Knowing where your food comes from is well worth the research

Walk into any grocery store and you’ll see rows upon rows of meat products: chicken drumsticks, juicy steaks, slabs of bacon and more. Meat is a good source of protein and iron, but the products you find at a typical grocery store are often not your best choice.

Commercial meat products are often factory-farmed. The environment, the local economy, the animals and your health all suffer when you choose factory-farmed animal products.

Factory farms confine animals to tiny areas without access to the outdoors or to natural light.

They are sometimes horribly mistreated – beaks are chopped off and animals are often trampled because there are so many of them packed into one area. The animals are given antibiotics and low-grade food, which can lead to health problems in people when we eat the meat.

The only way you can really know what is in your food is if you take a trip to a nearby farm to check it out for yourself.

In factory farms, some of the animals are not even dead before they start getting butchered. And this is the regular meat most consumers buy on a daily basis.

What can you do? Food labels are deceiving: even “free-range” doesn’t always tell the whole story. The only way you can really know what is in your food is if you take a trip to a nearby farm to check it out for yourself.

In a recent visit to Harborside Farms (less than a two-hour drive southwest of Winnipeg), I was given a tour by the farmer himself, Clinton Cavers.

Chickens strutted around the yard freely. Pigs ran around among trees and the cattle were comfortable in a large grassy field.

These cattle are moved on a regular basis so they constantly have access to fresh grass. Harborside Farms emphasizes a stress-free, independent environment for their animals.

Harborside Farms is especially unique because all of the meat is processed on-site. The Cavers family is well-equipped and experienced with the butchering process.

From filet mignon to mustard basil sausage, your choices at Harborside Farms are endless. You can even get deli meat and jerky. Lamb is also available (but the sheep are from a nearby farm rather than Harborside Farms itself).

“We couldn’t find a meat processor that treated the meat exactly the way we wanted so we decided to open our own shop,” said Cavers.

For smoked meat, Cavers uses wood straight out of his own backyard, so you can be certain that all of the meat you buy is chemical-free and local.

The Cavers family welcomes visitors and encourages consumers to take farm tours. Being informed is the first step to making nutritious and healthy choices. Visit

Sagan Morrow is a freelance writer and editor. Check out her health and wellness blog at

Published in Volume 65, Number 11 of The Uniter (November 11, 2010)

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