As you will come to see from what will be many posts on the subject, I’m a big fan of food. I tend to plan my vacations around places I want to eat, can wax poetic for hours on some of the greatest things I have had the privilege of eating both at home and in my travels, and even have a growing “Food Wall of Fame” above the desk in my office. I primarily workout and exercise simply so I can eat more of the things I want to. Food is a great pleasure in my life.
One element of food that has become more important to me over the past few years, is how any particular dish made its way to my plate. One of the biggest things I have been educated on is all the downsides to large scale industrialized farming that has come to dominate here in North America. From overworking the soil through monocropping, to the overuse of pesticides and the ill-treatment of livestock there are just so many issues associated with how a very large percentage of our food makes it to our plates. Thankfully we are seeing some strong push-back against those practices and with a little work it is possible to find alternatives, especially via smaller family-led farms that are using regenerative farming techniques and providing much better conditions for livestock. It is one such alternative that I want to share with you today.
I am never going to be a vegetarian. Just wanted to get that out of the way. While reducing our overall meat consumption is a worthy goal, both for our own health and the well being of the environment, I am never going to be able to turn my back on a good steak, or bacon, or a great burger, or some barbeque chicken, or did I mention bacon? That does not mean though that I can’t make smarter choices as to where that meat comes from and most importantly how it is raised. Nothing against the local grocery store, but that all comes from industrialized farms, and it can be tough to find a local butcher that is completely transparent on where the product is sourced from. Enter the great people at Porter Road.
Porter Road is a great business, with an actual butcher shop in Nashville, but also a great online store that ships anywhere in the country. They only work with local farms and process everything themselves in a facility in Kentucky. Specializing in pasture raised beef and pork and free range chicken, everything is cut by hand and the animals are raised as naturally as possible. All of which sounds great, but is also something you hear from every brand out there, including a lot of what is available in your local supermarket. The difference here is when you actually see the product. The deep natural colors instantly let you know that this is nothing like you have had before. And the taste, I don’t think I can fully do the product justice, whether it be beef, chicken or pork, but I guarantee this will be the best meal you have ever had. I know for me, I can no longer go out for steak, as even the best steakhouses don’t compare to having a Porter Road New York Strip fresh off my own grill.
Product is shipped directly to your door and kept cold via ice packs and a great insulating material that I will dive into a bit later. The majority of what your order will ship fresh, not frozen, and anything that is frozen is clearly called out in the product description. I do have to say though, that even after spending some time in the freezer here, everything still tastes and looks amazing. With free shipping if you spend $100 and a fairly quick turnaround time, their service cannot be beat. Needless to say, during this period of sheltering at home they have made it easy and convenient to continue to eat well and still maintain a feeling of eating “sustainably”. Even the shipping is “green”, as they use recyclable cooling packs and insulate with “Green Cell” insulation, which is completely biodegradable as it breaks down 100% in either water or fire.
I am including some pictures of my last order just to give you a sense of what you can expect. I have ordered a wide range of products from them (steaks, sausage, bacon, pork chops, short ribs, whole chickens, etc.) and never been disappointed. It and some other similar services, which I will talk about another day, have completely reset my expectations of what meat should taste like and the standards in animal welfare and sustainability that we can hold companies to. Plus, there is the added bonus on knowing that the money I spend is going to support small businesses and farms that are doing things the right way and which can hopefully provide the model for how our entire food industry can be changed for the better.
I strongly encourage you to visit Porter Road here. On top of the great products, you can learn a lot about how the animals are raised and how that sets them apart from regular industry standards, and they also have a huge amount of resources on how to cook and prepare all the different cuts of meat they provide. The only downside is that as the business has grown and we have all navigated Covid-19 you sometimes have to wait for your favorite cuts to come back in stock, but believe me it’s worth it.
I will warn you that the prices are somewhat higher than your typical supermarket, but very much in line if you are shopping in places like Whole Foods. I will gladly trade off slightly reducing my portion sizes in order to be able to take advantage of the quality of the food. Try them out, you won’t be sorry. The tagline they have on their homepage says it all – “If it’s not raised right it can’t be delicious”. And for the record, I am simply a very happy, satisfied customer – they are not paying me in any way shape or form to say these things. I’d be surprised if they even knew this blog existed.
Give them a try, and let me know what you think.
The Free Range Viking