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Molly Watson

Local Foods In the Wild: Red Veal

By February 6, 2013

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Many people who eat other animals avoid eating veal. Why? Often because of issues of cruelty in raising calves to be slaughtered for veal, animals that are kept in cages small enough to stop them from moving in order to keep their meat supremely tender.

Hawaii Red Veal

This stand at the Waimea Town Farmers Market on the Big Island of Hawaii caught my eye: these ranchers are selling veal, but it's veal from calves that have led active lives, accompanying their mothers to pasture. Their meat is still extremely tender, but it is more developed than traditional veal - hence the name "red veal" to differentiate it from the grayish-white color of the meat that comes from constrained animals. While I'm sure that plenty of people will balk at the idea of humanely raised veal, that's what these ranchers, and others like them, are aiming for. And the results, whether called red veal or vitello, another name I've seen similarly raised veal sold under, are welcome by those who like veal and all the traditional dishes made with it, whether Veal Cutlets or Veal Scallopini.

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