Shortly after those inspirational words came out of my friend's mouth, she asked if the eggs sold at a stand close to us were humane, so I meandered over to to ask my questions.
Truck Patch Farms is a family farm that sells vegetables and a variety of animal products including eggs. I asked Brian (the farmer) if his chickens had their beaks clipped. He began to tell me his story, and I so wish I had a camera to tape his story, because he told it so well:
Brian, like so many farmers, cares deeply about the treatment of his animals. While he only buys chicks with their beaks intact, he still has some from the days when you could only gets chicks with their beaks clipped. For the older ones, he used to only let them graze on the soft soil that had been dug up by his pigs, so they could peck without full beaks. Now that most of his chickens have beaks, they can roam on whatever ground suits them.I reported that my friend should definitely buy her eggs from Brian.
He told me the story about when he decided to get chickens: He recalled going into his neighbor's hen house to help collect the eggs, and saw rows and rows of heads sticking out of cages. When he returned home, he said, "Honey! We're raising chickens!" And he has been raising chickens his way ever since.
As for his meat (which he boasted about after his chickens, not knowing that I was a vegetarian), he demands a humane slaughter to end their humane life. This touched me because so many farmers unfortunately don't have the time to investigate the slaughter of the animals they cared for so well. "If they don't allow me to watch the slaughter, I won't go send my animals there," he said. He informed me that the best smoke-house is not the best slaughter house, so while he will smoke his meat there, he won't slaughter them there.
I know that when my friend said that the market "restored her faith in humanity" she was probably joking (especially since the night before we had discussed the woes of humanity, mainly focusing on the toll e-waste takes on humans and the environment); but as I looked around at the fresh veggies, Pleasant Pops and humane animal products, I didn't think she was so off the mark.
Photo: Courtesy of Pleasant Pops.