (say that 5 times fast!!!), today I'm giving away a copy of The River Cottage Meat Book. This book is rife with information, recipes and ideas for consuming ethically-sourced and raised meats.

To enter, simply leave a comment listing what sustainable meat means to you. For me, it means an animal raised in an absolutely ideal environment, co-existing in a mutually beneficial relationship with the soil (when ruminants graze on grasses, it creates deep-rooted perennial grass systems that massively increase the soil's vitality). This symbiotic relationship evolved over millennia and creates an end product that is chock-a-block full of nutrients for humans and animals alike. This article in Seed magazine expertly outlines the tenants of rotational grazing/holistic land management with animals as utilized by 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge winner Allan Savory.

The giveaway will run for a week, ending at midnight EST September 9th. Given the heft of the book (it's a biggun'!) and my budget, I'm opening the contest only to U.S. residents (sorry international buddies!). PLEASE leave a means of reaching you, either via a link-back to your blog or your email address, so that I can contact you should you be the winner.

UPDATE: The Random Number Generator has chosen Yasmin, lucky #4, to receive a copy of The River Cottage Meat Book. Thank you SO very much to all who entered! And be on the lookout for more awesome free things coming your way very, very soon!

*Top image from here.
*Second image from here.

81 comments:

Maria said...

This sounds wonderful! I will have to check out his site (and would love to be entered to win his book). I was a vegetarian for 20 years and also started eating meat again when I was pregnant with my first child. And just this month, in fact, my family has decided to try a Paleo 'diet' for a month to see how we feel. (I say 'diet' for lack of a better word. We are not dieting, just attempting better nutrition). We will keep dairy in our diets (local, raw) but eliminate grains of any sort as well as refined sugars. I have a hunch it will change our health pretty dramatically.

Amanda said...

We stared raising our own chickens this year. They peck at the soil and are topped up with organic feed. They get lots of fresh air and sunlight. These are happy chickens. I have been coveting this book for a while now. We read about it in The Dirty Life. I want to know how to make use of every part of these birds in order to leave no waste and to truly honor what they've given us. Next year we are going to try pigs, so I know this book would come in handy. Thanks for the opportunity!

karmama.ca

Dorothy said...

Likeyou, I was meat-free for a number of years before becoming pregnant with my first. My meat cravings began in earnest around the same time I was reading Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver. We still eat a predominantly vegetarian diet, but now enjoy sustainable meat several times a week. When I say sustainable meat, I mean meat from animals that have lived a life in the open air, on pasture, and free from any growth hormones or needless antibiotics. Even better, is when the animal lived nearby. We buy our chicken from a local Franciscan monastery. How lovely is that picture?

I'd love a copy of Hugh's book. I am a big fan of his other books, but have yet to read through this one.

Yasmin said...

To me, choosing sustainable meat is choosing to respect the animals that provide that meat. Sustainable meat is free-range and grass-fed allowing the animals to live a life much like the one they'd lead in the wild. It's easier to swallow (pun intended) than the thought of meat being raised in industrial farms owned by large corporations!

Ellen said...

Giving the animal a good life while they're alive and respecting them to the end. I just started with chickens at the beginning of the year and love knowing where the eggs come from. Plus they are vastly amusing to watch. Definitely going to enjoy perusing that web site. Thanks!

mamaunfurling said...

For us, sustainable meat means the animal is raised in conditions as close to how they were *meant* to be in as possible. They are treated with compassion and humanely. To me, this translates into rotational grazing for ruminants, birds that are allowed to have (at minimum) nearly unlimited access to fresh greens & bugs. (Either through the use of tractors or true free-ranging.) Along with a dignified death - swiftly, with as little distress to the animal as possible.

This book would be such an amazing addition to our personal library!

Amber said...

Ashley, did you hear about the Chop Shop opening up in Asheville? http://www.chopshopbutchery.com/Chop%20Shop%20Coming%20Soon%20to%20Asheville.html

An honest to god butcher, focusing on locally raised meats!

