Eating Vermont, Take 1: Pork Potstickers

It started out well. Paul was the chef in charge for this one. We had mostly everything in the pantry and went to City Market to buy the cabbage, ginger and pork. Local cabbage wasn’t an issue, although the ginger was from elsewhere. Now the pork… Well, the pork led me to write this:

“Dear City Market/Onion River Co-op,

I was glad that City Market had the option of White Marble Farms pork, not just the conventionally grown CAFO animal that has been abused since the day it was conceived. We paid over four dollars more per pound and drove away.

At home, I decided to check out White Marble Farms. Are they in Vermont? Perhaps New York? Pastured pigs abound in this region. Turns out, Marble White Farms operate as part of Sysco Corporations and while,

“White Marble Farms products originate from animals raised on independent family farms … in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois…for the safety of [their] farmers and their animals, [they] do not publicly list [their] family farm locations.”  (1)

Raised entirely indoors, “White Marble Farms pigs are given an all-grain-based diet consisting of corn and soybeans…[with] fresh food available at all times during the day.” This is clearly just another Confined Animal Feeding Operation. (2)

Moreover, industrial operations such as White Marble Farms in an “effort to compete with chicken, [have] created a number of lean cross-breeds that can survive when raised in confinement systems.” (3)

In fact, a simple internet search will take you to page after page of critics, environmentalists and ripped off customers who found out the truth about White Marble Farms. Now we’re one of them.

Why is White Marble Farms pork being sold at the Market with a misleading sticker appearing to represent a small scale, sustainable farm that follows humane practices? Why did we pay nearly twice as much per pound when a package of what one of your employees described as “conventional” was sitting on the shelf below?

The Market makes it clear that one of its goals is to offer conventional foods at a fair price but at what price to these animals, the environment and the communities that rarely have a say in where a CAFO is placed? Even then, why did we pay a substantially higher, nearly double the price for the atrocious practices of a Sysco Corporations partner?

Thank you in advance for your answers.”

You get the idea. In the end, Paul and I used the pork because we were hungry and throwing it out at that point didn’t accomplish much anyway. We ended up with really awesome pot stickers! They took several hours to make and it was past bedtime by the time we gulped down what was on our plates.

Lessons Learned:

1) Meat is a highly consequential product and perhaps better to be avoided.

2) Even suppliers you trust can be misleading.

3) Always do your own research before trusting a label.

Pork Potstickers

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