Veal has earned a reputation as a particularly inhumane meat: formula-fed calves raised confined to crates too small for them to turn around in. But that isn't the way it has to be, say farmers who raise veal naturally and humanely: by leaving the calves to nurse off their mothers, pastured on fresh grass, with room to romp and roam.
The meat has a deep rosy hue and a rich taste, unlike the anemically white and flavorless veal that comes from factory farms, say those who raise (and enjoy) humane veal. Marion Burros of The New York Times writes, "Veal from calves fed sufficient grass or grain as well as milk has real character and flavor. For anyone who knows only the bland old-fashioned veal, it is as if a brand-new ingredient has been discovered. Tasting this new veal is not unlike biting into your first heirloom tomato from the garden after a lifetime of eating supermarket tomatoes bred for durability." Last fall, The Washington Post reported that demand for humanely-raised veal was increasing rapidly as consumers and chefs alike learned of its characteristics. The IndyStar recently reported on the growing phenomenon in the Midwest as well.
If you have an excess of baby beefs - perhaps because you raise dairy cows - consider raising humane veal. There seems to be a growing niche market and increased awareness of the kinder side of veal raised naturally on a small farm.