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Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer's Guide to Farm Friendly Food Paperback – February 19, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joel Salatin and his family own and operate Polyface Farm, arguably the nation's most famous farm since it was profiled in Michael Pollan's New York Times bestseller, The Omnivore's Dilemma and two subsequent documentaries, Food, Inc., and Fresh. An accomplished author and public speaker, Salatin has authored seven books. Recognition for his ecological and local-based farming advocacy includes an honorary doctorate, the Heinz Award, and many leadership awards.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Polyface (February 19, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0963810944
  • ISBN-13: 978-0963810946
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

About Joel
Joel F. Salatin (born 1957) is an American farmer, lecturer, and author whose books include You Can Farm and Salad Bar Beef.

Salatin raises livestock using holistic methods of animal husbandry, free of potentially harmful chemicals, on his Polyface Farm in Swoope, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley. Meat from the farm is sold by direct-marketing to
consumers and restaurants.

In high school, Salatin began his own business selling rabbits, eggs, butter and chicken from his family farm at the Staunton Curb Market. He then attended Bob Jones University where he majored in English and was a student leader. He graduated in 1979. Salatin married his childhood sweetheart in 1980 and became a feature writer at the Staunton,
Virginia newspaper, The News Leader, where he had worked earlier typing obituaries and police reports.

Tired of "having his stories spiked," he decided to try farming full-time after first getting involved in a walnut-buying station run by two high school boys. Salatin's grandfather had been an avid gardener and beekeeper and a follower of J. I. Rodale, the founder of regenerative organic gardening. Salatin's father worked as an accountant and his mother taught high school physical education. Salatin's parents had bought the land that became Polyface after losing a farm in Venezuela to political turmoil. They had raised cattle using organic methods, but could not make a living at farming alone.

Salatin, a self-described "Christian-libertarian-environmentalist-capitalist-lunatic-Farmer" produces high-quality "beyond organic" meats, which are raised using environmentally responsible, ecologically beneficial, sustainable agriculture. Jo Robinson, the author of Pasture Perfect: The Far-Reaching Benefits of Choosing Meat, Eggs and Dairy Products From Grass-Fed Animals (2004) said of Salatin, "He's not going back to the old model. There's nothing in county extension or old-fashioned ag science that really informs him. He is just looking totally afresh at how to maximize production in an integrated system on a holistic farm. He's just totally innovative."

Salatin considers his farming a ministry, and he condemns the negative impact on his livelihood and lifestyle of what he considers an increasingly regulatory approach taken by the agencies of the United States government toward farming. Salatin now spends a hundred days a year lecturing at colleges and to environmental groups.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Most of Joel Salatin's books have been aimed at small farmers or land-owners looking for an agriculture enterprise. Being in that category, I have enjoyed them all. But trying to explain to most people why it's important to understand the difference between industrial food and local food, has been hard.

This is the first book of his that anyone, farmer or not, can pick up and immediately understand the serious issues involved with the American food supply, and to embrace the solution.

I was always a conservative pro-business Republican until I bought my first milk cow, thinking of selling all of that great pure raw milk. Right. I then read William Campbell Douglas's 'The Milk Book' and began to understand the unnatural relationship that exists between big business and governmental regulatory agencies. Suddenly the question of 'What ever happened to the small family farmer' began to be all too clear.

I also spent six months and a lot of sweat and love raising a few organic hogs, only to find all of the packaged meat stamped 'Not For Sale' from the processor. I argued that my pork was more pure and wholesome than anything from the supermarket, not to mention that it was a USDA inspected facility. But the butcher explained that although that may be so, the state Department of Agriculture mandates any locally raised meat may not be sold.

Holy Cows and Hog Heaven delves deep into these issues and provides a lot of hope for the 'natural' farmer as well as the consumer. There's no doubt that at some point the problems associated with industrial food will come to a head. We now have Mad-cow, Avian-flu, SARS, and Hepatitis outbreaks. All of these have been traced to confinement operations or un-clean foreign-raised crops.
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Format: Paperback
A review by Robert Waldrop, Oklahoma Food Cooperative

If I had a million dollars, I think I would spend a substantial amount of it to buy copies of Joel Salatin's new book, "Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: the food buyer's guide to farm friendly food", and give them away.

I spend a lot of my creative time trying to figure out ways to encourage people to buy local foods, specifically in our case, Oklahoma foods. It's a two-sided process. You have to talk with the producers, and help them understand how city people think about local food and what the farmer needs to do to help people buy their locally produced foods. You have to talk with the customers, so that they understand the opportunities, and the limitations, of the local food market as it presently is. Before both you have to dangle bundles of carrots, "just keep moving in this direction, it's not far, we'll get there, it will be great when we do get there", and so on and so forth in a thousand different iterations just in the past 12 months since we put up our Oklahoma Food Cooperative shingle and got into the local food marketplace bidness.

Neither farmer nor customer really understands the other at this stage in our development, some have more clues than others, but even after 12 months of work, there is a lot of producer and customer education that needs to be done.

Enter Joel Salatin, one of America's most successful direct farm to customer producers.

He has written a book about local food that is filled with passion and love. I have met him a couple of times, he spoke at a pasture meeting here in Oklahoma City and we were both at Terra Madre 2004 in Turin.
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Format: Paperback
This book has transformed the way I look at the food on my family's table. For pretty much my whole life, I had absolutely no problems with "industrial" food products. I trusted them as being safe, somewhat nutritious, and fairly tasty. I didn't make any effort to avoid processed foods - heck, I figured they were actually pretty nutritious with all the vitamins and minerals that were sprayed on them.

When I visited my farming grandparents in Maine (very small family farm closer to Polyface than a monocrop giant), I DID notice how amazingly delicious their simple foods were - potatoes I had dug out of the ground earlier that afternoon, freshly picked peas and corn on the cob, and perhaps some lettuce, tomatoes, other greens, and butter pickles my grandmother had pickled herself. I loved collecting the eggs from their hens, picking chives from their garden, and watching my grandmother can stewed tomatoes from her garden.

However, I took it for granted that times had changed and their way of life was, by necessity, going the way of the ox and cart. In fact, the first time I visited a farmer's market I was taken aback by the prices, which were significantly higher than our grocery store. I completely missed the point of what a farmer's market represented.

This book, however, turned me completely around as far as food is concerned. I was fascinated by Joel Salatin's descriptions of his farming practices versus industrial farming practices. After reading this book, I joined a local CSA and signed up for a local delivery of Polyface meat (lucky me!!
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