Forrest Pritchard is a full-time sustainable farmer and New York Times bestselling author, holding a BA in English and a BS in Geology from William & Mary. Smith Meadows, his farm, was one of the first “grass finished” operations in the country, and has sold at leading farmers’ markets in Washington DC for nearly two decades. Pritchard's first two books received starred reviews from The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and NPR, and his latest book is set to debut in 2018.

40 responses to “We Really DO Eat the Bones”

  1. paintedhandfarm

    Several years ago one of my Eid customers brought a quart of soup back to the farm a few days after slaughtering a goat for the holiday. I was amazed when they burned the hooves popping off the outer covering to reveal the gelatinous inner parts. “These make the best soup,” he told me. The soup was made with not just the feet, but the leg bones cut into chunks the size of dice and then pressure cooked turning them soft enough to eat. Yes–people even eat goat bones! By the way, the soup was delicious.

  2. Ali

    Love this!

  3. Sandra Clark

    My mom used to roast the breast bones after the meat was off them until they were really crunchy (with some seasoned salt on them). I remember them fondly as one of my favorite snacks.

  4. Jeremy Goodwin

    Properly cooked quail, I eat everything except the end of the drumstick. Chicken and duck bones for stock, but the neck and backbone gets roasted with rest of the spatchcocked chicken as a chef’s treat.

  5. pazooter

    Great article. Thank you. Dem bones gunna rise agin!

  6. Andrew Zollman

    “Respecting the animal” would be not unnecessarily taking its life away from it, only for money or a moment of your personal “pleasure.” Seven years ago, I made the decision to respect all sentient beings (as well as my health and our planet) by becoming vegan – it’s the best decision anyone can ever make in their lives!

    1. Andrew Zollman

      Forrest, I didn’t mean to suggest that you derive pleasure from the act of killing animals, I was referring to the “pleasure” of eating the animals (though ultimately there’s not much difference).

      Also, I’m sure you understand that there’s a big difference between a plant and a sentient being who has emotions, needs, desires, and a will to live.

      If you’re comfortable with taking the lives of others for self-gain, there’s no need to sugar-coat or misrepresent the process or motivations.

    2. pazooter

      Who says plants don’t have emotions, needs, desires, and a will to live?

  7. Teresa Noelle Roberts

    We the bones for soup, but one of our friends dines with us, he gnaws most bones until they crack and then sucks out the marrow. Impressive, although it raises some eyebrows.

    1. Teresa Noelle Roberts

      That would be we USE the bones for soup. One of those days, I guess.

  8. John Wrang

    Thanks for speaking out on behalf of so many small farmer’s like me. We do pastured poultry also and I feel like more educator than farmer at our farmer’s markets and that’s ok. It feels good to bring people back to real food and sad at the same time that we even have to.

  9. Maggy Rogers

    Love reading your thoughts and gleaning from your educated practices. In Canada we are having the same difficulties with understanding food farming and it is difficult to find and purchase grass fed anything. Young farmers like yourself are to be listened to and revered. You are the hope for the future in helping to feed our communities even if they don’t know it.
    Also, Mr. Zollman needs to give his head a little shake. Sentient beings indeed. Much research is being done regarding plants and how they interact and communicate with one another. It is wonderful to imagine that cognition is not limited to a brain like our own. Veganism is a choice like any and just because the plants don’t cry out or bleed red, doesn’t mean it is any less a death.
    Aboriginal peoples all over the world have a ritual that asks forgiveness in the taking of a life as well as preparing and consuming all food is a reason to be mindful and grateful to where that food came from. We unconscious North Americans have gotten so caught up in our consumer mentality that we have forgotten about Nature’s ways and how to respect that.
    Thanks for allowing comments here…I will continue to learn from you anyway I can.

    1. Bren

      Maggy, I am a vegan and I totally agree with what you have said. Well said!

