I had watched the documentary Food Inc., so I knew of feed lots and industrial farming. Not a pretty story: scores of miserable-looking and scared-sounding cows corralled for fattening and slaughter. That movie motivated me to go organic and local in the meat department. Not an easy task. The chain grocery stores occasionally have a smattering of organic meats. The Farmer’s Market is a better bet, however many small farms continue to use less expensive commercial feed (GMO soy and corn.) Worse yet, the food industry has begun diluting what "organic" means.
After meeting the piglet, we “tip-toed through the tulips” of decomposing “fertilizer,” aka pig-poo, and stepped over a thin, electrified wire, the main type of fence they use to contain the animals. I did not test the “fence,” but the animals seemed to know to stay away from it. Looked to me like they could just hop over it, especially the cows, but apparently they do not.
Tracy manages the daily tasks of moving cows and chicken pens by herself! Her husband, Michael, is on hand when he is not working his other job. I thought she must saddle up like a cowboy to move the herd, but that’s not how they do it: They create an opening to the next pasture, "and the cows come a runnin'."
Ever pass an industrial farm in your car and feel nauseated by the burning stench that followed you for miles? Tracy’s farm, although not a perfume parlor, smelled charmingly like a really clean farm or zoo. I didn’t even notice much of an odor at first. The farm smelled better than some people with whom I’ve crossed paths. I used to love the smell of horses and barns when I took riding lessons—the aromas at Tracy Lee Farms happily liberated that fond memory for me.
As we headed for the barn on the flatbed trailer, we passed three black steer/cows in the front yard pasture sun-bathing right next to some perfectly good shade. Tracy told us the breed came from Africa and preferred direct sun to shade. Since farming in the sunshine state has its heat-related challenges, Tracy Lee Farms is considering expanding the African-breed for their farm. Seems there’s always something new down on the farm.
To see a v
ideo montage of the farm tour click on the YouTube link below: