When I begin to tell someone about Corbin In The Dell, their face usually lights up. In fact, it warms my heart as they start telling me of new local farms. This means that more and more people are talking about their food’s origin. It has become an important conversation for many people. This means the local food movement is a true movement of change and not just a fad.
Nashville has a ton of great restaurants serving tasty burgers! Courtenay Rogers even blogs about her quest for the perfect burger. Check out Siblings Not Spouses for her adventures. There is an on-going debate regarding grass fed vs. grain fed beef. Omega 3s and 6s are claimed to be higher in a grass-fed burger. Grass-fed beef is also supposed to be lower in fat. If the beef is lower in fat where is the benefit of the Omegas? Then there is the issue of what kind of grass seed is planted and what type of grains are being fed to the cows. I personally enjoy both grass and grain- fed beef. I also see why the market demands both. But,Oy! You could drive yourself bat shit crazy if you really wanted to! While what the cow eats is definitely important, where Bessie lives and how the ol girl is treated also defines a farmer who gives a damn!
Last week, I visited Tom and Melinda Cook of Cook’s Ranch Beef in Clarksville, TN. They raise American Kobe cattle. Their cattle are naturally raised with no added hormones or antibiotics. Antibiotics aren’t needed if your cattle rarely get sick. I believe that their cattle rarely get sick due in part to the beautiful, pristine pasture that they graze upon. Their cows have a steady flow of clean water, lush pastures and all natural grains to snack on. We tromped all over the farm that afternoon. Tom pointed out the only cow he had named. He called her “Little Orphan Annie.” Her mamma had died when she was still little. He bottle fed her until she could make it on her own. While he prefers not to name his cattle for obvious reasons, there is a clear connection that this farmer has with both his land and his herd.
I never introduce a farmer to a chef or restaurant, that I have not seen their farm and have gotten to know them. It is a treat to get to know each and every one of them. Whether you are a carnivore, herbivore or omnivore, I can point you in the direction of a sustainable farmer within a 60-100 mile radius of Nashville, TN. Sometimes, folks feel like the local food movement may be taking things a little too extreme. I like to use the analogy of the little kid that drops a floater in the swimming pool and all the kids go to screaming and running out of the pool. The question is who’s gonna clean the pool? The local food movement may seem trite to some, but somebody has to go to fishin….