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How We Used to Eat (1953 - 1955 or so)
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Posted 4/16/2021 06:42 (#8954463 - in reply to #8954025)
Subject: RE: How We Used to Eat (1953 - 1955 or so)

Cumberland County, TN

When I was little, we had 2 cows, about 30 sheep, various batches of hogs / piglets and usually a couple of hundred chickens.  Dad raised a truck patch of strawberries that we all pitched in to pick.  He'd go up to the little country store and sell milk, cream, butter, eggs, strawberries, cleaned fryer-chickens and sweet corn roastin' ears.

Mom would order 200 chicks by mail-order in the springtime and we'd start 'em off in a spare upstairs room of the house so they wouldn't freeze to death.  Months, later, Dad would get a lead to sell some fryer chickens so we'd pick out the roosters, kill 'em, dip 'em in boiling water and pick all the feathers off and "singe' the pin-feathers off with burning newspaper.  And then they'd be gutted  and the feet cut off so they'd be ready to take and sell.

The government passed new regulations and we couldn't sell the milk anymore and then we couldn't sell the chickens unless we would hire a FDA meat inspector (at our own cost) and then we were supposed to collect sales tax for the state - so all that went to the wayside.

When Dad died, he had a whole bunch of white-faced Herfords that weren't ready yet for market.  Price of feed was way up and the price of beef was way down.  And then the government passed a law where the butcher shops couldn't have the processing room attached to the killing area so most of the small butcher shops closed up to do rebuilding of their businesses and so everybody had trouble finding a shop that would take their steers. 

I ended up feeding out Dad's steers with expensive feed and they were ready for market just when every shop was closing down.  Regulations just about put the family farms out of business.  Only the big farrow-to-finish hog farms seemed to be making a 'go' of it but that required corporation sized operations.

Chickens on the family farm stop laying eggs in the winter - but they still like to eat.  Corporations set up chicken houses that kept the lights and heat on so their chickens didn't have a dormant season.  They produce eggs non-stop until the chickens were all 'egged-out' and then they'd sell them to the fast food processors.  That's where all the hormones got into the food chain - chickens that'd been fed chemicals to make them lay eggs were fed to us for chicken nuggets.

My brother raised some hogs at his place without the typical hormones and chemicals and one day a fellow came driving up and wanted to know if he had a hog for sale that was about ready for market.

"Yeah, I've got a few out there...  but if ya don't mind me askin' why do you wanna' buy a hog from ME?  Aren't you one of the guys that has that big farrow-to-finsh operation over in Madison County?"

"That's us alright.  We got a few thousand over there that we're running now but I'd like to get one of YOUR hogs.  You see, this is for my FAMILY."

That really shocked us... that he wouldn't want his family eating the pork that he was selling on the market!  It's a whole different world out there today.

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