Years ago, I was under the impression that every Texan knew what a salt lick was, loved the smell of hay in an old barn, and knew better than to request chocolate pie for dessert, lest one be handed a cow patty from the fields. But a dear friend of mine, a native Texan just like me, didn’t have a clue when it came to farming. She was raised in the Dallas area, and while she had a clear understanding of exactly how to navigate a complicated highway system, she’d never seen a cow in person. So I offered to take her to my hometown and introduce her to our herd. We started in Austin, and drove a mere 35 miles down the road to Taylor, home of a few of our favorite Texas BBQ spots. When we hit Hutto, she asked me if I thought her cell phone would still work “way out in the middle of nowhere.” So you see, this was a real farm adventure. Heck, maybe I’d even let her drive the tractor! Growing up on that farm, I knew that we’d say hello to a few new calves each season, and bid adieu to some cows. There was no hiding where they went: My grandpa would load a cow up in the trailer, drive her down to the slaughterhouse, and then a few weeks later we’d get white paper packages with red stamps proclaiming “SIRLOIN” or “GROUND BEEF.” And then my mom would cook dinner. That’s the meat I grew up eating—and boy, was it tasty. We didn’t call it organic or grass-fed, but that’s exactly what it was; we knew it came from our pasture and it was always delicious. Not everyone has their own pasture, so let me just say this: Forget the ground beef in a tube and dole out a few extra bucks for locally raised beef, which tends to be organic and grass-fed. Check for options at your local farmer’s market. And if you have a favorite local beef supplier, do share the tip! Posted by Amber Byfield.