My family would love to eat all local and organic meats; however, it is so expensive still! Until then, we are ready to start actually using our chickens for meat birds as well as egg layers... or at least the one old biddie who isn't laying anymore. She's going to be named Stew...*grin*

I'm ready to give up on the giant grocers and focus on all local, I just wish it still weren't considered a luxury to do so.

Bee Girl said...

How fantastic! I'm very excited about this book! Sustainable meat = sourcing meat from a farmer who has treated his/her animals with the respect they deserve. Open space, good food, fresh water, sunshine and genuine care = a happy animal. I feel much better knowing that an animal was treated kindly and died as happy as possible before coming to my plate! Our CSA does updates on their blog about the cows who become our ground beef in our weekly meat share and the farmers regularly share stories about how "Bessie" or "Joe" are doing out on the range. I love it! Cheers!

Valerie said...

Just read the review of the book.... sounds wonderful. As you know we have chickens, goats and pigs,and have been eating the chicken and pigs. Now venturing into goat and trying to learn how to process cured meats and use of every part of the animal.Next year a cow or two. This looks like a great resource for our farm.

Melissa said...

I have been wanting this book for some time! Sustainable meat to me, first of all, is delicious and so much more nourishing. The animals are raised how they are intended and 'harvested' in as humane a way as possible. It is all about respecting yourself and the resources you choose to consume.

Michele said...

Huzzah! This book looks great, I too remember it being mentioned in The Dirty Life (which I just finished reading yesterday)...we have plans to move to a small family farm in Missouri and this would be a great resource to add to our home library.

Michele

michelejudd@gmail.com

Sarah said...

I have his River Cottage Family Cookbook and it is also outstanding! I have been wanting the Meat book for quite some time. Such an important thing to treat animals and the soil with respect and dignity - there are just too many positive outcomes from doing this, and too many negatives from doing it the wrong way.

Stefan, Sarah and Lukka said...

I love the River Cottage books--they are so great and informative.
Sustainable meat to me means happy, roaming animals eating what nature intended, and from people around our city. Because we live in NE, we have some of the best meat (beef) in the country, and it is VERY easy to find grass fed, pastured meat at a decent price. It's even easy to find people (friends or relatives) whom you can purchase 1/2 or whole or whatever fraction, of an animal for your freezer, which is ideal if you are big on eating meat! :)

Sarah M

cassie said...

yes! i checked this book out from the library last month. it was my guide for deciding how we want our pork share butchered. earlier this summer we committed to eating only pastured meats and eggs. we bought a freezer and purchased some pork and beef shares and poultry from a local farm. we have some hens, who will hopefully start laying soon...
i too have a big lifestyle-crush on Hugh F-W. i have checked out all of the River Cottage books from the library and am currently watching his River Cottage series whenever i get the chance.

Matt_Middleton said...

Sustainable meat means primarily grass-fed (although a small amount of finishing grain is ok), preferably a heritage breed (though not 100% necessary).

Sacha Joy said...

Really sustainable meat means that my honey and I know the name of the cow being served up on our plate, the cow that he named and scratched behind the ears, the cow that I fed maple leaves to in the shade of the tree on hot summer days. I think that central to sustainability is an idea that Joan Dye Gussow wrote about - that we know the stories of the things in our lives.

Sharon said...

Thank you Ashley for the generous giveaway. What a wonderful book this must be.
My husband and I are just now in a position where we are looking into purchasing some livestock for meat. Sustainable meat to me means that the animal is raised in humane conditions and we know how it is cared for and what it is fed. Meat that is healthy and nourishing without containing 'flavor enhancers' or hormones.
Thank you again for the opportunity :)

~Sharon

susan said...

Mainly, sustainable meat means that I can eat it. I raise a handful of my own meat chickens every year, buy my pork from my BFF who raises Tamworths organically and humanely, and buy my beef from a small family farm, where the cows live better than I do! I am also very lucky to live in a place where people are aware of how important it is to treat the earth, the animals and ourselves with care and respect. Thanks for the lovely post.

