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Nothing But Farm Fresh Meat For Six Months
Jun 11th, 2011 by

The meat from the farm comes frozen in individual packets.

The meat from the farm comes frozen in individual packets.

Six months ago we joined a meat CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). During that time all of our meat came from the Houde Family Farm in northeast Vermont.

The meat has been tastier, and I believe healthier, than anything you can get in a supermarket. Each month we’ve had tender cuts of steak, veal cutlets, lamp chops and the most delicious bacon delivered to our door.

Home delivery is a real plus as most CSAs (both meat, produce and fish ones) require you to pick up your weekly or monthly allotment at a drop-off point.

The cost per pound is higher than supermarket prices ($7.50) but I don’t believe we’re spending more money on meat. Perhaps, we’ve cut back on our meat consumption (I haven’t kept score). But I don’t buy meat anywhere else and my freezer is always filled with plenty of meat.

The types of cuts you get varies from week to week. Each delivery is comprised of 50 percent higher priced meats such as steaks and perhaps an occasional rack of lamb and 50 percent lower priced meats, such as ground beef, pork and bacon.

You can also choose not to get certain types of meat. For instance,  if you don’t like lamb (and I’m not sure why you wouldn’t) or veal (are you insane?) you can specify that when you buy your share.

The deal is you have to pay up front for your meat share. This allows the small independent farmer to plan his business better.

Houde Farm now offers four month plans and you can choose to get 10, 15 or 20 pounds delivered each month. In Massachusetts they deliver to Andover, Arlington, Belmont, Cambridge, Lexington, Lynnfield, Lynn, Malden, Marblehead, Medford, Melrose, Nahant, Peabody, Reading, Salem, Somerville, Stoneham, Swampscott, Wakefield, Waltham, Wilmington, Winchester and Woburn.

You can also order extras each month for an additional cost. Extras include farm fresh eggs (much better tasting than supermarket eggs), pork roasts, honey, and jam.

Surprisingly, I think the most notable difference between farm fresh meat and supermarket meat is in the lesser-priced meats. The hamburger, ground veal and bacon are more flavorful. And the pork roasts, divine.

Not too many independent farmers sell chicken because they cost a lot to produce, but Houde Farm started selling chickens this month (more on that in another post).

Meanwhile, consider doing yourself and an independent farmer a favor. Look into CSAs in your area and/or shop at farmer’s markets.

The season for locally grown, fresh produce is upon us and I can’t wait to finish off a succulent steak dinner with a serving of shortcake topped with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.

Before and After Farmers’ Market
May 27th, 2010 by

To celebrate the opening of several farmers’ markets in New England this week we’re introducing a new RootsLiving feature called “Before and After Farmers’ Market.”

Each post will feature a photo of items we purchased at a local farmers’ market and another photo of what we were able to create with those items.

BEFORE: Items from the Foxboro Cheese Co., Fiore Di Nonno, and local farms.

BEFORE: Items from the Foxboro Cheese Co., Fiore Di Nonno, and local farms.

AFTER: A salad made with greens, arugula, fresh mozzarella and grape tomatoes provided a good side dish to grilled chicken.

AFTER: A salad made with greens, arugula, fresh mozzarella and grape tomatoes provided a good side dish to grilled chicken.

The farmer’s market in Davis Square, Somerville opened yesterday. It’s still early in the growing season so the variety of produce was limited. There were no tomatoes and many of the farmers were selling small vegetable and herb plants. But here’s what we got:

  • Arugula
  • Pea tendrils (my new favorite green)
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Fresh cheese spread with chives
  • A lemon curd cake

The farmers' market in Davis Square, Somerville (above) is open on Wednesdays, from noon to 5 p.m.

The farmers' market in Davis Square, Somerville (above) is open on Wednesdays, from noon to 5 p.m.

And to supplement this bounty we stopped at a local grocer in Davis Square and bought some grape tomatoes that were very good for this time of year. We also stopped at a wine shop and bought a bottle of white wine from Argentina and a bottle of Chimay Ale, made by Trappist monks in Belgium. The ale, sold in a 12-ounce bottle, was yeasty and a little spicy.

The farmers’ market experience is all about trying new things. The new things from this excursion included the fresh mozzarella (made in Somerville that morning at the Fiore di Nonno company, it had a light, tangy, fresh taste); the fresh cheese/chive spread (made from the milk of grass-fed cows in Foxboro, Mass.); and the small round of lemon curd cake (a yellow cake with the bold sweet flavor of lemons).

But by far the biggest surprise were the pea tendrils. The first time we bought these was at a farmers’ market in the South End about a week ago. We bought them again yesterday because they make a great addition to any salad. They have a light, sweet pea flavor with a mild crunch.

This year we had considered purchasing a share in a local farm (a CSA which stands for community supported agriculture). This means putting up a few hundred dollars at the beginning of the season for the promise of getting fresh produce each week throughout the season. But we weren’t ready to make that commitment and opted instead to try and shop at a farmers’ market once a week.

The result should be healthier and tastier meals that reduce the size of our carbon footprint. The bonus, however, promises to be great adventures in eating. We hope you come along for the ride.

Find a Farmers’ Market Near You

Learn About CSAs

Learn About Eating Local at Boston Localvores

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