Raising a family is a lot of work – just ask Mom VG! She had four of us in a row, and spent countless hours making sure we were happy, healthy, educated and well cared for. She instilled strong values in all of us, taught us how to work hard and be kind, and generally prepared us to be good people. (We think it worked!)
Parenting is wonderful, but it’s exhausting – something we understand firsthand now that we’re adults and parents ourselves. When your kids are young, you’re constantly making snacks and meals – and then the school years start, and a new challenge begins: school lunches.
School lunches are a challenge for several reasons. The food needs to travel well, keep well in a hot thermos or lunch bag with an ice pack, and be comprised of things your kids will actually eat. It definitely has to be nut-free, and it may have to be free of other food allergens if there is a specific issue in your child’s class. Knowing all of this, packing a lunch Every. Single. Day. can be daunting – but don’t worry. We’ve got some great ideas to get you started.
If you’re familiar with the VG Meats team and our family farm in Simcoe, Ontario, you know that we’re huge proponents of doing things right. Not just doing things fast, or cheaply – doing them with care and integrity. We make sure that operations here on the farm are a reflection of our values, and that our products are raised ethically. We’ve spoken before about our cattle, and how they are raised using a careful, environmentally-friendly process. They’re treated well and it shows in the quality of our beef. The same thing can be said of all VG Meat products – including our chicken.
We didn’t always raise chickens, but in 2014, we introduced them to the farm. This was for several reasons. For starters, we wanted to offer our customers a wider range of products (beef, pork and poultry). Secondly, it was another way to make use of the natural environment on our farm. Raising chickens is actually beneficial to the environment in a lot of ways – here’s a quick read on why. We started with a heritage breed that was ugly and tough – not ideal! – and then found our match in the White Rock chicken breed. These birds are fantastic, and are what we’ll continue to raise and sell.
As you can imagine, the VG family eats our fair share of VG Meats. We see the care and quality that goes into our products firsthand, and understandably, it’s the only meat we serve to our families. Oftentimes, our clients will tell us about incredible meals they’ve cooked up with our meat, but rarely do we get to dine with them. Luckily, it’s cottage season and we were recently able to share some meals with clients who are also good friends. Here’s one amazing dinner that topped everyone’s list – a Brazilian-style picanha cooked outdoors over a fire.
First, we selected a picanha cut of beef (usually referred to as ‘rump cap’ here in North America) and rubbed it with olive oil, salt and pepper. When the quality of your meat is high – tender, juicy and flavourful – you can keep your prep this simple.