Like anyone with a pulse I struggle with my food choices- luckily not from a food security perspective but rather an environmental aspect. Trying to negotiate being both a carnivorous ‘top of the food chain’ kinda gal with the glaring and immediate responsibility of being eco-conscious and environmentally aware, well, something’s gotta give. And as much as I love vegetables, it’s not gonna be beef. While I admittedly don’t feel any pressure from my level 5 vegan pals, I do recognize that diet wise adding veggies into any dish is never a bad idea.
YU Ranch is a unique farm. Owner Bryan is committed to raising his Texas Longhorn cattle not only sustainably, but with a dedicated approach to ensuring it’s also ecologically sound. The 100% grass fed cows have ample pastures to eat and wander around in, it is a truly beautiful thing to see animals frolic around in the grassy fields, and bonus, they eat one field and bang- mooooove over to the next.
And while pretty pastures and green rolling hills are idyllic, conservation is still key to keeping this for generations to come. Bryan is a proud ALUS member, or Alternative Land Use Service as it’s formally called. Using his land for not only just raising cattle is important to the mission. Cleaner air, cleaner water, and off-setting the environmental impact of eating beef are all part and parcel of this ecological program. Lunchtime put this ideal to the test, under blue skies at YU Ranch, local restaurant Borealis created a meaty donair style wild rice salad using the Blend and Extend approach- add some mushrooms and up the nutrients and balance the dish out by using less meat overall, without impacting the taste or texture at all. Next stop, a mushroom farm! I have never visited a mushroom farm and was totally in the dark (ouch, sorry) about how they grow! Okay, I knew it wasn’t pretty, but as it turns out, it grows in unstinky substrate, a pasteurized poop like material. Whitecrest Mushroom Farm grows a variety of mushrooms year round, and we discovered that you can amp up the vitamin intake on the these caps by placing mushrooms in direct sunlight for a few moments before eating! One portobello mushroom has more potassium than a banana, and since I hate bananas almost as much as I detest beets, this was good intel on how to up my vitamin intake.
Huge thank you to both Mushrooms Canada and Ontario Beef for the stellar day out and shining a light on doing right, for our diet and the environment, on our own terms.