By Lindsay SutoInland NW Food Network - Seasonal Kitchen

The full moon that proceeds the harvest moon is known as the blood moon, or sometimes the fall hunter’s moon. As the foliage fades away and the animals fatten themselves for the long winter ahead, hunters take to the fields to stockpile meat for the impending cold and barren winters.

Game meat is the meat of any animal that’s hunted for food instead of raised on a farm. The landscape of our area offers several different types of game, making hunting a popular pastime and wild game a local delicacy. Popular types of game in our area include wild duck, venison, elk, turkey, bear and moose.

The ultimate local, free-range food, game meats have many health benefits when compared to farm-raised animals. Wild animals are very active, having to hunt for their own food and move around for safety. This, along with being able to eat their natural diet, contributes to a low fat content of the meat. Additionally, there is no concern over the addition of antibiotics or hormones that are often found in factory-farmed animals. Like other grass-fed animals, game meat has a lower content of the inflammation-causing omega-6 fatty acids, and a higher content of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

The carbon footprint left by wild came is much smaller than other types of meat that is usually shipped from a farm to a processing facility and then to a grocery store. Most game is caught within 100 miles of the freezer in which it will sit until being consumed.

Wild game is also relatively inexpensive. It takes time to catch yourself, but many people enjoy the time outdoors, and pay around $50 for the tag and license which can result in about 50 pounds of fresh meat.

With it’s health and environmental benefits, game meat is worth a try! Even for those who don’t want to take up hunting, these meats can now be found at local markets and through others in the area who enjoy the sport but have extra meat to share. Game can have a strong taste and because it is so lean it can be easy to overcook, however. Come to the Seasonal Kitchen class to learn how this wild food is taking the culinary world by storm and how you can prepare it yourself.

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