Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sodium Solutions and Hope

I think the family hog may yet make a comeback here at Paradigm Farms. It seemed like every time I picked up a piece of meat while shopping the other day I ran across this line on the package. "This product has been enhanced with up to a 10% sodium solution."

Enhanced, eh? How exactly ? More flavour maybe? More weight for sure. More profit seems likely, but I'm not sure how this enhances the product for the consumer exactly.

Given that I just read an article in a very pro agribusiness publication calling for those selling grass fed meats to stop denigrating meat that was conventionally produced in order to enhance their sales, I find it ironic that I came out of the store minus any conventionally produced pork and poultry because I couldn't find any on that day that wasn't somehow "enhanced". Given this sort of reality, it's my opinion that grass fed and natural producers have no need to further denigrate their conventional competition in order to sell their product. All we need to do to differentiate ourselves from that nonsense is tell the truth by answering, "No." when consumers ask us if our products have been enhanced.


In other news, I found some hope today that this interminable condition called winter might actually end. Partly this was due to the very welcome change in the weather....partly sunny and 66 degrees was remarkably easy to take today. But mostly it was due to the daffodils in the (very poor quality) picture below which I noticed for the first time today as I drove across our north pasture.


RuckusButt said...

You have the most formal writing style of any blog I read. I get a kick out of it, especially since you are the aggie ;)

I completely agree with this post! Commercial pork is the worst! Seriously, why on earth would I want my meat pre-salted??? Ugh! That is exactly why I bought half a local pig this spring, for 'harvesting' in the fall. Next year, I think we'll order a whole one. The only "enhancement" they offer is smoking...if you would like any cuts smoked you can go to the farm and help them do it. I hope to have the time next year to do a bit of bacon.

If I had the space, I'm sure I would raise just a couple animals of a few varieties to sustain my family through the year. I've been fortunate to source some good options though. Beef and bison are still somewhat elusive - I have sources for local bison but it is expensive.

Jason said...

I'm going to pass that compliment straight on to my mother who will be proud and pleased in equal measure to hear it.

Formal would be the least likely descriptive term anyone would use that had spent any time around me ! :)

Funder said...

On the one hand, it's just brine... but on the other, I prefer to do my own brining, thank you very much, not pay for 10% salty water. The reason mainstream pork is pre-brined is because it's so wretchedly tasteless and dry, and that's because the pigs are bred to be so lean. Consumers aren't supposed to want fat. Dude, they're pigs, they're supposed to be fat!

Really looking forward to buying a local hog one day. Maybe if the taxes come back good? My hay farmer also sells pork, beef, and lamb he raises. :)

Jason said...

It doesn't sound like a big deal until you start thinking about it in larger terms. I recognize that it's not this simple IRL, but if a hog yields roughly 200 lbs of edible meat and a company can add up to 10% brine solution to the meat, they're getting very well paid for adding 20 lbs of water. In fact, it's more insiduous than that, because the only cuts that get "brined" are those with the highest value (like tenderloin), so adding 10 % water may add considerably more than 10% profit to each hog.