Gene Leedy, Lindsborg, KS, is right, in his letter to the editor, in stating "meat has no flavor."
We are reminded time and again that "research has proven" and "based on scientific principles" that modern livestock production methods in the United States are as "efficient" as ever. It is amazing that people were able to find a way to feed themselves for thousands of years before we had all of this education.
The American consumer has demanded cheap food since the advent of the industrial age. Consequently, that is what they are getting for the most part. Some enterprising producers and consumers have "re-discovered" methods to obtain better quality, fresh and more nutritious food. Farmers markets have been growing again in popularity, as well as other direct marketing venues.
If Mr. Leedy expects to be offered a tasty, flavorful and nutritious pork chop, I would suggest investigating other alternatives, at the present time. At today's livestock market prices, the producer, regardless of size, is barely able to break even most years. As the profits have dwindled, so has the quality of the product. To produce a quality, flavorful hog, it probably takes $50 per cwt., even with today's grain prices, to break even. A hog that grows outdoors, in an natural environment, simply takes longer to grow. Modern confinement production allows cellulose-tasting pork to be produced, at lower break evens. If the grocer can stock and make a profit with the cheaper, cardboard-like pork product, they probably will choose that one every time.
What is most discouraging living in a rural area are the number of people with a farm background who purchase this stuff. A better product of any type or kind always costs more money, including meat products. I really challenge all rural Midwesterners to think about their food choices in the future. When going to a mega-super-big discount store on the edge of town, ask yourself two questions. Could I buy or raise this food product locally or could I substitute a local product for this one? Who am I supporting with my purchase?
If I buy these pork chops here, am I supporting a centralized, industrialized , vertically integrated corporate style of agriculture? Will it make some hot-shot executive in a large, far away city a millionaire? Could I pay a little more and receive more by purchasing my pork chops from a local producer or processor?--Travis Dunekacke, Steinauer, NE.