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MyPlate on My Budget, Find a Butcher

Can I follow the USDA thrifty food plan and feed my family the MyPlate advised daily nutrients? That’s the question I’m asking this March with MyPlate on My Budget.

Usually when I buy meat I am willing to spend extra money to buy a local, humanely raised product.

My family doesn’t normally eat a lot of meat. In a typical month, we eat a vegetarian meal two or three times a week.

But the USDA Choose MyPlate requirements don’t specifically recommend going vegetarian at all.  They advise you to “vary your protein routine” and “choose beans, nuts and seeds more often.”

There was actually a big stink with the USDA and their official, internal position on Meatless Mondays, that you can read about here. (Thank you Stacy from School Bites for educating me about that.)

Even on the USDA “Thrifty Food” budget, I still want to buy a quality product.

That’s why I drove up to Silvana Meats.  (There’s a really great article about Silvana Meats from HeraldNet here.)

I ordered Combination #4 for just under $76.  This bought me:

  • 4 packs ground beef
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 ham steak
  • 2 packs bacon
  • chuck roast
  • pork steak
  • sirloin steak
  • pork loin
  • stew meat

Driving up to Silvana meats cost me $8 in gas, which I am subtracting from my food budget.  I’m also cost averaging the meat from the whole month.  So now, instead of having $144.80 a week to spend on food, I only have $124 a week.

But I feel good about buying local.

I don’t think you can really tell from the picture, but that Washington chicken I bought was gigantic.  You really can tell that it wasn’t raised in a box.  That’s important to me.

What I’m not getting, is specific knowledge about the ranches the meat comes from.  When I buy meat from PCC Natural Markets, I get a lot more information.  That’s important to me too.

I’m still feeling really good though.

The MyPlate on My Budget experiment has already caused me to expand my normal shopping boundaries and explore other options.  My seven-year-old and I had a fun drive up to Silvana together, and we talked about where food comes from the whole way.

Tonight I made Rose McAvoy’s beautiful roast chicken with homemade stock, and life is good.

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