Saturday, February 23, 2008

All Natural Turkey Hot Dogs? Thanks Garrett County!

One thing about being a kid in America is that hot dogs will inevitably be one of your first forays into processed meat. People LOVE feeding kids hot dogs, even if parents tape a "DO NOT FEED MY KID PROCESSED MEAT" bumper sticker to the young'ns foreheads. I think it's some vicarious pleasure: "Let's feed the kids stuff we can't eat because it would kill us, because they have their whole lives ahead of them." I dunno. Anyway...

I just stumbled upon these all natural, gluten-free turkey franks recently at the DeKalb Farmers Market. We'd gone on a hot dog strike because our two-year-old had pretty much decided all he wanted to eat were hot dogs. And even though I bought the best kosher beef franks I could find, the reality is that the beef raising and processing for that meat product isn't all that different from the generic product, and the hot dogs were still preserved with added nitrates and nitrites. A little food research showed that kosher beef dogs maybe be a little better than the generic hot dog will less additives and preservatives, but not much by from a nutrition standpoint. And hey, processed meat is processed meat, right? Not the kind of thing that should be the foundation of anyone's daily diet.

So for a while hot dogs were out, if only to break the seeming addiction our kid had developed. Then we came across these Garrett County turkey franks which claim to be all natural uncured turkey from birds that are free from antibiotics and made with no added nitrates or nitrites. Their label reads "No antibiotics...ever! No artificial ingredients. Minimally processed. No preservatives..." And the turkeys are fed a vegetarian diet. Well, we HAD to give that a try, and my first response on opening the packages was "Hey honey, come smell these hot dogs. They smell like... food!"

That sums up my Garrett County hot dog experience in one word: food. The ingredients list is short and instantly recognizable as food: Turkey, Water, Salt, Spices, Paprika, Raw Sugar, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder. They smell like food. They taste like food. My son's garlic-laden dragon breath is proof that he's eaten food. Barring his relapse as a hot dog junkie, this food will be the new standard of hot dog around here.

Apparently Wellshire Farms is the more familiar moniker behind the newly renamed producer of natural meat products that now goes by Garrett County. I learned that from this link blog by the Between Two Rivers Coop.

I wanted to post this food find for other parents of young children, or simply hotdog lovers in search of a more natural alternative.

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