FarmSchooler said...

"Sustainable Meat" means a new and brilliant future is possible that CANT be used up. It means DIGGING to learn skills and re-discovering truths that have been all but lost with previous generations passing. It means being dedicated to instilling UNDERSTANDING that will protect those we love from the proven debilitating health threats posed by the standard INDUSTRIALIZED diet. This is our families 9th year to "FarmSchool" a new generation...one that promises to be stronger and healthier...and TRULY sustainable.

El Gaucho said...

Very cool, thanks for the giveaway. It's always refreshing to see another step forward in the sustainable meat movement. Grass fed beef and free range chickens make me happy.

Tia Maria said...

Hi Ashley...tia here. I have been reading the River Cottage blog for about a year now---love it! I think meat has to be sustainable not only in the sense that the animal is treated fairly and is able to graze about whenever it would like, but sustainable from a consumable point as well. It should be something that is small and can breed well, so we are not killing huge animals that take a long time to grow and eat a lot of land/grain.thanks! tiabednar@gmail.com

Allison said...

I so want this book! I have the bread book, and I love it! To me sustainable meat means supporting local farmers. We raise our own chickens, and they we buy our meat from farmers down the road. That makes me happy:)

Chantal said...

I loveee River Cottage! I also love knowing where my meat comes from, who is raising it, and honoring the sacrifice the animals make to feed us. You have to really make it a priority for yourself. Thanks for the chance!

The Haphazard Countryman said...

This book sounds great. A friend of mine and I want to put the horse pasture at my home to good use by growing a couple grass-fed steer ourselves. My mouth just waters thinking of that meat already.

elisa rathje said...

ashley, you're sweet to me. i love hugh's work and had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of times. i peeked at this book when i was at river cottage, looks quite something! he's just written a great counterpart - river cottage veg. it all makes me wonder why i ever think of anything but food x

SJ Smith said...

Grass fed roaming animals means better health for the land, the animals, and for the human omnivore (me). I've wanted to try to eat this way; but the cost is too much at $7.50 a lb here (except occasional treats) I do have about a 1/2 acre of desert I can raise a few hens. I hope to move onto meat chickens, and maybe find local vacant land to raise a few steer or bison, perhaps as co-op. I'm curious about goat meat; but have never had it before. This book sounds like it's full of useful information as my hubby and I move forward on our little homestead. Not quite as dedicated as you are to the whole thing; but curious and slowly changing.

kath said...

For us, sustainable meat means not factory farmed. We have limited our meat purchases to only buy from farmers that we know personally. This means we have a half a pig in our freezer right now, and plans to buy a side of beef. Also, we've butchered our own chickens. We also fish and gather shellfish ourselves.

Courtney said...

Sustainable meat for me comes from one of two places. It can come from a farmer who respects not only his or her livestock, but the land that feeds them and the customers who they eventually feed. Or it can come from the hands of a hunter who respects the fish and game regulations put in place to protect the wild populations.

Jenn said...

Oh, I love Hugh's work - can't get enough of his series, and I'm really looking forward to the new book due out soon. I was vegetarian for a good long while, but have recently come to reevaluate my stance and have seen some of the value in sustainable meat.

For me, sustainable means raised in ways that are best for the animal and the environment. Animals should be well-cared for, with lots of respect, good healthy food, and plenty of room to move around. They should also be raised in ways that they do as little harm to the environment as possible and, ideally, actually help it in some ways.

jenn@jennmartin.com

Brigid *FrenchLogic said...

For me the entire process is the key to our food future. animals raised humanely, slaughtered humanely and with purpose, not just to fill an empty shelf, and the savings in shipping and transportation from buying local are what it is all about. i LOVE food, and i think it should be respected from field to table.

Jenny Lee said...

We have been on the fence about raising chickens for meat until this fall and we have finally decided to try it next spring! This book would definitely be an asset!

Dawn Dutton said...

Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway.
Dawn
pine-ridge@triwest.net

PurrfectPetSitting said...

I recently joined a grass fed beef CSA and am expecting my first delivery next week. I CANNOT wait!

jaime said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bethany ~ Sustainable Food For Thought said...

To me, sustainable meat comes from animals raised in natural conditions, by means that support the ecological integrity of the land and the lives of the farmers responsible for their care. The position of being removed from direct interaction with animals (since most of us now purchase our meat rather than raise it on our own) means we must be intentionally mindful and grateful for the real lives and unseen efforts that go into the food on our tables.

Cheers,
bethany {at} sustainablefoodforthought {dot} com

Jannice and Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Becky Spencer said...

I love buying meat directly from farmers in my area. I participate in Slow Food's meat CSA website, where folks in the Bay Area in CA can arrange to split animals purchased from farmers.

Whiffletree Farm said...

I read about the River Cottage Meat Book and it's stellar reviews. I'd love a copy, especially since we've probably been processing our meat all wrong for the past 5 years. Thanks for the giveaway. Beth

Tony R said...

It's got to start at local farms. If the meat has to be loaded up and driven hundreds of miles to get to the store, that's not sustainable.

From there, I want to know the animals lived a good healthy life because I believe you can taste lifestyle in every bite.

thanks :)

magicalmusings said...

I would love to win this. I think that sustainable meat is raised locally, very close to your home, on grass-pasture and contributes to the soil quality which is a circle-cycle between the animal, and the earth and us. :)

Cat K. said...

For me, "sustainable meat" also has a lot to do with consumption habits as well. Regardless of how your meat lived or ate or died, it still stands that to eat meat at the rate that our nation does is in itself unsustainable. We try to limit meat consumption when we can, opting for meatless dinners several nights of the week. Not only is this better for our bodies and for the planet, it also allows us to use our limited budget on those better alternatives to conventional meat.

I've heard awesome things about this book, and would love to check it out. :)

Lavigne Photography said...

Sustainable meat, animals raised in a kind and ecological manner, even better by farmers that we know.

lavignephotographyatyahoo.com

oukay said...

Sustainable meat (or protein) means either my husband and kids fishing for dinner, or buying beef from the local rancher who uses organic practices, grass finishes the cattle, and uses a local slaughterhouse.

Ngo Family Farm said...

Oh wow, I'd love to have this book! To my family, sustainability is closely linked to freedom--freedom to produce what we need for ourselves, freedom from any unnatural conditions for the animals we choose to raise or eat, and freedom for ethical farmers to have a fair shot at marketing their products (i.e. Raw milk).

Monica said...

I started a food blog about a year ago and I am amazed at how much I have changed in my eating/purchasing habits. A year ago I wouldn't have thought twice about the meat I buy, but now I only buy grass-fed beef. It's all a process!

k a t said...

Reading books like Eating Animals and Righteous Porkchop have reinforced for me the idea that we can have a healthy relationship with animals we raise for meat, eggs or milk. Of course, by and large our culture has no relationship with the animals we eat except to consume them. This distance makes it so much easier not to know or care that they are by and large leading unnecessarily tortured lives. Therefore I try to eat less meat in my diet and treat the meat I do eat with a great deal of respect. For me this means the animal has lived as full a life as possible, one their body has evolved to live in its landscape.

I have been raising a few chickens for a few years now and soon it will be time to slaughter them. I raised them from chicks and seeing their lives end won't be easy, but I hope to do it quickly and respectfully. They have taught me a lot about what it means to have a relationship with animals who you care for, take in to your body and see to the end of their days. For that I'm grateful to them.

Amber said...

Sustainable meat=the way it was meant to be. Period.




Amber
maar04(at)comcast(dot)net

Carissa said...

I would love to win this book! I don't currently eat a lot of meat, but I see more of it in my future... My husband and I are planning to start a small farm in the next year, and we really want to incorporate some animals. The land we will be working with is 40 acres, mostly forested, with just about 5 acres cleared for vegetable crops. We'd love to raise some animals in as natural and free an environment as possible. For example, creating a several acre turkey habitat in the forest... We'll see how it all works out! But this book would be very useful come slaughter time!

