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.