By Paula Marcoux.
Reader, is this You?
- You want to make more ethical choices about your diet, but would love to find a way to continue to consume meat—in a more responsible way, eating animals that have been humanely raised and slaughtered.
- You know that meat-eaters could relieve their diets of a lot of carbon-footprint and generalized guilt by raising their own animals, but that you’re not going to get away with pasturing a steer or hog in your suburban yard.
- You’re interested in learning to respectfully raise and skillfully process more of your own food, but have no idea how to start small.
- You hate to hear how much soy and corn and water it takes to make a pound of beef and wish there were an animal that thrived on a diet that didn’t take food from human mouths.
- You want to eat delicious, organic, grass-fed meat, but you quail at the expense.
There’s a way you can check all those boxes. Quit obsessing on beef and consider a far more efficient and home-scale meat animal… the rabbit.
To get started, you need a hutch sufficient for a buck and three does, some initial study and/or copious advice from qualified sources (local farmer, Portuguese grandparent, books about raising small livestock, YouTube videos, local or online support community, and so on). As you go, there will be challenges. You must learn skills that former generations took for granted and that most of us lack, and, perhaps hardest of all, you must feel the truth that to eat meat means to take life.
Once rolling, you’ll have a continual supply of tender, flavorful meat, raised mostly on a diet of dried alfalfa, an easily available feed not subjected to the scourge of glyphosate spraying. Gardeners will enjoy offering appreciative bunnies all those carrot tops and outer leaves that otherwise wind up composted, and will luxuriate in all that high-nitrogen, instantly-usable manure neatly accumulating beneath the rabbit hutch.
You’ll have the satisfaction of providing your family high-quality protein, produced without hogging up the world’s resources, loading a lot of carbon into the atmosphere, or despoiling the planet with herbicides and feedlot runoff.
Best of all, the world abounds in delectable and varied preparations for rabbit meat. Here’s one of our favorites, reprinted with permission from Aglaia Kremezi’s terrific The Foods of the Greek Islands; Cooking and Culture at the Crossroads of the Mediterranean. We love it best served with a big pile of orzo and a simple seasonal vegetable.
Try out one of Aglaia Kremezi’s recipes yourself! Click here to learn how to make Kouneli Me Skordo Ke Feta.