Sarah said...

We just started raising chickens and rabbits this year so this book would be a great help! Thank you for the opportunity to win!

Amy said...

I was able to leaf through this book at a friend's and really covet it. As many commenters, we too went from a vegetarian diet to a meat-based diet in an effort to "localize" our choices and return to traditional methods of preparing our food.

Laura Hudson said...

would love to win. I think what you are doing in your books and your lifestyle are wonderful. My email is ellyhudson@gmail.com. Thanks!

Kitty said...

Sounds incredible. I grew up on a farm where we raised, slaughtered and butchered our own meat so I am very interested in this book. Added it to my TBR and Wish List.

maynekitty [at] live [dot] com

Bethany said...

My husband and I moved to the Floyd area of southwest Virginia after twenty-five years in Florida. Our goal was to become stewards of our 25 acres and to create the best possible environment for all our wild and not-so-wild life. It made sense to us to raise animals for meat (we started with chickens for both eggs and meat and hope to someday have lambs) as it is actually easier to create a self-sustaining garden with manure. Also we had eaten meat for years and I wanted to raise animals and feel good about their life (and death). We went through our first chicken "harvest" a few weeks ago. I had been dreading it but it was actually a thoughtful and honest process. I would love to read and learn more from the River Cottage Meat Book.

William said...

Sustainable meat is an animal making edible for us what we would otherwise not be able to digest, such as grasses. It is using all parts of the animal to make stock, tan hides, and spun wool. It is raising heritage and endangered breeds.

Love the blog. I am still preserving summer, and picking blueberries tomorrow morning, the last of the season.

PatsyAnne said...

Sustainable meats means that I know what I'm buying and eating - I know that the animals were cared for, feed well and died easy. That last one sounds hard but its true, if we eat meat we eat it from animals that have been killed - for me to come to terms with that, I came to realize that the meat I ate had to come from animals that loved their lives while they lived. I want to learn more about the process and the foods I can prepare.
I'm crossing my fingers and hoping I'm a winner.

pannebyron1@aol.com

Dea-chan said...

ooh that meat looks delicious! In my future is buying parts of a cow, instead of just at the store so I'd love to have a variety of recipes to tackle the non-standard parts of the animals.

Mom said...

Sustainably raised meat, for me, is meat raised in a way that doesn't keep me up at night!

Heather said...

To me it means an animal that was raised in a natural environment eating the foods he was made to consume. That the humans that care for them aren't abused or harmed and that the meat I feed my family is nutrious and healthful.
barrera.heather@gmail.com

Lindsay said...

I love this thread (and am new to the blog). As with some of the other readers, it immediately resonated with me as you discussed once being a vegetarian but now finding other reasons not to be. I was a vegetarian for seven years, and quit because I too wanted to support a more holistic form of animal raising. Thanks for the post!

Tammy said...

I would love to have this book! Sign me up for the drawing! tammy.bowers1 at yahoo dot com.

JizzleK said...

Great giveaway! We also started raising chickens in our backyard this year.

I think sustainable meat means meat raised without non-local attitives-chemical, gmo, or otherwise-that is in tune with an animal's natural diet and tendencies, increases soil fertility, and respects wild spaces and habitats.

Gretchen said...

Thanks for adding more to the conversation. I have not discovered this website yet so I'm excited to explore. I think its important for all families to access sustainable meats. So a big part of this is not only are the animals living as close to their natural rhythms as possible but that we have enough people farming so that everyone can afford to eat it.

Would love to explore the book as we are looking for land now with the intention of raising our own food.

6512 and growing said...

I'm still crushing on your sausage gravy recipe you posted here. Awesome giveaway, thank you!

E said...

Sustainable meat = oxymoron

Herdin said...

