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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Meat CSA

I finally did it.

I’ve been wanting to participate in the Stillman Turkey Farm meat CSA (community supported agriculture) for a couple of years now, but never felt I could justify it. I recently decided to just DO IT, and signed up for the 6 month/half share program, which is 10 pounds of meat per month for 6 months. That 10 pounds can include beef, pork, chicken or lamb, and is roughly 5 lbs. of ground meats or stew cuts, and 5 lbs. of premium cuts. Most importantly, it is local, free-range, hormone-free and conscientiously-raised.
Since I’ve been wanting to do this for quite a while, it was with great anticipation that we drove up to Jamaica Plain on Saturday to pick up our first share. It contained: ham steak, Italian sausage, pork chops, chicken breast, raw bacon, smoked pork butt, and as an extra “bonus“, a bag of pork neck bones (for soup, stock, etc.).

Hmmm, written out like that it sounds like a pretty good haul…but I have to say that my first impression was that it must be a cleanout month for the CSA, since this share was so pork-heavy. And of course, this little frugalista wants to make sure she’s getting a good value. At the end of the day, this meat is costing $7.50 per pound.

Of course, when I refer to value, I’m not just talking about the meat itself. I recognize that part of what we’re paying for is almost political in nature. With our financial support, we’re saying that local agriculture, humane husbandry, and traditional small-scale farming are a good thing and we want it to stick around. Even from my relatively elementary experiences while growing up on a hobby farm (we had nearly every barnyard animal you can think of, except for sheep), I know that what these farmers are doing is not easy. Furthermore, it’s rarely lucrative. So I really appreciate their willingness to live that life, preserve old New England farmland, raise heritage breeds humanely, and make it available to the rest of us. It’s not an occupation that many of us would have the guts to pursue.

Anyways, now comes the fun part…choosing/designing recipes around the meats that we received. I’m actually really excited for this part, and to see what’s in next month’s share…it’s like a grab bag of meat! I’ll keep the updates, recipes, cooking tribulations and triumphs coming…

In the meantime, if you are interested in these sorts of topics, I thought Fast Food Nation and Real Food were great reads…

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