Salad Bar Beef by Joel Salatin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Mr. Salatin has some excellent ideas for raising cows that doesn’t involve acres of corn and liquid manure, which is not very sustainable in the long run, but his method works as he’s been in business for thirty years, with increasing growth, carefully managed.
I first met Mr. Salatin through Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, and as I was looking for a low-cost option to start raising my own food and possibly food for other people, I looked into this book. I have 106 highlights scattered throughout the book and a list of other books to look at.
He is very libertarian and a touch contrarian, and his principles honed by years of experience with dealing with the government in all flavors from local to federal, but that doesn’t negate the fact that with some paying attention to the world around you, and not buying expensive additives (I’m a gardener, and still learning and I’ve priced things for my plants that made my pocketbook wince) or getting expensive equipment right off the bat, you can make enough to raise a family while also keeping your livestock fed and cared for, in a clean environment.
I was never interested in farming when I was younger, even though I come from farmers on both sides of the tree simply because, in my experience, farms were gross, especially chicken farms. Now I live near a dairy operation, and it gets ripe in the summer when they spray the fields with liquid manure. But Joel Salatin in his book spoke at length his techniques: frequent rotation through grazing fields, using chickens after the cows, and using bedding in the winter, keeping them in a hay shed, then using pigs each spring to till up the bedding & manure. Nothing’s wasted. The chickens make eggs that are sold/used as marketing; the chickens are butchered and processed and sold, and the pigs become dinner once they’re large enough. And of course, the cows are processed/sold as needed.
And now, I’ve been in research mode, reading as much as I could on various methods like square foot gardening, Ruth Stout’s no dig mulching technique and, of course, keeping livestock.
I recommend the book if you’re interested in reading alternative ways of farming, and can cope with a strong Christian libertarian bent to many of his words.
As a note, my copy was from Kindle Unlimited, and they updated the Kindle version from the 1995 paperback and which is a lot more affordable.