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Poll: Should Meat Be Seasonal?

Should Meat Be Eaten Seasonally?

Although many of you believe produce should only be consumed if it's in season, would you feel the same way about meat? In their regular food column for The Atlantic, sustainable agriculture pioneers Bill and Nicolette Niman claim that meat should be treated with the same seasonal sensitivity. The couple makes this argument:

If we are seeking something better from our food and our food system, we must begin regarding meat and other foods derived from animals as among foods that have a season. Environmentally sustainable, humane animal farming is based on grass. All animals — cattle, pigs, chickens, turkeys — benefit from being on pasture. Like other vegetation, grass has a season of plenty, a time of growth, reproduction, and then retreat.

While I think there's a great deal of validity to the Nimans' perspective, I also think it would be a drastic and impractical measure given the economic environment we face today. How do you feel about it?


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aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I like it all yr round :)
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i don't know about this one. i'm a veggie so i don't like the thought of eating meat any time of the year..but i guess when it comes down to farming and agriculture - it may make sense to be more seasonal.
marie-lee marie-lee 8 years
I don't really know enough about beef rearing practices in the US to have an opinion on which is better but I do know that personally I prefer the taste of grass fed beef. In my opinion the grain fed stuff is more tender but nowhere near as tasty and that thick layer of yellow fat freaks me out.
emalove emalove 8 years
I hardly ever eat meat these days...I'd much rather have seafood.
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 8 years
I've never thought of it, really. I like to enjoy all kinds of meat all year round though so I don't know how well I would take to this lol
techkim techkim 8 years
all aniamls that are hunted are seasonal fish, deer, turkeys, etc. I still don't understand the Niman's point. Say cows were only eating during the fall, cows would still be breeding and then get over run making the farmers have to grow or buy MORE food for the cows to eat. Nah your farm type animals are good to go all year around.
shoneyjoe shoneyjoe 8 years
Totally. Bland meat is awful.
fuzzles fuzzles 8 years
Slightly off topic, but Spectra's story reminded me of visiting my Great Grandmother's farm back in the day. For our dinner, she would always fetch a few chickens from the yard. Now, Great Grandma was a very tiny woman of less than five feet in stature. Couple this with the fact that one of her Arabian horses was quite fond of picking her up by her apron strings and playfully trotting her around the acreage. I can reasonably state that not a visit went by without witnessing said hilarity unfold from Great Grandma's kitchen window. And to this day, I am not sure who had more fun---the horse, Great Grandma, or those of us watching from sink-side seats. :true:
verily verily 8 years
Meat is inherently seasonal in a way, based on established slaughtering practices on farms and ranches. However, due to the advent of factory farms and freezing technology, meat can be had and stored year-round now. Unless you rely completely on farmer's markets to get your meat, you'll never be able to establish a "season" when a type of meat should only be available. And even then, the ranchers at the farmer's market are probably keeping freezer stock themselves as a single cow can net several hundred pounds of meat. You'd have to limit yourself to arbitrary periods of the year.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
My grandma grew up on a small farm and every year they had a pig that they raised. They always slaughtered it in the fall and prepped it all so it'd last all year: They smoked the hams and the bacon and made the salt pork and ate the fresh pork as soon as they could. Usually, it meant that they had a lot of meat in their diet right around "pig time", but the rest of the year they used it pretty sparingly...almost as more of a seasoning than an ingredient. But when they didn't have the pork, they usually could butcher a chicken or go hunting for rabbits and deer. I think that's a pretty good way to consume meat...the animals are allowed to fatten up naturally on grass instead of being force-fed corn so they're more nutritious and they taste a lot better too.
cammies cammies 8 years
i don't think meat should be eaten at all.
partysugar partysugar 8 years
Well lamb always tastes best in Spring, so this makes sense.
Aestuo Aestuo 8 years
Meat isn't really seasonal though. The cows are around, and need food all year round, so while the best flavour may be during the summer months, there is nothing wrong with winter beef, and no reason not to eat it. Farmers feed cows hay, and the cows naturally want to stay together, huddled up to keep warm, and being in a barn helps; the cows are happier being in a barn because it protects them from the elements. While I agree with allowing them to roam and eat grass when possible, the cows don't just disappear for the cold months.
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