Kindly raised food tastes better and is better for you. Sustainable lands for a food supply not polluted with chemicals and/or hormones. I would like this book to increase my knowledge of meats and methods from England

Sri Lalita said...

Sustainable meat means eating in a way that respects the dynamic between man and beast, man and earth. It also means superior nourishment and taste.

Anonymous said...

Love river Cottage and love this book! Great giveaway!
sara(at)gallaugher(dot)net

Anna Banana said...

To me, sustainable meat is from animals grown on my farm or one like my farm, fed all the pasture and hay they need, supplemented with apples and pears from my orchard, excess turnips, carrots and garden greens, and their manure composted and returned to the garden and pastures as fertilizer. I would love to have this book - what a great resource!

petoskystone said...

river cottage does, indeed, have a great website! sustainable meat, to me, is not only safer to eat, but implies that i take only as much as i need. a concept few americans, it seems, want to think about.

Michelle said...

Sustainable meat. Canning? The process of meat animals that contribute to a farm in ways that are more than being just meat? All I know is that fresh, organic meat is delicious!

Grace said...

Sustainable meat is meat I have knowledge of. I know what it ate, what drugs it was given, how much room it had to move around on, what kind of life it had. It is also using as much of the animal as is possible. I like to can a lot of meat, rather than using a lot of energy freezing, thawing, and then cooking it. That is real convenience food.

erika said...

I have to admit, when I hear "Sustainable meat" I first think "Mmmmm, Delicious!" I like meat, I think it's an important part of any human diet (although I know that is debatable for many people). Sustainable meat allows me to feel good about my decision to eat meat. I know it's not full of hormones and antibiotics that are harmful to the animals, the environment, or to me. I can eat it and not feel guilty. I heavy statement, I know, given that an animal's life is being sacrificed, but that is part of the cycle of life, the food chain, and evolution. With meat raised sustainably, I know that animal had a good life while it was here - it never wanted for anything - high quality food to eat, fresh water, companionship, sunshine, or freedom to roam. That sounds like the best situation that it could be given the circumstances.

Nichole said...

Sustainable to me means it works over the long haul... for the animals, the farmers, the environment & the eaters.

Beegirl said...

Growing up on a small dairy farm, I didn't realize that there was any other way than sustainable meat until I was in public school, when I was introduced to all manner of processed meat products.

Now, many years later, when I want to feel comforted and reconnected to my roots, I want the clean, happy, earthiness of homegrown meat.

I've been coveting this book and would love to add it to my collection and my life.

jastembo said...

the book looks great and i would certainly love to win a copy. for me sustaintainable meat indicates products that are from animals that are raised/kept/"harvested" in as humanely a manner which includes a symbiotic relationship w/ the earth. i haven't been able to do much along these lines currently - like raise my own chickens - but would like to move more in that direction in the future.

Kristina said...

Oh this is a good one! My journey is so similar to yours; I fought my cravings for red meat (what can I say, Cuban blood) for over 12 years...and returned back when I was mending a broken bone. Eating meat for me only means eating pastured and grass-fed poultry, beef, bison and lamb. You will never, ever see me in a drive-through lane :)

jenna said...

i don't eat much meat, but my family seems to crave it. i have great respect for hugh's vision and work. i would love to read this book - i am sure my family would appreciate the recipes.

Jane A. said...

Thank you so much for this give-away!Would love to have a cookbook exclusively for meat.

Jane
jcwah1999@yahoo.com

Elaine said...

I love this book. I've checked it out at the library several times and would love to own it:) We get all of our meat locally from either small farms or friends who raise them, and feel very fortunate to have that choice. To me it means connection to our food, the earth and community.

stephanie said...

i have been DYING to get my hands on a copy of this book for the longest time! i'm a chef at a local, sustainable restaurant so this book is really a bible for people in my industry. it is so important to me to eat sustainable grass fed meat and pastured birds because regardless that i eat them, i respect animals and want them to enjoy their time on earth. thank you!!

petoskystone said...

congratulations yasmin!