  10. Bren

    Though I too have given up eating meat, I applaud you for showing respect to the animal by using every part of it’s body! If only the rest of the meat eating world would do the same. Thanks for posting this article, it was a very interesting read.

  11. smarquis52

    Forrest, just learned of your book and have ordered it. Tremendous that you are getting your 15 years of experience and thinking to a wider audience. We all have much to learn. Regarding the eating bones/all parts of the animal, we’re still doing our part using the bones and more interesting cuts. The one thing we cannot buy in the farmers market in Santa Monica is hog jaw/jowls. To this day I appreciate you bringing these to market so that we could make our own guanciale. I have been able to get fresh pork belly and have made some decent pancetta.

  12. smarquis52

    Excellent!. I sent you an email to info@smithmeadows……..with more detail about CA. You are welcome to stay with us in Venice when you are in LA. We can continue this through email, and I hope to see you before April in VA.

  13. Janel B

    I feed raw chicken bones to my dogs (raw chicken necks, backs, feet). Dogs can digest them, and the backs are great workouts for their teeth and jaws. I use roasted chicken frames (what’s left after cutting all the chicken off after roasting it) in making stock in a crockpot – great usage to not let anything go to waste!

  14. Leilani N

    So apropos! My husband just cracked some thigh & leg bones from a roast chicken last night and my daughter scraped out the marrow with her teeth. She loves it!

  15. Josh

    The fact that plants may be sentient and communicate with each other does not for me justify that it is okay to eat meat. I believe if possible to do so one can live the most healthy life from plant based diets. There is a great deal of research to show it is healthier and your risk for many diseases is much less. Just know what you need to be healthy. There is much confusion as to what is a healthy vegetarian diet and everyone is a little different. I am following the advice of Jameth Sheridan cofounder of Healthforce Nutritional’s.

    1. Blaise

      There has also been research done on a meat-only diet and the researchers were quite surprised that they were as healthy as omnivores/vegetarians. There have been many studies like it that all produced similar results.

  16. Diana

    I actually bumped on this website when I was searching the Internet for information on chicken bone consumption by my preschooler. I make bone broth once in a while (simmering it over 8 hours) and serve a small cup to my kid with some salt and lemon …so one evening I saw her munching happily on a couple of small bones I had left on the table. While I thought “why not?” I always had a slight concern. So thanks for the info!

  17. Beth

    I loved this article. Ive eaten chicken bones and marrow since I was a kid and still to this day will chomp on every chewable peice of bone possible. The marrow is delicious! In fact I might enjoy the bones as much as the chicken itself. Nice to know Im not the only one. I also love how you use all parts of the animal. My mom has a small organic farm and she is the same way.Never let anything go to waste!

  18. Aries

    Eskimos only eat meat and blubber

  19. Sharon Hill-Walker

    I’ve been making chicken bone broth for awhile now and just recently thought about eating the bones after doing some research on it. I suppose that you would get the same vitamins and minerals from the bone itself just as you would from the broth. I ran across an article that had a recipe for grinding up pastured soy-free egg shells (after a small drying process) into a powder which can the been taken as an excellent source of calcium. I wondered if I could do the same for chicken bones after I make a broth. Any thoughts on this? I don’t like taking vitamins in pill form, so I’m always searching for DIY remedies with what I already have on hand, especially with food stuff people normally throw out (like eggshells and chicken bones)!

  20. Gayle

    I grew up poor, and now I am not.I still love eating bones for snacks,soups and just after I’ve eaten the meat. So thank you to all the smart farmers out there!

  21. Greg

    As a kid they taught me about elements in school. We are made of them, basic science, where we get them to grow into what we are is of no concern but your own. Just get them into your body your body will know what to do with them, it is essential to life. (Old saying) you are what you eat! bones is made of essential elements too.

  22. Rick

    My wife uses a ham bone to make pea soup. When done, the joint ball in very soft and porous, I usually gnaw on it, til it is a stub. Question, Is there any nutritional value in this?Or any dangers?

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