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Goose Pond Farm By Kimberly Ballard T

he problem with farming is that it works in opposi- tion to American consumerism. It is diffi cult for a cattle farmer to satisfy your craving for a steak tonight when his cattle are still six months from maximum

harvest time. In Europe, customers go out to the farm and pick out a couple of plump chickens. The farmer kills it, but you take it home, pluck the feathers, and prepare it. In the 21st Century United States, this is not a market-

able way to sell free-range chickens. On the other hand, if you get to know your local farmer and realize he is raising healthy animals in a completely natural setting − harvesting his herd only after it has achieved its maximum nutritional density − then, as a consumer, you learn to adjust. “Get to know your local farmer and he will take care of you,” says Charles Ritch of Goose Pond Farm in Hartselle. “At Goose Pond Farm, we take care to provide you with only the purest and healthiest chicken, lamb, beef, pork, turkey, and eggs.” Buying meat from Goose Pond Farm, located a half hour south of Huntsville, is a slightly different experience, but an experience you will defi nitely want to try. If you don’t already

have one, you will want to grab yourself a nice large freezer fi rst, and then call Goose Pond Farm for an appointment. If you have never bought your meat fresh off the farm, Charles Ritch tiptoes you through it. “You assume that because it is organic, it is better. You assume that because it is grass-fed, it is better. You assume that because the farmer looks ‘farmy,’ it is better,” he explains, “but you are introducing sustenance… meant to fuel your family, give them the energy they need to be high achievers, keep them healthy, and allow for natural growth and cell reproduc- tion. What we place into our mouths, stomachs, and intestines are eventually transformed into our bones, blood, and brains.” Keeping this in mind, Ritch feels it is important to visit the farm from which you are buying, because you may be surprised. Take free-range chicken for instance. The term “free-

range” suggests that chickens and turkeys roam “freely” about the barnyard with plenty of sunlight, fresh air, and open spaces. The term “cage-free” sounds even better, leav- ing the impression of hens running about freely as nature intended. “This is not always the case,” Ritch explains. “One

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