Tuesday, June 18, 2013

An Ethical Omnivore

 Breakfast: Guinea fowl eggs with lambs quarters, pig weed, onion and chicken hearts

What is it that makes my breakfast this morning so 'ethical'? 

Let's start with the eggs...
I use Guinea Fowl on my farm to control the pest population. No Frontline for the cats & dogs because thanks to these feathered dinosaurs who voraciously hunt down bugs and eat them so there is no need to poison my pets. However, because of their free-roaming nature, they tend to lay there eggs in places I may not find them immediately, therefore, I rarely sell Guinea eggs unless I know exactly when they've been laid. Coming across a nest of these conical little beauties is, indeed, a treat as their yolks tend to be large and extra-rich as compared to a chicken's egg due to the fact Guineas forage up to 90% of their diet as opposed to a chicken's 40%. 

When I find an errant nest, I place the eggs in a bowl of water. Those that float get tossed out, but if they stay firmly on the bottom, they'll become breakfast. By the way, this test works on all types of eggs. 

The heart of a good meal....
What else? Heart! Raising animals from conception to customer, after all these years I've learned there is precious little that ever gets wasted. But there are a few key items that seem to languish in the freezer (or are such delicacies), I tend to keep them for myself. One of these are chicken hearts. Out of a fifty bird batch, I may end up with a pound of hearts. I've cooked them all sorts of ways, but my favorite is to simply fry them all up at once in their own fat with just a little black pepper and then cut up a few at a time and saute them along with greens and onions or garlic for a quick breakfast. They are also quite good on bamboo skewers and grilled until crispy. 

Eat those weeds!
Let me tell you, there are plenty of weeds in my garden. But what is a weed? As a meat goat producer, I LOVE weeds! Why? They are extremely high in nutrients and weed-fed goats grow faster & taste better. After attending a Weed Walk with the renown Grace Lefever of Sonnewald Natural Foods, my mind will forever be changed about what I see as a weed versus what I see as food, not just for myself but for my animals.   
While I may not chow down on poison ivy (which weighs in at 26% protein and is high in vitamin C) like my goats do, this morning's breakfast straight from the rows between my planted crops is Lambs Quarters and Pig Weed

Eating weeds is much preferred to spending money on expensive herbicides anyway. 

By the way, being an 'ethical omnivore' is also cost-effective. Even shopping at the trendiest of farmers markets for these ingredients still puts this breakfast at less than a $1.50 as long as you pick your own weeds and you'll stand in line longer at Starbucks than it took to cook it. 

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